The next issue of Wired, on newsstands May 27, has an interesting infographic by Lucia Masud and Brittany Everett that looks at the top feeder colleges for seven big tech companies. The magazine gave me permission to reprint it below.
The data are drawn from LinkedIn's publicly available lists of the most common college affiliations among each company's employees. The numbers aren't exact, but they should be a pretty decent proxy—Wired notes that about 95 percent of these companies' employees have LinkedIn accounts.
The first takeaway, which Wired notes in its own brief write-up, is that you don't have to go to Stanford or an Ivy League school to get a job at a top tech company. In fact, the largest pipeline of all is between Microsoft and the University of Washington, a big state school. Microsoft also welcomes large numbers of graduates from Washington State, Western Washington University, and the University of Waterloo. Amazon is not on Wired's list, but a quick check of LinkedIn shows that Washington grads top the list there too.
IBM, meanwhile, draws heavily on Indian universities, including Bangalore University, Visvesvaraya Technological University, and the University of Pune.
Want to work at Apple? Stanford's a good bet, certainly—but so is San Jose State, which lies just a few exits east of the Apple campus off of Interstate 280. Granted, San Jose State's enrollment is nearly twice that of Stanford, so the latter probably still gives you a better chance. But SJSU is certainly the more economical option if you're just looking at the sheer number of alumni connections to Cupertino. UC-Berkeley, UT-Austin, and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo also appear to be Apple favorites.
Yahoo taps both the Bay Area, via Stanford and Berkeley, and Southern California via USC and UCLA.
Interestingly, it's the newer, faster-growing Silicon Valley Internet companies that appear to depend most heavily on graduates of big-name engineering schools. Google's intimate ties to Stanford are borne out by the data, with more Googlers coming from the Farm than any other institution. Stanford is also the top feeder to Facebook, and it ranks second among Twitter employees on LinkedIn. UC-Berkeley is right there with it in all three cases, ranking second for Google and Facebook and first for Twitter.
Also noteworthy are the numbers for MIT and Carnegie Mellon. Despite enrollments a fraction of the size of the other universities on the list, MIT cracks the top five for Google and Twitter employees, while Carnegie Mellon makes the list for Google and *Facebook. If the figures were recalibrated to control for enrollment size, they might rank even higher.
As for the Ivy League, not one of the ancient eight makes the list for any of the tech companies under consideration.
*Correction, Friday, May 23, 2014: Carnegie Mellon is a top feeder school for Google and Facebook, not Google and Apple.