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Visualized: The Top Feeder Schools into Silicon Valley



Open the large interactive version here Top feeder schools to Silicon Valley?

Open the large interactive version here Top feeder schools to Silicon Valley?

Visualized: The Top Feeder Schools into Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is one of the largest and most prominent tech hubs in the world. It accounts for about one-third of America’s national investment capital and it houses the headquarters of over 30 companies in the Fortune 1000.

Given its world-class reputation, it’s the dream of many tech workers to land a job in a Silicon Valley company. But what’s the best route for getting there?

While there is certainly no clear-cut path, one way to try and answer this question is by looking at the universities and colleges that Silicon Valley employees graduate from.

This interactive map by ​Stephanie Cristea shows the top feeder schools to some of the largest companies in Silicon Valley.

A Look at The Top 30 Schools

The data for this graphic comes from a study by College Transitions, which looks at the top feeder schools for 12 different companies with employees in Silicon Valley, including Twitter, Alphabet, DocuSign, Meta, and eight other large businesses.

Using publicly available data from LinkedIn, the study looked at more than 70,000 entry level engineers and IT employees at these 12 different companies, and identified where they received their undergraduate degree.

Here are the findings of the top 30 feeder schools across all 12 companies:

Rank (Total)Institution# EmployedTop Employer
1Carnegie Mellon University1,356Google
2University of Southern California1,252Google
3University of California, Berkeley1,212Google
4Georgia Institute of Technology1,094Microsoft
5University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign877Google
6University of Washington876Microsoft
7University of California, San Diego795Google
8University of Waterloo793Google
9University of California, Los Angeles704Google
10Stanford University661Google
11Columbia University651Google
12University of Michigan632Google
13Cornell University612Google
14Northeastern University604Google
15University of Texas at Austin578Google
16University of California, Irvine482Google
17San Jose State University470Google
18Purdue University469Microsoft
19University of Toronto466Google
20New York University464Google
21Massachusetts Institute of Technology405Google
22University of Pennsylvania352Google
23University of California, Davis333Google
24North Carolina State University329Google
25University of Maryland309Google
26Duke University304Google
27Harvard University260Google
28University of Wisconsin, Madison249Google
29University of Virginia244Microsoft
30Brown University236Google

While this research is far from exhaustive, it provides a glimpse of where 12 of the largest companies in Silicon Valley source their talent, and what it takes to make it into the big leagues.

Adjusted Proportional Rankings

Next, let’s look at the ranking after being adjusted proportionally for each school’s undergraduate enrollment numbers (so smaller schools can be fairly represented in the data):

Rank (Adjusted)Institution# EmployedTop Employer
1Carnegie Mellon University1356Google
2Columbia University651Google
3Stanford University661Google
4Massachusetts Institute of Technology405Google
5California Institute of Technology78Google
6Harvey Mudd College72Google
7Georgia Institute of Technology1094Microsoft
8University of Southern California1252Google
9Rice University235Google
10Harvard University260Google
11Duke University304Google
12Cornell University612Google
13Northeastern University604Google
14University of California, Berkeley1212Google
15University of Pennsylvania352Google
16Princeton University170Google
17Brown University236Google
18Santa Clara University180Google
19Northwestern University226Google
20University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign877Google
21Swarthmore College36Google
22University of California San Diego795Google
23University of Washington876Microsoft
24Yale University115Google
25Washington University in St. Louis183Google
26Johns Hopkins University143Google
27University of Chicago156Google
28University of California, Los Angeles704Google
29University of Waterloo793Google
30University of Michigan632Google

Interestingly, when looking at the adjusted figures, only two of the top 10 feeder schools are Ivy League institutions: Columbia, which comes second on the list, and Harvard, which just makes the cut at number 10.

Carnegie Mellon takes first place, with over 1,300 hired graduates across all 12 companies. While the Pittsburgh-based university is not an Ivy League school, it still has a great reputation—in a recent study by U.S. News & World Report, it ranked as one of the best universities in America.

Even with its excellent reputation, Carnegie Mellon’s acceptance rate is relatively high at 17%, especially when compared to its Ivy League counterparts like Columbia (6%) and Harvard (4%).

It’s worth mentioning that, while Ivy League didn’t dominate the top 10 list, all eight schools made it into the top 30. So, while this data shows that Silicon Valley isn’t exclusively hiring from Ivy League schools, it does indicate that these prestigious institutions have a seat at the table.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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The Incredible Historical Map That Changed Cartography

Check out the Fra Mauro Mappa Mundi (c. 1450s), a historical map that formed a bridge between medieval and renaissance worldviews.



Historical map of the world depicted as a circular planisphere of the world crafted in the 1450s in Venice, Italy by Fra Mauro.

The Incredible Historical Map That Changed Cartography

This map is the latest in our Vintage Viz series, which presents historical visualizations along with the context needed to understand them.

In a one-paragraph story called On Exactitude in Science (Del Rigor en la Ciencia), Jorge Luis Borges imagined an empire where cartography had reached such an exact science that only a map on the same scale of the empire would suffice.

The Fra Mauro Mappa Mundi (c. 1450s), named for the lay Camaldolite monk and cartographer whose Venetian workshop created it, is not nearly as large, at a paltry 77 inches in diameter (196 cm). But its impact and significance as a bridge between Middle Age and Renaissance thought certainly rivaled Borges’ imagined map.

One of ‘the Wonders of Venice’

Venice was the undisputed commercial power in the Mediterranean, whose trade routes connected east and west, stretching to Flanders, London, Algeria, and beyond.

This network was protected by fleets of warships built at the famous Arsenale di Venezia, the largest production facility in the West, whose workforce of thousands of arsenalotti built ships on an assembly line, centuries before Henry Ford.

A stone Lion of Saint Mark from the pediment of the Arsenale di Venezia, holding a closed book in its in paws.

The lion of St Mark guards the land gate to the Arsenale di Venezia, except instead of the usual open bible in its hands offering peace, this book is closed, reflecting its martial purpose. Source: Wikipedia

The Mappa Mundi (literally “map of the world”) was considered one of the wonders of Venice with a reputation that reached the Holy Land. It is a circular planisphere drawn on four sheets of parchment, mounted onto three poplar panels and reinforced by vertical battens.

The map is painted in rich reds, golds, and blues; this last pigment was obtained from rare lapis lazuli, imported from mines in Afghanistan. At its corners are four spheres showing the celestial and sublunar worlds, the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water), and an illumination of the Garden of Eden by Leonardo Bellini (active 1443-1490).

Japan (on the left edge, called the Isola de Cimpagu) appears here for the first time in a Western map. And contradicting Ptolemaic tradition, it also shows that it was possible to circumnavigate Africa, presaging the first European journey around the Cape of Good Hope by the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488.

NASA called the historical map “stunning” in its accuracy.

A Historical Map Between Two Worlds

Medieval maps, like the Hereford Mappa Mundi (c. 1300), were usually oriented with east at the top, because that’s where the Garden of Eden was thought to be. Fra Mauro, however, chose to orient his to the south, perhaps following Muslim geographers such as Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Idrisi.

Significantly, the Garden of Eden is placed outside of geographic space and Jerusalem is no longer at the center, though it is still marked by a windrose. The nearly 3,000 place names and descriptions are written in the Venetian vernacular, rather than Latin.

At the same time, as much as Fra Mauro’s map is a departure from the past, it also retains traces of a medieval Christian worldview. For example, included on the map are the Kingdom of the Magi, the Kingdom of Prester John, and the Tomb of Adam.

T and O style mappa mundi

Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae (c. 600–625). Source: Wikipedia

The circular planisphere also follows the medieval T-O schema, first described by Isidore of Seville, with Asia occupying the top half of the circle, and Europe and Africa each occupying the bottom two quarters (Fra Mauro turns the ‘T’ on its side, to reflect a southern orientation). Around the circle, are many islands, beyond which is the “dark sea” where only shipwreck and misfortune await.

Fra Mauro’s Legacy

Fra Mauro died some time before 20 October 1459, and unfortunately his contributions fell into obscurity soon thereafter; until 1748, it was believed that the Mappa Mundi was a copy of a lost map by Marco Polo.

In 1811, the original was moved from Fra Mauro’s monastery of San Michele to the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, following the suppression of religious orders in the Napoleonic era, where it can be viewed today.

Two digital editions have also been produced by the Museo Galileo and the Engineering Historical Memory project, where readers can get a glimpse into a fascinating piece of cartographic history.

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