The Early Jobs of 10 Tech Leaders

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 2016-10-31 Email

We all had to start our career somewhere, but when it comes to famous tech leaders, we tend to forget that they also had to earn a living in their younger days—often in boring jobs and in positions that had nothing to do with technology. That's the overriding impression conveyed by the following list of tech heavyweights' early jobs. The founders and CEOs included here have created and/or managed some of the world's greatest innovations, while acquiring a staggering amount of wealth. So you may find it comforting to discover that one actually worked at a McDonald's, and another did a door-to-door sales stint. A third started out as a refugee in the United States and got a job as a busboy in New York City. In other early jobs summarized here, the tech icons displayed their future, inventive streaks: One helped computerize power grids, and another wrote source code for taxi dispatchers. In interviews, many of these CEOs describe their early pursuits in affectionate terms, indicating that the experiences contributed to their future successes. That provides a useful lesson here: A job doesn't define you; performance does. The following information was compiled through published interviews and news clips about the highlighted tech figures.

Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

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