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The 10 most common first jobs held by CEOs

Zameena Mejia


Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson inherited her role from her father . Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella started off as an engineer . SAP National Security Services CEO Mark Testoni began his career as a high school janitor.

There is clearly no one single path to the corner office.

To better understand how CEOs got to where they are today, LinkedIn looked at the profiles of over 12,000 chief executives from 20 countries.

"One thing is for sure, millennials are interested in moving up," director of insights for LinkedIn Talent Solutions Sarah O'Brien tells CNBC Make It . "By looking at the path of leaders at some of the top companies globally, [this analysis] can help provide insights into what moves they should consider taking now to get there in the future."

LinkedIn's analysis found that most of these top executives started their careers working as consultants. The second most popular first job CEOs listed on their profiles is software engineer.

LinkedIn points out that consultants tend to tackle complex challenges across different businesses and work environments, which offers an ideal practice ground for the problem-solving skills CEOs need to use every day.

The site also took a look at which fields of study CEOs most often got their degrees in, with computer science rising to the top of the ranks.

The analysis also notes that most CEOs tend to start working in roles related to business development.


LinkedIn stresses that the CEO profiles considered for this report may have excluded prior roles, such as internships or junior positions. The site also notes that although others' career paths can be helpful in guiding your own, they are not predictive of the future.

To help you choose a career you can thrive in for years to come, check out the 10 best and worst jobs for the future .

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