A 2011 study by the consulting firm Stuart Spencer concluded that approximately one-third of top executives in S&P 500 companies were educated as engineers.

Some of the biggest and wealthiest companies have engineers at their head. Apple, Amazon, Google are just a few examples that come to mind. But the list is actually quite long. Not to say that all engineers become CEOs, but if you have the will to learn, the need to succeed and the drive to work past your mistakes you can surely get there. This post will show you how some of the best known names in the business embarked on their journey. All you need to do is get inspired by these CEOs who have already done this in the past and take their life lessons as pointers to put you on the right path.

  1. Virginia (Ginni) Rometty

Ginni Rometty graduated from Northwestern University in 1979 with a BS in computer science and electrical engineering. She started her career with General Motors Institute and joined IBM as a systems engineer in 1981. She is credited for having championed the purchase of PWC Consulting for $3.5billion and also for spearheading IBM’s shift into Cloud Computing and analytics. She took over as the CEO and President from Sam Palmisano in 2011 and also took on the role of Chairwoman in 2012. She’s been named by Bloomberg as one of the “50 Most Influential People in the World” and by Fortune as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for 10 consecutive years. In 2016 Virginia Rometty earned a total compensation of US$32.7million, which included US$24.9m of  stock awards.

  1. Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai holds degrees from several prestigious institutes including the Indian Institute of Technology, Stanford University and an MBA from Wharton. Sundar started his career with Applied Materials as an engineer and later moved on to McKinsey & Company as a management consultant. He joined Google in 2004 and led the development efforts for the client software products, including Google Chrome, Chrome OS and Google Drive. He took on the role of CEO with the tech giant in 2015. In 2016 Sundar Pichai earned a total compensation of US$199,718,200, which included US$650,000 as salary, US$198,695,790 of stock awards and US$372,410 from other sources.

  1. Dennis Muilenburg

Dennis Muilenburg the Chairman, president and CEO of Boeing, Inc., a $94.6 billion aerospace powerhouse has a BS in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and an MS in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington. He has worked with Boeing since 1985 and has worked on some of the companies famous military projects like the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-22 Raptor and the High Speed Civil Transport and the Condor reconnaissance aircraft. In 2016 Dennis earned a total compensation of US$14,109,579, which included US$1,640,962 as a salary, US$6,431,450 was received as a bonus, US$5,200,019 was awarded as stock awards and US$837,148 came from other types of compensation.

  1. Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos gained fame as the dynamic founder and CEO of Amazon.com and his story of how he built a billion dollar company is the what the American dream is all about. However like many others Jeff started out his career as an engineer at Fitel and later with Bankers Trust. He founded Amazon in 1994 and the Amazon success story is well known to all. Bezos holds a degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University.

In 2016 Jeff Bezos earned a total compensation of US$1,681,140, which included US$81,840 and US$1,600,000 came from other sources.

  1. Richard Templeton

Richard Templeton started his career with Texas Instruments in 1980 after graduating from Union College in New York with a degree in electrical engineering. He spearheaded the TI’s drive to become a global leader in analog ICs, embedded systems and digital signal processing. Richard took on the role of chairman, president and CEO of Texas Instruments since 2004. While CEO of Texas Instruments in 2008.  

In 2016 Richard K. Templeton earned a total compensation of US$14,972,465, which included a base salary of US$1,164,083, a bonus of US$3,682,817, stock options of US$4,900,007, stocks awards of US$4,900,048 and US$325,510 from other sources.

  1. Ben Van Beurden

Ben Van Beurden has spent over 30 years with Royal Dutch Shell plc and is now the CEO at one of the worlds best known petrochemical companies. Van Beurden holds an MS in chemical engineering from Delft University of Technology in Netherlands. He served in a range of Shell businesses across the globe and has also served on the International Council of Chemical Associations and the European Chemical Industry Council.

In 2014 Van Beurden had a total salary of 24.29 million Euros.

  1. Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s earned a BS in electrical engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology in India, he moved to the US to pursue an MS in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and later went to work for Sun Microsystems as a member of the technology staff, He joined Microsoft in 1992 where he led major projects including their move to cloud computing and subsequently the development of the one of the biggest cloud infrastructures in the world. He took over as the CEO of Microsoft in 2014.

In 2017 Satya Nadella had a total compensation of US$20,014,152. Of which US$1,450,000 was his salary and US$7,032,406 was his bonus. He was also awarded US$11,434,557 in stocks and had US$97,189 from other sources.

An engineering degree is considered as the toughest degree in the U.S. educational establishment. It gives you technical skills and at the same time prepares you for great things. A recent study by ASEE showed that the students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering increased by 7.5% and those with master’s degree went up by 11.1% in 2015. With such numbers who knows one of you may be on their way to making this list.

Author Bio: 

Vinayak Ravi has become an ITSM evangelist and ITIL Practitioner, He currently works for Freshworks Inc and has worked for major corporates like IBM.