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Jay Parikh

Jay Parikh

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1994
Induction year: 2024

Jay Parikh ‘94, a mechanical engineer by education, has made significant strides in the internet technology industry. His professional journey has seen him rise from a consultant to CEO. 

Parikh’s career, marked by a focus on engineering and product, includes growing Facebook’s user base from 300 million to over three billion and introducing disruptive technologies that generated billions in revenue. 

Parikh attributes his success to the systems thinking and problem-solving skills he acquired at Virginia Tech. These skills have enabled him to tackle complex problems throughout his career. He also credits his education with his ability to work effectively in small teams.

Always one to be curious, Parikh’s drive for continuous learning has been key to his success. His advice to his younger self and others starting their careers is to view their career trajectory as a series of “S” curves, with the steep parts representing phases of learning and growth. He emphasizes the importance of hard work and grit during these phases and advises minimizing time spent in the flatter sections of the curve. This perspective reflects his career journey, which has been characterized by continuous learning and tackling unsolved problems. His story serves as an inspiration for aspiring professionals in the tech industry. 

Current town:
Bay Area, California

Nazareth, Pennsylvania

Professional roles:

  • Chief Executive Officer, Lacework, 2021-Present
  • Global Vice President of Engineering, Facebook, 2009-2021
  • Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations, Ning, Inc., 2007-2009
  • Vice President of Engineering, Akamai Technologies, 1999-2007
  • Senior Consulting Engineer, NetGravity (DoubleClick), 1998-1999
  • Consultant, Andersen Consulting (Accenture), 1995-1997

Corporate boards:

  • Member, Board of Directors, Atlassian, 2013-Present

What led you to your profession?
After my internships and upon graduating from Virginia Tech, I evaluated different jobs and companies. Ultimately, I was intrigued by the fast-paced learning opportunity in the emerging internet tech industry. I saw it as a new adventure upon graduating.

How have you utilized your Virginia Tech degree in your career?
Since I left Virginia Tech, there are intangible items that have been with me. 

First, I believe what I learned in terms of systems thinking and complex problem solving has applied to every job I’ve held since the day I graduated. I’ve gravitated to tackling hard problems in my career and those that have not been solved before.

Second, I also believe that working in small teams at Virginia Tech gave me the ability to bring smart people together to solve harder problems. My time at Virginia Tech helped me build a stronger foundation in this skill. Helping each other develop and learn through new experiences is so important in today’s career world. 

Lastly, I’ve always been a curious person. Virginia Tech fed that aspect of me, which is still very much a part of who I am.

What advice would you share with your younger self just starting your career?
Think of your career (and maybe life) as a series of “S” curves. The steep parts represent the learning and growth phases but require hard work and grit. You want to link those “S” curves together to learn and grow as much as possible while minimizing the time spent in the flatter sections.

Please note: Inductee spotlight is as of the year of their induction.