Mark Zuckerberg versus Jamie Dimon, Who's More Iconic?

Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012 | 2:08 PM ET

"Greed is good" is out.

"Don't be Evil" is in.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

America's young people, tomorrow's economic engine, are deciding which icons of success to follow, and their gaze has shifted from east to west.

While MBAs, engineers and other fortune hunters once sought wealth on Wall Street (where the pay can still be higher), they're increasingly more interested in striking it rich in Silicon Valley.

"Everything's converging and heading in that direction," says Raul Meza, a student at California Lutheran University. "So I think it's a safer bet."

A survey of 6,700 early career professionals last fall shows that one in five would like to work at Google , making it the most popular professional destination. Apple came in second with 13 percent of the vote, followed by Facebook at nine percent. The most popular bank? J.P. Morgan , way down in 41st place, with a little over two percent of the vote.

"It just seems like the market is really volatile right now," says student Nicholas Simpson, who also prefers tech to finance as a career path. When asked "Who would you rather be, Jamie Dimon or Mark Zuckerberg?", every student CNBC surveyed answered "Zuckerberg." Most didn't even know who Jamie Dimon is, but all of them knew of Facebook's founder.

They called him "a successful man," and "successful at such a young age." "He's a billionaire!" laughed student Laurel Yetter.

Computer Engineer Barbie
Source: Mattel
Computer Engineer Barbie

Four years ago, CNBC reported on concerns by the defense industry that it was losing engineering students to both Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Now, there seems to be only one preferred destination.

A New York Magazine article called "The End of Wall Street as They Knew It" quotes an unnamed hedge fund executive who says, "If you're a smart Ph.D. from MIT, you'd never go to Wall Street now... You'd go to Silicon Valley."

Perhaps the biggest proof that "kids these days" prefer tech to finance — Mattel has a Computer Engineer Barbie. There is no Stock Broker Barbie. No Wall Street Ken.

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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.