Atlanta is Heating Up Again Thanks to a Surge in IT Opportunities

Georgia’s capital and premier city is gaining traction after the 2008 financial recession that left the city struggling to catch up in terms of growth. Their recovery in large part is due to their increasing presence within the technology industry. Microsoft, Worldpay, and Cardlytics among other big tech companies have set up their headquarters in the area. These corporations are reaping the benefits of low operation costs, tax breaks, and investment funding. 

The Fintech Explosion

Fintech is the focus of many of Atlanta based companies, both big and small. Fintech firms support online financial services and transactions. Alternative monetary systems like Bitcoin, Apple Pay, and Square are becoming more and more popular with consumers and businesses alike. Atlanta is at the forefront of such exchange currencies and payment processing, having even been dubbed “Transaction Alley.”

Business Incubators

Top notch tech-focused research facilities like Georgia Tech and Emory University can also be credited with the tech boom. Georgia Tech’s Venture Lab for example, helps students launch their own startups and has been an instrumental support program within the tech community. As a result, young talent is growing Atlanta’s population in groves. The U.S. Census Bureau recently credited them with the third most population spike out of all the other major cities, with about 5.8 million people now residing in the sprawling city.

Tech City

Those looking to compete for software developing, programming, and computer support roles will find plenty of employment opportunities. Atlanta has always gleamed the spotlight as a business mecca and powerhouse city. However, now it’s specifically shaping up to be its own brand of Silicon Valley. What sets it apart from other successful tech based cities is an affordable housing market, historic character, and southern charm; making it an ideal landscape for encouraging tech focused innovation. 

No matter which city your company calls home, Number8 can help your business connect to top tech talent. If you want to learn more about our consulting process and why we are the perfect offshore software development company to help you reach your company’s goals, then give us a call at (502) 890-7665 today!

Distracted at Work? 3 Simple Tricks to Get You Focused

tips for focusingIn the world of technology, distractions are everywhere. Pinging notifications have a way of popping up on our phones and computers, and then an hour later, we find ourselves trying to remember what it was we were doing in the first place. However, when it comes to staying focused at work, it’s just a matter of building good habits that will stand the test of time (or at least get you to the end of the work day). Here are a few tips for focusing amidst the mountain of emails and instant messages that are sure to come your way. 

3 Tips for Focusing At Work:

  1. Set specific goals.

Part of the reason we get distracted at all at work is that we are bored or overwhelmed by the task at hand. However, knowing your priorities and setting goals can help minimize any attempt at procrastination. One of the best tips for focusing is proper goal setting. Proper goal setting works best when you break down each goal into reasonable time blocked tasks. Outlining all the steps it will take to accomplish what you want and then giving yourself a time limit for each one will help motivate you to meet your potential and fulfill your deadlines. 

Make sure the goals you set are SMART; meaning they are specific, measurable, assignable, relevant, and timely. This will ensure that you aren’t overwhelming yourself or wasting time on unattainable projects. Also try tackling the hardest tasks at the beginning of the day when you’re most energized and have loads of time ahead of you, and save the more routine things on your to do list for the end of the day when you’re brain and attention span is winding down. This way you won’t be as stressed or pushed for time on an important project.

  1. Take breaks.

It’s important to step back every once in a while, and if you do so regularly, you’ll find yourself less prone to give into the little distractions that present themselves throughout the day because you’ve already taken a break. For example, after spending a period of time hard at work, try rewarding yourself by getting up and walking around, grabbing a cup of coffee, filling up your water bottle, or even eating a mid afternoon treat. You can control the temptation to constantly check emails, social media, and text messages by setting aside a specific about of time in your workday for it. Catch up with your peers during lunch, so you don’t find yourself chitchatting at your desk instead of working. It also helps if your work space is somewhat enjoyable. So if you can, listen to background music to pump you up or keep your brain relaxed.

  1. Regulate technology.

When you’re in the office, why not make your devices work for you? Take advantage of the many apps out there that can track your time spent on certain sites, and even block those that you are prone to linger on for too long like YouTube or Facebook. Additionally, consider disabling your phone by turning it on silent, or having calls go directly to voicemail so you’re not interrupted unnecessarily during work hours. Keeping any handheld devices in your bag, or face down on your desk so you can’t see if the screen lights up, will also help prevent you from being pulled off track.

At Number8, we believe one of the keys to achieving your business’s goals is great IT that supports your company. We help businesses access great IT by connecting them with remote workers that utilize best-practice tools and processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!

Improving the Quality of Your Code: 11 Tips from Number8 Developers

number8 developers If you want a product that works and people will enjoy, Number8 developers know to begin with quality code. Of course, writing is a skill that takes time and practice– we all can’t be masters of our craft from the get go. In fact, about 20% of a programmer’s time is actually spent writing the initial program. The majority of the time, the programmer is debugging (fixing errors) or maintaining (adding features to) the program being developed. If you want to cut down on the amount of time you spend going back and forth correcting errors and modifying features, it helps to have a flexible plan of attack for crafting great code as you write.

Here are some favorite tips for improving the quality of code from Number8 developers.

1. Storyboard your solution before you even begin coding.

Remember how you were taught to create an outline for a school paper before you actually wrote it? As it turns out, not everything they taught us in high school was useless.

2. If you can’t map out your logic on paper, you are not ready to start writing your code.

You should be confident enough in your vision to defend it to a judge.

3. Remember: it needs to be user friendly.

When you work on the technical side of things, like Number8 developers, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and forget that not everyone who is using this product will speak your language. Remember to take user friendliness into account if you want your end product to be successful.

4. Get a second opinion for your layout or logic

You never know what problems a fresh pair of eyes can point out. Be open to criticism and use it to become better, not bitter.

5. Comment, comment, and comment some more.

Number8 developers comment on everything they build in order to inform others that may be reading the code so readers know what exactly their intentions are. If your code isn’t easily read and understood by other developers, you could end up losing your job.

6. Be mindful when naming variables.

Haphazard names can lead to confusion when it comes to modifying or amending issues in your code. Your variables should be descriptive, but to the point, and able to be differentiated from other objects in your code.

7.  There’s always something new to learn.

Mastering a code language takes lots of time. Be patient with yourself and open to learning new things, no matter what your expertise. Like any other language, whatever code you use can change and evolve with time, so it is up to you to work with it and adapt as needed.

8.  Delete unnecessary code.

When you are writing code, be sure you “clean up” as you go and remove code that has no purpose. Leaving superficial code in your finished product may not have immediate implications, but it can cause problems and confusion later on.

9. Be consistent with your style.

If you are working with a team, before you begin you should all agree on standard practices for things such as how consistent your indentations should be. Once those guidelines are established for things such as whitespace, naming, commenting, and any other rules you establish, stick with them from beginning to end.

10. Look at other people’s great coding.

If you want to write great code, it helps to read great code. Just as a fiction writer needs to review the works of great authors throughout history, a developer should look at the back end of products they admire or want to emulate.

11. Don’t Repeat Yourself.

The DRY or DIE (“Duplication Is Evil”) principle states that “every piece of knowledge must have a single, unambiguous, authoritative representation within a system.” Overdefining or overwriting will make your final product clunky and inelegant.

At Number8, we help fast growing companies find quality software developers that creatively help teams with their product develop and IT operations using agile development. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 developers and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page

7 Mistakes to Avoid Working with Remote Employees

remote employeesThe modern office is more than four walls and a parking lot. With the help of technology, a team can reach all corners of the world and still connect in order to create a product or service that helps a company reach its goals. Of course, collaborating with remote employees is a pretty novel endeavor. There is plenty of room for miscommunications and hiccups that can stall a project’s progress. When working with remote employees, it’s best to anticipate possible issues before they come up so you know how to address them just in case.

Here is some of our favorite advice on mistakes to avoid when working with remote employees.

1. Not Having an Onboarding Process

Your onboarding process sets the tone for every employee and informs them of your goals and expectations as a project manager. It also gives you the opportunity to lay out any organizational tips you wish to pass on to help with operations. When you are working with a large team in various places, you may not all be on the same page at all times. But if you have a steady and consistent onboarding process, you can at least make sure all remote workers are reading the same book.

2. Letting Them Wing It

Anyone who has gotten in an argument over text messages knows how miscommunications through technology are possible. When it comes to managing remote workers, the more structure and communication you can provide them, the better. Instead of telling them what you want and letting them wing it, you are better off telling them what you want, when you want it, and the steps you need them to take in order to accomplish said task.

3. Ignoring Time Zones

It’s easy to forget that the people on the other side of the screen are just that… people. When you ignore time zones and demand crazy hours from remote employees, you are more likely to get haphazard results from resentful employees. If you aren’t willing to wait 24 hours for a response from a remote worker, you are better off finding someone in a time zone that is no more than 2 hours different than yours.

4. Micromanaging

Wait… but didn’t we just tell you to give them step-by-step instructions on what to get done? Being thorough with your project direction and micromanaging are not the same things. People hire remote workers as a way to delegate more nitty gritty work to qualified professionals so they get to focus on the big picture. If you are spending too much time instructing your remote team on every second of their processes, you are neglecting to truly take advantage of their talent. As a project manager, it is up to you to find the right balance between giving enough instruction and being too hands-on.

5. Separating On-Campus and Remote Staff

Even if you have only a handful of remote employees, your team won’t work at its highest capacity if they do not feel included. Make sure there is open communication between everyone involved. Do not  separate your general instructions based on who lives where. It may also help to have everyone run through a team building exercise once or twice a month to help build cohesiveness and improve communication.

6.  Not Offering Incentives

Managers often use incentives as a way to encourage team members to go the extra mile to reach company goals. Just because you have team members working remotely doesn’t mean they should be exempt from such rewards.

7. Being Too Casual

When you work in IT or development, there is a general relaxed atmosphere that comes with the territory. When you communicate via calls or chat, it is easy to let that relaxation turn into overt casualness. Remember: you are a leader and this is a business. As a project manager, you still have to exude an overall professional demeanor in order to demand respect.

At Number 8, we help companies connect with qualified remote employees to help with nearshore software development. We also focus on helping companies improve their internal IT processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!

 

5 Things Top Project Managers Do To Stay Organized

project managersProject managers have to juggle the needs of various team members in order to keep the whole machine running towards a company’s eventual goal. It can get very hectic, very quickly, and it’s easy to drop the ball every once and awhile. The thing is, when project managers drop said ball, they are likely setting back the overall project and letting down someone on their team.

To be an effective project manager, you have to be organized. Not JUST organized– we are talking type-A-Virgo-Batman-meets-Leslie-Knope organized. Most of us don’t have those kinds of innate organization skills on our own, though. Here are some of our best tips from top project managers on how they stay organized in order to reach their goals.

Organization Tips for Project Managers

1. Set Milestones and Expectations

Sometimes when you are on a long journey, it’s best to focus on one step at a time. If your team is all working towards a long-term goal, it’s easy for certain members to get ahead of themselves while others may become stuck getting bogged down in the details. Setting weekly or even bi-weekly milestones everyone has to work towards will create a steady pace. It will also encourage others to work as a team.

2. Communicate Often

Even if you work with a remote team, it’s important to talk as a group on a regular basis. Thanks to chat applications, it’s easier than ever to connect with those you work with. While not everybody can be plugged in for the whole 8 hours a day, set aside at least an hour a day where everyone can discuss what they are doing, questions they have, and ideas on how to improve operations.

3. Delegate Tasks

Chances are, there is someone on your team who is dying to take on something that helps them stand apart. Delegating tasks to people on your team is a great way to free up your time so you have more flexibility to address issues as needed.

4. Get Your Least Favorite Task Done First

Every day before you start the rest of your work, evaluate what needs to be done and choose your least favorite task. The first thing you should accomplish is that task. Once you have your least favorite thing completed, the rest of your day is easy in comparison.

5. Encourage Questions

When your team hesitates to ask questions, they’re more likely to complete operations in a way that requires future corrections. Being open and inviting to questions encourages the people you work with to approach you. This can help you and your team correct problems as you go, so you have a more organized process altogether.

At Number8, we help project managers connect with highly trained and efficient IT support to help reach company goals. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page!