Six Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a household name. This is especially true to the households that spent their formative years in the late 80s and early 90s when Gates worked to make computers a staple in the family home. Most people know that he’s the founder of Microsoft, one of the most popular operating systems in the world. Most people also know that he dominated the Forbes list of richest people in the world since 1993. In 2017, he was bested by Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, but still holds the number 2 spot today. Another commonly known fact about Bill Gates is that he gave a laughable deposition testimony during the 1998 Supreme Court case United States v. Microsoft over antitrust litigation. And that Microsoft ended up being charged with monopolization, tying, and blocking competition.

For the most part, Gates’ life has been in the public eye over the last twenty years. If you’ve seen a documentary on the life of Bill Gates and the rise of Microsoft, the details mentioned above are all covered. However, there are a plethora of things that most people don’t know about Bill Gates. From his personal life to his dedication to philanthropy, you probably didn’t know these six things about Bill Gates.

The first computer program Bill Gates wrote was a tic-tac-toe game.

After his prep school raised enough money to buy a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and time on a General Electric (GE) computer, Gates’ interest in programming grew. His teacher’s noticed and excused him from class to continue working on his ever-growing interest. The Teletype model was the first machine he wrote a complete computer program on. The program allowed computer users to play tic-tac-toe against the computer. The ability to get a computer to perform a specific task fascinated Gates and he spent the rest of his time in school creating computer programs for his alma mater and other local-area businesses.

He almost got a perfect SAT score but did not graduate from college.

At the age of 18, Gates was named a National Merit Scholar. Later that same year, he scored a 1590/1600 on his SAT and was accepted to Harvard. Throughout his two years at the Ivy League school, he never decided on a plan of study and spent most of his time with the school’s computers. Despite his intelligence, he did not graduate from Harvard. Instead, he took a leave of absence for an unspecified amount of time to work on Microsoft. As the company rose to success, he never returned but stated multiple times that he “could always go back to school” if Microsoft failed for some reason.

Bill Gates has stated that he is concerned for the future of superintelligence.

With most of his life focused around and driven by software, it’s no surprise Gates has thoughts on the future. Popular forum platform, Reddit, often hosts AMAs or “Ask Me Anything” sessions during which influential people invite Reddit users to do just that and ask them anything. One user asked what Gates’ thoughts on superintelligence were and his response was one of concern. He sides with Elon Musk, another influencer in the information technology sector, and stated that “first the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”

One of his biggest philanthropic missions to date is to eliminate polio.

Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, are both chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation is the largest private charitable foundation in the entire world. The mission of the foundation is to improve global health while saving lives. The foundation has also partnered with Rotary International, an organization that brings together professional leaders with humanitarian efforts, to eliminate polio. The foundation also supports the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in worldwide agricultural development. Currently, in addition to their partnerships, the foundation is supporting the International Rice Research Institute’s efforts to develop a “golden rice” that will fight vitamin A deficiency.

The Gates’ family residence is a 66,000 square-foot mansion in Washington state.

Bill Gates, his wife Melinda, and their three children live in a 66,000 square foot property that overlooks Lake Washington. The property is an earth-sheltered mansion built into the side of a hill. It’s designed in the Pacific lodge style with classic features as well as technologically-forward features. The home has a private library with a dome roof and oculus but also features a 60-foot wide swimming pool with an underwater music system and a server system throughout the entire estate.

In addition, the home also boasts a 2,500 square foot gym and a 1,000 square foot dining room. Often referred to as Xanadu 2.0, a Citizen Kane reference, the home features 7 guest rooms, 24 bathrooms, a 23-car garage, and a beach made out of imported sand from the Caribbean. Want to see the inside of it? There are some ways to do just that if you can catch Gates when he’s auctioning off home tours. Some tours have been bought for as much as $35,000 a piece.

His dedication to philanthropy will outlast his lifetime, his wife’s lifetime, and his closest friend’s lifetime.

Bill Gates, his wife, Melinda, and his closest friend, Warren Buffett, are all very dedicated to philanthropy. In fact, they are so invested in giving back that together they signed a “Giving Pledge”. This pledge commits them to each donate at least half of their wealth to charity over the course of time. The campaign itself is available for anyone who is wealthy to commit to. As of 2019, the Giving Pledge had 191 signatures from individuals and couples across 22 countries. Their commitments total over $1,000 billion dollars.

The next time you hear the name Bill Gates, or he comes up in conversation, remember that he is more than the creator of Microsoft. Gates is also a well-known philanthropist, an advocate for slowing down on developing artificial intelligence, and much more. If you’re interested in learning more about Bill Gates, his website is a great place to start. On the blog, interested parties can find a lot of additional information on Gates’ philanthropic efforts, books he recommends, and people he considers his heroes. There is also a fascinating biography by Michael B. Becraft on gates, aptly titled “Bill Gates: A Biography”.

Preparing for the Remote Work Culture

If you’re making the transition to remote work after working in an office from 9-5, 5 days a week, you’ll quickly learn a notable difference in the work culture. Whether you’re looking to work from home or are an employer wanting to outsource tasks, getting familiar with the customs of those who work remotely will help you know what to expect.

Here are 3 unwritten rules of remote work:

1. Everything starts on time.

Because you’re not sitting in traffic during your morning commute, there’s really no excuse for being late. In the remote world, meetings start on time down to the minute. One of the biggest benefits of working from home is that it allows you to better manage every minute of your day. Couple that with the fact that you could be collaborating with someone in a different time zone, and every minute really starts to count. To make sure you don’t experience a technical delay, get used to checking your equipment early each morning.

2. Communication is key.

Sure, communication is key in any work situation. But when you’re communicating with someone who isn’t sitting in the next cubicle, it becomes even more prudent. In fact, 90% of how we communicate is nonverbal, so if you’re working remotely online, it can be easy for a few things to get lost in translation. Expect to over communicate by being prompt in your responses and utilizing the many tools available to you. Remember that the tone of online communication tends to be straightforward and casual. When it applies, provide links or visual examples for full transparency. Shared calendars and collaborative applications can help to keep everyone on the same page, whether it be project deadlines, tasks or vacation days. 

3. Nurture workplace relationships.

Yes, workplace relationships are still a thing when you work from home. While they can be hard to cultivate because of language barriers and time zones, a good workplace dynamic is an invaluable asset and can help ensure a project’s success. Taking the time to build camaraderie through friendly correspondence can go a long way. When possible, opt for an in person meeting, video or phone call, and consider using a chat app for water cooler talk.

As an employer, think about implementing a remote work policy to help establish standards and keep everyone accountable. A company mission can help communicate your vision and values, and as a result keep remote employees motivated.

At Number 8, we help companies connect with qualified remote employees to help with 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!

Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring Offshore Developers

hiring offshore developersHiring Offshore Developers? Here are 5 Questions to Ask!

1. Is Customer Support Available?

Good customer support is crucial when you make the business decision and start hiring offshore developers. Be sure to ask if the team of offshore developers offers customer support and if it is available 24/7. This is especially important if you are working with a team in a different time zone. Should something go wrong after business hours, you will need a team available to fix those issues despite the time of day.

2. What Do Other Customers Think?

We live in an era where it is is completely possible to research a business before becoming a customer. Regardless of what business you’re looking into – be it a company of offshore developers or a local pizza joint – information is out there and most of it is coming from other customers. Look into what other customers have to say about the timeliness, experience, available support in regards to the company that is going to be providing your business with remote IT work and software development help. Hiring offshore developers is a commitment and you’ll want the best on the market.

3. Do They Offer Other Services Besides Software Development?

Is the team of offshore developers that you’re thinking of hiring solely focused on software development? Do they offer other IT services, as well? Depending on if the offshore developers are experienced or not, offering other services could be a bad sign. If they do offer additional services, it could be because the team is looking for more work in other technology fields due to their high level of experience. If they don’t offer additional services then they could be solely focused on software development or limited in experience. You should also consider if you could possibly need further IT work outside of software development in the future. It is possible that you could get all the work you need done now and in the future through one company and save yourself time looking for another company, if they offer other services.

4. How is The Company’s Employee Retention Rate?

Good employees are prideful of their work and rarely work for a company that is poorly set up. Look into how the company’s employee retention rate is. If they turnover employees left and right then you may consider hiring another company. People quit their job or are fired from their job for a variety of reasons. However, if a company is losing people quickly or letting go of people at a high rate then that can be a red flag the company is not being run well. Don’t hire a company that is undesirable to be employed at. If a company treats their employees badly, or employees feel mistreated enough to quit often, then they may not have high regard for their customers either.

5. Is The Team’s Approach Agile or Waterfall?

There are many different ways to approach software development. Two of the most common methods of approach are Agile and Waterfall. Each project is different and one method may work better for your project than another. Establish what approach the offshore developers use and make sure it is going to be the best for your business. The Waterfall method uses a linear approach to software development. The project goes through a set segment of phases from conception to launch. The Agile approach takes the same steps that Waterfall methodology lays out, but doesn’t approach them in a linear way.

The offshore developers you hire will determine which approach will best suit your project after hearing about it. Is the team not familiar with the methodology best suited for your project? If so, hire a different team.

At Number8, we use the Agile method when approaching software development projects and incorporate Scrum into our work. Our team of highly experienced, software development professionals are skilled in many programming languages. If you are thinking of hiring offshore developers to help with software development for your company, contact us today.

Top 10 Tech Jobs in America for 2017 According to Glassdoor

top 10 tech jobsGlassdoor, a job recruiting and employee-based review website, recently announced the 50 Best Jobs in the U.S. for 2017. Technology-based jobs dominate the list and especially the top 10 positions. The jobs are rated using the same system which Glassdoor deems “The Glassdoor Job Score”. Considerations include: job satisfaction rating, job openings, and average salary. These factors determine a score on a scale of 1-5. At Number8, we stay on top of the latest tech trends and news including information about the IT job market. Follow along for more information about the Top 10 Tech Jobs in America with details about what each of these different jobs entails.

Top 10 Tech Jobs in America in 2017

1. Data Scientist

Data scientist tops the list of the Top 10 Tech Jobs as per Glassdoor’s Job Score with a 4.8 score. The average salary for data scientists is $110,000 a year and over 4,000 openings are available in the United States. As a data scientist, the main job role is creating value out of data. By designing, developing, and executing machine based tools to organize and interpret thousands of lines of data. Statistical analysis is a performance bonus that will help make the job easier. It will also open up additional opportunities within the job field.

2. DevOps Engineer

Coming in at the number two slot, DevOps Engineer gets a total Glassdoor Job Score of 4.7 making it a very close second to data scientist. With the same salary average, the job satisfaction rating drops to 4.2 and the number of openings is significantly more limited with only 2,725 reported openings in the U.S. If interested in a career in DevOps Engineering, being a team player is crucial. The main role of DevOps is working with software engineers to launch, manage, maintain, and test operating systems for technology companies.

3. Data Engineer

Data Engineer ties with DevOps Engineer and brings in a job score of 4.7 according to Glassdoor. The job satisfaction rating of a data engineer is higher than that of a DevOps engineer at 4.3, but the salary average falls by $4,000 to $106,000 and the number of openings falls, again, to 2,599. Data engineers work to build large-scale processing systems for data. They then maintain, test, and improve upon said systems. Data engineers should be up-to-date on the latest technologies and able to work with them.

4. Tax Manager

With a job score of 4.7/5, Tax Manager takes the 4th spot in the list of the Top 50 Jobs in the U.S. for 2017. The salary average bumps back up to $110,000 per year and job openings in this field also improve to 3,317. The job satisfaction score falls to an even 4 which is the lowest within the Top 5. As a tax manager, the full spectrum of tax services falls under the job description. Tax forms and math within your day-to-day work. Customer service also plays a huge role in being successful in the world of tax management.

5. Analytics Manager

As an Analytics Manager, the main job role is managing a team of analysts in the business field. Using business data and methods that draw from statistical analytics, Analytics Managers provide an in-depth understanding of business performance and provide educated improvement suggestions. This field pulls in the third highest average salary on the list with a median salary of $112,000. Job satisfaction and the overall job score both hit in the high 4.5 area, but the amount of job openings is limited to fewer than 2,000 which makes it 5th in the list of Top 10 Tech Jobs.

6. HR Manager

The sixth spot in this Top 10 list belongs to the role of Human Resources Manager or HR Manager for short. The job score is a strong 4.6 with 4,339 openings in the country, a satisfaction score of 3.8, and an average salary of 85,000 dollars a year. While the salary is on the smaller side of the spectrum and the job satisfaction rate is lower, the abundant amount of openings in this field makes the role of HR Manager an appealing one. The ideal HR Manager candidate has experience leading a team and familiarity with policies as they relate to employee relations, compensations, health benefits, job safety, and staffing.

7. Database Administrator

A database administrator is fully responsible for the safety, performance, and ability of databases that are used to run technology companies. They also develop databases for future use and work with users to identify and eliminate issues through troubleshooting. With all the responsibilities that fall under this job title, it would seem that the job satisfaction score for this particular career would be low, but Glassdoor rates it with a satisfaction score of 3.8 and an average salary of $93,000. There are 2,877 openings in this field throughout the United States which gives Database Administrator an overall job score of 4.5 and the seventh position on the list.

8. Strategy Manager

As a Strategy Manager, salary jumps back up over the $100,000 mark by a whopping extra $30,000, so people who find success in this field stay there. A high job satisfaction rate of 4.3 leaves the job score at 4.5 despite the low amount of openings – 1,184. Strategy Managers are responsible for determining the long term goals of a company. As a result, they plan what strategies need to be deployed in order to meet the predetermined goals, as well. These goals are evaluated through reviews of the organization to help identify the strengths and weakness as well as the openings for improvement throughout the company.

9. UX Designer

The job of UX Designer is one of the most in-demand throughout the country, but it is in a field that is ever expanding. Consequently, job opportunities and openings continue to appear. As a UX Designer, job requirements include mobile and web development of user friendly and marketable website designs. Added experience in Photoshop is a huge plus within the field and could possibly boost the average salary even higher than the reported $92,500 by Glassdoor. Job satisfaction rakes in a pretty basic score of 4.0 and the amount of job openings sits at 1,691 which makes UX Designer the 2nd least available job on the list.

10. Solutions Architect

In IT, a Solution Architects job is somewhat confusing and also dependent on the job of the functional analysts. As functional analysts create the requirements for certain aspects of information technology, solutions architects then balance and execute those requirements. The average Solutions Architect brings in a quarter of a half a million dollars a year. Job satisfaction sits at 3.7/5 and openings are very average with 2,232 openings available in the United States. This brings the score to 4.4 and rounds out the list of the Top 10 Tech Job according to Glassdoor.

Technology continues to dominate the future of the world in terms of long-term career opportunities. At Number8, we are in a dynamic field that is an integral part of most types of business. And we love it. For more information about tech job opportunities, including how to become a member of the team at Number8, call 502-890-7665.