Entrepreneurs

Check out Bill Gates’ resume from 1974—when he was making $15,000 a year

Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates
Photo by Doug Wilson
Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates

Currently, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is worth almost $90 billion and is the richest man in the world, according to Forbes.

But everybody starts somewhere.

A glimpse of his resume from 1974, when he was 18, reveals that during his first year at Harvard, Gates was already making $15,000.

In today's dollars, that's almost $75,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator. Impressive for a college freshman.

Though it's not clear from where that income came, the resume says that he and future Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (today worth more than $20 billion) were working "in partnership" and had designed a program for an early Intel computer.

The CV also shows Gates worked as a programmer at TRW Systems Group in Vancouver, a developer of military and civil space systems (which was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2002).

Both Gates and Allen structured their early resumes similarly. First, they listed computer-related coursework — where Gates points out he received all As in the courses mentioned, like Operating Systems Structure, Data Base Management and Computer Graphics. Next came the computer programming languages in which they were proficient. Finally, came work experience.

Interestingly, they also both listed their height, weight and marital status — something that wouldn't fly today for someone working in computer programming.

Gates, 18 at the time, was 5' 10" and weighed 130 pounds. He was "unmarried."

Allen, then 21, was 5' 11" and weighed 185 pounds. He was also "unmarried."

Gates and Allen went on to found Micro-Soft together in 1975 in Albuquerque, N.M. The next year they would rename the computing company Microsoft and in 1979 they moved the company to Washington state. Today, Microsoft has a market cap of more than $550 billion.

Both Gates and Allen's resumes were shared on Twitter by Fast Company's technology editor, Harry McCracken. He took the photos at the Living Computers Museum in Seattle, he says.