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Support for Software Program Aims to Foster S. Korea’s Own ‘Bill Gates’
Source: telecomskorea.com
Source Date: Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Country: Korea (Republic of)
Created: Apr 06, 2010

The government announced Tuesday it will spend 31 billion won (US$27.4 million) this year on support for a software training program that aims to churn out South Korea’s own “Bill Gates.”

The money will go to a “maestro” program focusing on individuals with working experience, rather than to universities, with the hope of training up star software developers and engineers, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.

“The goal is to help talented South Koreans become the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates in the software industry,” the ministry said in a press release.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, is credited with triggering the recent popularity of smartphones with the launch of the company’s iconic iPhone. Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft, a company that has contributed massively to the explosive growth of the software industry over the past decades.

A mentoring body of experts will review talented software engineers and students, and 100 will be selected for the training program in July. The candidates will be then be screened and tested for 15 months, with a final 10 to be named “software maestros” in September 2011.

The 10 maestros will be offered special support if they try to set up companies. They may also receive other types of preferential treatment, including deferment from mandatory military service for men. The program is expected to be carried on in the future to churn out more qualified experts, the ministry said.

It added that the switch to direct support for talent individuals, and away from institutions, comes amid a global paradigm shift from “hardware” to “software,” emphasizing the influence of key people in creating globally dominant companies and trends.

In addition, Seoul plans to launch a broader training program with Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency, which offers 2,000 people a chance to receive basic and on-the-job training at software companies.

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