Samsung unveils new initiatives in software

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Samsung unveils new initiatives in software

Two days after unveiling blueprints to boost the country’s basic science and research efforts, Samsung yesterday announced it would earmark 170 billion won ($152.5 million) for five years to foster software experts.

As an initial step, the top conglomerate with the world’s No. 1 smartphone producer under its wing will pick and train 10,000 university students - both engineering majors and nonengineering majors - to become software workers. The initiative will be effective from this year till 2017.

The group will also found a so-called junior software academy to run programs to teach 40,000 elementary, middle and high school students about software - and encourage them to go into the field.

Samsung also plans to hire over 2,000 new workers devoted to software starting this year, up more than 30 percent from last year. That way, it will have employed over 10,000 entry-level software experts by 2017.

“We intend to widen the pool of human resources in software - the key to future competitiveness - and boost the number of jobs, thus supporting the government’s effort to create a venture capital ecosystem and participate in the creative economy drive,” said the company in a release.

Coincidentally, Choi Mun-kee, Minister of Science, ICT and Future Planning, announced yesterday in his first press conference since his inauguration that the ministry would set up a new bureau that specializes in software development.

“The first time Korea recognized the importance of software was in 2000,” he said. “Each new administration professed they would support the software industry but none has actually executed plans to fulfill their pledges.” The engineering academic-turned-bureaucrat recalled the shock wave that hit the nation’s IT industry in 2007 when Apple unveiled the iPhone, the first smartphone.

“But now that the country has ‘creative economy’ as a key goal, allocating the strongest workforce and support to software is inevitable,” Choi said. He added the ministry would also establish a software policy research center under it.

Even relatively weaker industries such as agriculture have now become able to create high added value thanks to the software convergence, Samsung says.



By Seo Ji-eun [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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