Students Without Tech Major Become Developers

Samsung SW Academy for Youth (SSAFY) fosters young people with various backgrounds whose dreams are to become software experts. Every year, students across Korea join the program to receive a well-rounded curriculum that covers technical knowledge as well as job skills.

Jung and Heejung are SSAFY graduates who did not major in computer science. See how they succeeded in achieving their goal of becoming a developer.

Chasing the dream of a SW developer

Hello, I'm Jung Kim, a graduate from the second batch of Samsung SW Academy for Youth.

I chose business administration as my major with the hope of becoming an accountant. After a few years, however, I became interested in Information and Communication Technology. With that said, the very thought of having to learn something entirely new was overwhelming for me. Plus, I would have to compete with those who have already studied programming for four years.

SSAFY, however, helped me regain confidence. Every time I learned something new or solved problems with my colleagues, I could feel that I was becoming more confident in myself. Also, the first semester was designed for first-time developers like me, which also helped me stay positive. After arduous months of studying, experimenting with different tools, as well as being coached for job interviews, I eventually succeeded in getting a job as a front-end developer for one of Korea’s leading IT companies. I want to thank SSAFY for helping me realize my dream.

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Sharing the excitement of my success with the team

Hi, I’m Heejung Kim. I’m an electronic engineering major and I also wanted to be a developer.

I joined SSAFY as part of the third batch of students, without any background knowledge on coding. As a complete newcomer to the field, I had to not only learn about the subject but also receive much assistance from the consultants and my fellow team members. However, all the hard work was worth it and it paid off when I got a position as a software developer at a top-tier bank.

Studying was one thing but applying to jobs near the end of the program was almost as difficult. The bitterness and emotional pressure were unavoidable when my applications were rejected, with no chance for an interview. At times like this, words of advice and encouragement from my SSAFY consultant kept me motivated to keep trying. When I finally got the job I’d wanted, the consultant, my team, and I all shed tears of joy together. The year with SSAFY was during a time when I was most desperate in life to achieve a career goal, and I will cherish the moments where we all never gave up and kept on going for the future.

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Saving Endangered Wild Life through Technology

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“I’ve lived in Tasmania my whole life so it’s no surprise that I am an animal lover.” Meg Philips is the winner of Australia’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow in 2021 whose passion for animals led to a tech solution to protect them.

“Tasmania’s reputation for natural beauty and unique wildlife is juxtaposed by being its reputation as the world’s roadkill capital. It’s estimated that up to half a million animals are killed on Tasmanian roads each year, which is absolutely devastating for native species, many of which are endangered.”

STEM knowledge protects endangered species

Meg decided to take action to save animals. An idea sprang to mind, thinking RFID technology could be used between cars and animals to prevent roadkills.

RFID uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags attached to objects. “Long-range RFID tags can be attached to cars,” explains Meg. “When the car is within the range, the RFID reader will pick up the signal and trigger the controller to activate an alarm to warn off animals near the road ahead.”

Making tangible changes in society

Meg’s RFID Roadkill Reducer is a network-free solution that utilizes existing technologies and requires minimal infrastructure. Recognized for the high level of STEM application to solving a societal issue as well as feasibility, the on-road system won first place in Australia’s Solve for Tomorrow in 2021.

“It feels so rewarding that after all my years of study and hard work, I can make functional and viable solutions to real-world problems, especially to a problem so close to home,” says Meg. “STEM gives you the tools to problem-solve in any context and industry. There aren’t many disciplines that give you a skillset so versatile and powerful!”

According to Meg, the prize money she received from the competition will go towards improving her prototype and its feasibility. She hopes to take the idea to the next phase with local organizations and see it become a reality one day.

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Finding Passion in Future Technologies

In Peru, public school students have little access to coding and programming since the subjects are not included in the regular curriculum. In 2020, Samsung opened its first Samsung Innovation Campus in Peru for the young generation with a passion for IT. In 2021, Samsung selected 150 middle school students from public schools who were ready to dive into the world of coding and programming.

Cristofer, Kassia, Ariana, and Keren are middle school students who participated in Samsung Innovation Campus. The rapid digital transformation in Peru triggered their interests to learn more about the future technologies and how to be better prepared.

Identifying personal career interests

Samsung Innovation Campus was an eye-opener for Cristofer who always wanted to learn coding and programming in depth. Thanks to the program, he coud identify his career interest in engineering. “Using the STEM knowledge I acquired, I want to try building a remote-control car,” says Cristofer. “In the long run, I would love to further my studies in engineering and be in the coding and robotics field!”

“I believe knowing how to program in the future will be equally as important as today’s reading and writing,” says his friend Keren. “I want to continue improving my abilities in coding and programming like Scratch, Rurple, and Python.”

Building confidence outside the comfort zone

Ariana first heard of Samsung Innovation Campus from her teacher. “Although coding and programming were new to me, I thought it could be an exciting experience.” With her classmates, Ariana learned how to code and run software like Arduino. She also had a chance to build IT equipment using the skills she had acquired. Ariana shares her feeling of being unstoppable, saying, “Through coding, I can think, create and develop a solution that can help other people too.”

Samsung Innovation Campus was also an energy booster for Ariana’s classmate Kassia. She learned how to take better control of her emotions and communicate more efficiently with others through the soft skills training she received. “The course not only helped me to learn different programming languages but also taught me to realize the importance of communication – the importance of taking control of your feelings and working as a member of a team.”

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