There are a lot of familiar names in the 2014 Forbes’ List of Billionaires. Certainly, there are the usual personalities we all expect. There’s Bill Gates of Microsoft who topped the list of the richest people on earth with a net worth of $78.7 billion; Larry Ellison of Oracle, with $52.1 billion; and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who had an estimated $33.5 billion.
Other names in the list are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($29.6 billion) as well as Google founders Larry Page ($29.6 billion) and Sergey Brin ($29.1 billion).
Of the more than 1,500 technology billionaires who made the exclusive Forbes list, what is the most common background they have? Most of them are either formally or informally trained in software engineering and development.
Gates, for instance, in his sophomore year in Harvard gained early fame by devising a record-breaking algorithm as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems presented in his Combinatorics class. Ellison got the career kickstart that he needed by attending just one term in computer software design at the University of Chicago.
In his sophomore year, Zuckerberg designed a program called CourseMatch, which essentially enabled students in Harvard to make subject decisions based on the choices of other students. This was also the foundation for a program called Facemash that allows students to select the best looking persons in school. These programs, as what we all saw in the movie, The Social Network, were the forerunners of the most popular website today – Facebook.
“Today’s set of technology billionaires are mostly software engineers and architects,” said Mitch Andaya, foremost IT educator in the Philippines and Vice President for Academics of iACADEMY. “In fact, the most profitable technology enterprises today like search engines and social media were all inventions of software engineers.”
Unlike other usual IT courses, Andaya said Software Engineering trains young minds beyond programming; they are taught to become software designers and architects so they can come up with complex algorithms to provide solutions to different problems and opportunities.
He said while the Philippines has so many schools that offer IT and programming courses, very few really specialize on Software Engineering. That’s why as early as 2002, iACADEMY pioneered in this specialization to address the IT sector’s needs for more inventors.
True enough, the school has been producing not only in-demand software engineers in the country; it is also known for having a set of alumni who went on to start their own tech companies.
“Software engineering launches a new batch of entrepreneurs especially in this age of start-ups. Many of our graduates started their own companies and they’re doing well. If you are a tech-savvy person who wants to make it on your own, this is the course for you,” he said.
Andaya added: “We’re not training programmers, we’re training IT leaders. Software engineers have both technical and management skills. These will prepare them not only for executive designations, but also for business. Given this set of skills, we are confident that we may well be training the country’s next generation of billionaires.”