The life of Emi Morikawa, 17, changed dramatically after she learned computer programming.

Morikawa was just another high school student who liked to study English. But now the young programmer runs her own web venture, which she founded after graduating from high school.

"As I studied programming, I realized that starting my own company would be a better choice than going to a university," said Morikawa, who is currently preparing to launch an online business-matchmaking service. "Many students my age go to universities without knowing what they are interested in. I thought it's more important to pursue what you really want to do."