Banners sporting snapshots of the allegedly youngest Microsoft certified computer specialist are splashed around the humble locality of Lahore’s Nabi Park area. One of the residents, Muhammad Huzair Awan, 7, scored highly on a certification exam.
It has been a week since the shy third-grader, cleared his Microsoft Certification exam.
While Huzair is to receive his official certificate from Microsoft by mid-July, he has received his scores. The Microsoft exam taken by Huzair tests the installation of programmes, upgrading and migrating to Windows 7, configuring hardware and applications, configuring network connectivity, configuring mobile computing amongst other computing tasks.
“I like computers,” says Huzair. “No one in my class likes computers.”
He reveals that his most prized possession is his laptop, which was gifted by his father last year. “He does not let anyone touch his laptop,” says his grandmother who initially was very concerned about the child spending so much time using it.
But despite his extraordinary prowess with computers, Huzair is no different from boys of his age. Clad in a white shirt which says ‘Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist’, Huzair loves playing Angry Birds and eating junk food.
Moreover, the talent did not mushroom overnight. Huzair’s father Yasir Awan revealed that at the age of 5, his son started showing keen interest in computers. Yasir, a small businessman, had shifted his workplace computer system to his home because excessive load shedding hindered his productivity at work. “Huzair would often just sit by my side and watch me work.”
Soon, he started operating computers on his own, added Yasir. But there were some bars. “While I did let him use the computer, I was vigilant as well.” Last year, Yasir decided to let his son take the computer courses at a summer camp in the absence of organised computer classes at school.
Earlier this year, Huzair’s parents and computer instructor Hafiz Mohammad Bilal decided that he should sit for an exam to get the Microsoft Certification.
On June 18, Huzair sat the exam at a centre at the Forman Christian College. He scored 780 marks out of a total of 1000, becoming a certified specialist. “I was very happy,” says Huzair with a broad smile across his face.
The young boy aspires to become a computer engineer. For now, however, he just plans to upgrade his laptop.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2013.