5-Year-Old AYAN QURESHI Becomes Youngest Person Ever Qualified to Install Microsoft Windows
WHEN AYAN QURESHI said goodbye to his dad and walked into a Birmingham, England conference center, he was just another five-year-old. But when he walked out, two hours later, he was something else: a five-year-old officially qualified to install and configure Microsoft’s Windows operating system.
Ayan Qureshi is perhaps the youngest ever Microsoft Certified Professional. That means he knows how to do things like encrypt a removable drive using Microsoft’s Bitlocker encryption software or troubleshoot Internet Explorer bugs.
The 1990s-tinged certification test he took inside that conference center is still de rigeur for many corporate and government jobs. Microsoft calls these tests “rigorous, industry-proven, and industry-recognized exams.” But for Ayan—who scored 700 out of 1,000 on the test, the minimum score required to pass—it was a fun thing to do in between swimming and playing tag with his brother.
Ayan, who turned six shortly after his September 24 exam, started getting into computers about three years ago. “He used to sit next to me and watch me very carefully,” says his dad, Asim Qureshi, who also works in IT. So Asim started explaining the basics to his son: how to turn a computer on, how to power down, how to access the control panel. Before he knew it, Asim had built his son a mini computer-lab in his home office, and Ayan was spending one-to-two hours per day playing around with the operating system.
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While other kids were playing video games and watching TV, Ayan was installing and configuring operating systems and tinkering with routers and switches. This is not every kid’s idea of fun, but Ayan is different. “I knew that if I introduced him to the games, he would not go for this,” his dad says.
We checked with Microsoft, and they couldn’t tell us if anyone younger has ever been Microsoft-certified. Still, it’s hard to imagine anyone younger than five reading through the dull Microsoft manuals and practicing the test multiple-choice questions you need in order to make the grade. “It’s not easy to pass the test,” says Asim Qureshi.
We couldn’t get an interview with Ayan—his dad says his son has been overwhelmed by the U.K. media’s coverage of his accomplishment—but the kid told The Independent that he wants to be an IT consultant or a mathematician when he grows up. In addition to the Microsoft Command Prompt, he likes remote controlled toys, digital cameras, and science. “I like compasses and telescopes, but I really like prisms,: he told the paper. “The rainbow colored light reflected through the prism is amazing.”
Although he’s now a Certified Professional, it’s still going to be awhile before Ayan puts his skills on the market. “At the moment, he’s just concentrating on his school,” says Asim Qureshi. “But he also will be improving his IT skills.”