10-year-old Pak Microsoft engineer coming to town

DUBAI - "On my visit to the UAE, I wish to meet Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Economy and Planning, who has proven that women too can be leaders in technology," gushes the excited 10-year-old Arfa Karim who is the youngest Microsoft engineer in the world.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Mon 8 Aug 2005, 11:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:12 PM

Speaking to Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview from Faisalabad in Pakistan yesterday, Arfa said that she is looking forward to her UAE visit on August 18. She has been invited by Pakistani IT professionals and will also be felicitated at a function being held here in connection with Pakistan's Independence Day celebrations.

Smart, witty and intelligent, Arfa passed her Microsoft Certified Professional examinations last year on November 9 when she was only nine. She met Bill Gates last month and was also taken on a tour of Microsoft's Redmond campus.

Asked about her meeting with Gates, Arfa said, "It was awesome. I asked him why children were not allowed to work for Microsoft. I was told that they should concentrate on their studies."

She also said that Gates told her Microsoft already had in place an intern programme applicable to high school students. "I also asked him why there are few women in his company. To this he replied that women were not much interested in technology."

"My teacher in Faisalabad has encouraged me a great deal," she said. "I have been interested in computers from the age of five. When my teacher saw my great interest and aptitude, he encouraged me to apply for Microsoft certification," she said, explaining how she became the youngest Microsoft engineer.

Arfa is a Microsoft-Certified Application Developer but plans to become a Microsoft-Certified Solution Developer, which means building programmes into broader systems for business.

"In future, I plan a career at Microsoft," she said confidently.

In Pakistan, Arfa has been presented with the Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal and has also been accepted at Pakistan's Applied Technologies Advanced Computer Institute.

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