am the host of ".NET Rocks!", an Internet audio talk show for .NET developers online at www.dotnetrocks.com and msdn.microsoft.com/dotnetrocks. My co-host Richard Campbell and I interview the movers and shakers in the .NET community. We have over 200 shows archived online, and we publish a new show every Tuesday morning. For more history of the show, check out the May/June 2004 issue of CoDe Magazine, in which this first column appeared.
In show #204, Richard and I talked to Arfa Karim, the youngest MCP in the world, at TechEd Developer 2006 in Barcelona, Spain.
Carl Franklin: Hey Richard, how are you doing?
Richard Campbell: I am good. Enjoying myself. This is a new interview for us, arguably the youngest interviewee ever.
Carl Franklin: That's right. I am here with Arfa Karim.
Carl Franklin: Hi Arfa.
Arfa Karim: Hello.
Carl Franklin: And just to set the record straight, how old are you?
Arfa Karim: I am 11 right now.
Carl Franklin: Eleven and you were on stage at the keynote at TechEd [Developer in Barcelona, SpainNovember, 2006], were you not?
Arfa Karim: Yes, I was.
Carl Franklin: You are a very popular young girl. So your claim to fame is?
Arfa Karim: I am the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional in the world.
Carl Franklin: Wow, and what are you certified in?
Arfa Karim: I certified at the age of nine.
Carl Franklin: In C#?
Arfa Karim: In C#, .NET, Windows, Win Forms.
Richard Campbell: Nice lead off, you could have got an MCP, which is Word.
Arfa Karim: I don't like to do simple things.
Richard Campbell: Well, okay, so you've got .NET, now you have had some of this certification since then.
Arfa Karim: Yes, this year I've got another certification. It's [in] developing web-based applications, ASP.NET and C#.
Richard Campbell: ASP.NET and C#.
Arfa Karim: Yes.
Richard Campbell: So, a couple more to go and you'll be a certified developer.
Arfa Karim: Yes, and I am really looking forward to that.
Richard Campbell: That's exciting.
Carl Franklin: What made you want to get into computer programming?
Arfa Karim: Actually, I was interested in computers. I saw my first computer when I was about six and whenever you see something new, you [think] what is it? How does it work and all that? So, that was when my interest began, and so, I asked my father to get me a PC and he bought me one and I used to mess around with it and so, about two years later, I knew how to operate Windows and how to operate my MS Word completely, by hit and trial method.
Carl Franklin: And that wasn't enough. You naturally had that curiosity, how do I do this?
Arfa Karim: Yes, I had curiosity in everything from the beginning, and so, my dad took me to an institute nearby our home and there I started to get professional education about software.
Carl Franklin: Wow, so let's see, how long have you been programming in .NET?
Arfa Karim: Two years.
Carl Franklin: Two years.
Arfa Karim: Yeah.
Carl Franklin: And what kinds of applications have you written?
Arfa Karim: Windows-based applications, basic applications, console-based applications, and web pages in ASP.NET, some in HTML, and like that.
Carl Franklin: What do your teachers think about you? I mean, they must look at you like, "Hey you kids, you should be more like her now, come on". What do they think?
Arfa Karim: They think like that but I normally ask them to not do like that in front of the other students. So, sometimes they get discouraged or something.
Carl Franklin: Yeah.
Arfa Karim: So, I don't like to be like, I am [more] special than you, I am something other than you. So, I like to be normal like them.
Carl Franklin: And I'm sure you help kids with their computer homework and so?
Arfa Karim: Yeah, computer homework and other homework as well. Other class work, when they can't get to know what the teacher is saying. Or what they have to do. Or they can't get any sum right. So, I am there to help them always.