Saturday, February 21, 2004

MCSEs are Child's Play

This sort of thing really takes the shine off having a Microsoft certification, doesn't it?

Siliguri, Feb. 15: “I want to build a computer that will respond to brain waves and dispense with the need to use hands,” says Mridul Seth, his fingers almost a whir as he punches the keys of a laptop.

Fresh from Bangalore where he successfully passed Microsoft’s online test on the software programmes devised by the firm, Mridul logs in to a site on Sikkim.

Within seconds, the screen changes to the site’s homepage, then to another on the hill state’s telecommunication.

“There is a lot more to do. Computers are like a gateway to a larger world for me,” says the shy eight-year-old designer of the two portals on the state that is also his home.

Later, as he prances about in the lawn with some other children without a trace of the earlier seriousness, it is difficult to believe he is the youngest Microsoft Certified Software Engineer, one of the most sought-after degrees for software professionals.

What makes Mridul’s story even more interesting is that until four years ago he did not even know how to speak.

His father, M.K. Seth, says: “Mridul was born without an external ear and his hearing ability is still weak. He learnt to speak late and was almost perennially sick when younger.”

His extraordinary skills came to light when as a four-year-old he learnt counting 1 to 100 in 24 hours.

“I taught him tougher maths the next day and he had no problem understanding them,” Seth said.

On February 12, he successfully passed the Installing, Configuring and Administering Microsoft 2000 Professional Examinations held in Bangalore.

The kid is obviously very bright, despite the "brain waves" wierdness, but I have to say that I wouldn't be happy about this news if I were in charge of Microsoft's certification programme. One can just see HR types saying to themselves "See? An MCSE is so easy to get even a child could do it!"