Afrah – a young technologist who knows her mind
Afrah Shafqat is a delightful young woman who is confident, charming and intelligent. In 2003 at the age of 11 Afrah became the world’s youngest Sun Certified Java Programmer breaking all previous records – even the one that was set by her elder sister Afsah a year earlier. At the age of 12, Afrah became the world’s youngest VB.Net Certified Programmer. Why were they all drawn to programming, I asked her. She just shrugged and said they enjoyed it.
Afrah then did her O and A levels in which she got straight A’s after which she applied to MIT and was accepted. She is there now in her freshman year and is thoroughly enjoying the culture, the sharing of knowledge and the excitement of being in such motivating and high tech surroundings.
In my interview with her on ITLoW, Afrah said she likes the absence of formality between students and teachers and is amazed that even the Nobel Laureates are down-to-earth and interact with kids on an equal footing. She had good teachers here but believes that there is too much of a distance maintained between the faculty and the students and she doesn’t consider that a very positive environment in which to learn and grow.
Since she enjoys Maths, Biology and Physics and believes that the future is in Bio-Engineering, that is what Afrah plans to study. She has every intention of coming back to Pakistan and getting involved in research. She believes that this country needs more scientists and researchers in order to grow.
Commenting on whether she would recommend that young women pursue careers in computing or science and engineering, 18 year old Afrah said quite emphatically “I think they should do whatever they want to and enjoy. They should not let anyone tell them that any career is not suitable for them.” That’s telling them Afrah! I totally agree with you. Young people in this country – whether male or female – are talented and have a great deal to contribute to Pakistan and the world. Passion, hard work and an emphasis on quality and professionalism will take them wherever they want to go, to whatever heights they wish to achieve.
Do tune in to my conversation with Afrah Shafqat on “In the Line of Wire” on the CIO WebStudio and let us know your opinions on the issues that were brought up.
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