OUTSIDE LOS ANGELES, CA -- A local boy has become the youngest person on record to earn recognition as a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist.
Pranav Kalyan, a Willow Elementary fourth-grader, unseated former record holder Babar Iqbal, 12, of Dubai.
Pranav, who was 9 when he took the exam on Jan. 12, received official word of his achievement in ASP.NET Framework 3.5 on Jan. 14, according to his parents. He is now listed in Wikipedia's List of Child Prodigies under "computer science."
Pranav, who just turned 10 on Thursday, said he took this particular test because "it was the only one I was allowed to take."
"He wanted to accomplish something in his life," said Pranav's father, Mohan Kalyan. "And he tried to take AP Mathematics, but you have to be at least 13."
When asked if he was surprised that he passed, Pranav said, "Not suprised but excited."
Word quickly spread to his family's native country, India, where Pranav has become an overnight star. Several international publications, including The Times of India, have already contacted the prodigy.
Pranav became interested in computers at the age of 2 and started doing simple HTML computer programming at 6, said his father, a computer programmer with the same certification.
Pranav began working earnestly toward his goal about 18 months ago, studying up to 8 hours a day on weekends and working with mentors who happen to be close family friends.
"He also reads large college texts in mathematics and science," his father said. "He is currently mastering calculus."
Pranav's teacher, Sharlene Church, said she is not surprised by his accomplishments. "I remember seeing Pranav in second grade and noting that he catches on very quickly ... He stands out," she said of the straight-A student.
Pranav studies after school at Kuman and also recently found out that he has been ranked 55th out of 26,000 students at his grade level.
In spite of his achievements, Pranav's parents are not pushing their son to succeed and, in fact, don't plan to accelerate his education.
"He doesn't want to miss out on his childhood," said his mother, Visalakshi.
Pranav is currently developing his own software, P-studyware on Windows and is building his own website. He hopes one day to become an astronomer.