Youngest Female Microsoft Certified Professional Dies at 16

Arfa Karim, Youngest Microsoft Certified Professional

The youngest girl (and, for a time, the youngest person) to become a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) has passed away at the age of 16. Arfa Karim, a Pakistani student who in 2004 at the age of nine became the youngest MCP in the world, died January 14, 2012 due to complications of a cardiac arrest and epileptic seizure she suffered in December.

NewsPakistan reports that despite her short life, Ms. Karim was quite accomplished. Achieving an MCP credential is no small feat, as it requires that the candidate be proficient in a number of technical areas such as Windows Server, .Net, and Visual Studio.

A year after achieving her MCP status, Ms. Karim was invited to the United States to meet with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Following that meeting she was also honored numerous times by her home country of Pakistan and would later go on to represent the country at various international IT forums. 

Unfortunately, Ms. Karim suffered both a cardiac arrest and an epileptic seizure in late December, placing her into a coma that she would not recover from. CNET reports that Mr. Gates, after learning of Ms. Karim’s condition, became actively involved in trying to aid the young prodigy. He ordered his personal physicians to monitor her treatment in Pakistan, and even attempted to get her moved to the United States for further treatment at his expense. The latter, unfortunately, was not possible due to Ms. Karim’s condition.

Although her attending physicians were initially optimistic about her recovery, The Huffington Post reports that after 26 days in the hospital, Ms. Karim finally succumbed to complications from a tracheotomy this past Saturday. 

Arfa Karim, Youngest Microsoft Certified Professional

Upon hearing word of Ms. Karim’s death, Mr. Gates issued a public tweet expressing his condolences: “Our thoughts are with Arfa’s family and many friends at the loss of this bright young woman.”

Although so young, Ms. Karim’s successes and outlook on life paint a vivid picture of a young woman who lived more than many others who surpass her time on this Earth.

As she stated, at the age of 10, in a 2005 Seattle P-I interview: “If you want to do something big in your life, you must remember that shyness is only the mind. If you think shy, you act shy. If you think confident you act confident. Therefore never let shyness conquer your mind.”