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22 October 2010

Marko Casalan, 8, is officially world's youngest IT Whizz

Marko as deemed the Mozart of Computers by the Macedonian press after passing Microsoft's exams for IT professionals

While the other elementary school pupils skim through their comics in the break between classes, Marko Calasan takes out his copy of Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server Network for a light read. At the age of 8, Marko has become the world’s youngest certified computer system administrator and was deemed the Mozart of Computers by the press after passing exams for IT professionals with the computer giant Microsoft.

In theory, he could now get a job maintaining complex office computer networks, even though he has not yet completed the third grade in his native town Skopje, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. “The Microsoft officials gave me computer games and DVDs with cartoons when I passed the exams because I am a child. That was nice, but I’m not really interested in those things,” young Marko told The Times.

 “I’d like to be a computer scientist when I grow up and create a new operational system.”

His parents, who are IT experts and run a computer school for children, are considering sending Marko abroad to a specialised institute of learning for gifted children, as none exists in Macedonia.  “Marko displayed exceptional learning abilities at a very early age. He was able to replicate a computer operation after only reading about it on the internet. Now we ask him for help when we have some IT related problem at work,” Marko’s mother, Radica Calasan, 38, told The Times. She and her husband Milan, 37, are planning to publish a book on computer education for small children based on Marko’s development, which, they believe, could at least in part be replicated by other children of his age.

“He is obviously extraordinary gifted, but children above the age of 6 could learn much more about computers than generally assumed,” Mrs Calasan said. At school, Marko’s favourite subject is maths, and in his spare time he browses internet forums for IT professionals and participates in debates about complex computer engineering problems. Apart from his unlikely hobby of training Thai boxing, he has got a keen interest in physics and astronomy and was unable to sleep because of excitement on the night before the much-feared experiment aimed to recreate Big Bang conditions at the underground facility of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research or CERN in Switzerland.

The experiment failed because of technical problems, but Marko is confident that it will eventually prove to be a scientific breakthrough. “The media said it could cause the end of the world,” he said, “but there was never any danger of that.” 

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