Meet the record holder for World's Youngest Computer Programmer - Kautilya, aged 7, from Northampton

"I don't think the record is important to him," says mum Trupti. "But he knows what he's doing. I'm happy he's done it while still playing like a child."

Thursday, 24th December 2020, 11:26 am
Updated Thursday, 24th December 2020, 11:38 am
The world's youngest computer programmer is Northampton's own Kautilya Katariya, aged 7.

The best thing about coding - at least, according to the Guinness World Record's Youngest Computer Programmer - is that you can make nearly anything.

So what would the world's youngest coder make if he could?

"I'd build a robot that could do anything," says Kautilya Katariya, from East Hunsbury, while playing with the corner of one of his textbooks. "If you were sick it could be a doctor. Of if you needed a lift it could be a rocket ship."

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His qualifications include certificates from Microsoft, IBM and Stanford University.

Kautilya is now seven, but in September this year - when he was six years and 346 days old - he was recognised as the youngest qualified computer programmer in the world.

It doesn't seem to phase him much - it's a lot to take in. After all, he is seven. When he spoke to the Chronicle & Echo, he was more excited explaining the differences between mode, median and mean averages than discussing the record.

"The record is nice to have," says dad Ishwari, himself an IT developer. "But the best thing is it's self driven."

Mum Trupti - a data analyst - agrees. "I'm happy as he did it while still being a child. He still plays with his friends. He's still full of mischief."

Mum Trupti and dad Ishwari say: "The record is nice to have... but the best thing is it's self driven."

In fact, Kautilya's mum and dad couldn't have stifled his ferocious interest in coding even if they wanted to.

Ishwari said: "He was very focused from an early age. Whatever he would do - like Lego or playing with blocks - he would get involved so much that he wouldn't hear any noise around him.

"He started reading early, about three and a half years old. And he wasn't always interested in stories as much as facts and non-fiction. These things were quite remarkable."

It was when he was five that Kautilya's attention was caught by a game he saw in a book named Bubble Blaster.

"But he didn't seem interested in playing it," says Ishwari. "He had never played it himself. He was more interested in asking us questions about how he could make it himself while following instructions from books and videos."

"We bought him an early-learning book on coding and computers thinking it would just be one of those things that he would lose interest in," says his mum with a laugh.

"It was just like kid's play to him. 'He's enjoying it' we though, 'so let's give him more'.

"Then, we saw he had made his own copy of Bubble Blaster."

Neither expected just how much Kautilya would take to it. He ate up every book his mum and dad gave him. When they checked in on him, they found he built a sorting algorithm, or a pathfinder, or a password verification system, or a chatbot.

By this point his early learning books had progressed to coding manuals. Mum and dad wondered if it would be worth seeing if the six-year-old could get certified.

"On the day of the exam I wanted him to be well rested," says Trupti. "But in the end he had been out playing with his friends for five hours when it was time to sit it. But he was fine."

It was, perhaps, unsurprising when Kautilya passed more exams after that. Among his qualifications on his LinkedIn page today include four certifications from IBM for Python and Artificial Intelligence, a Microsoft Technology Associate and a Stanford University credential for Computer Science.

"We were looking for other certifications he could try when we thought to contact Guinness World Records," says Ishwari.

"The record for Youngest Computer Programmer was help by Armahn Om Talsania in India one day before his seventh birthday, in January 2020.

"So in September, they looked at Kautilya's work, including his website and his qualifications. He was awarded the record twenty days before his second birthday."

The Chron asked Kautilya what it felt like when he found out he was the world's youngest computer programmer.

"It was okay," he said, before going back to seeing if he could fit behind the couch.

It's a one-in-a-million talent for Kautilya to achieve all he has. There's no doubt he will be one of the greatest names in technology of our time.

But in the meantime, he is still seven. He loves swimming and playing on his bike. He is still a keen reader and loves learning, and has a happy a family life with his little brother.

"I don't think the record is important to him," says mum Trupti. "But he knows what he's doing. I'm happy he's done it while still being a child."