Child prodigies are not exclusive to musical Talent Shows. In the business and technological world there are plenty of examples of adolescents who, at just 14 years old, already rub shoulders with experienced engineers in important business projects. However, that does not exclude them from the dilemma of a large company hiring a teenager to work, no matter how genius he may be.
Path of a brilliant brain. Kairan Quazi is only 14 years old, but that hasn’t been an obstacle for the young Californian to become Space X’s precocious software engineer.
Quazi’s career could not have been more meteoric. with only 2 years could already form complete sentences and explain to his kindergarten classmates news about the Arab Spring that he heard on the radio. At age 9 she went on to high school and began searching for college with an IQ above the 99.9th percentile of the general population.
At 14, Kairan Quazi is about to graduate with a degree in computer engineering from California’s Santa Clara University before joining Starlink’s software development division, though he hasn’t disclosed what kind of software he’ll be working on.
Valid for designing satellites, too young for LinkedIn. The teenager hasn’t had too much trouble joining the working group in Starlink’s engineering department. According to Kairan’s own statements, “one of the few companies that did not use my age as an arbitrary and outdated indicator of maturity and ability.” However, the young engineer has encountered LinkedIn’s refusal to create a professional profile for him on their social network, something that has outraged the young promise who has stated that “they lack imagination and are rooted in adultism.”
The position of the platform for professionals is very clear in this regard, as shown in a message that the minor has posted on his Instagram profile: “We are excited by your enthusiasm, energy and focus. We can’t wait to see what you do in the world, but since you don’t currently meet the age eligibility criteria to join, we’ve restricted your account.” LinkedIn invites the young person to rejoin the platform when he turns 16, the minimum age to create a profile.
Minors with positions of responsibility. Beyond the undoubted intellectual abilities of Kairan Quazi and many other “wonderful children” of technology, the dilemma centers on the suitability of large companies to hire minors, especially when they are going to occupy important and responsible positions in the development of technologies as delicate as the control of a network of low-orbit communication satellites.
Precisely, one of the main reasons for the adolescent’s anger with the refusal of LinkedIn has been due to the limitation of access to mentors and reference people that can be found on that platform. “Someone like me needs a lot of access to mentors and also to the industry discussions that take place on the platform,” declared Quazi to Insider.
knowledge is not maturity. There is no doubt that the case of Kairan Quazi is exceptional, although not unique. This month he completes his university studies and graduates in computer engineering, passing the same exams and tests as the rest of his classmates, so his knowledge is not questioned.
Quazi’s profile fits what, according to Daniel Patón Domínguez, he is a professor at the University of Extremadura and belongs to AEST (Spanish Association of Gifted and Talented for children, adolescents and adults), could be defined as gifted.
Precocious, talented or gifted. Patón specifies that, within the highly capable, there are three large groups: precocious, talented and gifted. The first defines that child who is very good in a specific capacity but, as he passes through adolescence and maturity, he loses it. The talents are those that develop some ability in specific areas, but do not stand out more than that. Meanwhile, the gifted stand out in more than three intelligences (mathematical, spatial, sensory, artistic, technological, etc…).
What could be questioned is his maturity when it comes to facing an extremely competitive work environment in which he has to deal with other types of problems that require other social skills that are acquired with experience that these precocious tech geniuses haven’t yet had.
The risk of broken toys. The capacities of gifted children for science and technology that Professor Patón mentioned, leave us with a large number of examples that these high capacities to acquire knowledge do not always correspond to adequate personality development.
Lives full of professional achievements, but with personal problems derived from assuming challenges or responsibilities that do not correspond to their age. It was the case of aaron swartz, who developed the RSS protocol at the age of 14 and later was one of the founders of Reddit (which has not been at its best lately). Swartz ended his life in 2013, after years of suffering from depression that worsened with a long legal process against him.
great premature fortunes. Fortunately, most of these teenage geniuses lead to key figures in the technological development of the world, such as Shawn Fanning, who at the age of 19 developed the P2P file sharing protocol that gave rise to the popular eMule and Napster, or Mark Zuckerberg himself. who at the age of 19 founded what is now Meta.
US labor law allows it.. As much as it may be shocking in Europe that a 14-year-old can work in a big company for the legal restrictionsthe North American regulations it is much more lax with employees 14 years of age or younger.
American regulations establish differences between agricultural work and non-agricultural, the latter being even more permissive. The minimum age to work is 14 years old, and having finished his education by graduating from university, Kairan would not be conditioned by the limits that the law establishes for working hours during school time.
The salary is equal to that established for any adult based on the professional sector, setting its minimum at $7.25 agreed in the federal minimum wage for this type of non-agricultural activities in the US.
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