Karthick Arun is like many 10-year-olds. He likes science and pizza, enjoys playing tennis and is excited to enter the 5th grade next year.
But when he was just 9 years old, Arun became the youngest person ever to pass Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Cloud Practitioner test.
Getting certified at such a young age didn't come without challenges. Arun says that when he first showed up to take the test, the proctor thought his dad was the one getting the AWS certification, not him.
"The lady there, she said to my dad, 'Sorry sir, we don't babysit,'" Arun said. "And my dad said that the baby's the one that's gonna take the test, and she was gonna sit him."
Because AWS policy at the time was to only let those age 18 and older take their certification tests, Arun and his father were turned away.
"She finally said that I couldn’t take the test because of age limitations," said Arun. "I was too young."
But his dad knew his son could be successful, and he emailed Andy Jassy, the CEO of AWS. When Jassy replied, Karthick and his dad were both surprised.
"He was not expecting Andy Jassy to reply back 'cause he's really busy," said Arun.
AWS was so impressed by Arun's enthusiasm for coding that they decided to remove the age restrictions for their certification programs and let Arun take the test after all. Arun says he studied for a long time, but the test itself wasn't difficult for him.
"It took like a year or so to do it and like five to 10 minutes a day [of studying]," said Arun. "I took [the test] very fast and quick, 'cause it was sorta easy for me."
Now, he's been invited to participate in a summer learning experience at AWS, designed just for him. The robotics team immersion experience will take place in Los Angeles, where Arun and his family live.
Once the special program is over, Arun is looking forward to building a robot dog using modified technology from AWS' DeepRacer technology — a gift from Jassy to the young high-achiever. DeepRacer is a form of AI technology that uses algorithms to make model cars move around a track — essentially, remote control cars without the remote controls.
"I'm gonna create a robot dog where you can pet it and stuff like that without all the cost," Arun said. "And you don't have to walk it in the morning."
He doesn't have a real pet yet. "That's actually sort of the reason why I decided to make a robot dog, because my mom wouldn't allow me to get an actual dog," Arun said. "'Cause that was too much work and too much money."
Arun is also starting an AWS Coding Club at his school, with the approval of his principal. And his work to get AWS certifications won't stop at the Cloud Practitioner Test that he's already passed. He also wants to get an Alexa certification and the same developer's certification that his dad has.
"My dad is a huge inspiration," Arun said.