By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Oct 23 - 29, 2000
Haroon Ahmed, soon after his graduation, has been employed by
Microsoft. Keeping in view his tremendous skills, he has been hired as software
design engineer in development and his salary package is even higher than the
package usually offered to US citizens. He has joined web data team which
develops internet explorer and is currently busy in developing next version of
NT operating system. Haroon joined Government College Nazimabad after doing his
matriculation from Zaifia Memorial High School. He has done B. S. Engineering
from Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUE&T) and also got
the Gold Medal. He did his M. S. Engineering, equivalent to M. Phil., from
Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST).
During his studies he was also working at Compsi (Pvt) Limited as Software
Manager. He has won many medals/scholarships during study. These include: IEEE
Research Medal/prizes for Urdu publishing system (1996), Softec'96, Softec'97,
Softech'98, SSUE&T and A. Q. Khan competitions.
PAGE: How did you manage your time during
HAROON: I was addicted to reading books and hooked to
my computer. My job with Compsi helped in actualizing my fantasies. While
education provided the theoretical background, my involvement in various
projects, individually and as team member, enabled me to use the knowledge in
real-life business. Most of the projects which I completed were the pioneers in
respective areas, aimed at improving the performance and quality of finished
product. I would like to mention two of these, TEXIGNER and CARPETIZER. These
software are used in textile and carpet industries. I got 1st prize for TEXIGNER
at second SSUE&T competition and 1st prize at A. Q. Khan Software
Competition during 1998. In 1999 I got 1st prize during second international
competition held at International Islamic University, Islamabad for CARPETIZER.
PAGE: How did Microsoft find you?
HAROON: I was working at Compsi and also looking, like
any other graduate, for a better job where I could put my knowledge and skills
at test. I got the information that Microsoft was in search of people. Some one
told me to send my CV to Microsoft by e-mail, which I did on priority basis.
Soon I got a reply from Microsoft instructing me to be available at my given
telephone number on a specific date and time for the preliminary interview.
After this interview, I was asked to reach Dubai for second and final interview.
The interview was spread over five hours and I was offered attractive terms and
conditions for employment.
PAGE: Does your selection has any relevance with your
study at SSUE&T?
HAROON: Certainly yes. SSUE&T has been involved
with world information technology leaders which include CISCO and Lockheed
Martin. Software are being developed for these companies at SSUE&T's
Software Technology Incubator. Unless these companies have strong faith in the
University, its faculty and students, getting such contracts would have been
PAGE: How did you develop the above mentioned
HAROON: Once I acquired the basic skills in developing
software, I spent time with the specific industries and only then I was able to
develop these software. I believe that without the knowledge of any specific
industry one cannot develop a software. The ultimate aim of developing a
software is to improve the efficiency, upgrade quality standards and optimize
cost of production. Only those software are popular which help in achieving the
objective. Therefore, the first objective is to develop software for the core
industries. By improving the performance of core industries we can help the
country in boosting its GDP, creating new employment opportunities and making
the best use of skills available in the country. There is no dearth of talent in
the country provided the industry is able to identify and employ the right
PAGE: Will you remain an asset for Pakistan?
HAROON: Wherever I go and whatever I do I will be
identified as a Pakistani. If I am honoured, I will earn respect for Pakistan
and Pakistanis. I also believe that my selection by Microsoft is the recognition
of the potential and skills many other Pakistanis have. I am not only SSUE&T
graduate who has been employed by Microsoft. My other colleague, Faisal Baqai,
would also join Microsoft very shortly. It is also an honour for SSUE&T that
two of its fresh graduates were employed by world's leading corporation in
PAGE: Your message to other students?
HAROON: There is no short cut to success. One has to
work real hard to establish his/her credentials. Life is very difficult in
Pakistan because often jobs are not given purely on merit. Saying this much, I
still have very strong conviction that there is no substitute for merit.