WHAT a difference of four years and a lot of hard work has made for Dhruv Maheshwari, the cool coding kid from Maryhill!
At 13, Dhruv became the youngest person in the world to qualify as a cyber ops Cisco Certified Network Associate. It’s an exciting achievement and all the more remarkable when you consider that not so long ago he was struggling to do simple sum in his head.
The term “Cyber Ops” probably has the most of us thinking of dark arts beyond the worldwide web with hackers shifting million of pounds at the click of a mouse and comprising the security of everything around the world from oil firms to military forces.
But Dhruv, now 14, a student of British Youth IT College run by his mum, Dr Rashmi Mantri, laughs off any suggestion that cyber ops is all about super criminals.
“There’s three types of hackers.” He explains, “Black hat hackers, the ones up to no good, but there’s always white hat hackers that try to stop them, there are also guys known as grey hackers who can do good or bad.
“They might even be the people who go to prison for hacking but still get jobs because they know how to stop people doing the bad things they did.” Dhruv, readers will be assured to know, sees himself using by skills as a force for good. Gaining his Cisco Certification has meant him gaining an understanding in the areas of cyberspace that most of us don’t even know exist.
The course covered cryptography, security, forensics computing, network principles and safeguarding.
Dhruv learned coding- covering various computer languages – at after school classes run by his parents at Firhill Business Centre and wormed his way through books.
He was also greatly helped by attending a series of lectures by David Paterson at the University of West Of Scotland.
He passed two exams in the university in readiness for the cisco ones at the UWS in all he had to pass through 14 levels of Cyber Security tasks, and he found they were getting harder all the time.
Dhruv completed his university level cisco academy exams during the UWS summer school, He then prepared for the Cisco Vendor’s certificates in cyber security at the Clyde College – Cradonald Campus’s Pearson Vue Centre, not only that he also delivered a cybersecurity seminar at the age of 12 to spread knowledge and awareness among his peers.
Cisco Systems Inc. is a multinational technology conglomerate with its HQ in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. His plan is to follow the cisco path as he works towards a career. “There’s more to do and they get harder and harder”, Dhruv said.
Dhruv’s pals at Boclair Academy in Deardsen think it’s quite cool to be studying alongside the youngest person on the planet to hold the Cisco certificate.
“They’re all quite happy for me”, he said. “One of them said, ‘this is big news, the Nandos are on me’. I said ‘Okay, that sounds really good! I’m up for that.’”
Proud mum Rashmi, herself a Computer Science graduate, said: “I’m very proud of him. I appreciate the effort he has put in and think he can use it for the positivity of the country.” Dhruv was the inspiration for the development of Supermaths, a programme she devised after her then primary five son struggled to mentally work out a simple sum like 35 minus 13.
Dr Rashmi as her students call her, started teaching him on an abacus. He was soon known as “The Human Calculator” for his ability to work out complicated sums in his head.
He urged his mum to teach the technique to his friends and the teaching programme took off.