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14-year-old Bangladeshi American Kairan Quazi to Join Elon Musk’s SpaceX as Software Engineer

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  • Pleasanton, California-born teen has a laundry list of accomplishments, from working at Intel’s Artificial Intelligence Research Co-Op to becoming the youngest to graduate from Santa Clara University.

He may not be eligible to have a LinkedIn account because of his age, but Kairan Quazi has landed himself a coveted job. The 14-year-old Bangladeshi American is joining SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket and spacecraft manufacturing company as a software engineer.

He will be moving with his biggest supporter, his mother Jullia Quazi, from the San Francisco Bay Area to Washington to join the engineering team at Starlink, the company’s satellite broadband internet service. She told CBS MoneyWatch that she and her husband put aside their “personal discomfort and anxiety” with moving to Washington because they want their son “to work at a place where he’ll grow intellectually.”

“Next stop…SpaceX!!! I accepted a position as Software Engineer at one of the coolest companies on the planet! Thank you everyone for continuing to follow my crazy journey!” Quazi wrote on his Instagram page next to his SpaceX job offer.

“SpaceX was “one of the rare companies that did not use my age as an arbitrary and outdated proxy for maturity and ability.”

Speaking to CBS MoneyWatch, Quazi said “The work I’m going to be doing is so cool.” He said he is ‘eager” to start because Starlink is working on “problems that matter.”

Earlier this month, the Santa Clara City Council recognized Quazi for his achievements. He told The San Francisco Chronicle “For the people out there that I think are concerned that my childhood is being destroyed, I’m really here to tell you that that’s just not true,” he said at the event, reported The San Francisco Chronicle.

The Pleasanton, California-born Quazi has been described as a child prodigy. “Profoundly gifted,” he has “a level of brain power found in fewer than 1 in 1 million children who have an IQ of at least 180, as estimated by the late Miraca U.M. Gross, co-founder of the International Gifted Consortium,” according to The San Francisco Chronicle. He left elementary school after finishing the third grade and enrolled in community college at age 9. He transferred to Santa Clara University at age 11.

In college, he had a multiyear internship at Intel as an artificial intelligence research fellow. Last month, he received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from Santa Clara University, becoming the youngest graduate in the school’s 172-year history.

CBS MoneyWatch noted that SpaceX will not be violating child labor laws by employing Quazi “as he meets the minimum legal age to work under federal and Washington state law.”