[UTA Magazine]


Whiz kid
14-year-old pursues degree in computer science

Moutaz Haq

   Moutaz Haq

The beard confuses people. At 14, Moutaz Haq is the youngest student on campus, but people are skeptical when they learn his age.

"My business communications class found out," he said. "They didn't believe it at first, because I have this beard. My teacher asked me to tell my birthday, and when I quickly answered, July 25, 1987, they seemed to be more convinced. They figured if I could say it so fast, it must be correct."

Until May, the youthful Haq was still technically a high school student, taking six credit hours per semester at UTA and earning dual credit toward high school graduation requirements. Starting in the fall, he will be an official college freshman, studying computer science engineering.

Haq attended public school until fifth grade, then his parents decided to home-school their children. He has five younger siblings, including a 13-year-old brother he expects to join him at UTA next year.

"I did home school because I wanted to move faster," he explained. "My interest in computers goes back to when I was 5 or 6. My grandfather showed me how to program in BASIC, and when I got my own computer at 7, I remembered the programs he used to make for me. We'd print out our names in color and things like that."

At 8, Haq found a BASIC programming book in the school library and taught himself to write simple programs. Since then he has also learned to program in Java, C, C++, Assembly language and HTML.

In addition to learning multiple computer languages in his short life, Haq is also a multilingual world traveler. Born in England, he has lived in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He and his family have been in the United States since 1994.

Haq's youth has not caused him any problems at the University. "It's all worked out really well," he said.

And, of course, he looks like he belongs. Must have something to do with the beard.


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