Honoring My Mother’s Legacy with ACA

Luqman Hakim has always believed in a friendly competition. Such belief piqued his interest when he learned about Adobe Certified Associate National Championship in Malaysia. Fast forward two years, Luqman is now an Adobe Certified Professional in Visual Design, 2020 ACA National Champion, and aspiring digital arts lecturer. Keep reading to find out how Luqman used his certification to gain national recognition.

Certiport: Luqman, thank you so much for your time. We are so happy to see you again.
Luqman: It’s my pleasure. The Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) program has done a lot for me, so I am glad to stay connected.

Certiport: Before we dive in, tell us a little more about you.
Luqman: Sure! I grew up in Bangi, Malaysia. I am currently studying Animation Design at Sultan Idris Education University in Tanjung Malim. I’m in my second year and will be graduating in 2022. Outside of school, I do a lot of freelance design and illustration work and give workshops to students and government employees.

Certiport: The workshops sound awesome. Have your ACA certifications helped in your teaching?
Luqman: I think so. With my ACA certifications, I am recognized as a professional designer. That allows me to receive a lot of design jobs and invitations to give workshops and classes. I have received job offers from companies like JobsMalaysia and Starbucks, in addition to the invitations to teach a workshop a month.

Certiport: That’s amazing! Did you get involved in ACA certification through a similar workshop?
Luqman: My connection to ACA started a little differently. I heard about Adobe Certified Associate Championship in Malaysia and really wanted to participate. I was already interested in design and I wanted to see how far I could go with my skills. In 2019, I got certified in Adobe Photoshop and that qualified me to compete in the ACA Malaysia National Championship. I must say, the Championship was much more exciting than I imagined! It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and I wanted to make the best of it. I finished in sixth place out of 600 students.

Ending so close to the top motivated me to try again. I applied and received the sponsorship from MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation) to attend more workshops and receive additional certifications. That’s how I received my second and third certifications in Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator, which also allowed me to become an Adobe Certified Professional in Visual Design. I used my Illustrator certification to enter the 2020 Malaysia Adobe Certified Associate Championship and qualified.

Certiport: And from what we know, you did even better on the 2020 Championship than you did in 2019.
Luqman: Yes, which I didn’t think was possible. I finished first out of 900 candidates and was invited to represent Malaysia and compete at Adobe Certified Associate World Championship.

Certiport: That is so great to hear! We understand that you have someone special to whom you want to dedicate your success?
Luqman: Yes. My ACA journey is a bit different from many others. I entered the competition twice and finally succeeded on my second try. Behind my success, there was one person who was always there for me, who always told me that I did my best. That person was my mother, Nor Aini. I don’t know if she ever fully understood what ACA was or what I was doing. But she never told me to stop. She always supported me and encouraged me.

After my first competition where I ended in sixth place, she congratulated me and said, “It’s okay. You did well. You can learn from this experience and try again.”

I tried again and ended up getting the first place out of 900 candidates. She couldn’t attend the award ceremony but I called her right after and we both cried. When I came back home with my trophy and my huge mockup check, my mother was already prepared to welcome me. We hugged and took a lot of pictures. She couldn’t believe it. Her son won first place and was going to the United States to represent the country! She was so proud of me and I was so happy to see her.

Three days later, she passed away suddenly from a heart attack. This loss took me to my lowest. I knew I couldn’t go to the ACA World Championship. I had lost my biggest supporter. But remembering how proud she was, how she told all our relatives and neighbors that her son was going to America to represent Malaysia, I knew I had to go. I held onto her last smile and boarded the plane. I am sorry I didn’t win, Mom.

Certiport: What a touching story. We are so sorry for your loss, but we are confident that your mother is and always will be very proud of you. Looking to the future, what are you most excited about? Where do you see yourself in the future?
Luqman: I want to be an artist. I want to create great artwork and get into galleries and leave a name in this industry. But more than anything, I want to be a lecturer. My mother was always teaching and always uplifting. I think I inherited that from her and want to do the same. I want to teach and uplift the future generation of the creative industry.

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