Kashim Shettima was born on 2 September 1966 in Maiduguri.
His quest for education started at the Lamisula primary school Maiduguri between 1972 and 1978, before proceeding for his Secondary education at the prestigious Government Community Secondary school, Biu in 1978 where he got, the West African School Certificate Examinations in 1980. He was transferred to Government Science Secondary School Potiskum of those days from 1980 to 1983 was a challenge which he met with dynamic zeal. He was thereafter admitted into the University of Maiduguri for his degree programme in 1983 and by 1989, he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Agric Economics, second Class Upper Division.
Kashim was posted to Calabar for the mandatory one-year National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) programme in 1989 and attached to the Nigeria Agric Cooperative Bank for his primary assignment. This deployment literally exposed him early enough, to the attractions and challenges of the academia and so, at the end of his service year, in 1990, the focus and determination of this young man would see him enrolling into the M.Sc degree programme to read Agricultural Economic at the University of Ibadan by 1991, he had completed the programme. This earned him elevation to a higher grade of lecturer II in the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Maiduguri in 1993.
Shettima worked with the Commercial Bank of Africa as an Agricultural Economist at its Ikeja Office, Lagos State (1993-1997). He then became a deputy manager, later manager, at the African International Bank Limited, Kaduna Branch (1997–2001), and was appointed Deputy Manager/Branch Head of the Zenith Bank's Maiduguri Office in 2001, becoming General Manager five years later. In mid-2007, Shettima was appointed Commissioner of the Borno State Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
Later he became Commissioner in the Ministries of Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Education, Agriculture and later Health under his predecessor as Borno Governor Ali Modu Sheriff.
In the January 2011 ANPP primaries, Engineer Modu Fannami Gubio was selected as candidate for the governorship. However, Gubio was later shot dead by gunmen, and Shettima was selected in a second primary in February 2011. In the 26 April 2011 elections, Shettima won with 531,147 votes while the People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Muhammed Goni, gained 450,140 votes.