Children’s Computer Coding Course Expands to Tucson | News from the foothills
Code Ninjas is a franchise coding program that teaches children ages 5-14 how to program computers while playing video games.
Helen Han, owner and operator of the new Foothills Code Ninjas at 1773 E. Prince Road, has a 10-year-old daughter who is interested in technology and computer programming. Han started looking for a program her daughter could participate in when they lived on the East Coast and came across Code Ninjas. When the Hans moved to Tucson, she wanted her daughter to continue her coding studies.
“His school doesn’t offer math or computer coding classes, so I decided to start Code Ninjas myself,” Han said.
Her daughter and other children can take advantage of the extracurricular activity to learn to develop computer programs and languages.
Students use a concept similar to karate, starting with a white belt and working your way up to a black belt. Each belt is a level, starting with learning the basics of coding before gradually learning more complex subjects. Before moving up to the next level, kids are given a ‘show off yourself session’ where they have to prove they’ve mastered their coding skills in order to take it to the next level.
Once the student has achieved a black belt, they will eventually launch and publish an app in the App Store. Progress to a black belt varies from student to student and depends on how often they attend class and their mastery of the subject.
“I want the kids to benefit from our learning, they might not become an engineer or a programmer, but the skills learned and the logic of problem-solving will serve them well for the rest of their lives,” Han said.
Students receive an instruction manual where they learn the language of coding with the help of the “sensei” in order to create their new video game. Code Ninjas allows students to learn, socialize and share their skills.
Code Ninjas involves 3D designs similar to Minecraft, Scratch, and Roblox video games. Robot building activities are also involved. Other subjects learned include science, math, technology, and engineering, which means Code Ninjas can serve as an additional after-school STEM program.
Code Ninjas is part of the growing trend in STEM-based learning for students, both in school and in outside programs. Computer programming and informatics are among the fastest growing job markets nationally, growing more than twice as fast as non-STEM occupations. Analysts also predict a growing “STEM shortage”, with the National Association of Manufacturing estimating that the United States will need to fill 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025, and more than one million of them may not. not be filled due to the lack of qualified candidates.
While Code Ninja isn’t offered to people over the age of 14, they may be hoping to expand it later and get high school kids on the program along with adults.
Code Ninjas will open at a new location, 1773 E. Prince Road, on Saturday, February 29. For more information visit codeninjas.com.
Bivian Contreras is a journalism student at the University of Arizona and an intern at Tucson Local Media.