Joshua Van Benthuysen and David Nguyen - Code Ninjas' first black belts!

Starting in August 2016, kids coding franchise Code Ninjas was catapulted into the limelight, as the brand’s innovative and engaging coding curriculum took over the US. Now classed as the world’s largest and fastest-growing kids coding franchise, over 400 franchisees have invested in and launched their own coding centres and studios across the US, Canada and England. This month marks the brand’s fifth anniversary – and, as you can imagine, the celebrations will be a global affair.

“We are excited to celebrate with our international family – our franchisees, their Senseis, ninjas, our support team and suppliers,” said Justin Nihiser, CEO. “What’s important to us is that everyone within our network understands the part they play in our success – whether they’ve been part of our Code Ninjas family for five years or five months. Without them, our impact would not be what it is today. We are on track to launch our 500th location within the next 12 months and have recently expanded into our fourth country of Scotland.

“Having only taken over as CEO from founder David Graham last August, I’ve already been blown away by the sheer quality of innovative and resourceful solutions suggested by the talented people within our Home Office team and franchisees., I’m looking forward to seeing those come to fruition over the coming months. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Code Ninjas family and it’s certainly been one of the most rewarding periods of my career so far. Here’s to the next five years!”

Celebrations will take place around the world, with franchisees marking the momentous occasion with parties and coding events. A team party – with attendees joining in the festivities in person and virtually – will be held at the brand’s new head office facility in Pearland, Texas.

For two of Code Ninjas’ students – or ninjas, as they’re otherwise known – there’s a lot more celebrating to do. Joshua Van Benthuysen from Franklin, Tennessee, and David Nguyen from Concord, North Carolina, have both achieved the highest possible honour that a ninja can reach – both have been awarded their black belt! This is the accolade awarded to kids that complete the ninth – and final – module of the CREATE programme.

“Our ninjas are tasked with not only challenging themselves mentally but also socially,” explained Justin. “We want them to learn to code and think logically while continuing to build relationships with their fellow ninjas. We aim to affect change in the community, whatever that might look like – collaborating with like-minded individuals, solving problems in a group or simply learning how to communicate with others. Code Ninjas is a place where kids speak the same language, taking their acquired skills with them outside the dojo and applying them in the real world.”

Throughout Code Ninjas’ global network, there are at least 10 other ninjas also working on their final black belt project. Having opened the doors to the first UK studio last summer, Justin hopes it won’t be long before ninjas on this side of the Atlantic follow suit.

“It’s only a matter of time before we can award the first UK black belt, with David and Joshua reaching this milestone in a little over three years. I personally can’t wait to see who will achieve that goal in the UK first!”