As jobs in science and technology continue to outpace growth in all other fields, one Pearland company has stepped into the fray to give children a leg up in the techno future.

Code Ninjas, which opened in March, is a learning center that teaches children ages 7-14 how to program computers and robots.

Code Ninjas A student built a remote-controlled Lego robot at Code Ninjas.[/caption]

David Graham and Bert Sintuphant, who operated an adult programming boot camp called Coder Camps in Pearland, founded Code Ninjas. They sold their stakes in Coder Camps last year, and together are focusing their efforts on the next generation of computer programmers.

“It came up in conversation very often that you should be doing this for kids,” Sintuphant said. “Kids aren’t getting it in school, so we’re trying to fill those gaps.”

Instead of a traditional classroom lecture environment, Code Ninjas’ students gather in a glass room called The Dojo to create video games, build and program robots, and experiment.

“We try to tell them when they’re here, there’s no limit to your imagination. It’s whatever you build,” Code Ninjas General Manager Shauna Garner said.

Code Ninjas disguises computer coding as a fun learning experience, making kids more willing to engage.

“We roll all the vegetables up in a cake,” Garner said as an analogy.

Code Ninjas

In keeping with the ninja theme, students are placed on a nine-belt system called the Path of Enlightenment.

White-belt students can take up to 32 hours to progress to the next level as they learn basic robotics and how to program with Scratch, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-built interactive programming language.

“By the time they get to black belt, they’ll be able to publish their own game to the Apple App Store. That’s the goal,” Sintuphant said.

Code Ninjas teaches JavaScript, which is one of the most-used computer languages for websites and web applications. About 94 percent of the top 1 million internet websites are coded with JavaScript, according to internet research and technology company BuiltWith.

“If you learn any language, you can apply it; it’s just syntax. As long as they learn the logic behind it, they can apply the logic to any programming language,” Sintuphant said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects computer occupations alone will increase by 12.5 percent between 2014 to 2024 and produce half a million new jobs, more than any other science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—occupation, according to a 2017 report. The average anticipated growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Along with the drop-in learning concept, Code Ninjas offers summer camp programs from June to August along with a Parent’s Night Out program, which offers up to four hours of robotics and programming on Friday nights. An after-school pickup program is also underway and is set to begin this fall.

Code Ninjas has four Houston-area franchises coming soon, including a location in Friendswood.

“Technology isn’t going away anytime soon, it’s not slowing down. It’s advancing,” Garner said.

Code Ninjas
12810 W. Broadway St., Ste. 160, Pearland
Office hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Student hours: Monday-Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m.