City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Coding Revolution

Why the Future is Bright for Kids Who Code

Marisa Narula has seen the future—and it’s written in code. “At least 60 percent of the jobs of the future will require knowledge of coding on some level,” she says. “Regardless of the fields our children go into, this skill set will help them further their careers. There is already so much being automated.”

Narula should know. As an information technology recruiter for the past two decades, she has watched computer programming becoming more critical. As she and her husband, Kanwar, observed their sons Joshua and Jai, now 11 and 16 respectively, play video games, they wished—as many parents do—that they could be learning something while they were gaming.

They decided to act on that thought: They became owners of Code Ninjas, a franchise with over 600 locations across North America and the United Kingdom that teaches computer science to children as young as 5. In the four-year, game-based curriculum, children learn how to code by building their own video games and in the process strengthen their skills in math, logic and problem-solving. 

Narula opened the highly awarded Hillsborough-Montgomery Code Ninjas in 2019. It was so successful that locations in Green Brook and Bridgewater followed. The program has a martial arts theme: the center is called a “dojo,” students are called “ninjas” and instructors are “senseis.” As children progress through a nine-belt program, which takes them from white belt to black belt, they learn coding skills and a variety of languages such as Scratch, JavaScript, Unity 3D, C# and Lua, which is the language of Roblox. In the black belt, children learn how to code and publish their very own video game, from concept to delivery.

“The ninjas prove their skills to advance to the next belt level, and we have a ceremony during which they get to ring a gong,” she says. “It’s really fun.” 

Narula, who places special emphasis on involving girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), has received commendations from Hillsborough and Montgomery Township for her efforts and was selected to receive the Cultural Advancement Award across the Code Ninjas international franchise. The Hillsborough-Montgomery center was also recognized as a Black Belt Center of Excellence recently, ranking it in the top 10 percent of franchise locations worldwide for performance and customer satisfaction. Additionally, Narula has successfully advocated for International Day of the Girl to be officially recognized and observed in local towns, prompting the franchise to ask her to be their official spokeswoman for Day of the Girl. 

“We encourage reaching girls before middle school because that is the tipping point when they decide if they want to pursue STEM,” she says. “If you have not reached a girl by around the sixth grade, there is less than a 2 percent chance she will pursue coding in the future.”

It’s never too early to introduce a child to coding. “They'll learn critical thinking and form a solution mindset,” she says. 

Want to see if your child is interested in coding? Code Ninjas offers a free trial session for year-round coding classes and is offering a variety of summer camps, including How to Become a YouTuber, Stop-Motion Animation, Modding with Minecraft, Coding with Roblox and How to Build a Webpage.

Discover the fun of coding at

  • Marisa Narula, Joshua Narula, Michela Koether, Aarna Mallidi and Sha Hutcherson, coding instructor
  • Marisa Narula and Sha Hutcherson, coding instructor
  • Marisa Narula, owner of Code Ninjas
  • Marisa Narula, owner of Code Ninjas
  • Marisa Narula, owner of Code Ninjas and son, Joshua