Former Comcast technician Michael McNally and his 9-year-old daughter share a love of technology.
When McNally was in the Navy early in his career, he learned electrician skills that he parleyed into his Comcast job when he returned home. But he soon developed an interest in the backend side of technology and pursued a degree in IT. He’s earned his associates and is working on a bachelor’s degree in the subject, but the interest has recently drawn him to a career pivot.
McNally is now the franchise owner of coming-soon Code Ninjas in Horsham, an international curriculum that has locations across the US, Canada and the UK. The programming serves children age 5 to 14, teaching the basics of video game deign and STEM skills. He left his job at Comcast to run the business full-time.
“I wanted to work for myself, but also work in a field that puts IT degree to use,” McNally said. “And my daughter, who’s 9, she has rich an affinity for technology. When she started playing video games, I thought she was probably capable of building them, and she’s kind of developing this love for coding, too.”
Student will enter the “dojo” and learn everything from coding to robotics in the new 1,800-square-foot space at 314 Horsham Road. The Horsham location will offer Code Ninjas JR for ages 5 to 7, which teaches basic coding and problem-solving skills through hands-on projects and storytelling, as well as Code Ninjas Create for kids 7 to 14, a proprietary game building program. Kids start at a white-belt level learning Java, Lua, C# and Python. They progress up different levels until the earn a black belt in coding, McNally said.
“The end goal, if they were to progress to black belt, is that they could publish an app on the App Store,” McNally said.
The center can host up to 26 students per hour, with a max capacity of 260 enrollments at a time. Student membership costs a little more than $200 a month and gets them eight hours per month of courses. The courses are not self-taught, but students can go at their own pace, McNally said, and students should be able to grasp the basic coding concepts within a few months to then build on what they’re learning. During the school year, students will be in mostly on weeknights or weekends, but the center will hold summer and school-break camps.
The space is slated to open on Dec. 14, and the location is running a discount to those who register before then. And McNally’s daughter is indeed joining one of these first cohorts, starting at a white belt like everyone else.
“I’m excited to provide a safe, inspiring space for kids in this community that allows them to be comfortable, express themselves creatively, and develop important STEM skills as well as friendships, all while having fun,” McNally said.