UK female achieves Black Belt status in Coding Dojo at just 13
Meet 13-year-old Melisa Deniz, a young coder who started her coding journey at Code Ninjas Enfield only last year.
In this brief period, she has completed the challenging nine-belt curriculum with unwavering dedication and a true passion for coding, earning her the respected black belt status.
She is the first female in the UK to achieve this milestone. Melisa's journey involved several months of hard work and creativity, culminating in her final black belt project, 'Snail Ninja Showdown', showcasing her newly acquired coding skills.
Melisa shared her thoughts: “I chose to start with Code Ninjas to increase my skills. In the black belt programme, I embraced the opportunity to think creatively and turn my imaginative ideas into enjoyable games. Trying something new can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. If I was going to give advice to any other girls out there, especially those my age, thinking about coding but worrying it might not be for them, I would tell them to be confident in their abilities. Pursue your interests with passion and don’t be afraid to stand out. You can achieve remarkable things in any field – including technology and coding!”
Code Ninjas is designed to be fun, drawing kids back time and again. The curriculum is self-paced, yet guided. Children receive immediate assistance and encouragement from Code Senseis and fellow Ninjas as they progress from white to black belt in the nine-belt programme of Code Ninjas CREATE.
Renee Romeo, co-owner of Code Ninjas Enfield, expressed her pride in Melisa: “We are over the moon for Melisa – she truly deserves the status she has achieved. Words can’t express how happy we are for her and how proud we all are of her determination and positive attitude while working towards her black belt status. Melisa’s commitment serves as a shining example, and we hope that she’s just the first of many girls who will achieve the black belt status in Enfield. Just six months ago we celebrated the first UK black belt coder – Ugur Recber, who has been a student with us since 2021 – so we’re extremely excited to recognise Melisa and all of her hard work.”
At Code Ninjas, kids learn coding in a safe, inclusive, and social environment where gaming is celebrated and STEM is considered cool. They engage in fun, challenging, and rewarding projects that enhance skills beneficial for their growth. Completing the game at the end requires significant focus and effort, implementing all that was learnt in the preceding eight belts.
Bill Marsland, Director of Education for Code Ninjas, spoke highly of Melisa: “Melisa embodies everything that we stand for at Code Ninjas – commitment, creativity, and passion. Earning your coding black belt at Code Ninjas takes dedication, perseverance, and skill, all of which Melisa has showcased remarkably by pioneering as the first female black belt Ninja in the UK. I’m immensely proud of Melisa’s accomplishments and the Code Ninjas Enfield team for breaking new ground, proving that coding isn’t a skill limited to boys. This remarkable achievement highlights the importance of encouraging girls to learn and excel in coding, and I eagerly anticipate the day when more Ninjas across the UK – both boys and girls – will follow Melisa’s accomplishments.”
Melisa's black belt project, Snail Ninja Showdown, challenges players to survive as long as possible, using different weapons from the shop to achieve a high score.