The Halifax youngster is the 13th person in the world to earn a ‘black belt’ in computer coding

A Halifax kid has become the second Canadian to earn his black belt in computer coding.

Twelve-year-old Noam Pischanaker has been a lifelong fan of video games and two years ago signed up for the Halifax branch of Code Ninjas. The company teaches kids to code and borrows the belt system from martial arts to mark progress.

Pischanaker has spent the past six months creating and building a game called Maze Farmer to earn his black belt, only the 13th the company has awarded to thousands of students at its 500 locations worldwide.

“So you’re this robot, Jamo, on a planet in space, and you’re trying to grow stuff here because you found seeds and stuff like that. You’re trying to grow for the earth,” a- he said, guiding his astro. -bot through a series of mazes.

You can play the free game here.

“Basically the computer has a bunch of algorithms that it’s able to run, so coding is just turning them on and telling it when to do it, how to do it and stuff like that. Order the computer,” he said.

It uses two screens: one shows the game, and the other shows the coding behind the game, as well as an overview of the planet which is not available to players.

Pischanaker shows a behind-the-scenes look at Maze Farmer. (Radio Canada)

Rachel Wang operates the Code Ninjas of Halifax. It opened in January 2020 and has approximately 180 students. Code Ninjas was founded in the United States in 2016.

Wang said Pischanaker stands out.

“He’s actually one of the fastest to ever finish a black belt. When he came in, he could barely type, and right now he can type faster than his dad,” she said.

“He started from the fundamentals, he started from block programming, following the instructions, putting the blocks together. He never skipped a single game. He finished the whole belt, from white belt to belt black, in two years,” she said.

It usually takes three to four years, she said.

Rachel Wang operates the Code Ninjas in Halifax. It opened in January 2020 and, despite the ensuing pandemic, has built a solid base of students and teachers. (Radio Canada)

Students are taught by “senseis”, who are mostly computer science students from local universities.

“Noam, he can actually design an app for a company right now. And over time, if they want to learn web design, almost anything in technology, we can get them immersed in it” , Wang said.

Pischanaker sees a future in coding.

“I want to work in technology. It can be robotics or software development,” he said.