42, a Free Coding School, Opens in Silicon Valley with the Help of French Billionaire Xavier Niel
By Brittany Bir, COO & School Director of 42 US
May 19, 2016
I’m happy to announce that Ecole 42 (42), a French based coding school, has opened its doors in the heart of Silicon Valley, and we’re now offering free computer programming training to passionate young adults who want to learn. Initially, when talking about the concept of 42 to fellow techies in Silicon Valley, I was met with a bit of apprehension. Many were skeptical on how 42 would structure its curriculum, and others were baffled by the concept of free higher education.
In America, you frequently hear “nothing worth having is free,” and being a West Coast native — growing up in Temecula, CA and a graduate of California State University, Monterey Bay — I know this concept firsthand. However, after attending Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris for my M.A. in European Studies, I quickly learned that it’s not always about money. It’s really about creating a community and culture of talent to benefit the greater business community.
Founded by Xavier Niel, a French tech and telecoms entrepreneur who has personally invested $100M of his personal funds in this US expansion, 42 is aiming to inspire and educate the future tech generation. We understand that life throws you curve balls, and we want to give people tools that they can use to create the future they want for themselves and their families through tech.
In America, student loans amount to $1190B, according to the New York Federal Reserve, which is more than the total American credit card debt. The high price tag of college is not affordable for the majority of Americans and we believe that education should be free. It’s the French way. Learning should be cultivated by passion and discipline, not personal fortune and access. For that reason, applications are open to anyone ages 18–30, from any background and with any educational level.
42’s pedagogy is based on peer-to-peer learning that’s focused on skill-based learning through experiences. Students aren’t supervised by teachers or given a syllabus, but instead, targeted projects that are meant to be fun, collaborative, and educational.
While in France, I learned to code at 42 Paris, while finishing up my Masters and teaching English. It was an unforgettable experience and completely free. Without 42, I would not have been afforded the amazing opportunity to open up this school in my birth country.
42 brings together students from all walks of life, and everyone is encouraged to apply — there are no specific prerequisites. Instead, we focus on working with quality candidates who have a passion for learning to code. Once a candidate decides to apply and is selected after the online tests, they’re invited to “la piscine”, or the swimming pool, which is a four-week intensive coding bootcamp, where skills are tested through a series of challenges. The piscine is an opportunity for us, and the students, to see if 42 is a good fit for them and if their working style is adapted to our learning process. It’s extremely competitive and in fact, only about one-third of the students who participate will be selected after the piscine process.
42 only wants to work with students who are motivated and self-disciplined. These are the values that the entire 42 learning model is based around. Much like working at a startup tech company, the days will be long and there will be numerous new problems arising. But don’t get discouraged! We’re looking for candidates at all levels of coding, from complete noobs to those who already know a thing or two about code, not just the ones who finish the assignments first. We want the candidate who keeps trying when they hit a wall, and is able to adapt and think on their feet. These are the students who fit the 42 model! Those who are motivated and keep on top of their studies, will go on to complete the schooling process and secure jobs at the world’s top tech companies, or even create a startup.
By July 2016, 42 US will open its doors to 1,024 students and its housing facility to 300 students in need. Within a year, we’re aiming to double numbers with 2,048 students and 600 housing units, respectively. In the next five, we’re aiming to reach 10,000 students.
Applications are now live and being accepted on a rolling basis. There will be three piscines in the summer of 2016.
Apply today! http://42.us.org/
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