The unique coding bootcamp 42 School offers tuition-free tech education. With campuses in France and Silicon Valley, this school provides comprehensive software engineering training with a peer-to-peer learning model.
42 School is a coding bootcamp designed to train people for a lifetime in tech. Students learn the latest technologies at their own pace with a plan that’s tailored to their needs.
At the moment, 42 School isn’t accepting applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we’re here to highlight the unique features of the program so that, when admissions do reopen, you’ll be ready to jump in and ace the application process.
|42 School Key Information
|Silicon Valley, Paris
The original 42 School campus is located in Paris, France. The school has since added a second location in Silicon Valley.
Along with its own campuses, 42 School licenses its program to schools around the world. In so doing, it has extended its reach to Hungary, South Africa, Russia, Brazil, South Korea, and more.
Students at 42’s Silicon Valley location can choose to live on campus in a rent-free dorm. Other amenities include a low-priced cafeteria and outdoor recreation facilities.
There is no tuition at 42 School. All admitted students attend the bootcamp for free.
It may sound too good to be true, but you really don’t have to pay a dime. The zero-tuition education was made possible by 42 School’s founder Xavier Niel, a French tech billionaire, who established the school in 2013 with a $100 million endowment. This endowment covers every student’s fees, provides students with free equipment, and carries other benefits.
No, you cannot use the GI Bill at 42 School. The school is free for veterans and civilians alike.
42 School offers students a software engineering program. This project-based course is different from more conventional bootcamps in that students don’t learn from instructors or pre-recorded lectures. Instead, students learn by selecting one of three paths and building their own curriculum from there.
The 42 School’s software engineering program is designed to teach students more than the bare minimum tools. Students focus on training themselves to be flexible learners for a fruitful, lifelong career in software engineering.
To that end, 42 focuses on a peer-to-peer learning model. Students engage with each other to think critically about coding problems and solve them as part of a team. By focusing on giving and receiving feedback, students deepen their understanding of the tools they’re using while also learning how to collaborate, which is one of the most important soft skills.
Despite the unorthodox structure, students still learn many useful tools. Students use a project-based framework to learn artificial intelligence, data analytics, cyber security, systems administration, and programming languages like C++. After laying a basic foundation, students pursue one of three main curricula: systems, algorithms, or graphics.
Because students construct their own learning path, 42 School graduates don’t always end up as software engineers. Many applicants go on to become UX designers, product managers, or other types of professionals. By acquiring knowledge on their own terms and as part of a community, students learn how to adapt to a fast-changing industry.
Because of its benefits, including its self-paced curriculum and tuition-free model, 42 School has a rigorous application process. The school is inundated with applications every year, having received more than 150,000 since it opened in 2013. Applicants are whittled down during the Piscine, 42 School’s introductory coding challenge.
Information about 42 School’s acceptance rate is not publicly available. To have a chance of earning one of the few available spots in a given cohort, you must first beat out a large group of your peers in the Piscine.
The application process for 42 School has four simple steps. Instead of getting to know you through interviews, the school starts the process with a Piscine.
While there is no formal interview, 42 School looks for five distinct traits in Piscine participants.
These traits let 42 School know you’ll take full advantage of its program once the admissions process is complete.
Because of 42 School’s Piscine process, no preparation is necessary before applying to the program. The school only requires students to know how to use a keyboard and mouse. If you’re interested in more structured preparation, you may choose to learn C and other object-oriented programming languages before the Piscine.
If you think you have what it takes to make it into the program, 42 School is worth it.
When deciding whether the program is right for you, it’s important to keep in mind that the program requires years of commitment on a self-paced schedule. If you’re willing to commit, you can tailor it to your desires. Whether you’re interested in becoming a data scientist, a web developer, or a machine learning engineer, 42 School will have something for you.
Because 42 School students design their own learning paths, it is hard to generalize about job placement. That being said, most students find themselves job-ready after 10 months of study at 42 School. Alumni have gone on to work for a number of large companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Uber.
No, 42 School does not offer a job guarantee. It does, however, help students network with potential employers through its internship programs. Students are required to complete a four-to-six-month internship as part of their training. They are also encouraged to apply to two other internships, including a six-month internship at the end of the program.
You should apply to 42 School if you want to attend a school that does things differently. This bootcamp’s unique model can be challenging because of its heavy reliance on self-motivation. But it’s gotten praise from tech leaders at companies like Snapchat, Facebook, Slack, Stack Overflow, and more.
If you think you have the passion, creativity, and flexibility for a self-guided, one-of-a-kind program, you should give 42 School a shot.
Find a training program that will help you start your tech career journey.
Get matched to top coding bootcamps