On the outskirts of Paris is a very unusual coding school called 42 (named in reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Funded by French multi-billionaire Xavier Niel, it requires no tuition, but that doesn’t mean that getting through school will be easy. 42 accepts only 1,000 students per year, but last year, 80,000 applied. Of those, 20,000 completed the prerequisite online test. The 3,000 best scores got to spend four weeks at 42, and 1,000 of those were allowed to join.
Once accepted into the school, students’ first project involves writing C code from scratch using their handwritten C library functions. Later on, software assigns students projects because, after all, the school has no teachers. Much as in a video game, students work at their own pace until they reach level 21 and graduate. And demand is high for graduates with companies submitting 11,000 proposals for a chance to hire one of 750 interns.
Here is a video 42 put out that has comments from a number of high profile people such as David Marcus of Facebook, Stewart Butterfield of Slack, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter: