42 Wolfsburg is a unique Software Engineering Academy, where self-directed learning and expert mentoring, group fun and individual performance, superb campus facilities and career prospects come together. At 42, programming is not taught in a lecture hall: the training we offer is fully practical and based on the principles of sharing, collaboration, and peer-evaluation.
NO COURSES. NO TEACHERS. NO CLASSES.
Thanks to its innovative teaching methods, 42 is able to offer effective training without resorting to lectures. In order to progress at 42, you have to work in groups, collaborate with the community to overcome challenges, and share your knowledge and experience with your peers. You don’t learn programming by copying algorithms on paper!
A PROJECT METHOD
At 42, students take ownership of their learning experience through a 100% practical curriculum. Surpassing oneself is the only way to move forward but you can always count on the strength of the group. Ask for and share information, learn and teach at the same time. This growing collective intelligence helps students understand how an actual professional environment works.
FAILING IS PROGRESSING
At 42, failing is not the end. It is AN end. It’s the path to success: test a program, understand your mistakes, correct them and move forward. At 42, you are rewarded for finding your own solutions. This is not about mindlessly copying somebody else’s solutions.
If you apply to 42, don’t expect a ‘knowledgeable’ person to teach you anything. You have to find the answers by yourself or ask your fellow students to show you and explain things that you, in turn, will teach and transmit to someone else. This method allows you to move forward and sharpen your skills through research, experimentation and learn how to defend your personal approach to solving any given problem.
In conventional pedagogical approaches, evaluation happens at the end of the curriculum. At 42, evaluation takes place collaboratively on a regular basis. Peer evaluation requires students to evaluate each other’s work with the help of a grading scale established by the pedagogical staff. This system supports dialogue and allows sharing advice that will help students move forward and explore alternative solutions. There is never one definitive answer at 42. There is not one single formula you must reproduce and learn by heart.
GROUP WORK IS NOT CHEATING
In a classroom, it’s usually ill-advised to join forces or share advice in order to solve a problem. At 42, it’s the other way around. When projects get too tough to tackle, creating a group helps share different points of view. By approaching someone struggling with the same problem, you can share your thoughts and perspectives. Everyone brings something to the table so that, together, you can understand complex concepts and learn how to complete a project.
LEARN TO LEARN
Rather than focusing on one specific field or programming language that will quickly become obsolete, 42 offers its students the tools to tackle the technological changes they will face throughout their careers. At 42, students will “learn to learn”, thereby developing the ability to adapt and find concrete solutions to real problems.
You have to excel in order to progress. However, once you’ve reached a dead end, the first reflex is to ask advice from the people around you. Projects carried out alone or in a group must first be discussed and then evaluated by other peers, who have not necessarily progressed at the same pace as you. In these moments of exchange, you have to justify your decisions, give arguments on “why” you decided to solve the challenge like you did. These moments help consolidate personal learning and share knowledge with the community. Collective intelligence, which allows good practices to emerge and groups to advance, plays a major role at 42.
HAVE FUN LEARNING
42 offers a motivating and fun environment, anchored in the logic of play, known for improving knowledge-retention and the well-being of students. After failing, you try again until you pass, just like in a video game. Projects earn Experience Points. You move along the curriculum as you pass various levels – and the skills you’ve acquired appear on a personal record on the Intranet.
LEARNING THROUGH PRACTICE
Learning at 42 involves seeking concrete solutions to the problems you face – rather than having to memorize lessons without any practical applications. From your very first steps at 42 – namely, the Piscine – you are asked to think for yourself in front of a computer. Of course, no one expects you to be able to do everything from the start: Failing and making mistakes are not penalized. In fact, failures and mistakes are a better way to learn than lectures. At 42, making errors and messing up are simply an invitation to try again, just like in a video game.
THE CREATION OF 42
42 was founded in 2013 by Xavier Niel, founder and principal shareholder of Iliad. His main objective was to support the French economy by filling the gaps in the market with capable, digital professionals. Co-founders Nicolas Sadirac, Kwame Yamgnane and Florian Bucher developed 42 as a solid solution to the problem. It would be a free school that cared about where its students wanted to go, rather than where they came from. Sophie Viger breathed new life into 42 as Head of School, by developing the network and relationships with global partners. She also rooted for diversity at 42, removing the upper age limit and carrying out actions for a more diverse and inclusive environment in IT schools.