42 (school)

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42 Logo.svg
Established2013 (2013) (Paris)
2016 (2016) (Fremont)
PresidentXavier Niel
DirectorSophie Viger
Administrative staff
Paris, France:
Fremont, California:
StudentsParis, France:
Fremont, California:
TuitionFree, fully funded by the school
Website42.us.org (US campus)
42.fr (Paris campus)

42 is a private, nonprofit and tuition-free computer programming school created and funded by French billionaire Xavier Niel (founder of the telecommunication company Iliad) with several partners including Nicolas Sadirac (previous director-general of the Epitech school in France),[1] Kwame Yamgnane and Florian Bucher (former executives of Epitech).[2] The school was first opened in Paris in 2013.

Out of more than 80,000 candidates in France, 3,000[3] were selected to complete a four-week intensive computer programming bootcamp called piscine (swimming-pool). Any person older than 18[4] can register for the piscine after completing the logical reasoning tests on the website.

The school does not have any professors, and is open 24/7. The training is inspired by new modern ways to teach which include peer-to-peer pedagogy and project-based learning. The School has been endorsed by many high-profile people in Silicon Valley including Evan Spiegel the co-founder and CEO of Snapchat, Keyvon Beykpour the co-founder and CEO of Periscope, Stewart Butterfield the co-founder and CEO of Slack, Brian Chesky the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Tony Fadell the founder and CEO of Nest Labs, Jack Dorsey the co-Founder and CEO of Twitter, Paul Graham, venture capitalist and co-Founder of Y Combinator, Bill Gurley venture capitalist and general partner at Benchmark.

The school is a non-profit organization and is entirely free, being funded by billionaire Xavier Niel with hundreds of millions of dollars. All the intellectual property belongs to the students. 42 Silicon Valley is the US campus of 42 chartered as a public-benefit nonprofit corporation in the State of California and has been created and funded by the same team from France, in addition to a new partner, the chief operating officer of the US school and former 42 Paris student Brittany Bir.[5] 42 Silicon Valley opened in summer 2016 in Fremont, California in the San Francisco Bay Area.

42's name is a reference to the science fiction book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy written by British author Douglas Adams: in the book 42 is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

In addition to the two official campuses in Paris, France and Fremont, California, the school model was adopted in Lyon, Reims, and Mulhouse, France, as well as in Romania, South Africa, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova,[6] Belgium, Russia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Finland,[7] Germany[8] and the United Arab Emirates[9] with the help and support of 42.


French entrepreneur and businessman Xavier Niel who created and funded 42

Announced on March 26, 2013, 42 opened its doors on July 15, 2013 for the selection phase called La Piscine (the swimming-pool).

Students who passed the first 'Piscines' started training in November 2013.

In an Editorial,[10] Xavier Niel introduced 42, linking the need for it to the state of the French Education.

"Today, the French system doesn't work. It is stuck between on one side the University, which provides training that is not fitting with what the business world needs but is free and accessible to the largest number. And on the other side the private universities (écoles privées), expensive, where the formation is fairly qualitative but leaves the greatest number of talents on the side of the road, even geniuses, that we could find in France."

On May 17, 2016 42 announced they will open a second campus in Fremont, California.[11] The first selection phase (The "Piscine") will start on July 11, 2016.

Students who passed the first 'Piscines' started training in November 2016.

Campus and Cost[edit]

Paris Campus, France[edit]

42 France is located at 96 Boulevard Bessières, in the 17th arrondissement of Paris.[12] The building was acquired from the State in 2011 for 12.6 million euros. The building extends over an area of 4242 square meters. Pictures of the school architecture are visible on the official website. 42 was designed by IN&EDIT Architecture agency.[13]

Fremont Campus, USA[edit]

Logo of 42 Silicon Valley, the American campus of the school

The 42 Silicon Valley building is located at 6600 Dumbarton Circle, in Fremont, California.[14] The building was acquired from DeVry University. The campus is approximately 200,000 sq ft.

This campus has 300 spaces in the dormitories (titled "Nostromo Dorms," located at 34793 Ardentech Court, Fremont, CA 94555) which are completely free of cost.[11] Like the Paris campus, 42 Silicon Valley was designed by AR architectures.[15]

Yerevan, Armenia[edit]

There are currently 29 centers around the world, with 42 Yerevan poised to join these other cities with the mission of providing highly qualified specialists for Armenia’s burgeoning programming industry. 42 Yerevan is one of the primary educational components of TUMO Labs, the educational program of the EU TUMO Convergence Center for Engineering and Applied Sciences. The center is a state of the art STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) ecosystem in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. A nexus for research, education, and startups, the center aims to bridge the gap between local and international industry while providing a link between higher education and business in Armenia. Encompassing 25,000 sq.m., the 1.5 hectare hub will lie adjacent to the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies. The center will function as an open platform for collaboration, with infrastructure for educational programs, STEM research laboratories, and conference rooms. This lively community will also include the French University in Armenia’s Faculty of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. [16]


There are no tuition fees for the entirety of the program. All the running costs for the 10 first years have been personally funded by Xavier Niel a French entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded the French company Iliad.[17] The 42 Silicon Valley campus also has free dorms for those who are the most in need.

Application and Admission[edit]

The candidates must be 18 years or older.[18] No previous diploma is required.

The selection process begins by taking a few online memory and logic tests, which are intended to evaluate an individual's capacity to learn computer programming.

After this there is a second selection which is called the "Piscine" which is an intensive programming session in C programming language which takes place over a period of 4 weeks.

Tuition Style[edit]

42 does not have lectures or practical work supervised by teachers. Students carry out projects proposed by the pedagogic team, and are free to organise their own time.

The schools are open 24/7. Students help each other and use the Internet for their projects.

Students have no time limits in which to complete their projects. They validate the projects by correcting each other's work. Validation of a project increases the level of the students, allowing them to unlock new and more difficult challenges.

During their time at the school, students have to undertake internships. To qualify for an internship a student must have validated a certain number of projects and passed five exams.

Many entrepreneurs hold conferences at the school. 42 school has also forged partnerships with other schools (business schools, design schools etc.) and the hackathon organisation. Students are able to participate in partnership activities if they wish to.


After the "Piscine", training lasts at least three years, and covers the different I.T. jobs linked to development.

The beginning of the program is mainly focused on the Unix development environment with the C-language. These software developments are planned through 40 projects such as the implementation of a basic First-person shooter engine, an engine for an online game and a 3D rendering engine (rasterizer) by ray tracing.

After that there are a lot of other languages students will see like PHP, C++, OCaml and many others. Some projects can also have free language choice.

According to a promotional document about the school program, learning software development is planned through the realization of an arcade game, artificial intelligence or a computer virus.

42 students and people from everywhere in the world can create a new project if they want.


Endorsement in the video for the introduction of the 42 Silicon Valley campus in Fremont, California:

Personalities who came at a 42 Campus for a conference or a visit:

Other schools (licensed - same program)[edit]

Other schools stress educational methodologies such as peer-learning, whereby students are encouraged to assist one-another and self-organize, and project-based learning which favors longer-term, open-ended assignments.

Codecool[19] (Hungary - created in 2014): Codecool is a Budapest based IT EduTech startup which offers a new approach to teaching computer programming with the help of mentors, who guide and transfer knowledge without giving the solution. Working on weekly real life projects with their peers, students graduate with experience required by the market. The 12-month coding course comes with a job placement guarantee that has a 98% success rate. 

WeThinkCode[20] (South Africa - created in 2016): WeThinkCode is a new kind of tech incubator dedicated to eliminate the IT skills gap. WeThinkCode's mission is to source and train Africa's future coding talent. Based on the 42 school programs.

ACADEMY+PLUS[21] (Romania - created in 2014): ACADEMY + PLUS has a completely innovative approach on education: working on projects, peer-learning, the results are measurable, it practically encourages teamwork. a two-year program. The curriculum structure and payment model largely resemble Make university's. Based on the 42 school programs.

ACADEMY+MOLDOVA[22] (Moldova - created in 2016): Academy+Moldova is an alternative and free IT school, launched by Foundation IT Moldova in partnership with the Academy+Plus Cluj-Napoca and Ecole 42 Paris.

UNIT Factory[23] (Kyiv, Ukraine - created in 2016; closed in May 2020): UNIT Factory is an innovative institution which was created as a joint project of Vasily Khmelnytsky's fund entitled as "K.Fund" and 42 (school) which is supported by public institution "Osvitoriya". In May 2020, UNIT.Factory shut down due to the - "tough economic situation".

Le 101[24] (Lyon, France - created in 2017)

19[25] (Brussels, Belgium - created in 2018)

CODAM[26] (Amsterdam, The Netherlands - created in 2018): CODAM is the initiative of Corinne Vigreux, an entrepreneur who co–founded TomTom and has always been passionate about technology, innovation and social mobility. Codam builds on the pioneering work of Ecole 42 in Paris.

1337[27] (Khouribga, Morocco - created in 2018 & Ben guerir, Morocco - created in 2019[28][29]): 1337 was created as part of an educational partnership between OCP Group and Paris 42.[30]

21[31] (Moscow, Russia - created in 2018): School 21 is launched by Sberbank of Russia and currently accepting applications. Education is free and lasts from 1.5 to 4 years.[32]

21 (Kazan, Russia - created in 2019)

Hive[33] (Helsinki, Finland - created in 2019)

42 Madrid (Madrid, Spain - created in 2019)

42 Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo, Brazil - created in 2019)

42 RIO (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - created in 2019)

42 Seoul (Seoul, South Korea - created in 2019)

42 Lisboa (Lisboa, Portugal - created in 2020)

42 Heilbronn (Heilbronn, Germany - created in 2020)

42 Wolfsburg (Wolfsburg, Germany - created in 2020)

42 Abu Dhabi[34] (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - created in 2020) currently accepting applications. In line with the UAE-France strategic partnership and as part of the Ghadan 21 accelerator program, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) partnered with 42 to launch 42 Abu Dhabi, establishing the first school of its kind in the GCC.


  1. ^ Camille Gévaudan (2013). ""42", v'là les geeks !". ecrans (in French)..
  2. ^ Damien Leloup (2013). ""42", l'étrange école d'informatique de Xavier Niel". lemonde (in French)..
  3. ^ "70 000 candidats au départ, 900 étudiants à l'arrivée". Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  4. ^ "42 met fin à la limite d'âge à l'entrée". 42. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Team 42 USA".
  6. ^ French educational model to gamify IT education in Ukraine, Kyiv Post, May 19, 2016
  7. ^ 1337, l'École qui veut former des génies du numérique, Le Monde, September 05, 2018
  8. ^ "About 42 Wolfsburg | The radical new coding school, now in Germany. - Home". 42wolfsburg.de. Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  9. ^ "42 Abu Dhabi". 42 Abu Dhabi.
  10. ^ "L'édito de Xavier Niel". 42 (in French). 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-07-03.
  11. ^ a b "Press release" (PDF).
  12. ^ Olivier Viaggi (2013). "Les locaux ultra design de l'école 42 de Xavier Niel". universfreebox (in French).
  13. ^ "École 42" (in French).
  14. ^ "Adress 42".
  15. ^ "AR website". Archived from the original on 2016-08-06.
  16. ^ "42 Yerevan, About us".
  17. ^ Jacques Cheminat et Serge Leblal (2013). "Free ouvre l'école 42 pour former au numérique". lemondeinformatique (in French)..
  18. ^ "42 Silicon Valley Admissions". Ecole 42 USA.
  19. ^ "Codecool". Codecool.
  20. ^ "WeThinkCode". We Think Code.
  21. ^ "ACADEMY+PLUS". Academy Plus. Archived from the original on 2018-10-09. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  22. ^ "ACADEMY+PLUS Moldova". Academy Plus Moldova. Archived from the original on 2016-07-15. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  23. ^ "UNIT Factory". UNIT Factory. Archived from the original on 2018-04-24.
  24. ^ "The101". The 101.
  25. ^ "19". 19.
  26. ^ "Codam". CODAM.
  27. ^ "1337". 1337.
  28. ^ "New Campus". twitter.com. 6 March 2019.
  29. ^ "CAMPUS BEN GUERIR". 1337.ma. 6 March 2019.
  30. ^ "1337, dans les algorithmes d'une école pas comme les autres". leseco.ma.
  31. ^ "21". Школа 21 (School 21).
  32. ^ "7,000 applications submitted to Sberbank's School 21 in first week". Sberbank.
  33. ^ "Hive". Hive.
  34. ^ "42 Abu Dhabi". 42 Abu Dhabi.

External links[edit]