This Innovative University Will Teach You to Code for FREE

Learn to code for free

We talk all the time about how software engineering is one of the best fields to get into.

It’s growing fast and pays ridiculously well — even the internships.

But if you don’t want to teach yourself to code, coding bootcamps and university degrees are both expensive.

At least, until now.

This fall, a FREE coding university called 42 is opening.

The only catch? You have to get in first.

Free Coding University? What? Why?

42 will welcome its first class of 1,042 students in November 2016 at its Fremont, California campus.

It’s actually the second university of its kind; the first opened in France in 2013. The mind behind both schools is French billionaire Xavier Niel.

His admirable goal? To even the playing field for aspiring developers.

“42’s mission is to undercover [sic] the talents of their generation in the field of programming and to do so on a broad scale,” says its website.

“Students are selected neither on the basis of financial ability nor educational degree, but solely on the basis of their talent and motivation.”

To attend, you must be a U.S. citizen or have a valid green card and be between 18 and 30 years old, or less than 18 years old but in 12th grade, by November 1.

How Does 42 Work?

There are no classes, professors or grades. Its pedagogy embraces a peer-to-peer learning system, gamification of progress and the ability to learn at your individual pace.

The coding school’s curriculum takes approximately three to five years to complete, accounting for time spent working part time and also completing mandatory internships.

Although it’s a nonprofit organization and costs nothing to attend, you should keep in mind housing in Silicon Valley is really expensive.

42 will offer rent-free dorms, but only for 300 students.

“We are currently working with the City of Fremont to bump that number up to 600,” 42 COO Brittany Bir told me in an email.

As for who’ll get accepted, the “dorms will be reserved for those who need it the most,” she continued.

“For example, students who are coming from far away will be given priority over those who come from the Bay area,” Bir said.

“However, we must wait to learn more about the socioeconomic data of the students that will be coming to school in order to have an accurate idea of who should be considered for housing.”

Even if you don’t get into the dorms, it’d probably still be worth attending to graduate with, hopefully, a high-paying job — and assuredly, no student loans.

How to Get Accepted to Free Coding School

So, how do you get in?

First, register here.

Then, play two games, each designed to “test your ability to learn and to become a world-class software engineer.”

The first takes about 10 minutes, and the second, two hours. You don’t have to complete both at the same time, but once you start a game, you must finish.

One twist? The games don’t come with any instructions.

“In the absence of an objective in a game, do not panic: this is normal, you can figure it out for yourself,” the website states.

I tried them myself. They’re challenging — and also addicting.

If you successfully complete the games, you might be asked to attend one of 42’s four-week intensive bootcamps, which take place in July, August and September.

Work your derrière off there, and you could be one of the lucky one-third of students invited to join 42’s inaugural class.

Bonne chance, mes amis!

Your Turn: Will you apply to this innovative university?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at susanshain.com, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.

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