A free programming school called “42 Berlin”, funded by the German industry with millions, opened on Thursday. The campus in Berlin’s Neukölln district is part of an international network that aims to address the blatant shortage of skilled workers in the IT industry.
At the same time, the network also wants to appeal to students with a wide variety of personal backgrounds and thus considerably diversify the group of students. “42 Berlin” is supported by the Volkswagen Group, Bayer, SAP, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom and Capgemini, among others.
There are no teachers
The school works with an unusual concept: there are no teachers or tutors, no “frontal education”, and no age restrictions. The course is organized more like a computer game in which different levels are achieved. The concept is based on the students working in study groups. They had to go through an application process with logical tests and a training camp lasting several weeks.
At the opening, Minister of Digital Affairs Volker Wissing (FDP) emphasized that Germany must create attractive offers for IT talent. “We need to generate interest and support our IT talent to fully exploit the potential of technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing. The Coding Academy 42 Berlin makes an important contribution to combating the shortage of skilled workers.”
Concept “42” comes from France
The programming school implements the “42” concept of a private, non-profit and tuition-free IT school developed by French entrepreneur Xavier Niel. Worldwide, 36 of these training centers in 20 countries still work according to the learning concept. The training company “42 Wolfsburg” was launched in May with the support of Volkswagen.
According to the digital association Bitkom, the need for trained IT specialists in Germany remained high during the corona crisis, with more than 137,000 unfilled vacancies. The “42” schools cannot meet this need alone. About 150 candidates are accepted each year in Wolfsburg and Berlin, so that up to 600 students can study there.
The name “42” is a tribute to the book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by British author Douglas Adams. The number is the answer to the question of the meaning of life.
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