Fortune

IS 42 THE ANSWER?

A billionaire disrupter of the French telecom market had a radical idea: Build a computer programming school that has no books, no teachers, and no classes. Oh, and make it free. Six years in, has it worked?
Inside 42’s Paris campus, where students must endure a four-week-long admissions process.

BACK IN OCTOBER 2016, James Aylor was scraping by, delivering pizza in Kansas City, having dropped out of college, abandoning his dream of teaching viola. “The voice in my head said, ‘You have no career. No future,’ ” he says.

Then a friend mentioned he had heard about a new, tuition-free coding school 1,800 miles away in Fremont, Calif. Named 42, it required no computer skills or even a high school diploma, and dorm rooms were free. “I said, ‘Yeah, whatever, ha ha, free,’” recalls Aylor, now 30. Still, he decided he had “absolutely nothing

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