Learning Without Teachers and Degrees
That is probably what students around the world have always dreamed of but never saw in real life. School 42 has no teachers, no grades, and no qualifications and it is managed by the former Google manager Max Senges. The aim of this school is to train software engineers in the management forge of the automobile company VW. School 42 is opened in the German city of Wolfsburg and the learning process here seems like a computer game.
VW will need a large number of software specialists in the future for car manufacturing and autonomous driving. In School 42, those people who are interested in software development should continue their education without grades or a qualification. The first 180 students have already started their work. They are between 18 and 57 years old. Anyone who manages the school’s curriculum is then an excellent software engineer.
From Google To VW
The school is an offshoot of Ecole 42. The founder set up this school seven years ago in Paris. It was named after the famous number from the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. There the number 42 is the answer to just about everything in the universe. In the meantime, the idea has spread around, as a result, there are now 33 such facilities around the world. Cooperation, sustainability and participation are key values here.
VW has brought in business IT specialist and philosopher Max Senges as Headmaster. He is considered an unconventional personality. He spent four years with Google in California and then six more years with the company in Berlin. With him at the helm, VW wants to train software engineers a big step forward. He doesn’t see his role as an instructor. Instead, Senges intends to encourage his students to develop the right mindset for solving problems.
Trial and Error
An excellent example of this is the principle of trial and error. You have to try things out until they work. It is essential not to give up prematurely. The students should help each other in their work. It is not enough for those responsible for finding the best. They want everyone to cooperate and support one another. In Germany, you can now fall back on the experience of the other training centres. Therefore, we know that the introductory course takes around a year. The best can even complete it in just eight months.
A six-month internship and specialization follow that. That could be in the areas of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity or mobility software, for example. Ultimately, the success of autonomous driving stands or falls with open systems that allow different systems to communicate. In principle, the training lasts three years. But nobody is forced to do so. If you want, you can work in a company after the internship if you receive a job offer. Experience shows that companies hire around a third of the students straight away.