Abu Dhabi opens a coding school with no classes or teachers

'42 Abu Dhabi' has gained endorsements from the likes of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Snapchat's Evan Spiegel

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Abu Dhabi is opening a coding school that has no classes and is free to attend.

Known as "42 Abu Dhabi", the facility will welcome its first students at Mina Zayed next February.

Traditional classes and teachers have been dispensed with and the school relies on peer reviews, coding projects and internships.

A student who goes through the programme over three to five years is expected to emerge a coder.

The school is open twenty-four hours a day and has been endorsed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Snapchat's Evan Spiegel.

"Establishing 42 Abu Dhabi underlines our commitment to provide next-generation education pathways to strategically upskill and nurture a future-ready workforce on a local and regional level," said Sara Musallam, chairwoman of Adek.

"By making coding and code-thinking accessible to people of all levels and abilities, 42 Abu Dhabi embodies the emirate’s vision for a tech-enabled business ecosystem and contributes to our leaders’ vision to build a secure and confident society that is competitive, sustainable and open."

Previous coding experience is not required, but students must be 18 or over and take a month-long assessment.

During those four weeks – including weekends – applicants must work on training exercises, computer projects, sit tests and get to know the other candidates, 42’s website said.

The assessment “starts from scratch and requires no preliminary knowledge – just a mouse and a keyboard”, it said.

If successful, they can join the first batch of students on the self-directed curriculum which aims to teach them how to develop algorithms, build secure networks and create games.

The 42 programme, started in Paris in 2013 by French billionaire, Xavier Neil, has more than 20 campuses all over the world.

The Abu Dhabi branch - a partnership between 42 France and the Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) - is the first in the region and is funded by Ghadan 21.

It is open to Emiratis and residents and anyone interested can register at www.42AbuDhabi.ae. Once fully operational, 750 students can attend.

42 Abu Dhabi is just the latest offering in the UAE to recruit and train a new generation of coders, programmers and computer scientists.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, launched the One Million Arab Coders initiative in 2017 to give free training to a million Arab over three years.

The initiative was intended to spark the imagination of Arab youth and prepare them for an industry that is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in the future.

This month, France's Le Wagon - a coding bootcamp - will offer its nine-week coding course at Dubai Knowledge Park, training beginners in software development.

Coding boot camps started around 2012 and have grown into a global industry worth Dh1.135 billion, according to Course Report, a programming course directory.

Abu Dhabi is aiming to become a world-leading research hub and a desired location for advanced technology talent from around the world.

Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed, chairman of Abu Dhai's Advanced Technology and Research Council, said last month that investing in knowledge development is a top priority.

"Abu Dhabi is now at the forefront of scientific enquiry," he said. "From agritech solutions to pioneering stem cell treatments, we are committed to solving tomorrow’s global challenges today."