“AI will not replace the skills of 42 alumni!”

42 The Network
3 min readJun 26, 2023

Humbert Ruiz is the Director of 42 Barcelona. With his understanding of the evolving technological landscape and the transformative role of programming skills, he shares his convictions.

What do you like the most about your position?

I love to help people change their lives: I’m passionate about witnessing this empowering process for every person that jumps into the Piscine. We are granting this opportunity to a lot of different people, starting with those who see us as an alternative to university and choose 42 freely. We are also giving a “second chance” to people who already have already established their lives and want to become a programmer. And finally, we are providing an opportunity that may be the only one some people will ever have in their lives. That is what makes 42 a true life-changing program and I am very proud of what we are doing here.

How did you become director of 42 Barcelona?

I was working in the public sector when I first heard about 42. From my position in the Mayor’s office, I had the opportunity to be involved in different projects in digital transformation,educational policies, and public/private partnerships. I was curious so I went to 42 Madrid and was deeply impressed. I was amazed because it was a place where people do not just talk about innovation, opportunities and employability, they make it real. Changing the shape of what lifelong superior education should be was very attractive to me!

Which value do you cherish the most at 42?

To me, it’s the combination of diversity and accessibility. The summer Piscines are the most crowded of the year and it’s a very special time. When we analysed our data, we found a truly magical mix of people, diverse not only in terms of genders or origins, but also in terms of education backgrounds and work experiences. I love that you can have in the same team someone that comes from a private business school and another one who cannot even afford a public university: they are able to work together and share with each other to accomplish their goals.

What do you like the most about how 42 teaches to code?

I always say that the greatest value of 42 is the human factor! You can learn how to code by yourself in your room, for free, only by watching YouTube. But it is very limited. What makes 42 different is that we encourage our students to share, to work together peer to peer on amazing projects, to evaluate themselves, and to develop their professional skills at the same time they learn to code. As artificial intelligence is spreading and changing the way we think about developers, the World Economic Forum and OSCE are already saying that we should stop using the name “soft skills” for such qualities. We should use “top priority skills”. AI will not be able to replace the skills of 42 alumni because it’s not only about programming, but also about developing skills like analytical and critical thinking, managing frustration and teamwork.

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