Welcoming Ne-Yo to our Board of Trustees

We are very proud to announce that the GRAMMY award-winning artist NE-YO has joined our Board of Trustees. He is taking an active role in attracting underrepresented groups to software engineering by attending Holberton. “I believe that a major key to success in life is the presence of opportunity. Tech is an ever-growing, evolving industry, and I want to assist in opening doors for people across the country,” said NE-YO. “Holberton School is in a unique position to train people of all backgrounds to lead in the digital age. I couldn’t be more excited about Holberton’s mission and model.”

NE-YO interviewed by Holberton students

Our first 3 cohorts have already brought together a diverse group of students, we have 40% women and more than half of our students are people of color. Ne-Yo will help us to bring our success to the next level and will especially focus on Black/African-America and Hispanic/Latino which represents 11% and 8% of Holberton students. Please join us to welcome Ne-Yo onboard, together we will fix education and train the next generation of highly-skilled Software Engineers!

Holberton featured in FastCompany

Holberton was recently featured in a FastCompany video explaining how its innovative education methodology will train highly skilled Software Engineers that the Tech industry is craving for. Inspired by Progressive Education, a pedagogical movement that started in the late nineteenth century, students are developing their problem solving, critical thinking and soft skills by working on projects. At Holberton, there are no formal teachers, no lectures, students learn by doing and collaborating with their peers. Students from Holberton’s first cohort, not due to graduate until early 2018, have already been hired or completed internships at Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Dropbox, NASA, Docker, and LinkedIn.

Check out the video!

Mason, from Musician to Software Engineer at Docker

Mason came to Holberton as a musician after teaching himself how to build a website for his guitar trio. Finding out how much fun it was to code he decided to attend Holberton as a means to amp up (pun intended) his musical career with an education in coding.

Check out the great interview Mason gave and learn more about what lead him down the path to becoming a coding student. Our favorite part? His love for Holberton of course. Here is just a sample of the kind words Mason used to express what drove him to choose Holberton:

“I received a very traditional classical music education, so I’ve always had a deep appreciation for fundamentals and technique. Holberton is a two-year program, and I felt like going to a shorter, 12-week bootcamp that was only focused on a handful of technologies wouldn’t offer me that in-depth experience. At the same time, going back to college was going to take longer and cost way more.

So Holberton seemed to be a really wonderful balance. It’s something in my life I could manage while still pursuing music on a performance level. I gave up my guitar teaching as soon as I started Holberton, but continued performing with my ensemble.”

We are so glad you decided to give Holberton a chance! And we can’t wait to follow your coded music career.

Mason is just one example of how our students come from all walks of life and how Holberton doesn’t require any prior knowledge of coding to attend. It is what attracts so many diverse people from diverse backgrounds. Our student body is a celebration of diversity on every demographic scale, including academic and professional backgrounds.

Holberton Wins the 2017 School Leader EdTech Award

What a great honor Holberton just received from EdTech Digest. We learned yesterday that we had earned an EdTech Leadership Award in the category “School Leader” as part of the 2017 EdTech Awards from EdTech Digest.

Here’s what they had to say:

“From old school to new school, 21st-century education is in the midst of a paradigm shift. Chalkboards have given way to smartboards, desktop clutter to digital clean, disparate data to dashboard clarity, and isolated teachers to connected educators,” said Victor Rivero, who as Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest, oversees the program. “Yet while evidence of the power of technology’s transformative effect on matters of learning is all around us, the power to energize education still lies within us. Holberton is on the leading edge of providing a better learning environment for a new generation of learners, they are changing school culture with purpose-driven project-based collaborative learning and getting great results. We need more of this kind of energy and mission-driven leadership in education.”

Holberton wins the 2017 School Leader EdTech Award

EdTech Digest is a significant resource in the educational community so we are very excited to be recognized with such a prestigious award. Holberton’s mission is to provide high-quality education to as many people, from as many walks of life, as possible.

We are open to anyone — ages of 18 to 128, whether an experienced programmer or not. The selection process is based only on talent and motivation. We enable students from every community and background to have the opportunity to become a software engineer. That’s also why the school is investing in students with no upfront tuition at all. Students contribute back to the program when they find a well paying job, via a percentage of their income.

In fact, applications are now open for the May and September batches: Apply now.

Come see what all the excitement is about.

Happy Birthday Betty Holberton – Software Pioneer

Happy Birthday Betty Holberton!

That’s right, yesterday was the birthday of our namesake, just a day before (today) when we celebrate International Women’s Day in the month when we celebrate women.

Frances Elizabeth “Betty” Holberton (March 7, 1917 – December 8, 2001) was one of the six original programmers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer. Not discouraged, but spurred on when a math professor at the University of Pennsylvania asked her if she wouldn’t be better off at home raising children, Holberton computed ballistics trajectories during WWII and later also participated in the development of early standards for the COBOL and FORTRAN programming languages with Grace Hopper. She is literally one of the mother of the software technology that is all over our life!

Betty Holberton

And so, when my fellow co-founder Julien Barbier and I founded Holberton School to bring Full Stack engineering skills to those who have previously been denied access, Betty seemed like the natural “giant” for whom to name the school.

And we think she would be proud. In little over a year, more that 50% of our students are women and people of color. And they are succeeding!

After the first year, students found internships and jobs at major Bay Area companies including NASA, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Apple, Docker…

Happy Birthday Betty, and thank you for the inspiration!

Is Learning By Doing the Future of Education?

I was recently interviewed by Pat O’Brien on Business Rockstars, “an Entrepreneurial Business Show that brings together some of the world’s biggest and most accomplished CEO’s as well as successful small business owners and Entrepreneurs,” about Holberton. Entrepreneurs are individuals with a lot of creativity, who are able to learn and figure out problems very quickly — a skill that is mandatory for many jobs including a Software Engineering type of job. That’s a big reason why Holberton convinced VCs to invest into our alternative to College based on progressive education, we are training Full-Stack Software Engineers that their portfolio companies need.

Take a look at the full interview:

1 Year of Holberton and Welcoming our 3rd Batch

What a day we had!

On Monday we celebrated. We celebrated our first year and we celebrated our third class of students arriving!

It has been a wild first year. First, we raised a $2 million seed round from investors Trinity Ventures (Dan Scholnick; board of directors, Docker and New Relic), Jerry Yang (co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo!), Partech Ventures, Jonathan Boutelle (co-founder of Slideshare) and we were off. Then we welcomed our first class of 32 students with an automated admissions process that accepted (and continues to accept) fewer than 2.5% of applicants (making it more than twice as hard to enter as Harvard). The process also made Holberton one of the most diverse software engineering schools, boasting a 40% class of women and nearly 50% people of color.

In October, we welcomed our second class of 29 students.And with less than half of their two-year program completed, the first class of Holberton students found internships and jobs at top Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Dropbox, NASA and Docker. And because students are trained to “learn how to learn,” companies remarked on their level of knowledge and skillset and how quickly they learned new languages and integrated with their teams.

On Monday, we were delighted to welcome students, relatives, mentors and investors for nice talks, while enjoying tasty food.

What challenges and successes are ahead for the next year, and the new students? We have some ideas 🙂

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Holberton student interviewed by theCUBE at Google

Dora Korpar, a student from Holberton School first class, was recently interviewed byLisa Martin, host of theCUBE, at the CloudNOW “Top 10 Women in Cloud” Innovation Awards, held at Google HQ.

Dora shared her non-traditional path to Tech. She earned a degree in biology, yet that was not enough for her to find a job, and she did not feel like spending few more years at the University — and frankly — simply could not afford to. She was looking for another career path and fan of solving puzzles, Software sounded like a thing she would like to do. Her interest in computer science grew after one of her friends got a job in the industry without attending a regular college 5-year degree program. Dora has another year as a Holberton student but has already found a job with Scality, a Silicon Valley data storage company working for big corporations such as Comcast or Time Warner Cable, after just 8-months in the program. Listen to the rest of her story in the interview below.

How deep learning and drones can save the world from asteroids?

Sravanthi Sinha Holberton Recode
Sravanthi Sinha, from Holberton first batch, recently spoke at Recode Deep Learning summit in Singapore. She worked on improving the planetary defense using new ways to track meteorites, bad news: in only 3% of cases have meteorites been recovered. Good new: deep learning and drones can help. 

Tell us about your work at SETI in the NASA internship.

I am working as a data scientist on a “breakthrough” project idea — developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to aid in finding meteorites in the field. Currently, meteorites discovered on earth are identified visually through a labor-intensive manual search in the field. And these meteorites tend to be big. Smaller meteorite falls, which are more frequent, are hard to recover. As a result, the number of recovered meteorites on known approach orbits is small. My project is aimed at developing a small UAV — such as a commercially available quadcopter — equipped with cameras and onboard processors that can identify potential meteorite targets in the search areas calculated from triangulated meteor observations. This will make it possible to discover meteorites even from smaller falls. We’ll apply machine learning techniques to sample images in the lab and then the resulting search algorithms will be transferred to small processors on board the UAV. The machine learning will be developed using NVIDIA computing hardware – which will remain in the lab under NASA and SETI Institute control. We expect that the UAV, cameras, and onboard computing processing hardware will all be commercially available items.

 

What does it feel like to be selected for such a competitive internship?

It means everything and I am on cloud nine. I made many sacrifices to come this far and at the end of the day, it gives meaning to my life. It has always been my dream to work at NASA. This internship helped me fulfill that dream it and it’s just the beginning.

 

What is your background?

I grew up in India and I earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad. Next, I was a student intern at the National Resource for Network Biology (NRNB) in 2012. I completed the Google Summer of Code in 2013 and 2014, first as a student and then as a mentor. I published WikiPathways: capturing the full diversity of pathway knowledge (2015) in Oxford Journals.

 

Why did you choose Holberton School for more studies?

I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics but I didn’t have a chance to take a lot of hardcore computer science and programming courses. The curriculum mostly revolved around electronics and embedded engineering with limited software engineering coursework. Holberton School has an amazing vision of fixing the education system. Their coursework, with plenty of hands-on projects, was just what I wanted to transform myself into a full stack software developer. The curriculum is not limited to one language or one web stack. Every week we cover algorithm, low-level programming, front-end, back-end, sysadmin and devops. On top of those tech tracks, we also train on soft skills like networking, public speaking and writing which gives us more confidence and also a huge advantage vs tech-only developers. I am hooked on the program!

 

How is Holberton different in how it teaches compared to your previous education in schools?

At university in India, I attended classes all day, took notes and prepared for exams. But in the real world, a pragmatic experience is what always counts. At university, scoring a higher GPA was the only goal. There were some hands-on labs but mostly it was theoretical. Holberton School’s curriculum gives you challenging projects that teach you how to fix problems and build software.There are no teachers at Holberton School and the program teaches you how to learn instead of focusing on one specific technology. That makes a huge difference in how we address the projects and how we learn from it. The projects are not the conclusion of a class, but it is the source of knowledge. And at the end of the program, not only have you covered a lot of different technologies, but most importantly, because of the way we learn there, we are ready to take on any new challenges. That turns you from a rookie into a pro.

(Slides of the talk available here)

Visit Holberton in San Francisco

Holberton is both exciting and challenging. Students spend the first 9 months of the 2-year program in our office in San Francisco, the heart of the Silicon Valley.

Becoming a great Full-Stack Software Engineer is a lot of work, and students spend hours at the school working on their projects and collaborating with peers. We work hard to make the school comfortable and imitate the collaborative setup that tech companies have in the Valley. Our local community including students, mentors, and guests who attended our meetups. They all loved the school design and we thought we would share also share it with you, our online community!

Are you living close to the Holberton and you are curious to see what is Holberton like IRL? We are organizing tours, get in touch with us to schedule a time: http://bit.ly/holberton-tour