Holberton School Announces Corporate Partners Network

Exciting news – Holberton is introducing a new Corporate Partner’s Network as a way for organizations to support the vision of bringing diverse and qualified talent to the tech industry. Joined by Google, Scality, Accenture, and CloudNOW, Holberton is creating a way to further its dedication to providing quality tech education to the most. These Corporate Partners are in the unique position of being able to nurture their dedication to diversifying the tech industry while simultaneously benefiting as a direct result.

Holberton School Students participating in a Scality Hackathon

 

Why should you be a part of this?

At Holberton, quality and diversity are congruent. One of the reasons Holberton attracts individuals from varied backgrounds is thanks to its automated application process. Throughout the process applicants are given problems to solve, while remaining anonymous. This allows prospective students to focus on the content rather than how they are perceived by an admissions panel. This underscores that talent and motivation are what’s important at Holberton.

The no-upfront-cost model also helps the school to offer opportunities to students of many diverse backgrounds. It’s not news that often times the barrier blocking individuals from post-secondary education comes down to the financial stress. Holberton’s chosen formula of learn first, pay later opens the possibility of further education to many that would otherwise not be able to afford it.

At Holberton School, quality is key. The combination of project-based and peer learning allows students to learn in a more creative way. “Holberton School offers a truly innovative approach to education: focus on building reliable applications and scalable systems, take on real-world challenges, collaborate with your peers. A school every software engineer would have dreamt of!” explains Kate Volkova, Sr. Software Engineer at Microsoft. They say the mark of truly mastering a concept is when you are able to explain it simply to a peer. Holberton’s curriculum is a crash course in exactly that methodology.

 

How can you get involved?

Recruit directly from our diverse and highly-qualified talent pool. Being a part of Holberton School’s Corporate Partners program offers organizations the exclusive opportunity to hire students directly from the source. Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google and anointed “father of the internet”, boasts Holberton’s curriculum “In their internships, students end up getting exposed to a pretty broad range of stuff at Google and that helps reinforce why they learned what they learned and why it’s important…” Holberton School is producing talented software engineers who have landed positions with companies like NASA, Tesla, LinkedIn, Apple, and Dropbox. Our students are not only landing jobs, they’re receiving 95% positive feedback from their managers.

Donate to help students with their cost of living. San Francisco’s cost of living is 62.2% higher than the national average. Our Corporate Partners are working to alleviate some of that financial burden. “Scality is excited to be a part of Holberton’s Corporate Partners Program where we can give back and positively impact our shared goal of removing barriers for those who cannot afford traditional higher education.” says Giorgio Regni, Scality CTO and Holberton Corporate Partner.

 

Holberton School co-founders, Sylvain Kalache and Julien Barbier pose with Board of Trustees Member Ne-Yo who is focusing on diversity at Holberton.

Interested in joining our Corporate Partner’s Network? Register here!

Navigating Your Way Through Tech

It’s no accident that Ludovic Galibert is finding success in his career. Senior Software Engineer at Netflix, he came to chat with Holberton School students about the ins and outs of navigating the tech industry from an engineer’s point of view. Holberton Students Sue Kalia and Lee Gaines interviewed Ludovic; asking him a myriad of questions from interview advice to favorite Netflix shows. Ludo detailed many pro tips including advising students to obtain a public library card and espousing the importance of what he referred to as ‘soft skills.’

The emphasis on development of professional soft skills (i.e., – effective communication, teamwork, etc.) ran a constant thread throughout all of Ludo’s answers. When asked about what characteristics a good engineer should have, he pointed to traits such as ‘determination’,  ‘resilience’ and being a ‘team player’ as well as noting not to “underestimate things like social skills and communication. You’ll have to talk to and work with a lot of people.” You can see these elements becoming habits by looking at Holberton’s curriculum. For example, all students participate in a project where they are split into two teams and each team self organizes into a corporation; there’s a CEO, a marketing “department”, a product development team, etc. Both teams are given the same problem and it’s a race against when the clock strikes 5:00 to solve the problem in a more efficient way than your opponent. Now that is certainly the type of project that produces resilient team players, that know how to communicate!

Furthering his point, when asked about how to go about landing an engineering job his answer focused on gaining experience, as well as interview preparation – “any type of interview here in Silicon Valley, or generally in tech, it’s all about preparation.” Preparation for interviews goes beyond learning the code. Interview preparation includes skills ranging from technical understanding to understanding social cues.

When Sue asked Ludovic if he had made any mistakes throughout his career, we gained an even clearer insight into the importance he places on soft skills. He gave an anecdote of a time when he wished he had been more selfless as a mentor to a group of junior engineers;

I would go back and learn more about mentoring because it’s really important for the next generation to think about that – take time to help people. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a mentor for Holberton.”

During the student Q&A, Ludo touched on a couple of the industry’s current pain points including diversity and inclusion. He reminded the audience to remember not to get so wrapped up in your career that you forget to take a step back and help people around you. It is clear Ludovic has a handle on the larger picture. Engineering success seems to be a delicate balance of technical and non-technical skills.

 

Watch the full interview here.

Ludovic Galibert, Senior Software Engineer at Netflix & Holberton School Mentor, designs and implements highly scalable tools and services that indirectly impact millions of users.

Courageous Coding

Last night we were joined by Batch 2 rockstars, Naomi Sorrell and Kristen Loyd, who shared their secrets to maintaining success within the Holberton program with their pro tips and advice. In other words: it got real! The pair of students understand that there are many emotions and moods that come along with the fast paced nature of this program, and recognize that the struggle and the hard work make the learning much more gratifying.

They focused on ways to manage the course load with a few strategies that each student can mold into their own. The main strategies were broken down into six categories or themes:

  1. Assessing the situation
  2. Whiteboarding
  3. Time Management
  4. Communication
  5. Self Care
  6. Support Network

To highlight a few golden nuggets of wisdom, let’s focus on a few of these. Whiteboarding is something that Kristen and Naomi take seriously! The two regaled us with an anecdote of a four day project they were given of which they spent three of those days solely whiteboarding the code for understanding. This was the main point of the two aspiring engineers. They both agree that whiteboarding helps them fully understand the code they’re going to push out before they jump right to their computers. Check out Kristen walking us through a problem here.

Time management is something that so obvious that many forget to budget their time. Naomi suggests using timers to keep yourself on task. She explains the feeling of frustration from working a problem and getting the same error over and over. However, with a timer you can measure your progress. She suggests picking a length of time that feels comfortable for you and once you hit 20, 30, or even 40 minutes the timer will go off and signal to you that you should reach out and ask someone for help.

Building and embracing a strong support network seems to be the secret sauce. Both Naomi and Kristen emphasize the strong community aspect at Holberton as an underlying catalyst for their success. Actions as simple as understanding when your partner needs to take a walk around the block, grabbing a quick sweet treat, or even just asking a classmate for help all aid in creating the strong bonds we see between the students.


When following up with Naomi and Kristen they shared some final thoughts with me that seem to sum up the culture and environment Holberton prides itself on. In their own words:

“Grateful for such an engaged community that is always cooperatively exploring ways to grow as future engineers and empathetic humans.” – Naomi Sorrell

“Energized by the amount of conversation it sparked during and after the workshop; we are continuing to create a supportive community where we grow as individuals and take ownership of our education and goals.” – Kristen Loyd

Chat with Naomi about all things tech & community on Twitter and LinkedIn
Kristen loves to talk tech & whiteboarding on Twitter and LinkedIn

Batch One – Year One complete and it rocked our socks!

Our batch 01 students have graced the halls of Holberton and as their first year winds to a close, we have some exceptional success numbers!

80% of batch 01 students are already working in the tech industry as software engineers. WOOT!

 

 

Students have landed jobs and internships in companies like Tesla, Apple, NVIDIA, Scality, Dropbox, Docker, Shopkick and so many more exciting startups. Our program lasts a period of 2 years, but many of our students already have jobs within the first year! How cool is that?

If you haven’t checked out the video of our students story yet, take a few minutes and watch it here.

Hear what some of our students have to say about their current roles in the tech industry:

 

 

Swati Gupta, Software Engineer at NVIDIA says,

 

Holberton prepared me with tons of useful skills that are needed for a fast paced tech job, not just technical skills but soft skills too. I learned how to navigate, how to find the right tools and when to seek help. It made me a constant self learner, always adapting and accommodating to new information. The projects I did at Holberton were targeted at exposing all stacks of an application and based on latest technology, for instance the exposure to use docker containers. Because of the training I received at Holberton I feel more confident and prepared for my work life at NVIDIA

 

         

 

Anne Cognet, Software Engineer at TESLA says,

 

Holberton helped me get my internship at TESLA in so many ways. The school curriculum constantly pushed me to go deeper and do better. My classmates were very supportive, their approaches and questions helped me understand new concepts and gave me new ideas for solving problems. The school network helped me polish my resume as well. At my workplace, I am understanding & implementing the topics that I learned at Holberton. I believe the school gave me a strong foundation I can rely upon, and that makes me learn faster.

Before we look ahead to accomplishing anything further, we wanted to thank our community of mentors, students and team who helped make this year such a success.

Applications are now open for the January 2018 batch, you can learn more about it here.

Summer 2017 | Holberton Coding Camp

 This Summer, we introduced our very first Holberton Summer Coding Camp!

Eight shining stars from multiple different high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area went from no programming experience to web development rock stars in 3 short weeks.

 

 

Our campers were high school students aged 15-18 years old with no previous web development experience. They joined our camp wanting to discover new skills and explore the tech industry.

Over the course of 3 weeks, students learned the fundamentals of web development (HTML, CSS, JS), and then took their new found skills to build their own multi-paged websites from A to Z. They even added some extra pixel dust to their websites with super cool CSS animations, embedded links, menu bar and web content. An impressive feat for any software engineer, let alone beginners! 

Technical skills were the focus over the three weeks, but their soft skills were sharpened as well, especially public speaking! Our campers learned how to present in front of people and explore the art of networking with professionals.


 

Every week, students visited some of the hottest tech companies in the SF Bay Area namely Salesforce, Trinity Ventures and exciting startups like Scality and Twitch. They discovered what working in a tech company looks like and realized the value and importance of having a professional network. More than that, they understood what it takes to be a software engineer!


 

At Holberton we have no formal teachers, students learn by helping each other in the projects and our Coding Camp was no different. Our campers went through the sweet journey of practicing peer learning while working hard to code their websites, but were also well supported with current Holberton students and mentors, who are professionals working in the Tech industry.

 

         

 

Our amazing mentors held workshops for our campers to build new skills. Ayesha Mazumdar, UX Engineer at Salesforce, led our campers through an animation workshop. Jennie Chu, a Holberton student, now Software Engineer at SeeSaw, taught our campers how to solder to make keyboards from scratch. The cherry on the top was when NE-YO personally called our campers to talk about their goals in life and how they could achieve them after breaking the programming-ice with Holberton!

 

 

Every day was about having fun while learning with mentors, peers, staff and of course eating a whole lot of french brie & baguette (After all we are a french led startup)! 

The students had the motivation and drive within, all they needed was an eye opener like our camp to empower them to discover their capabilities in software engineering.

Hear what our campers had to say about their experience at Holberton:

“ Anyone considering being a software engineer would benefit extremely from this camp. What really sets the camp apart is that you get a taste of how the real world works in tech. The project of building your own website can be compared to doing a project in a company where you ask your peers/co-workers for help.”

“This camp offers great opportunities, and the experience is amazing. They also teach very important skills that don’t only apply to the tech industry but life in general (ex. learning how to learn).”

“I had no idea how to code coming into the camp, and after 3 weeks I understand code and technology way better. It was a great experience overall. Also, the opportunity to visit big companies in the city is hard to find anywhere else.”

Our first summer camp was a success, and we will keep taking initiatives to give the world the talent it deserves. If you’re interested in enrolling for our next coding camp, please fill out this form and we will keep you posted on future camps!

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 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)

Before Holberton School, I was…

Holberton School is open to anyone, regardless of your professional or academic past. No programming experience is required. Our selection process is based only on talent and motivation, with no consideration given to gender, nationality, ethnicity or social status. Listen to our students’ stories and what they were doing before Holberton School…

Zee Adams

I was studying a Master’s of engineering in Technology Innovation Management at Carleton University. I decided to pursue this degree because I wanted to create my own Tech startup. I had a great product idea, entered an incubator and I had plenty of meetings with interested investors. The biggest question that kept coming up was: “who will build the product? Who is your technical co-founder?”. So I decided to start learning on my own but it was too difficult, there are  many resources online, but there is no structure and I did not know where to begin. The guidance that Holberton School provided through its project based curriculum and the exchange with mentors are teaching me the skills that I need to build a strong product for my startup.

Follow Zee on twitter  – Connect with Zee on linkedin

 

Siphan Bou

I used to work in a marketing consultancy firm, working closely with customers and the development team to iterate on the marketing analytics solution we were selling. The more time I was spending with the development team, the more I understood that their job was more interesting than mine. So I started to learn front-end development, for fun. I had not considered a career in the field at all. I had a strong preconceived idea that one should know everything about computers to be a Software Engineer. One day, I found out about Holberton School and started the application process, again for fun. When level2 started and we had to build a website, I became addicted. I felt that the experience was so self-developing for me… That’s how I discovered that this would be my next thing, something that I wanted to spend most of my time doing.

Follow Siphan on twitter – Connect with Siphan on linkedin

 

Ian Wagener

I was in High School and also working as a delivery driver on the side, I realized my passion for computers in senior year of High School (even though we had no computer class). I knew for a while that I was attracted to software but I was not aiming to enter the industry. My dad and step-dad are both in the field and that helped me to get interested more about it. My dad realized how valuable Holberton School would be and told me that if I wanted to give a shot to computer science, this would probably be the best option. So I started the application process and I instantly realized that I loved it and wanted to start a career in the Tech industry.

Follow Ian on twitter – Connect with Ian on linkedin

 

Steven Garcia

I had a strong interest in technology for a while, I started as a mechanical engineer major but soon realized that I was very interested in what was behind the scene, the “brain of the machine”, which is actually software. That’s why I decided to switch to computer science major, but it had more requirements, mathematics and physics classes, most of my time was dedicated to things that were not about what I wanted to do: writing code. I actually took 2 programming classes, the first one was about C++ and we never used a computer; we were writing code on a piece of paper. It was really boring as I never executed the code, I never understood what we were actually doing. The second class was a Java class, we were using a computer, but building useless and meaningless software, I did not see the point. Then I heard about Holberton School and then I got in!

Follow Steven on twitter – Connect with Steven on linkedin

 

Kristine Bredemeier

I graduated from a small liberal arts school where I studied community art and got a certificate in urban studies. I wanted to use art to change the city. I started to work for Apple in Chicago as a Sales Representative and quickly transitioned to Visual Merchandising. I also worked as a nanny one day a week for a family with five girls, which only left me with one day off per week. Then I saw my dad starting to teach programming at the high school level and enjoying it a lot. We were often discussing his experiences and I also had a lot of friends in web development who happened to also be artists, and they were encouraging me to try coding, so I went for it. Then I discovered Holberton School and the application process was so fun, interesting and nicely formated that I decided to take a chance and apply.

Follow Kris on twitter – Connect with Kris on linkedin

Want to be part of the community and become a Full-Stack Software Engineer? Apply now!

PS: Thank you Laurane Graulier for making this video!

Welcome, Hippokampoiers!

Today, we are very proud to announce that we have selected the 33 students for the inaugural class of January 2016. Yes, we announced that we would select only 32 students, but there were just too many great applicants. Please join us in welcoming team Hippokampoi!

hippocampoiers

The selection process

To become students at Holberton, candidates had to go through our four-step selection process, based only on talent and motivation, and not on the basis of educational degree, or programming experience. We designed the selection process to be the beginning of the curriculum so that applicants start learning through it. No programming experience is required at all. It consists of four different levels:

  • Level 0 – Fill out a short online form about yourself (~2 to 10 minutes)
  • Level 1 – Small online projects and tests that applicants can do at their own pace (~2 to 10 hours of work)
  • Level 2 – A step by step challenge during which you will create your first website, with a specific deadline (~50 hours of work)
  • Level 3 – On-site or Skype interview

zee_quote

Level 2 is a hands-on project, designed for beginners, during which applicants create their first website, from A to Z. Not only do they build a website with HTML, CSS and JavaScript but they also install and run their web server (Apache) on a Linux machine (Ubuntu) using the Linux command line. Here is an overview of what applicants did during Level 2:

  • Access a distant server using ssh
  • Learn the very basics of the Linux command line
  • Install software on Linux
  • Use the Emacs text editor
  • Install a web server on Linux
  • Read a configuration file
  • Use HTML, CSS and javascript to build a website
  • And most importantly: search for information and help each other

From 1,338 applicants to 33 students

Here are some stats about our funnel. Since the announcement on Sept 29th, 1,338 applicants started the admission process. Overall, the 33 students of the January class represent the top 2.5% of all applicants. Congratulations to them!

admissions-stats

 

Women performed better than men

Women performed better than men on average during our selection process. At the very top of the funnel, women represented 20% of our visitors.

sessions-male-female

And at the end of the funnel, 40% of our students are women. Note that Level 0, Level 1 and most of Level 2 are completely automated. It’s only at the end of Level 2 that we are hands-on because we need to check the projects of the applicants. Level 3 is an interview, during which there is also a technical test on Linux. Here is our funnel in terms of gender percentage:

women-stats

Connect with Holberton students

In the past weeks, they have already set up their servers and installed different applications, including a blog where you will be able to read more about their lives and what they learned at the school. Also, you can follow them on Twitter and say congrats by tweeting at @hippokampoiers!

Interested in becoming a full-stack software engineer?

Applications are now open for the next two classes, starting in May and September 2016.

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