Holberton > Articles by: Sylvain Kalache

Celebrating Black History Month

We joined the rest of the country proudly celebrating Black History Month. At Holberton we are committed to bringing diversity to software engineering and having our students follow in footsteps of giants like Roy L. Clay, Sr., Mark E. Dean; Kelsey Hightower and our very own Max Johnson – so many more.

It’s no secret that Black/African Americans are underrepresented in the software engineer population, most sources peg the number below 2%.

At Holberton, 13% of our students are people of color due in large part an application process that removes bias, bias not just for gender or color, but learning style, previous grades, and even zip code. And once accepted, students are part of collaborative learning, making them instantly part of the community. Holberton mentors too work with the students, offering guidance and role models. And don’t forget the tireless work of Holberton Trustee NE-YO.

As part of Black History Month last day, Holberton hosted Senior Software Engineer at Niantic Daphne Larose, for a fireside chat. Daphne works on Pokemon Go and was named one of the Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes. She shared with us how she navigated her career and be the inspiration she would like to see in our world. For sure, Black History Month will have plenty of more successful leaders to celebrate!


How a Holberton Student Went from Working at a Trader Joe’s to Becoming a Well-Paid Programmer

Many think that becoming a software engineer is reserved for math geniuses who spent their lives in front of a computer – “I am not smart enough for that.” Yet, the stories of countless Holberton School students show that their background does not matter and that they have enough motivation and passion; that becoming a developer really is possible.

Dora Korpar is one of these stories. She first came to Holberton with no former coding experience but went on to become a software engineer at a San Francisco startup. And now, Business Insider has decided to highlight Dora’s amazing story.

About four years ago, Dora Korpar was looking for her next adventure. She had finished college but could not find a job and wasn’t interested in continuing her college studies. To pay the bills, she took a job at Trader Joe’s.

As she was catching up with a friend, he told her that he had recently got a job as a software engineering at Apple. He was a philosophy major in college, so Dora knew he never studied Computer Science. That intrigued her and she realized that she too could give it a shot.

Dora went online and tried a few online coding tutorials, learned some HTML and understood that this was something she could both do and enjoy! But she was stuck. “Amidst the sea of resources that are online, I was lost. I was looking for more direction. I ran across an article on an IT site talking about a program called the Holberton School.”

She decided to apply and the application process, which guides candidates to build their first website, sealed the deal; she loved coding. She was accepted, and, long story short, Dora is now a software engineer at Scality, a San Francisco storage company. She could not be happier with her decision to attend Holberton. If you want to read more about Dora’s story, check out the Business Insider article!


Welcoming Holberton first international cohort

group pictures of cohort 8 students in our 3 campuses

This January, on our the third anniversary of the school, we are very proud and excited to welcome cohort 8, our first international cohort, spread across three locations: in San Francisco, New Haven, and Bogotá!

Holberton pioneered a project and peer-learning based approach to train Software Engineers in the US, leading graduated to work at companies around the world, including Apple, Google, Facebook, Tesla and more. Our tuition model, based on ISAs, where students pay nothing until they find a job, is tearing down the financial barrier to a high-quality education and attracting a student body that is shattering the software industry’s lack of diversity. As the model succeeded in the San Francisco Bay Area, we are thrilled to bring it to the state of Connecticut and to open our first international campus in country of Colombia.

Did you know software developer tops the list of the new US News report on 2019’s best jobs? So why not see what all the fuss is about? You have three locations to choose from and more to come!

Join me in welcoming the new students to the Holberton family!


Let 2019 Be the Year Your Career Takes Flight

Year-end and year beginning, is a great time to take stock and think about your profesionnal life. As we move into 2019, think: are you happy with your career?

If you dislike your job, you’re not alone. 70% of 17,000 US employees surveyed said that they were thinking about or actively looking for a new job. According to Glassdoor, 13 of the top 25 best-paying jobs in America are in the tech industry; and by the way, tech is not only hiring like crazy and paying well, but they also offer incredible benefits, perks, and work cultures. Tech is the future and by being part of it, you can help chart the future rather than having it charted for you.

Have you ever thought about becoming a Software Engineer? Not sure you have what it takes to become one?

Holberton students, now working as Software Engineers, show that pretty much anyone with enough grit can make it. They come from diverse educational, income and geographical backgrounds. Ages range from 18 to 58, more than half of the students are people of color, and 35 percent are women. They used to be Delivery Driver, Sociology student, Artist, Sport Coach, and Fruit Picker and now make an average of $105,000 for their first full-time job. With a variety of employers including LinkedIn, Apple, Facebook, and Tesla but also smaller businesses like Scality, Taos and Change.org.

Still not sure? Our free application process is part of the student experience at Holberton. Going through it will give insight into what you would be doing as a student. You will build your first website, no prior coding experience is required!

As Holberton Trustee NE-YO saidTechnical education is the ticket to inclusion in our technology-driven economy”. Becoming an engineer is within your reach – and it can be done without taking out a loan. Holberton is no-upfront tuition school. We invest in your education, and you contribute back financially only when you get a job!

We, at the Holberton School, can train you in two years or less. The application deadline is January 13th, for schools in San Francisco, New Haven, and Bogotá. 2019 be the start of your new career – and your life – to take flight. #NewYearNewYou!

Holberton Is Now An International Phenomenon

Holberton School is going international! As TechCrunch reported – we are thrilled to announce that our first campus outside of the US will open on January 28th in Bogotá, Colombia!

We welcomed our first Holberton School cohort in January 2016. Our mission: to offer affordable, high-quality technical education for the countless talented individuals who would never have access to it otherwise. Since the beginning, Julien and I have aspired to positively impact our society at scale. It was always our hope that Holberton would not be bound only to Silicon Valley, but instead would grow nationally (and it has: to New Haven) to internationally. We are incredibly excited to begin our international expansion in Colombia.

Why Colombia? The country has been experiencing strong economic growth for the past few decades and is determined to be a leader in the digital era. The country is already known to be among the fastest growing sources for IT and digital services. And as large companies experience digital transformations and as founders create vibrant new startups, the need for software engineers is absolutely exploding.

Rappi, Colombia’s first “unicorn” startup valued at over $1 billion, is joining us on this quest. The YCombinator alumni recently raised $200 million, with participation from storied venture firms Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz. Rappi is partnering with Holberton and will contribute to the Bogotá school opening costs, provide mentors and hire Holberton graduates.

The initiative is led by Coderise, an organization that empowers underprivileged youth in Latin America through software programming education as a means to provide skills and access to opportunity for upward social mobility.

Sounds amazing, right? We think so too! That is why we will open a second school in Colombia in June 2019 in the city of Medellín! All of this is only possible thanks to the hard work of Coderise’s Andres Barreto and Hernando Barreto, as well as the amazing Holberton School team. To you all we say THANK YOU!

As NE-YO said, “Let’s make Holberton one of the biggest schools on the face of the planet.”

NFL Player Kelvin Beachum Helping to Offset Living Expenses for Holberton Students

Aligning with our mission to provide high-quality education for the many, we are proud to announce that New York Jets’ Kelvin Beachum has joined our cause. Kelvin, who was recently recognized NFLPA Community MVP for his philanthropic efforts, donated a $10,000 grant to help students offset living expenses.

While San Francisco is the hotbed for developing a world-class software engineering career, it is also one of the most expensive places to live in. Beachum, NFL player by profession, fiercely advocates to increase STEM education for young people, particularly in underrepresented, underserved communities.

“I’m committed to supporting STEM education, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or who just need an alternative approach to help them get started,” said Beachum. “Holberton is filling the gap by offering an alternative to college, making cutting-edge software engineering training available to everyone with the desire to succeed. I’m proud to be part of it.”

Holberton School founders and Kelvin Beachum pictured in front of the Holberton logo
(L to R) Holberton School co-founder Sylvain Kalache, Kelvin Beachum, Holberton School co-founder Julien Barbier

This initiative follows our recent announcement for a new Holberton School campus in New Haven, where the cost of living is only a third of the one in Silicon Valley. We are proud to partner with Kelvin who, as ESPN coined it, is a big man with a big heart.

Kelvin’s donation is among a series that has helped so many students achieve their goal. Previous ones include CloudNow, Scality, Google and Accenture.

Candidates can apply to the scholarship once they are admitted at Holberton School, start your application now!

 

Welcoming Nadine Krause as Holberton School New Haven Director

As many of you know, at the beginning of this month we announced our new campus in New Haven, Connecticut. But what you didn’t know is that we have hired our campus Director, Nadine Krause.

Nadine held human resources roles gaining extensive experience in talent and leadership development, team and diversity and inclusion. She embraces the mission of Holberton School, providing high-quality education for the many, where the often-times forgotten soft-skills, are in the center of our education.

Nadine will assume responsibility for all of the operations and the success of the New Haven campus. She will also focus on building a strong community and corporate partnerships to ensure that our students have access to meaningful internship opportunities, mentors and industry experts. In return, the local employers will have access to the diverse, motivated and well-rounded skill-set of our graduates.

So, join me in welcoming Nadine to the Holberton family!

Holberton School is opening in New Haven, CT!

Our world is entering the fourth industrial revolution, led by software, automation and artificial intelligence. Companies, to survive, have to run at the pace of technology and leverage these tools, or risk becoming the next Blockbuster or Kodak. They need a workforce that is skilled and able to constantly retrain and retool.

Our post-secondary education, that was really developed during the last industrial revolution, is falling behind on equipping today’s students with the skills they need to thrive. Some institutions have managed to adapt – but only for the elite. Only a fraction of Americans can access this Ivy League club.

Tech companies, and really any company that is going through a digital transformation, is suffering from the lack of a trained and diverse workforce needed to take over 500,000 open positions. That’s what Julien and I decided to tackle by founding Holberton in 2015 – provide high-quality education to the many.

We took inspiration from progressive education, a movement that emphasizes learning by doing, problem-solving, critical thinking. A movement that leads students to develop their social skills and become lifelong learners. We wanted to make sure that the Holberton opportunity was accessible to anyone motivated to become a software engineer. We designed a free and blind admissions process selecting on grit, and made the school free until students find a job.

We welcomed our first cohort of 30 students in January 2016 and since moved to a new building that can accommodate up to 1,000 students every year. We have alumni working in Silicon Valley’s top companies including Tesla, Apple, LinkedIn and Facebook. Today, we are making the Holberton School opportunity accessible to even more Americans by opening our second campus in New Haven, Connecticut.

Connecticut has always been known for innovation. Leading in insurance, and a major actor for aircraft & parts manufacturing and ship & boat building. Technology-related jobs grew by an estimated 1,060 jobs in 2017 and contributed $16.2 billion to the state’s economy. In this context, Holberton will both help local companies to successfully navigate the digital transformation they are going through by providing the talent they need and also attract businesses to join the area, as the war for highly-skilled talent rages nationally.

New Haven’s low cost of living is also a big advantage. While the Silicon Valley is providing countless advantages, the cost of living can sometimes prohibit potential students from attending the program.

We have been working hard for months along with David Salinas and his team at District to make this happen, and we expecting to welcome our first cohort of students in January of 2019. Thanks to Comcast, CT Next, District Innovation & Venture Center, Indra and Raj Nooyi, Seedlings Foundation, State of Connecticut, and The Community Foundation for their support. Enrollment have started, apply here!

We Just Closed a $8 million Series A Funding

We are proud to announce that we have just closed a new round of funding. Our Series A, led by daphni and Trinity Ventures and joined by new investor Omidyar Network. This new funding of $8.2 million will allow us to provide the Holberton School opportunity to even more students.

The school’s population has increased 6 fold – enrolling to date more than 200 students. We recently moved into a new location that can eventually accommodate 1,000 students. While we are about to graduate our first cohort, many of our students have already found internships and jobs at companies like Apple, Tesla, Docker, Dropbox, LinkedIn, IBM, Scality and more.

As Julien, our CEO, says “Everyone deserves a first-rate education. Students at Holberton come from all walks of life, from cashiers to musicians to poker players  – as well as right out of high school – without the money, background and education needed to be ‘Ivy League material. With Holberton, they now have the same opportunity as the more fortunate and they leave with skills to learn for a lifetime. Our students compete with Ivy League graduates and get the jobs.”

Holberton School students celebrating
Holberton School students celebrating

We launched 2016, the school is free until students find a job. We use a project-based and peer-learning approach, where students learn by working on projects and helping each other. There are no lectures and no teachers, instead tech mentors who provide guidance to the students both on the curriculum and on their careers via keynotes and fireside chats.

Marie Ekeland, daphni co-founder says that “Holberton is not just supplying the STEM community with the highest level full stack software engineers, they are offering everyone, regardless of race, age, sex or family background the opportunity to be part of this amazing industry.”

Our students have published articles on popular websites and gone on to amazing jobs. Like participating in the future of self-driving cars at Tesla and even a coveted internship at NASA’s SETI Institute, protecting the earth from asteroids.

As our dear Board of Trustees member, NE-YO, said: Let’s make Holberton one of the biggest schools on the face of the planet.

 

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!