Holberton > Articles by: Sylvain Kalache

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!

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!