Holberton > Articles by: Sylvain Kalache

First international botathon organized by VentureBeat

VentureBeat Botathon San Francisco

The first international Botathon organized by VentureBeat, San Francisco edition, took place at Holberton School. The school is training full-stack software engineers with an innovative approach: no formal teachers, no lectures, students learn by working on projects and happened to be learning about deep learning and neural networks which recently rapidly evolved  — offering great opportunities to build the bots of tomorrow.

The goal of the Botathon was to build bot prototypes taking advantage of these recent improvements and to explore market possibilities. It is interesting to notice that most bots used Slack or Facebook as communication channels, reducing user friction and acquisition but also leading to harder monetization strategy. Bots makes users life easier: tracking food intake (Amino), finding the dream home (Real Estate Assistant), booking your next restaurant or doctor appointment (Host Buddy)… The oddest (in my opinion) (Stop,dating bot) was offering to let a bot handle a breakup with a lover over text message.

Two bots were dedicated to the Tech industry: (Oxy) which allows developers to interact with their servers via a bot and (Ibo) a recruiting platform that would take care of chatting with the candidate, scan the resume and adapt the set of questions depending on candidate’s skills and how the candidate performs on give exercices.

The event was judged by

The winning team, composed of Omar Sharif and Mike Chang built a waiter replacement: Botender. Contrary to other hacks, the bots was using SMS to taking customer’s food orders, menu questions, payment and even bill split(Stripe integration). Customers can quickly get their food and leave as soon as they want via a few text messages. For restaurants, they can reduce staffing and improve customer satisfaction with quicker and better service (the staff can focus on service and hospitality). And because Botender is over text message, it reduces the friction – no need to install any app.

 

The hacks quality was very high and all bots actually worked. While we are at the beginning of the era and some bots might actually not be as efficient as our good old web forms, we are definitely creating interesting cases. The web industry is entering a new era where a big chunk of websites will be replaced by AI, it’s time for developers to start getting skilled!

Video of the event here:

TechCrunch Senior Software Engineer taking over our Snapchat account

Nicolas Vincent Senior Software Engineer at TechCrunch is taking over Holberton School Snapchat account.

Nicolas has been a Senior Software Engineer at TechCrunch since October 2012. As part of the dev team, he was one of the core developers for TechCrunch’s redesign in 2013. He is also a mentor at Holberton School. Prior to this, Nicolas was working as a Web Operation Engineer for the famous hospitality exchange website CouchSurfing.

Nicolas Vincent

Born in San Francisco, but raised and educated in France, Nicolas graduated from EPITECH with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. During his 4th year at Epitech in 2010, he attended California State University, Long Beach, and UC Berkeley for a yearlong exchange program.

He will share what it is like to work for the most notorious Tech blog in the Silicon Valley, snap him if you have any question!

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!

Announcing 14 new mentors, including Software Engineer at Apple and Volunteer Instructor at Girls Who Code

Today we are proud to announce 14 new Holberton School mentors, including Sergey Skrobotov, Software Engineer at Apple and Lamia Himdach, Volunteer Instructor at Girls Who Code. They join our team of more than 100 mentors.

Sergey Skrobotov Holberton SchoolLamia Himdach Holberton School

Mentors are the backbone of our school, sharing their experiences with students by giving speeches, participating in Q&A and even 1:1 mentoring sessions, organizing workshops and more. Thanks to them, Holberton School students get acclimated to the Tech industry while still at school. We are very proud and honored to have such amazing people joining us today.

Please join us to welcome them to the Holberton School family!

Interested in becoming a mentor at Holberton School? Join us!

Github, an important piece of a Software Engineer résumé

Tech companies in the Silicon Valley tend to pay more attention to what candidates can technically achieve rather than look at their credentials. An obvious way of doing that is by looking at code candidates wrote, having a Github account with up-to-date code is a must-have in today’s Tech industry. It gives the opportunity to potential employers to easily see a candidate’s coding style, what types of technologies they worked with, and their fun side-projects. That is also a the place where many open source communities are contributing on open source projects.

That’s why Holberton School students will publish all their school projects on Github. In order to easily find the projects that have been done at school, their repositories will start by a “holbertonschool-“.

To see what students are working on, follow them on Github:

15206187 1128096 14942097 14990027 aef15fc24afaf303bbf1a792dd3b965b_400x400 15208707 11673286 q8XtwJ0q_400x400 16272402 15152564
tqt1deWT_400x400 15352975 9385603 16140275 9006279 1478812 14954938 14966415 13665257
tasneemfarag 13520749 U2uHlp4I_400x400 15389761 16113819 16201809 16494925 15207067 XIgjU2F6_400x400 14943616 (1)
1935448 13091946

Achievement unlocked: Holberton School is ready!

After months of work we are happy to share pictures of Holberton School in San Francisco, ready to welcome our first students. We celebrated the milestone by organizing an opening party with students, parents, mentors, investors and friends who helped prepare the space.

#holbertonschool crew! #edtech #sanfrancisco #school #softwareengineer #grouppic #plant #startup

A photo posted by Holberton School (@holbertonschool) on

We got a lot of positive feedback and most of our guests told us: “it looks even better than on the pictures!”. We paid attention to every detail; worked hard to come up with a design that feels welcoming and not nerdy, as we believe that you do not need to be a fan of science fiction to become a great Full Stack Software Engineer.

Here is the slideshow of the party: 2016-01-08-Holberton School Opening

A BIG thank you to Julien Cyr, the genius brain behind the design of the space, to Guillaume Salva, the master Chef of the party, to Guillaume Lesur, who designed and built the network and to all our friends and mentors who helped us set up the space. Thank you everyone for making this possible. And for those who were not there for the party, come visit us and say hi when you are around Battery and Pine!

Nicolas Bacca, IoT Security Expert, Joining Holberton School Mentors

Nicolas Bacca is joining Holberton School mentors team

We are very proud to welcome Nicolas Bacca to the Holberton School mentors team. Nicolas will design and lead the IoT security track at the school.

Nicolas is the co-founder and CTO of  Ledger, a startup designing Bitcoin hardware wallets and other auditable, open and secure Personal Security Devices.  He has been involved in the embedded security industry for more than 15 years as R&D engineer, independent consultant for major industry players; CEO and CTO of several startups. He built the most cost efficient FIDO U2F Security Key implementation with his team, is passionate about optimized code and well implemented security protocols, tries to push for more open standards at every possible opportunity. Also, he is not afraid of nudging closed objects into being more open when diplomacy fails.

In his own words:

The IoT design, privacy and security journey at Holberton will let you peek at interesting things happening at the bottom of the software stack, in this mysterious realm where you just can’t throw more RAM or servers at problems to make them disappear – what powers modern embedded systems such as the Nest, how your data is collected and protected in a network of connected objects, and how to recognize and implement good security and privacy practices.

You’ll build your own Open Source FIDO U2F Security Key from an open development kit that you’ll use to secure your Google, Github or Dropbox accounts even if your password is “Holberton1234” (*), then break your neighbour’s security and fix yours. You’ll acquire solid field experience to make educated decisions, kick broken designs before they get a chance to get implemented and sleep better knowing you helped making your favorite Agency job more challenging.

(*) graduation not guaranteed if you used this password

Hello, World!

Today, we are thrilled to announce the official launch of Holberton School, an alternative to college to become a full-stack software engineer, in two years. We’ve been working around the clock for months and we are now ready to welcome our first class, starting January 2016. Applications are now open!

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A new kind of education

Using project-based learning and peer learning, our mission is to train the best software engineers of their generation.

At Holberton School, there are no formal teachers or formal courses. Instead, everything is project-centered. We give our students increasingly difficult programming challenges to solve, and give them minimal initial directions on how to solve those challenges. As a consequence, students naturally look for the theory and tools they need, understand them, use them, work together, and help each other. They will also regularly interact with industry mentors from small to big companies, including Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Uber…

The combination of project-based learning and peer learning makes Holberton School more engaging for students. They are always hands-on, focusing on building actual applications and solving modern day challenges.

Learn how to learn

As the world is changing faster and faster, we do not teach our students specific programming languages, frameworks or tools, because nobody can predict what will be required of engineers in the future.

Instead, Holberton School teaches problem solving. Students learn whatever they need to accomplish an objective. They find solutions to problems using offline and online resources, imagination, creativity and communication. By doing so, they will be able to adapt faster to unknown challenges they will face in their career.

Betty Holberton

betty_holberton

 

Our school is named after Betty Holberton who was a software pioneer:

  • She was one of the six original programmers of the ENIAC, the first all-electronic digital computer.
  • She worked with John Mauchly to develop the C-10 instruction set for BINAC, which is considered to be the prototype of all modern programming languages.
  • She also participated in the development of early standards for the COBOL and FORTRAN programming languages with Grace Hopper.

And she has done all this despite being victim of discrimination: on her first day of classes at the University, her math teacher asked her if she wouldn’t be better off at home raising children…

We believe that Betty Holberton is a good reminder that women are at the core of software engineering and that more diversity in tech would have a big positive impact. No matter the gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity or social status, everyone should be given the chance to become the next Betty Holberton.

Join us!

Applications are now open for our class, starting January 2016 in San Francisco. Our selection process is based only on talent and motivation, and not on the basis of educational degree, or programming experience.

Rudy, Julien, and I, as well as the whole mentors team can’t wait to meet with the first Holberton School students! Apply now!