Holberton > Articles by: Sylvain Kalache

Hiring Spree at Holberton School

We don’t want to brag or anything…scratch that…we really DO want to brag. In just the first nine months of study in our two-year program, most of our students in our inaugural class have already been offered jobs (or in one case, got funding to start his own company)! And, yes, they still have 16 months to go to graduate.
Holberton School Winter 2016 batch
Holberton School Winter 2016 batch
We could not be more proud of the success of our students and knowing that we have clearly done something right by them in offering the project-based curriculum that we have created. But we have to be clear, it is the students who really have done all the work, from the start, we have just set up the right environment and challenges for them.

 

To get started at Holberton, each student had to prove they not only could be part of the team, but that they wanted to. To become students at Holberton, candidates go through a four-step selection process, based solely on talent and motivation, and not on the basis of educational degree, or programming experience. The selection process actually begins the curriculum so that applicants start learning — and collaborating — through it. The process, which does not require technical knowledge or programming experience, consists of three levels:
  • Level 1 – Small online projects and tests that applicants can complete at their own pace
  • Level 2 – A step-by-step challenge during which applicants create a website. At this level, the candidates are encouraged to begin collaborating, an important component of learning at the school.
  • Level 3 – On-site or Skype interview
Once at the school we give the students progressively more difficult challenges– like waking them up at 2am to fix their servers! Teaching them to learn, not just to spew back facts they memorized. One student even had a summer internship at NASA SETI. This success further goes to show that students from any background, from high school to a cashier at Trader Joe’s or from teacher to customer support representative, all have the same opportunity to create the success that they crave by applying themselves in this self-learning method.

 

So, where have our students been hired?
Our students have been hired by promising startups but also some of the biggest names in technology, while some others have started their own companies and have even raised the starting capital! Many of our students will be moving on as high paid, Software Engineers at companies including Docker, Apple and Dropbox. And if that wasn’t amazing enough, one of our students has been hired at HealthTech, a startup company that had interviewed 100 other candidates before deciding on our student!

 

Get in on the action!
For those out there who are aspiring to be like these students, the registration for our January class is now open for enrollment. Also, check out the video below to learn more about our student backgrounds, we accept students from all walks of life.

Gandi’s San Francisco Office Is Now Home to Holberton School

Holberton School and Gandi will have the opportunity to work side-by-side on training the next generation of Highly skilled Software Engineers.
Holberton School and Gandi will have the opportunity to work side-by-side on training the next generation of Highly skilled Software Engineers.

We are proud to announce a partnership with the leading domain registrar and hosting company Gandi, joining us in the mission to train the next generation of full-stack software engineers.

Holberton School has expanded into Gandi US offices, where it will use the 12 spots to welcome more wannabe full stack software engineers. Gandi has already been supporting us by donating server access, domain names and coaching with multiple DNS keynotes given by Gandi CTO Pascal Bouchareine.

The office is conveniently located 5 minutes away from Holberton School HQ, on the same block as the new San Francisco Transbay Transit Center in the middle of SoMa, surrounded by startup and Tech companies like LinkedIn, Algolia, Twitter and Uber.

Holberton School’s mission is to train anyone to become a Software Engineer using a project based approach: no formal lectures, everything learned by practicing. We heavily collaborate with companies via our network of mentors that Gandi CEO Stephan Ramoin is also part of. Students will now have the chance to be trained along to the talented Gandi team.

Scality S3 Server hackathon at Holberton School

Do you like Javascript? Are you interested in S3-compatible AWS apps? Join us for this hackathon that will take place on October 21–23 at Holberton School!

Attendees will write applications using S3 Server and the Seagate Kinetic rack (disk over IP).

Attendees will have have access to:

  • One or more Kinetic enclosures from Seagate
  • Open source components, including S3Server and kineticlib and eclib in node.js from Scality

Kinetic Seagate rack

Teams of up to 3 people will be judged at the end of the competition on 4 criteria:

  • Execution
  • Performance of the backend (latency, throughput)
  • Design quality
  • Creativity (placement algorithms, rebuild algorithms, etc.)

Competitors will be supervised by Scality engineers specialized in S3Server and other node.js components and Seagate engineers specialized in Kinetic SW and setup.

The judges will be:

The hackathon is free of charge, food and drinks will be provided by Scality and Seagate. Join us!

Understanding the value of Uptime

laptop command line dark siren

Companies creating web applications spend most of their time and energy on building the product: identifying the needs, building storyboards, designing, developing, testing, marketing and pushing to production. Then the Operations team becomes responsible for the work the whole company puts together.

That’s obviously a very important and critical responsibility, Operations teams have to juggle between stability, by making sure that the product is always available, and agility, to support product evolution (described in the concept of Bimodal IT designed by Gartner). Yet no schools are training students for these responsibilities and it is very challenging for the industry to find skilled professionals.

That’s why Holberton School has a system administration and DevOps track, training students to deploy, monitor, scale and be responsible for the uptime of the product that they built. Incident management becomes a mandatory tool. And that’s why we decided to partner with PagerDuty —  to give students access to the best tool to support their uptime.

Students who are using PagerDuty have fast incident escalation, which helps them to have faster incident resolution. For every minute that their website is down, they lose points, which translate very well to the real world points, which are dollars. Holberton School is a full-stack school, students work on all aspects of a web product: designing, coding, testing, shipping, maintaining. Whether they end up working as a full-stack software engineer or in a more specialized role, they will understand the implication at every level of the stack and will make sure that:

  • it fits well with the others parts
  • It will be easy to handle for co-workers

A great incident management tool allows engineers to engage not only the Operations team but other teams, in maintaining the product uptime and performance. This by allowing flexible schedules and escalations policies. On-call developers should have better insight on application-related issues, act faster, which reduces the time to resolution and helps to build a culture of trust and transparency. For junior staff it allows them to quickly gain knowledge by exposing them to every level of the escalation path, at first by shadowing more experienced staff and by then putting them in first line where they can quickly escalate if they are uncomfortable with the issue.

“Uptime is the number one goal of any SRE/DevOps/System administrator team,” said Casey Brown, manager, Site Reliability Engineering at LinkedIn. “Nowadays, well established companies like LinkedIn, Facebook and Google are also expecting developers to be fully responsible for their code in production. Having production in mind and being ready for it is something that every good developer must have, yet no school prepares students to that.”

By following the sysadmin/DevOps track at Holberton School and using PagerDuty, students will be able to deliver on agility, performance, and uptime during their time at the school and career.

 

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!