Who Run The World? Ada!

Happy Ada Lovelace Day, everyone! Software engineers, computer programmers, UX designers… you name the tech position, and chances are you wouldn’t have it without Ada Lovelace’s design of the first computer implemented algorithm. This makes Ada the first ever computer programmer.

Ada Lovelace Day is meant to recognize and honor the various women across STEM. Lovelace was a visionary; and her legacy is being used to inspire the current tech landscape. Ada’s ideas serve as a reminder that innovation is always happening. It was the 1800s when Ada was contemplating the idea behind the computer, pontificating a machine that would one day be able to react to things like ideas and opinions, not just numbers and letters.

The organization Finding Ada holds an annual event on the second Tuesday in October. The event is centered around women in STEM and features talks, workshops, and even entertainment. The main event is produced in London, but many individual ALD celebrations happen all over the globe. To find out what events are happening around you, click here.

Holberton is NOT a coding bootcamp

by Kristine Bredemeier
by Kristine Bredemeier

Last week Bloomberg’s, Sarah McBride, posted a great article on the perils of coding bootcamps. We have, and will continue to say, that many coding bootcamps serve their purpose for different reasons. Maybe you:

Then a coding bootcamp might just be right for you. However, just like colleges, not all bootcamps are the same, so if you are looking into a bootcamp, be sure to do your research.

And while this article is very helpful for anyone considering attending a 12-14 week program, it may have confused some about the nature of The Holberton School in its reference towards us. Holberton IS NOT a coding bootcamp, but rather a software engineering university. We are training highly-skilled software engineers from scratch over a course of two years, the type of engineers who are working at prestigious companies like Dropbox, Docker, Apple or NASA.

The Holberton School prides itself on being an alternative to college and the traditional university style setting. We offer a two-year course that is very different from colleges and coding bootcamps:

  • Everything is learned by working on projects that are becoming increasingly complicated to reach industry level – the curriculum is full-stack, meaning that students master the basics that any software engineer must know, not just a few hyped tools.
  • We cover the fundamentals of Computer Science including data structures and algorithm which are a mandatory piece of knowledge that any great software engineer has. Students are becoming software engineers, but most important, they are learning how to learn, giving them growth potential that will follow them throughout their career. Even after graduation, Holberton School students will continue to acquire new skills without needing to go back to school to learn something.

Speaking of alternative style, we also offer an alternative style tuition method. Unlike colleges and coding bootcamps, Holberton School students are not expected to pay tuition until they have graduated and found a stable job. Then, over the next three years after they land their job, we only ask for a percentage of their salary. It’s win-win for our graduates. They get to learn more than they would in a traditional style setting and they graduate debt free!

So again, while bootcamps are great for teaching the basics of a programming language or framework, Holberton School is training the next generation of software engineers.

Understanding the value of Uptime

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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.