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Chitra Rajeshwari Joins Holberton School Board of Trustees

Chitra Rajeshwari

Holberton School, a college alternative educating the next generation of digital workers, today welcomed Chitra Rajeshwari, executive director of Avasant Foundation, a private not-for-profit organization that empowers youth in emerging economies through education, employment, and entrepreneurship, to the board of trustees.

Rajeshwari joins the board to focus on the school’s sustainability, innovation, and its impact on society as a whole. Rajeshwari has been a leader in a number of industries, including banking and travel. She is joining the board of trustees to help Holberton bring affordable, quality education to the many, especially in growing economies across LATAM and Africa.

“Nearly 70 million youth are unemployed worldwide, and that number is only expected to rise further. Looking more broadly at the role of women in labor markets, we found a disturbing trend: the continued uneven progress toward workforce inclusion. The global rate of young women’s participation in the labor force has dropped to 48.5%. It’s imperative that we focus on getting more young people, especially women, into the labor force in order to dramatically improve their lifetime opportunities,” said Rajeshwari. “Businesses are desperate to hire more software engineers and we have a rare opportunity to bring Holberton’s world-class technical education to young people across the emerging markets to help them access today’s life-changing opportunities.”

Rajeshwari joins our collective of trustees which includes Grammy award-winner NE-YO, actor and social activist Priyanka Chopra, CloudNOW CEO Jocelyn DeGance Graham, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel, and Docker co-founder Solomon Hykes. 

“Our mission is to bring high-quality education to people and areas that may not have the opportunity — whether it’s because of geography, money, age, gender, ethnicity or even learning style,” said Julien Barbier, CEO and co-founder of Holberton. “Each of our trustees brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, and leadership to our program. We are excited to welcome Chitra who will help us expand even more rapidly into growing economies.”

Please join us in welcoming Chitra to the Holberton community!

Welcome Holberton School Cali!

Our third campus in Colombia, Holberton School Cali will be training the next generation of Colombian software engineers to help drive Colombia’s digital revolution.

If you’re thinking about how you can get a world-class software engineering application, apply now!

Our newest campus is located in Cali, the third- largest city in Colombia with a population of 3.4M and is home to many of Colombia’s top tech companies like Carvajal, Open Software, Delima, Datecsa, Eficacia, Colombina, Tecnoquimicas, Lafrancol, and more. Within Cali, our newest campus will be located at the local Zonamerica, a special Free Zone to encourage the development of global tech services and multinational companies in Colombia. 

Students who attend class at Holberton School Cali will receive the same Silicon Valley-level software engineering education that helped get students employment at companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Nvidia, and more. And with ourt special curriculum, which is designed to help people become world-class software engineers even without prior coding experience, Holberton will provide more incredible economic opportunities to the population of Cali.

Students who are accepted through our blind application process, which doesn’t test on existing coding knowledge but instead tests the ability to learn, will have the opportunity to join a worldwide cohort with students on three continents. Students at Holberton School Cali will be able to cooperate and learn in parallel with students in San Francisco, New Haven, Bogotáa, Medellíin, and Tunis. Not only will our students learn the fundamentals of programming and the ability to think like an experienced programmer, but they will learn critical international cooperation skills, be able to sharpen their English speaking and writing ability, and the ability to train others who are of a similar skill level. All of these skills will help Holberton students at Cali springboard their career the most well paying job opportunities around.

The Cali campus will feature many of the same great amenities as our other campuses, including collaboration spaces, conference rooms, rest areas, and places to watch content streamed from our other campuses worldwide. The Cali campus, with its location in Zonamerica, will place students in the center of Colombian technological development for the international market.

If you’re currently in Colombia, you’ll want to start your application now. The close date for September 2019 cohort is approaching rapidly, so if you want to be one of the first in Cali to achieve your dream and Define Your Future, start your application today!


To read our press release on our new expansion, please click here.

Holberton School Arrives in Tunis!

We’re proud to announce that our newest addition to Holberton, Holberton School Tunisia, is now open and accepting applications! 

Start our application process now to be ready for the September Cohort: Apply here


Located in Tunis, Holberton School Tunis is our first campus in Africa. In this city of 2.6 million people (across the greater metropolitan area), we are excited to be part of the digital future of Africa with Tunis leading the way. By bringing the exact same curriculum that has helped people with no prior coding experience land jobs at companies like Facebook, Apple, Tesla, and more, our education will complete an already strong education system to help Tunisia develop their own local, Silicon Valley level software engineers.

VERMEG has committed to hire 30 Holberton Students

This vision for the future of Tunisia has already attracted top Tunisian companies like VERMEG. VERMEG is a leading international financial and regulatory software services firm with over 1100 employees worldwide in 40 countries. Headquartered in Tunis, this exciting company has already committed to hiring 30 Holberton students. This highlights the quality that top tech companies see in our curriculum and the engineers that come from Holberton school.

Our curriculum will help develop the new wave of technological innovators and leaders in Tunisia. With 70% of the Tunisian population under the age of 29, a high-quality, innovative approach can help a huge portion of the Tunisian population prepare for the careers of today and tomorrow. And with our blind admissions process, which looks not at what people know about software engineering or anything about their race, gender, or background, but is specifically designed to help find the people with the potential to learn the Holberton way. In other countries around the world this has enabled us to bring in underrepresented populations into technology, and with Tunisia’s amazing 50% of professional Information and Communication Technology roles being held by women, Tunisia may be poised to have one of the most gender-equal software engineering populations in the world. Through this same curriculum in the USA, Holberton has helped people from farmers to retail workers to artists and musicians obtain high-paying software engineering jobs, and we hope to bring these same successes to Tunisia.

The curriculum is also designed to prepare students for international business. With a worldwide usage of English, the common language of software engineering, Tunisian students will be able to practice conversational English with cohort partners around the globe. Tied with a program that also targets soft skills development, the software engineers that graduate from our program are ready to engage in international business and cooperation.

To support the students’ learning environment, the Tunisia campus will feature many of the same amenities as our San Francisco campus, like 24/7 access to students, high-speed internet, meeting rooms, auditoriums, and rest and relaxation areas. All of these are present to help students make the most of their education, and prepare themselves for a career in software engineering.

If you’re in Tunisia and you want a better career or a high-tech future, begin our application process today. It’s free to apply, so if you’re ready to be part of the digitization wave of Tunis, don’t miss this opportunity to be a member of the first cohort at Holberton School Tunisia!

If you are a journalist and would like to learn more about our curriculum and how we’re planning to bring our Silicon Valley education to Tunisia, email us here.

To get all the latest news of our Tunisian campus, make sure to follow us on social:

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Alan Turing’s Birthday

Alan Turing, Age 16

Born June 23rd, 1912, Alan Turing would have been 107 this week.

Although he’s been immortalized in media (The more biographical The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch, or more fictionalized and incredibly more technical novel Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson), this man’s vision for the future of computing, and passion for math, basically defined modern computing. He developed the Turing Machine, the idea of a computer that, through well-applied math and logic, could basically handle any computation required of it.

Basically, he envisioned the modern computer.

True Turing Machines were only hypothetical in his lifetime (EINAC, the first electronic general-purpose computer, considered “Turing Complete” and programmed by our namesake Betty Holberton, was not powered on until the year after his death), but they represented an important first step towards the future of computing, and one that we take for granted: That a machine could be programmed to handle different tasks, then compute those tasks logically. Or, even more radically, that a machine could be programmed with a program that resides in digital memory, and that program could be changed as needed.

Bletchy Park, where Alan Turing helped create a machine to decode Enigma transmissions, directly helping the Allied war effort in WWII

He was also an early proponent of Machine Learning, and effectively, AI. The “Turing Test” is the benchmark for AI performance: The development of an AI that communicates so well that humans would not be able to tell it is a computer. He also wrote the first videogame, Turbochamp, that was simply too complex for any computer at the time, but was the first time a computer could play (with albeit a low level capability) an entire game of chess. The program would observe the human move, compute the next step options, weigh out the next logical play through a weighted decision tree, then adapt to the next human move. His vision was then to add in the capability of the program to track its wins and losses, and compute the value of its moves to ever refine itself and become a more capable opponent. Or, as we know it know, Machine Learning. 

A statue of Alan Turing.

His vision to see what computers could be capable of basically any computation basically changed modern society, just as his codebreaking in WWII literally saved thousands of lives and directly contributed to the defeat of the Nazi regime. Unfortunately, Alan Turing, who was homosexual in a time that it was a criminal offense in the United Kingdom, committed suicide at the age of 41, just a few years after pleading guilty to “gross indecency”. During this Pride week, we hope everyone can see how far we’ve progressed in LGBTQ+ rights, and just as importantly, remember the contributions of a singular man who envisioned basic groundwork of the technology all of us use each and every day.

Keeping Income Sharing Agreements Fair and Accountable

If you haven’t seen the letter that we cosigned, we recommend you check it out: We have the entire letter at the end of this blog post. If you have, we’d like to share the “Why” behind our support of this statement.

We believe Income Sharing Agreements (ISA) are part of the future of student funding for their education. When properly set up, ISAs have incredible benefits:

  • ISAs tie student success to school success. We invest in our students by providing them an education and they only contribute back financially if they are professionally successful.
  • ISAs help expand education to more students who may not otherwise be able to afford a post-secondary education. Since ISAs are not loans, people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to achieve success relative to their capability or drive, and not to their ability to secure a loan.
  • ISAs eliminate the lifetime of student debt. Because the repayment period is limited in time, after a certain number of payments have been made, the repayment ends regardless of the remaining balance.
  • ISAs help us set a success floor. Until students hit a minimum income threshold, no payments are due.

But, as with anything that works this well, bad actors may appear. We’re proud of what ISAs can do, but in the hands of predatory lenders, we may just end up with Private Student Loan Debt 2.0: the exact opposite of our vision.

As a part of creating this letter sent to leaders of both parties and both branches of Congress to ask something simple, and honestly respectable, of any new industry: We want regulation that protects students. With ISAs, we’ve been able to serve an incredibly diverse population, with 60% of our student body being people of color. Also, with 37% of our student body as part of the first generation in their family to attend a post-secondary school, ISAs promote upward economic mobility. ISAs, combined with our blind admission process and unique curriculum, helps us break open the stereotypical racial and economic demographics of the tech workforce:  As of today, 100% of our graduates find employment opportunities in three months at an average starting salary of $108,000.

We hope this letter in Washington helps spark bipartisan cooperation and support for regulation that protects our students of today and tomorrow.

The original letter, as sent to both branches of Congress, follows:


Guillaume Salva, CTO and FIRST GitHub Certified “Campus Advisor” in the San Francisco Bay Area

And not only first. As of June 17st, 2019, he is also the only GitHub certified “Campus Advisor” in the entire San Francisco Bay Area:

Map of San Francisco Bay area showing only one Campus Advisor icon.
Sometimes it’s lonely being the first

To further our commitment to providing the best education and opportunity to our students, our staff are constantly exploring new ways to gain more knowledge, toolsets, and capability to help our students make the most of their education, and thus Guillaume’s steps to become the first GitHub Campus Advisor in the SF Bay Area.

So, to learn more about this, we sat down with Guillaume to talk about being a GitHub Campus Advisor.

Guillaume Salva, CTO

How did you find out about this?

The first day at Holberton School, we ask students to create a GitHub account for all their scholarship at Holberton. By testing the user flow as part of our normal curriculum tuning, I realized that students can have advantages within GitHub if they define themselves as students. So I looked deeper on the Education program of GitHub to see how we can work with GitHub for our students and not just be a regular customer of it.

What benefit do you feel this brings to the students?

One important benefit is the classroom feature of GitHub Education. Indeed, we have only one project at Holberton for basic Git commands but nothing about “complex” git usage or GitHub collaboration features. We are starting to add additional projects entirely based on GitHub Classroom and with GitHub resources for our students. The second part is the Pack: credits to access online services: AWS, Algolia, DataDog, etc. It allows our students to explore new tools for building personal projects, which are critical to springboarding their careers..

Students whiteboarding at our San Francisco campus

What did you do to get qualified?

I applied, took their courses about git and submit all their challenges for becoming an advisor.

Was it a challenge, or was it fun?

Challenges were quite interesting, but to be honest, they were a little basic for me. I’ve been using git and GitHub for the last seven years. One thing I uncovered was that the way of validation was manual. Since I’m totally behind driving efficiency and automation, in the last interview with the GitHub staff, we talked about ways to improve the process I went through. They were incredibly receptive to my feedback! I’m extremely glad there are companies like GitHub and organizations like GitHub Education who are working hard to improve collaboration and workflows for software engineers; professional and student alike.

Students collaborating though our Peer Learning process

Did you feel like you improved through the process?

Mostly it was review: It was more a validation of my git knowledge and I’m pretty sure it’s what the GitHub education team wants to do. After all, when they’re looking for a campus advisor, they’re looking for someone who’s already an expert. After, I did take a look at all resources about git and GitHub – they are really awesome and will be incredible helpful for our students.

I did learn some tricks on the git modules section, but programming is about learning something new every day!

What’s your vision for the future? Are there any more speciality certifications you’re looking at pursuing?

For me and my team, yes. We’re always looking at ways we can gather more knowledge to both improve the technical tools of Holberton and the technical skills of our students. But with GitHub, I would like to have some students, like our teacher assistants, to pursue Campus Expert certification. It’s something I feel would be extremely valuable to the TAs and the student body as a whole.

To learn more about becoming a GitHub campus advisor and what they bring to the student experience, click here!

Holberton Students Land STEM Scholarships at CloudNOW

CloudNOW supports increasing female participation in STEM professions and is supported by Facebook, Google, and Intel

Holberton’s efforts were recently recognized at the CloudNow Top Women Entrepreneurs in Cloud Innovation Awards hosted at the Facebook campus. The non-profit consortium of the leading women in cloud computing and converging technologies that is supported by Facebook, Google, and Intel.

Holberton School Co-founder Sylvain Kalache and Facebook’s Syamla Bandla, Director of Production Engineering

CloudNow’s STEM scholarship was generously awarded to 9 of our students to assist with their living expenses while studying at our San Francisco campus. Previous scholarship recipients at Holberton School went on to work at Change.org, Apple, Pinterest, Doctor on Demand and more.

Holberton School student Essence Boayue speaking on stage at CloudNOW

The CloudNOW STEM scholarship program doubled its support this year, awarding 50 percent more individuals with opportunities to pursue an education as a software engineer. We here at Holberton School are grateful for CloudNOW’s ongoing and increasing commitment to improving opportunities and diversity in STEM.

Sheryl Sandberg with Holberton School scholarship recipients, board member Jocelyn DeGance Graham, and co-founders Sylvain Kalache and Julien Barbier

Facebook COO and women’s advocate Sheryl Sandberg also attended to recognize the mission of Holberton School to get more women in tech and congratulate the Holberton students who received scholarships. Sheryl emphasized the fact that diversity is not only a social imperative, but that diversity and fair gender representation has broad, positive economic benefits for any business that embraces it.

Holberton School’s mission and commitment to developing and encouraging a more gender-representative world of tech has received praise from leaders in the equality space like Priyanka Chopra and Melinda Gates. These work of these luminaries, along with the support of organizations like CloudNOW, helps Holberton School to increase female participation in tech and STEM.


Jocelyn DeGance Graham, founder of CloudNOW and a Holberton School board member

“We applaud the achievements of our winners, and thank them for blazing trails for diversity, inclusion and entrepreneurship. We also honor our STEM scholarship recipients as we work together to support the next generation of tech leaders.”–Jocelyn DeGance Graham.

Please join me in congratulating the CloudNow scholarship recipients, and stay tuned for these future innovators to make waves in STEM and tech!

Holberton School is expanding!

We are pleased to announce our latest campus in a location very near and dear to our hearts. Our connection with the new campus runs deep, show’s Holberton’s approach to a Blue Ocean development of technical education, and a new student body that we know is adept to taking on new challenges with a true “dive right in” mentality.

Introducing, Holberton School Atlantis!

We believe our next class of Hippokampoiers (“Seahorses” in French, and our school’s mascot) will be ready to dive deep and withstand the pressure of our accelerated program. Located approximately 150m underwater off the coast of Florida, our new campus will feature lots of tropical weather in an environment designed to foster cooperation and teamwork. Combined with our peer-learning based curriculum, we expect this next class to cooperate as well as sea otters holding hands

Our new campus provides many unique benefits to our students in Atlantis: The ability to get a top-tier technical education that supports long-term skill development, through our ISA students will be able to start their education with $0 upfront  tuition to start, and our new campus’ integration into nature will provide incredible health and stress relief benefits:

Welcome to the Mahi Mahi collaborative location.

“We’re proud to be partnering with Holberton School. We believe their approach to fostering student growth through collaboration and peer learning will help our students come together in a pod that will help Atlantis become the next hub for tech, despite what salt water does to electronics” – Marlin Lineman, Mayor of Atlantis

(Pictured: Students preparing for an immersive peer-learning session)


With this announcement, we’re looking forward to welcoming our next cohort this June around the world and under the sea. And through our education, we hope to help people prepare for their dream career in a tech bubble that will never burst.

Holberton School is pioneering the democratization of debt-free education

Yannis Peyret, CFO Holberton School

Holberton School is a software engineering school started in San Francisco that adopts a project-based education model focusing on peer learning. With a physical campus, but no teachers, students follow a rigorously structured program for two years. The program trains them to adapt to new technologies by “learning how to learn” and prepares them for the workforce by focusing on collaboration and teamwork. Holberton’s mission is not only to train the best software engineers of their generation, but also to make its program widely accessible.

As CFO, Holberton’s concept of “no upfront tuition” is particularly important to me. In lieu of paying tuition, graduates of Holberton are only required to make payments if, and when, they obtain a high-paying job. Then, and only then, do they contribute a percentage of their salaries back to the school for a fixed term of 42 months. This kind of agreement—called an Income Share Agreement, or “ISA” for short—is growing in popularity within the education space. Holberton didn’t invent the ISA, but it is one of the pioneers in democratizing this kind of education payment plan. What is most exciting about ISAs is that they align the school’s success with its students: if our students don’t get anything from the education we provide, then neither do we. To be clear, the Holberton ISA is not debt, has no principal balance and no interest. Students only make payments if their annual salary is at least $40,000, and they do not accrue interest nor have any obligation of payment if they’re unemployed or earning less than the threshold. To date, recent graduates of Holberton have received software engineer internships and full time jobs with starting salaries averaging $92,000 per year, with full-time employees earning on average $105,000 per year.

Today, we break another barrier.

Edly, an online marketplace connecting income share agreement investors with top schools, is announcing today that Holberton will be the first to list and trade on its exchange. With a first inaugural trade of $2 million, this new marketplace will open doors to prospective investors that want to do good while doing well. Until now, we have been tied to our venture capital fundraising efforts to fully underwrite the tuition costs, limiting how fast we can expand and how many students we can welcome through our doors. With the new platform, we can make use of this new asset class and leverage it to receive an advance on student contributions. This funding will help us cover our costs, grow our campus, and expand our impact while keeping our mission front and center. Holberton’s success will continue to be tied to its students’. With Edly’s marketplace, ISAs are becoming a more sustainable and viable tool ready for mass adoption.

We are now accepting applications for the cohorts beginning June 10, 2019. Students and parents who want to learn more about the program are encouraged to visit http://www.holbertonschool.com/education for additional information, eligibility requirements and a tool comparing deferred tuition agreements with other financial aid options that may be available to students.

Women in Tech – Simone Giertz

To inspire millions, it takes a rare combination of ability, timing, and vision. This, the human endeavor, has led to putting a human on the moon. Exploring the very limits of our universe. And, to make this:

As part of Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate both the historical innovators who made modern technology possible (We’re looking at you, Betty Holberton), and the women of today who are making a bit of modern history themselves. This week, we’re celebrating the work of none other than the Internet’s very own “Queen of Shitty Robots”, Simone Giertz.

Simone’s path to her being an international technological inspiration may not have followed the most traditional path: As a college dropout, she discovered her love of madcap engineering while interacting with local open-source hardware enthusiasts during her time at Hyper Island. Immersing herself with other creators, she embraced the “Learning by doing” mentality by jumping straight in with almost no prior robotics knowledge. Using her enthusiasm with a liberal amount of Googling, she taught herself from the ground-up how to build and program her first robots. In fact, while attempting to launch a children’s TV show in Sweden, she developed her Toothbrush Machine: a helmet that, at best, assaulted one’s face with a plastic toothbrush. While unfortunately the show was never picked up, her career as an innovator in horrible machines took off after she uploaded her creation to YouTube for all to see:

Simone combines a natural inquisitiveness, deadpan delivery, and desire to embrace the ridiculous was just what the internet needed. Rapidly what started off as her sharing the results of her tinkering with technology ended up with her headlining Reddit’s /r/all (often from posts in the aptly-named shittyrobots subreddit), being featured on shows like The Ellen Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and even one of the most enjoyable TED Talks in years.

Seriously, take a 12 minute pause break and watch her TED talk “Why You Should Make Useless Things” right now:

Not content to just make videos about machines that possibly only make your morning worse, she also documents her process for all of us to learn from, which are equal parts inspiring and amusing. This unique approach to curiosity and building whatever comes from it has led to joy, awkward laughter, and a newfound appreciation of tech among millions of fans across the internet.

Of course, beyond machines that assault with soup, she’s also launched a successfully backed Kickstarter to build The Everyday Calendar: A handsome device that helps everyone build good habits and get the grown up version of the Gold Star every day they achieve their personal, reasonable goal.

Simone’s path followed what we believe in most: The best way to develop new life skills is to jump in, learn with your peers, and to practically apply your learning throughout your self-driven education. And, most important of all, to never stop creating.

Recently, Simone announced that Brian, her brain tumor which she had previously sent on a vacation to Antarctica, has started to grow again. To this, we here at Holberton would like to say we’re rooting for you to successfully evict Brian for good, and that your videos, your enthusiasm for tech, and the very not-OSHA compliant robots that you bring into this world delight everyone here; student and staff alike.