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4 questions you always wanted to ask our Holbies

Choosing one’s path, choosing a career, choosing a school, or a Bootcamp can be difficult. Our students made that choice and joined Holberton School

Since that moment, what do they think about their choice? In March 2021, we started to create a series of videos that featured students from all around the world. They have been asked quick questions. Here is a “Best of” series of their answers! 

How would you describe Holberton School in one word? 

“Challenging,” “Life-Changing,” “a great Opportunity”… That’s a tough question, with thousands of possibilities. Think about a word, and check our student’s responses! 

Is the Checker your friend? 

The checker is the tool that auto-grades our students’ code. There are no surprises here; some of our students LOVE it, and some have mixed feelings about it. Check it out! 

What would you say to a beginner? 

A classic but essential question to ask our Holbies! Some of them said, “Give it a try!” “be committed and have fun!”, “just do it!”, check out their answers! 

What have you learned about yourself? 

Some experiences can be life-changing. What do our Holbies think about this one? What have they learned about themself while learning how to program? Check it out! 

Check out our full Student Videos series, go to our YouTube channel!

C13 End of Foundations projects

Last September, more than 400 students from Cohort 13 started their journey to become Software Engineers, all over the world! To conclude the Foundations program, they built a Portfolio project. Here is a snippet of some of our students’ (great) projects.

Ahmed Belhaj, Amine Bondi, and Mohamed Chedli from Holberton School Tunis worked on a project called Quick Report. This is a cross-platform application to replace the standard paper process when filing an accident in Tunisia it helps the auto insurance Company manage their Client, and users to fill a report easier and faster from their mobile phone. Read more.

Quick Report

Gustavo Hornedo and Angel González, from Holberton School Puerto Rico, worked on a project called Clock In, which is an app that matches gig workers with employers that have short-term openings and temporary work.

Jared Beguelin, Jeffrey Martínez, and José Fabián Rosa, from Holberton School Puerto Rico, worked on a project called Find My Face. This face recognition app helps you sort through images and identify selected faces in group photos or photo collections. 

Find My Face

Joshua Carreras and Jaime Martínez, from Holberton School Puerto Rico, worked on a project called Go to College. It is a platform that helps students identify career paths based on their strengths and interests, and then matches them with the post-secondary education options that better fit their individual preferences and needs.

Go to College

Nicolás Portela, Sebastián Olmos, Roberto Ribeiro and Luciana Sarachu, from Holberton School Uruguay, worked on a project called readIT. It is a platform for sharing paper books, it aims to facilitate cultural access through the implementation of a network of second-hand books, contributing to sustainable consumption, and spreading the values of the community, with the book as an invaluable cultural piece and factor of union between people.

readIT

Cecilia Giudice, Julián Arbini, and Soledad Frechou, from Holberton School Uruguay, worked on a project called PlayerTrack. It is a daily use app for the different members of a team sport, in order to centralize all relevant player and team data with the ultimate objective to produce better results through a predictive model of injuries, post-injury analysis, and performance indicators.

PlayerTrack

David Alzate Alzate, Mauricio Sierra Cifuentes, and Victor Manuel Plaza, from Holberton School Cali, worked on a project called edu inspector. Automate Code-inspector.com, Escalate your business processes, Automate, Control, and Report easily Code-inspector.com data with Edu-inspector Dashboard, Manage your team Metrics, Make business decisions based on data, Get all your team Violations, Duplicates, Long functions, and Complex functions in one place.

edu inspector

Nicolas Herrera Castro, Estephania Calvo Carvajal, and Carolina Hernandez Viveros, from Holberton School Cali, worked on a project called Bomberbot Course Manager, which is an application integrated with the Bomberbot CMS to create and modify courses and visualize its relationships.

Bomberbot Course Manager

Tomás Gómez, Andrés Aristizabal, and Carlos Úsuga, from Holberton School Medellin, worked on a project called Smart Rev. It is a state of the art application that allows creators and their teams to trace the revenue produced by a creation while getting paid automatically through the Ethereum Blockchain. Check it out

Smart Rev

Giraluna Gomez Londoño, Yeferson Julian Losada Mendez, and David Steven Ramirez Osorio, from Holberton School Medellin, worked on a project called Zero Click Mail. Ditch the forms, increase your response rate and automatically get email replies into a spreadsheet. Check it out

Zero Click Mail

Andrés López and Diego López, from Holberton School Bogota, worked on a project called SKEXIE. It is a REST API developed for Torre using a custom trained NLP (Natural Language Processing) Machine Learning model to analyze, process, and extract relevant skills and experience required from job post offers in order to automate manual extraction into Torre’s format. Read more.

SKEXIE

Leonardo Valencia, Andrés Sotelo Durán, Juan Carlos Hernández, and Rolando Quiroz, from Holberton School Bogota, worked on a project called The Escape Room. A Text-based escape room game, powered by machine learning. The main objective is to explore the capabilities of Machine Learning combined with the tools of a text messaging platform such as WhatsApp, and demonstrate the scope of these technologies within the chatbot agent automation business model. Check it out and give it a try.

The Escape Room

Andres Campo, Andrés González, and Adrian Felipe Vides Jimenez, from Holberton School Barranquilla, worked on a project called Tree House. “Tree House” is a Patreon implementation for Immigo that will solve the need of the instructors to help them keep track of who of their students are up-to-date with their payment and will have access to resources. Check it out.

Tree House

Kellie Mogg, Jasmine Choi, Lauren Dobratz, and Allen Nicholson, from Holberton School Tulsa, worked on a project called Tulsa Maps project, a web application, a web mapping platform featuring locally owned businesses in the Tulsa area. This project was based on the sole fact that localizing the Oklahoma economy would be beneficial to everyone. We feel passionate about giving our community an easily accessible map with a plethora of places to find. As a group, students want to bring awareness to local businesses as they are often overlooked by bigger franchises.
Read more: tulsamaps.herokuapp.com

Paul Manot, Huy Nguyen, and Thibaut Bernard, from Holberton School France, worked on a project called Back-to-the-picture. The idea popped into their heads when they were surfing. They could see photographers on the beach and they knew they could be taking great pictures that they would never see. And thought that a platform on which you could search pictures by location and date would solve that need. That’s how BTTP, an aspiring social network for events was born. Read more

Congratulations C#13 on finishing Foundations! We’re super proud of you and wish you all the best for Specializations! Let’s do it!

 

C10 End of Specialization projects

Friday, May 7, 2021, Cohort 10 ended Specialization. To conclude their journey at Holberton School, students had to build a Portfolio project. Here is a snippet of some of our students’ (great) projects.

AR/VR Specialization

Inès Chokri from Holberton School Tunisia worked on a project called “The Witch’s Trial” which is a VR game (arcade/adventure) in which the player is a witch and will have to pass a trial to prove their worth as one. The player will go through multiple levels (only one level has been made for now). Each level is timed and is different from the other as it tests every time the ability of the witch. The first level is the Flying test. The witch has to fly with a broom through circles and collect diamonds before time runs out. Pink rings add additional time, red rings subtract time and asteroids take a diamond from the witch.

Project: The Witch’s Trial

Justin Majetich from Holberton School New Haven worked on a project called “VR Wheelchair“. It is a manual wheelchair locomotion system for virtual reality applications. The system will be packaged as a complete player controller rig which can be easily imported into an existing Unity project. VR Wheelchair is motivated by a general interest in representation within gaming. It also addresses a key strength and weakness in the medium of VR — immersion and locomotion, respectively. Read more about the project.

Project: VR Wheelchair

Machine Learning Specialization 

John Cook from Holberton School Tulsa worked on a project called “Quantum Machine Learning vs Classical Machine Learning“. This project covers a comparison between the two and describes where quantum machine learning is useful right now. Read more about this project.

Project: Quantum Machine Learning vs Classical Machine Learning

Diego Felipe Quijano Zuñiga, Oscar Rodriguez, and Samir Millan Orozco from Holberton School Colombia (Cali) worked on a project callled “COVID-19 radiography detection“. This project attempts to detect through the use of data and image analysis tools in the field of Machine Learning, such as convolutional neural networks or deep neural networks, the detection of COVID-19 SARS COV2 in chest X-ray images.

Project: COVID-19 radiography detection

Web Stack Specialization

Jhoan Stiven Zamora Caicedo, Angel Omar Pedroza Cardenas, Javier Andrés Garzón Patarroyo and Michael Orlando Cocuy Garzón from Holberton School Colombia (Bogota) worked on a project called “SolucionesYa“. Pitch: Allow freelancers to get exposure on the internet by publishing the services they provide and their contact information in a centralized information hub.

Project: SolucionesYa

Aura Marina Pasmin, Carlos Daniel Cortez Pantoja, Felipe Satizabal Vallejo, and Jorge Chaux from Holberton School Colombia (Cali) and Holberton School Tunisia, worked on a project called “Agora Events“. Pitch: Web application under the start-up mode, which aims to generate a virtual communication space for companies and people to highlight their events. The application is designed for people to post or attend different types of events as corporate, academic, cultural, and sports.

Project: Agora Event

Khalil Sdiri and Rakia Somai from Holberton School Tunisia worked on a project called “Postme“. A MERN social media application with users, posts, likes, and comments – developed using React, a GraphQL server that uses Node and Express to communicate to a MongoDB Database and fetch and persist data to the app back-end.

Project: PostMe

Congratulations C#10 on finishing Specializations! We’re super proud of you and wish you the best of luck in your future career in Computer Science! Let’s do it! 

Learn more about our specialization programs here.

“Campus Culture”: When Holberton School gets involved in promoting culture among students

The 4th industrial revolution, which we are living through now, is the convergence of many disruptive technologies. But these new technologies have brought with them challenges of diversity and inclusion. Our students acquire knowledge in Computer Science and strong skills in Software Development to shape the future of society.

As we believe diversity and inclusion are paramount to innovation. More viewpoints, life experiences, cultures, and voices mean more community-driven ideation and problem-solving; We want a cultural grounding to be part of that education.

Being part of that effort, Holberton School Tunis joined forces with the University of Paris Dauphine I Tunis, IHEC Carthage, and IPEST in a public-private partnership to promote a culture of open-mindedness and sharing in its student environments. “Culture Campus” was born, an innovative concept aiming to bring young students from different backgrounds together.

The launch of this new concept was announced at IHEC in Carthage on February 25th, 2021, with the participation of Amine Ben Amor (Holberton School Tunis), Amina Bouzguenda (University of Paris Dauphine I Tunis) Hassen Mzali (IHEC Carthage) and Manef Abderrabba (IPEST).

Amine Ben Amor emphasized the importance of culture in student life, starting with his own experience with the students of Holberton School Tunis: 

“At the beginning of 2020, we received a delegation from Santander Bank with major financiers and bank managers from Madrid who had the curiosity to visit this small school, having no teachers, no diplomas, even no prepayment and which encourages talent. These guests had exchanged with the students and asked them some questions such as: ‘What is the last film that you watched?’. The answer was: ‘An Andalusian Dog’ by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali. Our hosts were impressed. 

This is to say that what makes the difference between a good engineer and another good engineer is culture, it is what he can relate and exchange with his colleagues. This is proof that at Holberton School we have succeeded in giving our students a taste for beautiful things. Students need culture, to know the global code of the arts. Making culture a pillar of training can only be beneficial to students, it differentiates them in the job market, giving them the key to success”.

The “Campus Culture” concept revolves around two axes of action:

  • Integrating cultural activities into the training programs provided by these establishments;
  • Creating a network of clubs located within the four establishments. These clubs will enrich student life through an agenda of events designed and developed by the students themselves with a view to mixing populations among campuses.

We constantly challenge ourselves to look into the future of our society as well as the future of the job market to train the best leaders and learners of tomorrow. Promoting and teaching universal values through culture to students will help them to be better prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Stay tuned! Follow Holberton School Tunisia on Facebook to know more about the next “Campus Culture” event.

Inauguration video [FRENCH]: https://www.facebook.com/HolbertonTUN/videos/419708335759915 

Mary Gomez: from chemical engineering to programming

Mary Luz Gómez is a 36-year-old chemical engineer who worked for ten years on innovation as a product and project leader. One year ago, she quit her job at Kimberly Clark to pursue her new dream: becoming a Machine Learning developer. 

mary gomez medellin cohort 10 holberton colombia

Mary is a disciplined woman with clear goals and a persevering personality. When working for Kimberly Clark, she learned about technologies such as Machine Learning and Data Science. Mary remembered enjoying her programming classes back in college and knew this path was her future.

While looking for study options, she realized that traditional education was not right for her because she learned much better with practical projects. During her research, Mary found out about Holberton school’s project-based learning methodology and was drawn to it because she felt “Holberton is very similar to how we work in companies.” 

Mary found the admission process fun because it challenged her to learn new things. She barely knew anything about programming and had never made a website, but she passed and started the program in September 2019. 

“I didn’t want to be left with the question of What if I’m a programmer? I was passionate about innovation and technology, so I decided to do it,” she remarked.

The first day in school was difficult: she remembers crying when she realized the day was over, and she still hadn’t been able to do the assigned project, but she knew the idea was not to give up. Her peers were always there to help, and she is grateful for it.

mary gomez medellin cohort 10 holberton colombia
Cohort 10 students, Holberton Medellín.

One of the reasons that led her to choose Holberton was its Income Share Agreement (ISA) payment model: “I found it very inclusive. I will be delighted to give every cent after I graduate with the guarantee that someone else will have the opportunity to study,” Mary said. 

While finishing the first part of the curriculum last June, Mary had the opportunity to work with Skillshare for her final project at Holberton. After starting the Machine Learning specialization, the company decided to hire her as a Software Engineer. So she decided to seize this great opportunity and paused the Specialization for the moment.

“I don’t have a plan for the long term, but I like to bet on what I’m passionate about. Today I have a new career and new goals. My next step is to finish the Machine Learning specialization and continue to challenge myself,” concludes Mary. 

Holberton School Colombia was the first international campus that opened in Bogotá in 2019 with 50 students. Since then, it has grown to three more cities: Medellín, Cali, and Barranquilla and now it counts more than 700 students in Colombia. You can join one of the campuses for January 2021: Applications are open!

From delivering packages to writing code for unicorn startup Rappi

Kevin Giraldo is a 21-year-old Holberton School Colombia student from district 8 of Medellín, a low-income neighborhood with an average household income of US $135 per month. He grew up in a low-income family. Kevin occasionally worked with his father in a manufacturing company and understood that education was the way to have a better future. He discovered programming in high school and convinced his parents to buy him a computer, promising that this was the key out of their situation. Kevin recently started fulfilling that promise.

At fourteen, as he witnessed his teacher automating the voting process at school, using code, he understood that he wanted to be a programmer. “It was a straightforward case, but since I didn’t have any programming knowledge at the time, I found it very interesting”.

Kevin decided to switch from his high school to one that would offer programming classes. He continued to pursue his dream to become a developer by enrolling in a computer engineering undergraduate degree while working as a Rappi delivery to make some money on the side.As he was working, Kevin received a message from Rappi about Holberton School. A Silicon Valley software engineering program was opening in Medellín. Registration was closing the next day, and he decided to meet the deadline and apply. As he was going through the application process, Kevin thought he would never be good enough to be accepted into the program.

Kevin started his training at Holberton in September 2019 and recalled that one of his biggest challenges was having to comment on his code in English. However,  “the fact of not having teachers and having to do projects among ourselves [the classmates] made us very autonomous and independent.”

Because Holberton’s program was very intense, Kevin decided to only do delivery work on weekend nights, as he was one of the students who could not go to sleep until he finished the entire project.

For the final part of the training, Holberton partnered with tech startups Rappi, Kiwi, Ubidots, Skillshare, and Torre so that students could develop a final project that would solve these companies’ needs. Each company presented its challenges and provided mentoring through its engineers. That is how Kevin, together with two classmates, developed a crowd lending platform so people could obtain a loan to get the necessary tools to work as Rappi drivers.

Rappi was so impressed by Kevin’s project that they offered him a software engineering job.

The 21-year-old programmer’s goal is to stand out with his performance at Rappi and to grow within the company. He also wants to create a programming community at El Pinal school, located in Enciso neighborhood (District 8 of Medellín), where he studied most of his basic training.

“As my family is low-income, my ambition was always to get out of here and grow. It is not hating or being ashamed of my roots, but wanting to grow and help my family, my friends and my community”.

Kevin Giraldo

A breakdancer’s journey to becoming a software engineer

Sergio Rueda is a breakdancer turned software engineer for the machine learning division of Mercado Libre, Latin America’s $50B e-commerce and auction site. Getting there was not easy, he had to balance a heavy workload in Holberton while trying to make extra cash doing translations and whatever he could get together from his dance shows.

Photo: Karen Daza (@dazita_sbc)

Originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, he moved to Bucaramanga to study mechanical engineering but his prospects and initial work experience after graduating had left him disillusioned. Sergio’s passion for breakdancing brought him to Medellín to join a dance crew with his friends. In Medellín, he discovered Holberton School and with it, his second passion: software engineering. 

Sergio decided to go through the admissions process as a challenge to himself and considered it sort of a game, but as he delved deeper into Holberton he decided becoming a software engineer is what he really wanted to do. 

After being admitted and just three months into the program, Sergio had to relocate from Holberton Medellín to Holberton Bogotá so he could live with his family, as he could no longer make ends meet. 

At first, Sergio would get frustrated because he could not finish the projects as fast as some of his peers, but he quickly learned to put his ego aside and developed the most important skill: learning how to learn. Even in the most trying times, he never thought about quitting and realized that no matter what personal challenges he was facing, starting a new programming project for Holberton always brought him happiness. 

I found a lot of support from the staff and my peers, they are now my family”, said Sergio.

Finding a job

Sergio says that being a programmer and a dancer make him very happy, each discipline compliments the other and brings about a balance, dancing helps his programming and programming helps his dancing. 

When Sergio began his job search after finishing foundations, he discovered that it was his soft skills, not just his technical skills, that made him stand out as a candidate. Rejections were common, so he narrowed his search to companies that valued soft skills as much as technical skills, and that is where he found the match with Mercado Libre. 

They were looking for a senior developer, so I told them: Let me solve the technical test, then you could know if we can work together now or in the future”, said. 

After a battery of soft skills and technical skills interviews, Mercado Libre made the offer and despite the fact that the job opening was for a senior candidate, the hiring manager in Mercado Libre told Sergio that they wanted to work with him because they saw his potential. 

Join me in congratulating Sergio on his accomplishments, all the hard work he put into going through the Holberton program and getting the job of his dream. Well done!

Students building apps for Colombia’s top tech companies

As part of their first-year curriculum, Holberton Colombia Cohort 10 students will work on their final projects with Colombia’s top tech companies under the mentorship of their leading CTOs and engineering managers. Participating companies include Colombia’s unicorn Rappi, robot delivery company Kiwi, learning platform Skillshare, IoT platform Ubidots, and remote talent marketplace Torre. Each company is coming to the program with a real-world product request to serve their business needs. Students will build the product or feature on top of each company’s tech stack.

“There are two objectives for the company capstone projects. One is to let leading employers access the best technical talent for their recruiting needs. The second objective is that these multi-week, hands-on projects will give Cohort 10 programmers real-world projects completed for top-tier companies to include in their portfolios,” said Jessica Mercedes, Country Manager of Holberton Colombia.

The projects include developing the following: 

  • Crowdlending for Rappi delivery couriers so that they can finance the purchase of a motorcycle
  • An algorithm to detect the distance of moving objects for Kiwi’s autonomous vehicles while using only one camera 
  • A picture-based class recommendation engine for Skillshare
  • A computer vision solution to maintain COVID-safe distances among factory workers using the Ubidots platform
  • A web service that centralizes job opportunities and applicants across many job boards for Torre.

Students will work for six weeks under the leadership of each company’s technical management and will be expected to deliver on the same level of technical excellency as their full-time employees. Each project will be presented during the demo day taking place on June 19th. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook, so be sure to follow our page to watch!

Holberton students use their tech skills to solve COVID19-challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of us on so many levels – professional and personal, physical and emotional. It’s often the most trying circumstances that ignite the greatest discoveries. Like many in the tech sector, a number of Holberton students and alumni have been inspired to develop technology to help pave a path forward. We’re excited to highlight five of these projects that embody Holberton’s innovative spirit while reflecting the needs of this moment in history:

Knowing that many people are struggling to maintain a healthy routine while sheltering in place, Holberton Tunisia 🇹🇳students Yasmine Hamdi and Ahmed Omar Miladi built Yawmi. The app schedules activities based on the user’s calendar and preferences. By partnering with 3rd party platforms, Yawmi suggests online courses, fitness sessions, cooking classes, gaming, movie watching, and more. The day planner aims to develop the users’ skills and knowledge in a flexible way, mitigate mental health issues, and create a healthy lifestyle. The duo started building the app during the OMAC (One Million Arab Coders) COVID-19 hackathon. They made it to the semi-finale out of 1,260 teams – congratulations!

Darcie is a virtual assistant that helps people find the nearest social services in their neighborhood or city. Co-creators from Holberton San Francisco 🇺🇸 Akeem Seymens, and Max Stuart built this tool that works with phone and text using IBM Watson, Google Cloud, and Algolia (who provided a free Pro version of their powerful Search indexing service to support their effort). Their goal is to address COVID-19-related humanitarian issues, beginning with the mounting issue of food insecurity. While many Americans were already food insecure before the pandemic, the number has increased dramatically in recent weeks. Resources that were already strained are even more so now, and food banks are stretched beyond capacity. Partnering with feedingamerica.org, nokidhungry.org, hungerfreeamerica.org, and America’s Food Fund, the team has been collaborating to establish data gathering standards and systems to help food distributors get additional support and get resources to more people in need.

Holberton Colombia 🇨🇴students Camilo Morales, Jose Luis Diaz, Oscar Riaño Tapias, Daniel Chinome, and Giovanny Perez built EnTuBarrio. Small businesses we are suffering as shelter in place guidelines required people to stay in and prevented people from shopping. This clever team found a way to help both parties – the store and the shoppers. EnTuBarrio connects customers to their local stores so that they can buy the groceries they need. The delivery is handled by locals riding bikes or walking, making it cost-effective, fast, and environmentally friendly. All the communication currently happens over WhatsApp, but the team is working to port the app to Facebook Messenger chatbot as well.

As the COVID19 situation was unfolding, Holberton New Haven 🇺🇸students Jose Alvarez de Lugo, Stephen Ranciato and Gareth Brickman noticed that there wasn’t a place to get COVID-related data for Connecticut in a consistent and clear way. They thought we could help their state by building something quickly, so they began writing code right away and were able to deploy a website that very same day. That’s how CTCovid19.com came to be!

Spaced is a mobile app that tells users when and how to go places for necessary errands while optimizing for social distancing. It’s like Waze but for walking. Built by Holberton alumni Bobby Yang, he came up with the idea while he was attempting to walk his dog and go to the grocery store. He found there were way too many people in the park next to his house, and there was a long line at the Safeway half a mile from his house. The app leverages different open source projects like MIT’s COVID-19 Tracker and Open Routing Service, along with Foursquare’s Places API. Spaced is able to recommend specific times to go to popular locations, as well as routes to reach locations while minimizing the number of people with whom users come into contact. The data is completely anonymous, and Spaced’s code is open source and can be found here. It will soon be available for download on iPhone and Android.

Stay safe!

Welcome, Bienvenido, Bienvenu, أهلا بك to Holberton!

Today we’d like to welcome our newest worldwide cohorts and also celebrate our 1,000th enrolled student. Our family continues to grow! Three hundred and fifty new students started their Holberton journey across eight campuses in four countries – bringing the total count of enrolled students to 1,200. 

Thanks to our digital, project-based curriculum, every cohort across the world can access the exact same quality education. And because students share the same calendar, learn the exact same material, and have access to our global Slack community, our students can collaborate globally as easily as they could collaborate locally. And with students on 3 continents, there is almost always someone up and ready to learn with their peers.

And our Checker never sleeps either.  Checker, our automated code validation system, gives students near-instant feedback on their coding projects. Checker not only validates the code works as intended, but it also checks for documentation, how well edge cases are handled, how optimized the code is, validates academic integrity of the students’ work, and if the code follows our strict style guide. As of last June, the Checker was reviewing 10 millions lines of code.  We estimate it would take more than 600+ instructors to provide the same volume and value of correction. Passing this thousand-enrolled-students threshold means more work for our dear Checker!

So please join me on welcoming Cohort 11! Welcome, Bienvenidos, Bienvenu, أهلا بك to Holberton