Happy Birthday Betty Holberton – Software Pioneer

Happy Birthday Betty Holberton!

That’s right, yesterday was the birthday of our namesake, just a day before (today) when we celebrate International Women’s Day in the month when we celebrate women.

Frances Elizabeth “Betty” Holberton (March 7, 1917 – December 8, 2001) was one of the six original programmers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer. Not discouraged, but spurred on when a math professor at the University of Pennsylvania asked her if she wouldn’t be better off at home raising children, Holberton computed ballistics trajectories during WWII and later also participated in the development of early standards for the COBOL and FORTRAN programming languages with Grace Hopper. She is literally one of the mother of the software technology that is all over our life!

Betty Holberton

And so, when my fellow co-founder Julien Barbier and I founded Holberton School to bring Full Stack engineering skills to those who have previously been denied access, Betty seemed like the natural “giant” for whom to name the school.

And we think she would be proud. In little over a year, more that 50% of our students are women and people of color. And they are succeeding!

After the first year, students found internships and jobs at major Bay Area companies including NASA, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Apple, Docker…

Happy Birthday Betty, and thank you for the inspiration!

StartupBegins features Holberton

Holberton School – We want to tell you the story of two french guys who are disrupting Silicon Valley teaching standards. Based in San Francisco, Holberton School offers a new type of education that is training the next generation of highly skilled software engineers. At Holberton, there are no formal teachers, but technical mentors. They just announced a $2.3 million fundraising with daphni. It’s just the beginning!

Posted by StartupBegins on Monday, February 27, 2017

Holberton School is training highly skilled Software Engineers and it turns out that the US economy will require a lot of them within the next decade: about 1M according to US CTO Megan Smith.
The school took inspiration from a methodology created in the 19th century: progressive education. Students learn by doing by working on projects with their classmates instead of sitting in hours of lectures.

Thank you StartupBegins for featuring us!

Is Learning By Doing the Future of Education?

I was recently interviewed by Pat O’Brien on Business Rockstars, “an Entrepreneurial Business Show that brings together some of the world’s biggest and most accomplished CEO’s as well as successful small business owners and Entrepreneurs,” about Holberton. Entrepreneurs are individuals with a lot of creativity, who are able to learn and figure out problems very quickly — a skill that is mandatory for many jobs including a Software Engineering type of job. That’s a big reason why Holberton convinced VCs to invest into our alternative to College based on progressive education, we are training Full-Stack Software Engineers that their portfolio companies need.

Take a look at the full interview:

1 Year of Holberton and Welcoming our 3rd Batch

What a day we had!

On Monday we celebrated. We celebrated our first year and we celebrated our third class of students arriving!

It has been a wild first year. First, we raised a $2 million seed round from investors Trinity Ventures (Dan Scholnick; board of directors, Docker and New Relic), Jerry Yang (co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo!), Partech Ventures, Jonathan Boutelle (co-founder of Slideshare) and we were off. Then we welcomed our first class of 32 students with an automated admissions process that accepted (and continues to accept) fewer than 2.5% of applicants (making it more than twice as hard to enter as Harvard). The process also made Holberton one of the most diverse software engineering schools, boasting a 40% class of women and nearly 50% people of color.

In October, we welcomed our second class of 29 students.And with less than half of their two-year program completed, the first class of Holberton students found internships and jobs at top Silicon Valley companies including Apple, Dropbox, NASA and Docker. And because students are trained to “learn how to learn,” companies remarked on their level of knowledge and skillset and how quickly they learned new languages and integrated with their teams.

On Monday, we were delighted to welcome students, relatives, mentors and investors for nice talks, while enjoying tasty food.

What challenges and successes are ahead for the next year, and the new students? We have some ideas 🙂

DSC02257 DSC02106 DSC02236 DSC02197 DSC_4601 DSC02366

Holberton student interviewed by theCUBE at Google

Dora Korpar, a student from Holberton School first class, was recently interviewed byLisa Martin, host of theCUBE, at the CloudNOW “Top 10 Women in Cloud” Innovation Awards, held at Google HQ.

Dora shared her non-traditional path to Tech. She earned a degree in biology, yet that was not enough for her to find a job, and she did not feel like spending few more years at the University — and frankly — simply could not afford to. She was looking for another career path and fan of solving puzzles, Software sounded like a thing she would like to do. Her interest in computer science grew after one of her friends got a job in the industry without attending a regular college 5-year degree program. Dora has another year as a Holberton student but has already found a job with Scality, a Silicon Valley data storage company working for big corporations such as Comcast or Time Warner Cable, after just 8-months in the program. Listen to the rest of her story in the interview below.

How deep learning and drones can save the world from asteroids?

Sravanthi Sinha Holberton Recode
Sravanthi Sinha, from Holberton first batch, recently spoke at Recode Deep Learning summit in Singapore. She worked on improving the planetary defense using new ways to track meteorites, bad news: in only 3% of cases have meteorites been recovered. Good new: deep learning and drones can help. 

Tell us about your work at SETI in the NASA internship.

I am working as a data scientist on a “breakthrough” project idea — developing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to aid in finding meteorites in the field. Currently, meteorites discovered on earth are identified visually through a labor-intensive manual search in the field. And these meteorites tend to be big. Smaller meteorite falls, which are more frequent, are hard to recover. As a result, the number of recovered meteorites on known approach orbits is small. My project is aimed at developing a small UAV — such as a commercially available quadcopter — equipped with cameras and onboard processors that can identify potential meteorite targets in the search areas calculated from triangulated meteor observations. This will make it possible to discover meteorites even from smaller falls. We’ll apply machine learning techniques to sample images in the lab and then the resulting search algorithms will be transferred to small processors on board the UAV. The machine learning will be developed using NVIDIA computing hardware – which will remain in the lab under NASA and SETI Institute control. We expect that the UAV, cameras, and onboard computing processing hardware will all be commercially available items.

 

What does it feel like to be selected for such a competitive internship?

It means everything and I am on cloud nine. I made many sacrifices to come this far and at the end of the day, it gives meaning to my life. It has always been my dream to work at NASA. This internship helped me fulfill that dream it and it’s just the beginning.

 

What is your background?

I grew up in India and I earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad. Next, I was a student intern at the National Resource for Network Biology (NRNB) in 2012. I completed the Google Summer of Code in 2013 and 2014, first as a student and then as a mentor. I published WikiPathways: capturing the full diversity of pathway knowledge (2015) in Oxford Journals.

 

Why did you choose Holberton School for more studies?

I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics but I didn’t have a chance to take a lot of hardcore computer science and programming courses. The curriculum mostly revolved around electronics and embedded engineering with limited software engineering coursework. Holberton School has an amazing vision of fixing the education system. Their coursework, with plenty of hands-on projects, was just what I wanted to transform myself into a full stack software developer. The curriculum is not limited to one language or one web stack. Every week we cover algorithm, low-level programming, front-end, back-end, sysadmin and devops. On top of those tech tracks, we also train on soft skills like networking, public speaking and writing which gives us more confidence and also a huge advantage vs tech-only developers. I am hooked on the program!

 

How is Holberton different in how it teaches compared to your previous education in schools?

At university in India, I attended classes all day, took notes and prepared for exams. But in the real world, a pragmatic experience is what always counts. At university, scoring a higher GPA was the only goal. There were some hands-on labs but mostly it was theoretical. Holberton School’s curriculum gives you challenging projects that teach you how to fix problems and build software.There are no teachers at Holberton School and the program teaches you how to learn instead of focusing on one specific technology. That makes a huge difference in how we address the projects and how we learn from it. The projects are not the conclusion of a class, but it is the source of knowledge. And at the end of the program, not only have you covered a lot of different technologies, but most importantly, because of the way we learn there, we are ready to take on any new challenges. That turns you from a rookie into a pro.

(Slides of the talk available here)

Visit Holberton in San Francisco

Holberton is both exciting and challenging. Students spend the first 9 months of the 2-year program in our office in San Francisco, the heart of the Silicon Valley.

Becoming a great Full-Stack Software Engineer is a lot of work, and students spend hours at the school working on their projects and collaborating with peers. We work hard to make the school comfortable and imitate the collaborative setup that tech companies have in the Valley. Our local community including students, mentors, and guests who attended our meetups. They all loved the school design and we thought we would share also share it with you, our online community!

Are you living close to the Holberton and you are curious to see what is Holberton like IRL? We are organizing tours, get in touch with us to schedule a time: http://bit.ly/holberton-tour

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.

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.