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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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…
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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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Want to be part of the community and become a Full-Stack Software Engineer? Apply now!
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!
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:
Today, we are very proud to announce that we have selected the 33 students for the inaugural class of January 2016. Yes, we announced that we would select only 32 students, but there were just too many great applicants. Please join us in welcoming team Hippokampoi!
The selection process
To become students at Holberton, candidates had to go through our four-step selection process, based only on talent and motivation, and not on the basis of educational degree, or programming experience. We designed the selection process to be the beginning of the curriculum so that applicants start learning through it. No programming experience is required at all. It consists of four different levels:
Level 0 – Fill out a short online form about yourself (~2 to 10 minutes)
Level 1 – Small online projects and tests that applicants can do at their own pace (~2 to 10 hours of work)
Level 2 – A step by step challenge during which you will create your first website, with a specific deadline (~50 hours of work)
Level 3 – On-site or Skype interview
Access a distant server using ssh
Learn the very basics of the Linux command line
Install software on Linux
Use the Emacs text editor
Install a web server on Linux
Read a configuration file
And most importantly: search for information and help each other
From 1,338 applicants to 33 students
Here are some stats about our funnel. Since the announcement on Sept 29th, 1,338 applicants started the admission process. Overall, the 33 students of the January class represent the top 2.5% of all applicants. Congratulations to them!
Women performed better than men
Women performed better than men on average during our selection process. At the very top of the funnel, women represented 20% of our visitors.
And at the end of the funnel, 40% of our students are women. Note that Level 0, Level 1 and most of Level 2 are completely automated. It’s only at the end of Level 2 that we are hands-on because we need to check the projects of the applicants. Level 3 is an interview, during which there is also a technical test on Linux. Here is our funnel in terms of gender percentage:
Connect with Holberton students
In the past weeks, they have already set up their servers and installed different applications, including a blog where you will be able to read more about their lives and what they learned at the school. Also, you can follow them on Twitter and say congrats by tweeting at @hippokampoiers!
Interested in becoming a full-stack software engineer?
Applications are now open for the next two classes, starting in May and September 2016.
Title: Don’t code the weakest link, introduction to security
Speaker: Nicolas Bacca
When: Friday, January 29, 2016 – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM RSVP here.
The security of a system is equivalent to the security of its weakest link – to build a secure system you need to understand the general interactions between its building blocks.
* What connected systems look like in 2016
* From computer hacker movies to real world security exploits – the future is now
* Network security basics
* Understanding attacks and threats (from malware to code injection to sophisticated phishing)
* Gentle introduction to cryptography
* Death of the password
Exercises / Hands-on
* Find my PIN (Level: beginner)
* Decrypt me (Level: beginner)
* Decrypt me 2 (Level: medium)
* The lost machine (Level: advanced)
Bring your laptop and an ID.
Important: We will check IDs at the entrance. You will not be able to enter the school if you are not on the list.
Nicolas is the co-founder and CTO of Ledger, a startup designing Bitcoin hardware wallets and other auditable, open and secure Personal Security Devices. He has been involved in the embedded security industry for more than 15 years as R&D engineer, and independent consultant for major industry players; CEO and CTO of several startups. He built the most cost efficient FIDO U2F Security Key implementation with his team, is passionate about optimized code and well implemented security protocols, tries to push for more open standards at every possible opportunity. Also, he is not afraid of nudging closed objects into being more open when diplomacy fails.
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.
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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:
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!