Holberton School is a two-year software engineering school with campuses in San Francisco, New Haven, Tulsa, Bogotá, Medellin, Cali, and Tunisia that trains individuals to become Full Stack Software Engineers. The school's mission is to train the next generation of software developers through 100% hands-on learning. The bootcamp is broken into three different components. Students complete the 9-month Foundations school then a 6-month internship follwed by a 9-month Specializations course.
The curriculum adopts a project-based, peer learning approach. As an alternative to college and in lieu of formal classes, students solve increasingly complicated programming challenges with minimal instruction. Students will develop resourcefulness as they search for the tools they need to solve these challenges while working with their peers. Rather than focusing on tools and frameworks, students at Holberton "learn to learn" and develop problem-solving skills. Throughout the course of the program, students work on industry-level projects and build their own applications.
Holberton School is free until students find a job and is open to anyone over 18 years old. No programming experience is required. Admission to Holberton School is based only on talent and motivation, with no consideration given to gender, nationality, ethnicity, age or social status. Holberton School mentors ensure that the Holberton curriculum stays up to date. Holberton mentors work for rising startups and top-tier Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Tesla and Airbnb.
Recent Holberton School Reviews: Rating 4.45
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In PersonFull Time80 Hours/week104 Weeks
Deposit N/A Tuition Plans Holberton School uses Income Sharing Agreements to fund student education. After students obtain a well paying job, students will pay back a fixed percentage of their income for 3.5 years. Additional details at holbertonschool.com. Refund / Guarantee Student may withdraw within the first 30 days with no money owed.
Minimum Skill Level No experience required Prep Work Students complete first part of curriculum as application process Placement Test No Interview Yes
More Start DatesJanuary 25, 2021 - New Haven Apply by January 3, 2021January 25, 2021 - Medellín Apply by January 3, 2021January 25, 2021 - Bogotá Apply by January 3, 2021January 25, 2021 - San Francisco Apply by January 3, 2021January 25, 2021 - Tunis Apply by January 3, 2021January 25, 2021 - Cali Apply by January 3, 2021January 25, 2021 - Tulsa Apply by January 3, 2021
In PersonFull Time
Deposit N/A Tuition Plans Income Share Agreement with reduced repayment percentage if students live and work in Tulsa after attending school. Additional details on holbertonschool.com Refund / Guarantee Student may withdraw within the first 30 days with no money owed. Scholarship $1500/mo need-based living assistance available. Additional details on holbertonschool.com
Minimum Skill Level No prior coding experience necessary. Prep Work Application process serves as necessary prep work. Placement Test No Interview No
More Start DatesJanuary 25, 2021 - Tulsa Apply by January 3, 2021
Holberton School Reviews
77 reviews sorted by:
- An Excellent Choice- 10/17/2017Chandler Mayo • Full-Stack Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco • Verified via LinkedIn
Holberton is setting the standard for training new software engineers with a two-year program that can take anyone, no experience required, and make them an impeccable Full-Stack Software Engineer.
I was coding and working with peers on the first day at Holberton. This was a refreshing change for me after years of dreading going to class in public schools where my daily objective was to sit down and listen to a topic I was scarcely interested in. Holberton has overwhelmingly embraced project-based and peer learning and it creates a natural way to learn that I have never experienced before. At Holberton you’ll learn the most from your peers and mentors while working on projects and that will give you a tangible edge when you go to get an internship or job. Having the opportunity to learn from project-based learning with my peers surpasses sitting in a classroom lecture any day.
There are no upfront costs to study at Holberton. The school charges a percentage of your internship salary and your salary once you find a job. You’ll still need to find and afford your own accommodations in or around San Francisco for the duration you are attending the school on site. This was a challenge that I found exceedingly difficult and at times it affected my ability to be at the school because I was looking for a place to live. Holberton has taken a step in the right direction and is working with companies like Google, Accenture, Scality, and CloudNow to help students defray living expenses.
A great thing a new school can do is set themselves up to be able to adapt to what their students need and Holberton is exceeding at doing that. I was in batch 0 that started in January of 2016. Since my batch started, the school has made many improvements to projects based on feedback from students. Additionally, Holberton has worked to improve interactions with experienced mentors in the community. New students are only going to have more opportunities to exceed with Holberton.
TLDR: If you want to be a Full-Stack Software Engineer, the elite program Holberton has to offer is exactly what you need.
- Amazing School- 10/13/2017Steven Garcia • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco • Verified via GitHub
Holberton School is unparalleled in it's curriculum which is focused on prepping it's students to learn the full scope of coding to fully prepare them for a career in the software engineering field. The entire program consists of a two year dual-sided commitment in which you are given the time to grasp not only writing your own code, but in addition fully understanding how the hardware of a computer is able to utilize what you have been taught how to create. The curriculum accomplishes this by starting the students with a low-level language (C) to understand the logic of a program's inner workings. Once students have been able to grasp these concepts, a more complicated syntax of a higher level language (Python) is introduced; this enables the students to understand more thoroughly the mechanics of the web as well as the vast scope of other applications of computer programming. After my first nine months at Holberton I was able to get a job as a Software Engineer at a medical tech company, so it is personally proven that their innovative model of teaching and peer learning truly works. I would deeply recommend Holberton to anyone, regardless of their origins or experience that feels a true passion and desire for a vocation in this field; they will help you cultivate that passion into a life long career.
- Electra Chong • Software Engineer • Student • Campus: San Francisco • Verified via GitHub
Full disclosure: I was part of the first experimental batch at Holberton School, which was granted full reprieve from the tuition model.
Overview (lengthy, skip to get to my subjective review if you're more interested in my personal experience than a discussion of the school's model)
This school operates like a Silicon Valley start-up, all the way down to the funding. The school raised venture capital to be able to train students without charging up-front tuition. Instead, the school operates on a deferred payment model where a portion of your salary (17.5% the last I checked) is paid to the school for three years once you obtain your first software engineering job.
As the school touts, there are some positive implications to this payment model. The school only benefits from your enrollment if you are successful, so you can trust they are truly invested in your learning. There is less up-front risk to enrolling, and the model is more accessible to those with less savings who cannot afford to pay tuition for a school until they actually reap the benefits of their training.
That said, 17.5% of your salary is no trivial slice of your salary and earning potential to just hand over. Depending on the bootcamp (which Holberton does not identify as), tuition can cost as little as $2000 for a month-long bootcamp to $18000 (HackReactor), or $60,000 for a 2-year-long program similar to Holberton in length (MakeSchool).
[Skip in-depth calculations if desired]
Let's say you earn a cool $85,000 as your starting salary as a software engineer (lower end in Silicon Valley, depending if you start at a small start-up or larger $$$ company). Ignoring the salary raises you can expect to get within your first few years as a SWE, 17.5% of that salary over three years totals to $44,625. The salary you can expect to take home after taxes is $41,225 (usually ~$56,000 without the 17.5% cut). You can expect to be frugal your first three years as a software engineer if you live in SF, a very expensive city, but it should cover housing and living costs adequately and still let you earn some small savings, according to my calculations. You should do your own, estimating living costs.
Anyway, you might be wondering why you would want to fork over 17.5% of your salary for three years to this school, other than the neat fact that you don't have to pay for the cost of the school up-front, when there are other more cost-effective bootcamps in the range of $3,000-$4,000 out there.
Those bootcamps are usually only one to a few months long. That's long enough to probably learn one framework well and build a functioning web app and ship it. This is a crucial experience that can help you get hired at a start-up. There are definitely people that have been hired successfully out of a bootcamp and have gone on to thrive as programmers.
Unfortunately, a few months at a bootcamp is not really sufficient to build a strong foundation and understanding of software engineering, in my humble opinion. Holberton does not attempt to teach you a single framework but instead aspires to train you to become a versatile full-stack software engineer who can learn new tools + languages easily and debug systems, thanks to a strong foundation and good soft skills.
There are the three main areas Holberton focuses on in their goal of training good full-stack software engineers, which are reflected in the curriculum tracks: low-level, high-level and sysadmin/devops. This means you will learn about how computer programs work at the low-level (such as pointers, memory allocation and typical data structures) by building your own C library from scratch. You will learn about higher-level programming concepts like object-oriented programming and the model-view-controller paradigm, and how APIs work by building them. You will also work on remote servers, learn to use the command line, deploy firewalls and dns servers, and set up databases for your apps.
Holberton actually pitches itself as an alternative to traditional 4-year universities which offers degrees in CS. Unlike universities, where the curriculum is often theory-heavy, taught passively and centered around academia, what you learn at Holberton is highly oriented towards the skills you will need on the job in the industry. There are no instructor-led lectures, other than some live coding sessions; instead, you learn to collaborate with peers and to learn from resources you find on your own to complete projects which are assigned through the school’s intranet. Best -- no student loans.
Onto my subjective review of my personal experience!
I personally found Holberton’s hands-on method of learning to be very engaging. There was always excitement about what we were learning to do. It was a contrast to an Intro to Computer Science class I took in college, which involved a lot more textbook reading and weekly labs where we built small Java programs. That was all right, but nothing thrilling (and was why I opted not to major in CS in college).
One thing I feel that makes Holberton different from any other school is that I felt the founders were personally invested in making sure we were learning to be good software engineers. I feel other bootcamps are fairly impersonal and mostly about generating revenue by training you to be a software engineer. Training good software engineers is a passion of Julien and Sylvain (co-founders of the school), who themselves worked at fancy tech companies (Docker, LinkedIn) and saw the shortage of quality junior talent in the Silicon Valley.
Was I successful after I attended this school? Yes, I think so - I started working a full-time job after nine months of training and was able to adapt to the role quickly. One of the strong advantages of the school is that Julien and Sylvain also had many connections in the tech industry from years of working in it themselves prior to starting the school. As French engineers, they started a global French engineer network called while42 prior to Holberton, and they draw upon the pool of connections they have at companies throughout the Silicon Valley for mentors for the school and job connections for students.
This relates to another important aspect of the school, which is that it strives to teach soft skills in addition to the technical skills needed to be a good software engineer. In addition to the project-based and collaborative curriculum, the school often hosts meet-ups which are open (and free) to the public with Holberton’s mentors. Your social network and ability to work with others are some of the most important assets you have for your career as a software engineer, and the school understands and encourages this.
The strong community feel was one aspect that had a huge impact my experience. The students come from a broad range of backgrounds, thanks to Holberton’s accessible application process (no previous experience necessary, no bars on age) and tuition model. You become very close with the other students at school due to spending so much time at the school, working together. I valued my own batch and several that followed had a decent gender balance (generally around 40:60 female:male), which is atypical of Silicon Valley in general.
Please keep in mind that the curriculum is very intensive, and you will be spending most of your time at school trying to complete projects by deadlines. As much as I enjoyed the projects, I’m susceptible to burnout (having experienced it in college before), and you have to take care to protect yourself from it during this program. It’s all right to take a step back and have some time on the weekend after the first few months -- you will need it to sustain yourself.
Something that deserves to be acknowledged is that students have dropped out of the program or decided to repeat the curriculum when they could not keep up with the pace. Julien and Sylvain’s earnest goal is to train anyone to be a programmer as long as they have the drive and collaborative mindset, regardless of prior experience. However, being able to adjust to the unfamiliar ways of thinking for programming can be a challenge and require substantial time and practice in some cases.
It’s definitely easier if you have are familiar with the thinking required for math and science subjects. If you feel these are weak subjects for you, I suggest trying to familiarize yourself with programming a bit in advance with the abundance of online or local resources available. It’s not impossible if you don’t, but it will be harder. Be prepared to ask for help when you need it, and to learn how to problem solve without giving up!
Other considerations -
You will need to be able to handle the cost of living in the Bay Area for the duration of the program if you are moving. This may require savings and budgeting.
The school is still fairly new (close to 2 years at time of writing), and the founders/staff are refining the curriculum and resources available with the start of each batch. Ideally, they will be able to assist with the cost of living or relocating to the Bay Area of the school one day, but this is a future goal you will need to inquire about to find out the current status.
Would I have attended Holberton School if it were not free for my batch? Probably not, for reasons totally unrelated to the quality of education. I come from a low-income background and am quite financially risk-averse, so even though the tuition is not charged up-front, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate both the cost of relocating to SF and the subsequent salary cut without additional resources or scholarships.
I might have ended up going to School 42, a free school in Fremont, because of these reasons. However, the culture at School 42 and Holberton School are far different (theirs is more of an elitist sink-or-swim hands-off model, and the gender balance is terrible in comparison), and I personally vastly prefer the education, support and community feel that Holberton provides. As it is, I lucked out and am super grateful for everything I have gained from attending Holberton.
My advice is to do your research, look into all the various boot-camps and alternatives out there, and find the one that best fits your personal preferences in terms of learning experience. Finally, balance that consideration with your needs regarding length of program and cost. Good luck!
- Two trimesters in, would recommend- 3/21/2020Geoffrey Zoref • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: New HavenHolberton is not for everybody. It is rigorous and fast-paced. I began in September 19 with around 22 others in my cohort. In March 20 we are 12. The curriculum weeds out those who can't or won't keep up with the grueling schedule.
I say this so that you take every review with a grain of salt. Since I am in New Haven, I have no real knowledge of the issues they are having, so I will not comment on that.
I am beginning my third trimester next week 3/23/20, so I have not finished.
Only one cohort (cohort 8) has finished foundations, or year one, so far. Of them, around half are continuing on with a specialization, while the other half are in the Career Track. Two students were hired by Sikorsky (manufacturer of helicopters and one of the larger non-insurance firms in Connecticut). Others went into the IBM apprenticeship. These are both top level jobs with world class companies.
On the other hand, I think 2 or 3 students from cohort 8 have yet to find a job. From what I have inferred, it may be for lack of trying than anything else.
So with that out of the way, I would recommend Holberton to somebody who is hardworking and keeps up on their work consistently.
There are things I would change about the curriculum--the printf project should not be the first group project! The project is hard enough without having to learn how to collaborate on Github! There are plenty of nitpicky problems with the wording of many of the projects, since the curriculum was written by French speakers. Questions can be vague, but I think that's a feature not a bug.
Other thoughts: Mentors. There may be a mentor attached to our campus, but I haven't met him/her. In fact, nobody on staff (save one, but we don't interact with him much) are programers. The staff is administrative, and weeks can go by without speaking to any of them.
- One of the best decisions of my life- 11/25/2019Diego Fernando Rodríguez Orejuela • Ruby on Rails Software Developer • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: Bogotá
Holberton School is the best programming bootcamp in Latin America. In my experience, I studied at the site in Bogotá, the first in all of Latin America. "Project-based learning is a proven, alternative learning methodology to the traditional teacher-led reading and memorization educational method" is the way the school describes itself. All this is true. Personally, I studied a professional career in Journalism, but at the end I wanted to move to learning software development. After evaluating several options and finally concluding that I was not going to be another 5 years in a university studying Software Engineering, I found Holberton School as the most suitable option in time, methodology and application to market times. I have spent the 9 months of foundations, and at this moment I have obtained a job with salary and personal compensation not imagined in my previous area of study. I will continue in a few months with the specialization, and I will tell you how it goes in this experience.
- Self and Peer Learning- 11/22/2019Rodrigo Sierra • Python Developer • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: BogotáHolberton change the scenario of education, first of all, you don't have to pay in advance you pay later when you have a job in the tech industry, second, there are no instructors or professors you learn by yourself or from your peers as it is in the real world. The program is really demanding and needs all your energy and concentration to succeed. It only lacks a review of some useful web development frameworks at the end of the program to give students more tools to get a job easier but in general, it covers the topics needed for a software engineer.
- New Way to Educate!- 8/9/2019Marc C • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
I'm more than halfway through my first year at Holberton and so far am very pleased with my experience. I enjoy the style of learning Holberton provides, specifically the self-motivated peer-learning. This type of learning might not work for everyone though. If you're the type of student that needs consistent feedback and direction then this might not be the program for you.
In fact, one of my gripes with the program is there's maybe too little feedback. I'm learning a ton, but would like some professional feedback on the code I've written and the projects I've completed. Since it's an accelerated course, expect to race through difficult concepts. You'll need to spend a lot of time studying on your own and researching topics to fully grasp the material. This is can be a good and bad thing.
Overall, I'm really glad I made the decision to attend this school. I really think Holberton is going to be a household name in 5 years. They're changing the game. I recommend this school to those who are interested, despite its shortcomings. It's a new school and I expected things to not be super smooth. Nevertheless, it's a great experience.
- Best and hardest experience ever!- 8/1/2019Geraldinne Bohórquez • Software engineer • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: Bogotá
Holberton School is not the easy way to learn to code but nowadays I think it is actually the best option. The most valuable there is that they are teaching you not just how to code but how to learn whatever you want. The hardest is not the curriculum or the projects you are working in, the hardest is actually yourself because you will have to face the failure every single day and the voice in your head telling you to give up is getting louder while you keep learning.
So, take the risk and the chance to challenge yourself with Holberton by your side!
- Fast pace but thorough learning- 7/29/2019Heindrick • Systems Software Engineer • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
First-year was a memorable experience. I got to meet really cool people at a nice new location. The curriculum requires you to complete 24 hours to a couple of days projects. I really loved the program because it was designed for you to learn, think and solve without teachers. But that depends on your learning style and it will definitely help if you have knowledge of computers and basic operating systems. I never got a chance to complete the second year because of getting hired by a company. To anyone that wants to become a Full-stack software engineer, I recommend this school.
- The best decision of my life- 7/26/2019Emma Gachancipá • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: Bogotá
- I am Holberton- 7/26/2019Alvaro A • Contreras • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: Bogotá
- Full Stack software engineer- 6/17/2019Koome Mwiti • Full Stack SE Student • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
- Convenient - Accessible easily from the Bart Station in SF
- Affordable - Getting trained to become a full stack software engineer and no down payment needed - Amazing!
- Great facilities accessible 24 Hours a day with state-of-the-art equipment - They even have a nap room to rest your mind
- Peers - Learning from my peers is and will be probably the best experience ever, everyone has something to offer
- Projects - The projects are extremely relatable such as building an Airbnb clone from scratch
- Learning speed - The speed of learning gets you to push yourself to the limit, no excuses if you want to get a valuable education
- I was watching the movie Atone on Netflix and I was super happy that in 3 months I could identify the code the bad guy was using to detonate some bomb using a linked list. If you push yourself you grow fast!
- Fun for cheap - I have noticed that despite sf being expensive, you can have extreme fun quite cheaply since most events and hangouts are free or affordable e.g $5 silent discos
- When you get a job after Holberton and work in some cities, you might get a reprieve in the fees you pay, not sure which ones exactly
- SF is expensive, you better have a plan on how to study and survive in SF the first semester
- Learning from peers need a bit getting used but upgrades your soft skills
- The spring semester can be quite cold for those not used to it, better be dressed
- Accomodation can be quite costly, its better to share in SF
- If you are planning to work and study full-time, that will be a stretch, chances are your grades will suffer
- You loose touch with most of your friends because of the busy schedule, its a tradeoff.