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Holberton School

Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, New Haven, San Francisco, Tulsa, Tunis

Holberton School

Avg Rating:4.67 ( 79 reviews )

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 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. Mentors

Recent Holberton School Reviews: Rating 4.67

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  • Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum

    Apply
    Start Date None scheduled
    CostN/A
    Class size50
    LocationNew Haven, Medellín, Bogotá, San Francisco, Tunis, Cali, Tulsa
    At Holberton School Tulsa, we offer a two year, Full-Stack Software Engineering curriculum with reduced Income Share Agreement and Need-Based Living Assistance. Students who attend Holberton School Tulsa can take advantage of a $1500/month need-based living assistance, and for students who live and work in Tulsa after graduation, students can see their ISA repayment rate reduced to 10% of their income for 3.5 years after graduation, effectively cutting the cost of their schooling almost in half. Holberton School's Full Stack, project-based learning curriculum is divided into two sections: Foundations - Students enter the first part of Holberton's curriculum with no prior coding experience required. Through our unique project-based curriculum, students will be presented with programming and technical challenges of increasing difficulty and complexity, and through individual and group projects, students will develop a deeper understanding of core programming skills and techniques. Holberton's Full Stack Software Engineering curriculum starts our students off with Foundations, a program designed to help our students learn the core skills of becoming a well-paid software engineer. This curriculum starts with command line interfaces and C, and over the course of the first nine months, will teach students low level languages like C, higher level languages like Python and JavaScript, data structure and algorithms, Unix programming and scripting, infrastructure design and management, systems and security, and more. Through our true Full Stack approach, students will learn front end and back end development, DevOps, and supplementary professional skills that will help our students take on any development role they are interested in. After Foundations, students may opt into one of our four Specializations: Low Level & Algorithms, AR/VR, Full Stack Web Development, and Machine Learning. Using the same learning techniques students developed through their Foundations program, students can drill down on a specific programming field that is the most interesting to them. Examples of Holberton projects a student may work on: - Clone Twitter and a service of your choice such as Airbnb - Build a search engine - Code your own shell - Create a computer virus - Contribute to an open source project - Build secure and scalable infrastructures that support your applications - Organize meetups - Interview industry leaders - Student projects are open-sourced online on the project host of their choice.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Tuition PlansHolberton 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 / GuaranteeStudent may withdraw within the first 30 days with no money owed.
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelNo experience required
    Prep WorkStudents complete first part of curriculum as application process
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewYes
  • Full Stack with Living Assistance and Reduced ISA

    Apply
    Start Date None scheduled
    CostN/A
    Class sizeN/A
    LocationTulsa
    At Holberton School Tulsa, we offer a two year, Full-Stack Software Engineering curriculum with reduced Income Share Agreement and Need-Based Living Assistance. Students who attend Holberton School Tulsa can take advantage of a $1500/month need-based living assistance, and for students who live and work in Tulsa after graduation, students can see their ISA repayment rate reduced to 10% of their income for 3.5 years after graduation, effectively cutting the cost of their schooling almost in half. Holberton School's Full Stack, project-based learning curriculum is divided into two sections: Foundations - Students enter the first part of Holberton's curriculum with no prior coding experience required. Through our unique project-based curriculum, students will be presented with programming and technical challenges of increasing difficulty and complexity, and through individual and group projects, students will develop a deeper understanding of core programming skills and techniques. Holberton's Full Stack Software Engineering curriculum starts our students off with Foundations, a program designed to help our students learn the core skills of becoming a well-paid software engineer. This curriculum starts with command line interfaces and C, and over the course of the first nine months, will teach students low level languages like C, higher level languages like Python and JavaScript, data structure and algorithms, Unix programming and scripting, infrastructure design and management, systems and security, and more. Through our true Full Stack approach, students will learn front end and back end development, DevOps, and supplementary professional skills that will help our students take on any development role they are interested in. After Foundations, students may opt into one of our four Specializations: Low Level & Algorithms, AR/VR, Full Stack Web Development, and Machine Learning. Using the same learning techniques students developed through their Foundations program, students can drill down on a specific programming field that is the most interesting to them. Examples of Holberton projects a student may work on: - Clone Twitter and a service of your choice such as Airbnb - Build a search engine - Code your own shell - Create a computer virus - Contribute to an open source project - Build secure and scalable infrastructures that support your applications - Organize meetups - Interview industry leaders - Student projects are open-sourced online on the project host of their choice.
    Financing
    DepositN/A
    Tuition PlansIncome Share Agreement with reduced repayment percentage if students live and work in Tulsa after attending school. Additional details on holbertonschool.com
    Refund / GuaranteeStudent may withdraw within the first 30 days with no money owed.
    Scholarship$1500/mo need-based living assistance available. Additional details on holbertonschool.com
    Getting in
    Minimum Skill LevelNo prior coding experience necessary.
    Prep WorkApplication process serves as necessary prep work.
    Placement TestNo
    InterviewNo

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  • Ven • Student
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    By far the worst place to go.  No lectures, they don’t teach you shit and you end up in a income shared agreement without learning jack shit.  You are better off using Udemy, LinkedIn learning,Lynda, YouTube and just books on coding.  Again emphasis on THEY DONT TEACH YOU SHIT. they want you to research everything and do it on your own. You can do that from the comfort of your home.  This is the biggest scam out there. Avoid this so called “school”.. I left in the middle of it all and I wish I left sooner instead of waisting my time at this shit hole.  

  • SCAM ALERT
    - 2/28/2018
    Tyler sheveas • student • Applicant
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    The worst admission process, I have tried. I thought it's a rumor that, schools and boot camps admit new students and drop them to keep their acceptance rate low. It helps their prestige. I have made several websites and have CS degree, in the admission process, they asked to make a simple website, which I did but they rejected my application. when I called and asked for feedback, they said they will look into my application and give me a feedback in few days. It has been 2 weeks and they didn't respond. I called them again and they said there is nothing they can do. But I was just asking for feedback!!!!!!

  • Nicholas Boutboul • Student
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    Holberton is simply the best school for learning how to learn. The approach they take to teach you is the right one. They don't hold your hand and they don't tell you what to do. You have to manage your own time and decide what you want to learn. They have their main curriculum you complete and mandatory exercises you have to do and from there the world is your oyster. There are many different ways to solve a problem and many different approaches, they will make you find the edge cases yourself and ask your peers for help more often than you might think. Setting up an environment where everyone feels like they are a part of something great. Every day you learn something new and on the day that you don't you get to learn more about your batch peers and spend time in SF surrounded by tech and conferences you can attend to for free (Holberton gives free passes to lots of them). From Fireside chats with senior engineers working at Netflix and Instacart coming to speak to students about their experiences all the way to the knowledgeable Guillaume that is there to challenge you and answer all the abstract questions you might have. Its one of the best places ever to learn anything tech related and I cannot commend it enough. One of the best decisions I have ever made.

  • Shannon Anderson-Cockern • Student
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    As a current student of Holberton School I can't rave enough about this place. The founders have established an almost perfect environment to learn how to be a software engineer. The school is located blocks away from Yahoo, Slack, LinkedIn, Salesforce, and many many more of some of the best tech companies. It truly feels like a tech startup when you enter the building with all types of seating/standing work spaces. Students have access to meeting rooms and plenty of whiteboards. I chose Holberton over a four year CS degree because I felt like it was the better value both money and time wise. No money upfront means the school is truly committed to making sure that every student has the real-world skills necessary to compete in today's job market. After 4 months of study I'm very pleased with my decision.

    1. Holberton school's list of mentors is impressive. They represent a range of tech companies both in and out of the San Francisco area. They are accessible and active in all things Holberton. As a student I genuinely feel that Holberton's mentors care about helping students succeed. In 3 short months I've met a number of them and attended conferences, meetups, and events through mentor invites.

    2. The curriculum is challenging. You will learn and be given support when extra help is needed. The peer learning model is excellent for learning how to work as a team and how to support your peers. This skill set can be used anywhere in life

    3. While studying at Holberton you will be consumed with learning software engineering. In 9 short months you will learn a wealth of information. I've been told the Holberton curriculum equates to a four year CS degree and it feels like it. You will learn how to learn fast, prioritize your time, and juggle tasks in a safe environment. 

    4. You will learn more than just code. You will learn about systems, best practice, business, public speaking and networking. The only bad thing about Holberton is the vast amount of information you are exposed to and expected to assimilate. It can feel overwhelming but definitely prepares you for a challenging software engineer job.

  • Binita R • Student
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    It is NOT an exaggeration when they say the program is intensive. There are tons of materials to get through on a daily basis, and you have to put the time and effort to get the claimed results. It is a hands-on learning environment where you learn by doing rather than sitting in front of a lecturer and trying to retain that information. The curriculum is peer-learning based and there are no formal classrooms or teachers. You do have access to plenty of resources such as your peers from former and current cohort, staff, and mentors.

    Another great advantage is that the school highly encourages and supports networking opportunities by listing and hosting relevant events and meetups where you are exposed to people and opportunities to connect with.

    I personally really like the culture and environment of the school where you can approach anyone on the floor and ask a question and they will help you or guide you to a better resource.

     
  • Dimitrios Philliou • Budding Software Engineer • Student
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    I'm currently 3 months into the 9 month intensive Software Engineering program here at Holberton. So far I've learned computer programming at lightning speed compared to traditional education or self-teaching. The curriculum is well designed so as to get you coding asap. Concepts are presented in a very palatable way, where you solve byte sized challenges that progressively increase in size and scope. After large projects I end up stepping back and saying "Wow! I made that!"

    The peer learning model fits my learning style very well. I'm the type of person who learns better by talking and doing, as opposed to passively listening for long periods of time. I don't think I've ever learned so quickly with such a deep understanding as I have here.

    The staff can feel a little bit distant, which makes sense seeing as the school's growing very fast and the goal seems to be automating the education experience. Automating education allows for a school to teach more people with maximum efficiency, but I do feel like the school would benefit from more personal touch and face-to-face communication with staff.

    One of my favorite parts about the school is actually the student body. I love the sense of community here. So many of my classmates have diverse and interesting perspectives on life and are incredibly passionate about learning. It makes learning a difficult subject like programming so much easier when you're working with people you enjoy being around.

    All in all it's a great learning experience, very accessible (no upfront tuition), great facilities, good community, and a well designed curriculum. I'd definitely recommend this program for the budding software engineer!

  • Robert • Student
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    The curriculum is amazing! I love how the school is all project-based, makes me learn the material better and faster. The staff is a little distant, but everything else is great! Would highly recommend attending here if you struggle with learning programming on your own.

  • Praylin • Student
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    By joining Holberton School as a student I learned how to learn by getting hands on experience through projects. The curriculam is prepared so that it makes the student to think algorithmically, even if he/she doesn't have a computer science background.

    Also, Holberton has mentors and instructors around the globe who are always ready to help. Mentors and cofounders help to find out successful job through connections.

  • Life-changing
    - 10/14/2017
    Zee Adams • Student
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    Holberton School has been a revolutionary experience in my life. I have learnt so much and have been exposed to so many people from all walks of life. The mentorship and support that students receive is unmatched.

    You must be ready to make the change in your life and you must be willing to dedicate yourself to this program for the 2 years. This is especially true of the first year of schooling, before the internship. 

    If you are ready to take a chance on yourself and believe that you want to be a Software Engineer, then Holberton School is the place for you. 

  • Katya Kalache • Student • Student
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    I love the Holberton school program for it's hands-on approach and project based curriculum. There is no theory and you start coding on day 0. What I find super valuable is that we touch a great variety of programming concepts. You start with low level language C and get familiar with Bash and then you move to higher level programming languages like Python and JavaScript. We also learn DevOps, setting up and managing our servers, deploying codes. As for a beginner like myself I find this extremely helpful to figure what aspect of programming I enjoy the most. So first 9 months of intense studying brings you to a descend level, so you can apply for interships. You need to study hard and a lot, but it's totally worth it. Especially looking at the success of previous years students you realize that the program is well designed to help you achieve your goal. That's a great motivation for me. And I am looking forward to upcoming intership and the second year specialization! 

  • Julija Lee • Student
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    I was a Tech Recruiter for 4 years before I decided to join Holberton. After getting BSCS  I went into recruiting but talking to engineers made me want to get back to it. I knew I probably forgot a lot from school and having no hands on experience wasn't going to help me get a job as engineer right away so I decided to sign up for one of many coding schools or bootcamps we have here in SF. I did quite a bit of research and I'm glad I chose Holberton. And here is why:

    First of all, their curriculum. Comparing to many other schools it doesn't focus on just one programming language. From working in the industry I know that you have to be able to learn different languages if need be and if you do that while in school too it just gets you more prepared for once you start working. And you don't only learn how to code. You learn how debug, configure and manage servers and how to deploy applications. They don’t teach that in college. All this is part of being an engineer and if you don't have at least some idea of what any of this is, ramping up once you get a job is going to be so much longer and harder. So you learn a little bit of everything here. Puts a little perspective on what Full Stack actually means. Also the staff takes feedback on curriculum and that is how they improve it with every new batch. It's amazing.

    Second: it's not just 3 months. I know myself and I know that learning things in 3 months is not for me. If you think you can learn something and be great at it in 3 months, maybe one of those other bootcamps are for you. After studying CS for 4 years I knew I wasn't going to process everything in 3 months and Holberton offering 2 yr program was exactly what I needed. But don't be fooled and think that these 2 years are going to be easy. It's intense program and you have to work really hard. Everything builds on what you learned previously so it all starts falling into pieces once you have to incorporate it with new topic. But if you don’t keep up it can get you in trouble. You have to be comfortable asking for help. It’s a must!!

    Third: Peer Learning Days (PLD) and Reefinery are great. PLDs are giving you the opportunity to catch up if you are falling behind and also help others that might be struggling with something. This is great because when you're helping it makes you realize how much you understand the topic and how well you can explain it. If you can't explain it you probably don't understand it well yet and right then and there you can actually fix that by asking questions because that day is all about learning with your peers. And of course there are always students from previous batches, mentors and staff to help you. But people showing you how to find the answers is the best part about it. Reefinaries are like mock interviews you do with your peers and you go over material previously covered. So you get to check how much you learned because you have to do everything without access to internet. It's how it would be in the real interview so it prepares you for it.

    Fourth is community. I have made so many friends here and I know we will be friends long after we are done with school. We work together on projects but we also travel together, run, hike, go out and have fun together. And this is not just with your batchmates but also with students that joined school before and after you.

    Fifth is one that was really important to me. It's the payment structure. I know it's hard to be in school for months or years and not earn any money. It's really hard. Believe me. I know. This is where I was considering those 3 months boot camps but then I realized if I pay in advance and I don't like it or I don't get a job that money is gone. And it’s a lot of money. I know you may say that Holberton costs even more. But Holberton takes care of that in a different way. They don't take money until you make money. The way I think about it is that it’s in their interest to train you well and help you get a job. The better they train you, the better you'll get paid and therefore they get paid more and it's win-win. If I make good money I won’t even feel those 17% of my paycheck. But writing a check for thousands of dollars before I even know what I’m getting myself into was scary.

    I think I can go on and on with how many things I like about this program. You can always just stop by the school and ask to talk to students in person about their experience. Everyone is super welcoming and open. So stop by and say hi!

  • Sravanthi Sinha • Student
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    Holberton School has an amazing vision of fixing the education system. Their 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 school highly focuses on peer learning and makes sure that you get the basics right. Their coursework, with plenty of hands-on projects, is just what anyone would need to transform themselves into a full stack software developer.

     

    I am currently a student at Holberton School. In the first year, we covered algorithm, low-level programming, front-end, back-end, sys-admin and devops. In the second year, the program gets more intense and one can choose to focus either on System programming and Algorithms or Web Stack programming. I love the challenging projects and fear to miss the fun in either track and opted for both ;) . 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 by the program!

     

    Coming to the no of opportunities one receives, we get a ton!. In my case, I got a chance to work as one of the data scientists in a project for the NASA Frontier Development Lab 2016 program which was hosted at SETI Institute.

  • Bilal Khan • Software Engineer • Student
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    I am a student at this school, and now just because of this school I am working for a big tech firm in the US. Their method of teaching is outstanding, and everyone at this school is super helpful. They don't only just make you a Software Engineer, but also give you full assistance to find a job. Looking back at the time I spent working with the school and on their projects, I would say it was all worth it, and all of that landed me a great job right in the middle of my program.

  • John C • Software Engineer • Student
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    I used Course Report to choose the bootcamp I went to and so wanted to write up a review of Holberton School.  I was accepted into various Bootcamps, including some that have rigorous application processes, and some that take anyone. I chose Holberton School because of the longer and more diverse technical curriculum the income share agreement (meaning both Holberton and myself are mutual stakeholders in my success), the diversity amongst cultures and gender, the leadership opportunities, location in San Francisco, and because the application process impressed me. Holberton School is more like a trade school vs. a bootcamp.  The application is worthwhile even if you do not attend Holberton for all that you could potentially learn, and it also requires a bit of risk taking. It is a mini-snapshot of what the program is like as you have the opportunity to work with peers and build cool projects using linux command line interface. I really like the length of study, which is 9 months intensive preparation, 6 month internship, and then approximately 9 months of full or part-time specialization. So, far the learning experience has been wonderful having like-minded, creative peers to learn with. We are learning Bash shell scripts, C Programming Language, algorithms, memory management, and move onto learn the LAMP stack: Linux, Apache/Nginx, MySQL, Python.  At first, I was like, C? What?  Why?  Isn't this useful for engineers from the 1970's and 1980's? A compiler? huh? But, after doing my research, I have found that C language is everywhere, many think it is a fantastic language not leaving soon, and even Linux, Python and so many many more popular applications are built in C Language.

    The education model at Holberton is great.  There are many leadership opportunities and it is entirely project based.  I came from an education background, and I am absolutely baffled that traditional education systems have not yet discovered how important this model is, or at least if there are teachers that understand this, I am baffled that they don't use this tactic every day or every week? Our peer-learning days give students that understand content the best to teach and learn more about how to explain technology to someone else, instead of sitting board in a lecture that they have all the answers to.  We also have a lot of pair-programming opportunities and practice job preparation skills.

    Some other peer learning opportunities occur because of how heavily immersed with github.com we are.  We also work with Docker and other components of LAMP stack.

    The most exciting part of the program has been all the opportunities that I have had to get involved with peers in the industry.  I have been to probably about 5 or more major tech conferences in silicon valley since I started at Holberton, and even went to Docker Con in Austin 2017.  Coming from Chicago, these experiences are invaluable to me since it would is so challenging to get into Tech shows at Silicon Valley from the MidWest.  Finally, it has been wonderful to see my peers get hired as Software Engineers into Tesla, Apple, LinkedIN, Docker, DropBox, Nvidia, and other major companies at the end of their first 9 months.  I am 6 weeks away from the end of my first 9 months and am hoping to find a great placement in a company as a Software Engineer.

  • Rick Harris • Software Engineer • Student
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    My wife and I moved from Indiana to California so I could be part of the first 'batch' at Holberton School. I had a strong interest in moving from a help desk role to software engineering. However, I needed to go from tinkering around with code skills I had learned on my own to being able to produce production-ready code. Holberton offered the chance to connect with and learn from mentors working for companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Salesforce. I took the leap, and I can honestly say that I have not regretted taking that risk. Holberton provides challenging projects whether you are just getting started or have learned a thing or two on your own. The goal is to learn how to learn with other students in a fast-paced, growing industry. Because of the experience I gained at the school, I work for a major tech company in Silicon Valley. It's crazy to think how much has changed in just under two years.

  • Worth it
    - 9/9/2017
    Dora • Software Engineer • Student
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    TL;DR Holberton is an incredibly rewarding but also challenging experience that will whip you into a full-stack software engineer in a short amount of time.

    I was in the very first batch of Holberton students, and right from the beginning, it was obvious that the school was something special. From the physical space, to the payment model, to their commitment to diversity and inclusion, everything about it is designed to fulfill its mission of creating high-quality software engineers to fill the serious need in the industry.
    To do that, they've done away with the fluff that fills 4-year university programs, teachers, and lectures and created a jam-packed project-based curriculum that forces you to really engage with the ideas and topics you'll actually need on the job. And the curriculum stays relevant - the staff is always taking feedback from students and mentors to see what's working, what's not, what new industry tools and standards are, so that students are really getting the most from their time.
    The network of mentors is another distinguishing feature. Guidance from people actually working in the tech industry is invaluable, and Holberton students get it in spades. Some mentors are active through online chat, some give presentations or workshops on their topics of expertise, and others come to the school just to help out. In any case, students get to ask questions and start building those connections right off the bat.

    The school environment is also really great. The staff is super supportive, and their passion for the school and students is obvious in everything they do. And the other students, from your batch or the ones above, are possibly your greatest resource. Peer learning is one of the most important aspects of Holberton, and just being surrounded by what's become the Holberton family makes the entire experience that much more enjoyable and rewarding.

    Overall, Holberton is a really excellent choice if you're self-motivated, hard-working, and looking to jump into the tech industry, but need a little extra guidance and support. I was able to find a full-time job after only 8 months in the program, so clearly they're doing something right :)

  • Yes!
    - 3/16/2017
    Naomi • Student
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    I looked for a very long time to find a program with the  curriculum, community, and culture that would result in long term success. Although I've only just started my experience, I have had both excellent results and resource access.

    The staff, mentors, and community push you to always do better while extending the support and tools needed. They have somehow found a powerful balance between empowering students to be self-reliant within a collaborative, cooperative context. 

    I can't believe how much I've learned already; more than that, how I have started to perceive problems throughout my life and day differently on account of the immersive nature of the program and it's culture. 

    The student body is wonderfully diverse, creative, and bright with a lot of expertise to share - tech related or otherwise - and the mentor pool and support is impressive/authentic. I've never had so many people professionally extend help, encouragement, and time.

    It is not a program suited for someone that wants to coast along or "get by"; however, if you want to learn to think critically, professionally, and creatively as a software engineer, I couldn't imagine a better environment in which to do that. 

    One of the best parts?! If you have questions or curiosity, just reach out to them. They will be honest and straightforward as you find the right fit in your journey into tech. I, for one, was surprised at how candid they all were during my application and interview process; it was refreshing given a lot of manufactured answers I had received from other programs. 

    Nutshell: if you are serious about wanting to learn how to learn, and if you want to live, breath, and dream tech....consider Holberton. 

     

  • Bennett • Student
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    Holberton School offers an intense experience that is ideal for people who are truly motivated and excited by technology. The curriculum will give you a deep understanding of computer languages and computer systems as a whole, relative to a "traditional" bootcamp. For example, your foundation of learning will be through writing programs in C. Only once understanding is established there will you start higher-level languages like Python or JavaScript. This approach was something that attracted me to the school initially—I wanted to learn as much of the foundations as possible rather than gain an understanding of one particular language or framework. In my experience, Holberton delivered on that promise and I was really happy with what they offered. The important thing to note here is that you will have to be internally motivated to take advantage of all that Holberton is offering because the curriculum requires each person to give their energy and manage their own time and learning—there are no classes here! That being said, it much more closely resembles a real-world working situation where you, as an individual, need to find ways to manage your work projects and energy. 

    The job assistance and job preparation that I saw here was phenominal. Having come from a conventional four-year university that had its own department for job placement, I thought Holberton was way more effective. If you are hoping that attending this school will lead to a job, the work and effort that you invest here will definitely pay off.

  • Daniel Alzugaray
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    I've been lucky to be a part of the first experimental batch of Holberton school. I had some previous programming experience, but not enough to pursue a career in coding, and certainly not enough to fall in love with programming.

     

    As someone who has been passionate about coding and how computers actually work, I've found that the problem with learning on your own is not that there is no information out there -- the problem is that there is too much information. There are so many resources that it becomes difficult to assess what you need to know. Holberton School has surprised me in cutting through the noise.

     

    From the start, the founders of this program have gotten the fundamentals right: enforcing good learning practices and coding habits. I think it's these fundamentals that make this program unlike anything else out there.

     

    While I personally can speak more to the low-level programming track, my personal experience has allowed me to form a few theories as to why this program is so successful. In my opinion, here are the few key features that I think differentiate the Holberton program:

     

    First, it has a structured learning approach: it tests you and ensures that you are actually learning, as opposed to coding things you don’t thoroughly understand. As soon as your code is being reviewed, the faculty goes to very great lengths to push your code to the limits and find a way to break it. Evidence of your code not being perfect could be evidence of you not learning. Double pointers? INT_MIN / INT_MAX edge cases? If there is a hole in your understanding, it is the goal of the faculty to find it -- and they will create checks and test cases that will fail when running checks against your code. I think this is a big reason why I personally never felt bored and why I never felt unchallenged through this program, even when I pushed to learn more.

     

    Second, I was never challenged so much that I felt that I couldn't overcome each challenge. Even someone without experience can learn from what happens in memory as your code gets compiled by the GCC compiler on a Linux kernel. The teaching assumes no background in CS whatsoever, and yet, supports you with challenges at the more advanced levels of depth that you can get (there are optional “more advanced” tasks, that have the full support of the faculty). How the school has managed to strike this delicate balance  -- I don't know. But I think it has something to do with their strong culture of learning, which I think is their third strong point.

     

    The school has a very strong culture of learning, and the way I see it, I think it is due to its spirit of effective communication and cooperation with your peers, coupled with very strong learning fundamentals. These fundamentals include: "don't write any code you don't understand”; “don’t write any code your peers won’t understand”; “write code in a way that your future self will understand”; “understand what you are doing first, and then code later”; “comment your code”; “keep your functions short”; “your code should follow a certain style” (they've even automated a surprisingly robust style code checker -- codenamed "Betty", named after Betty Holberton -- that enforces good program structure and checks to make sure your C code doesn't become a whole mess!)

     

    Fourth, depending on how you look at it, this one can be seen as a con, or as a pro, of the program: the program is young. This means that there can sometimes be minor errors / typos, and other inconsistencies in the tasks and projects. If you decide to look at whether the program and its curriculum is in its "final" form, you will not find that here. At least as of this writing, the curriculum is the aggregate of all the project assignments, and the solutions that its students post on GitHub. While the curriculum is not formally defined, in my opinion, the faculty more than makes up for this; the tasks, the projects, and the learning materials iterate and get more advanced based on feedback from the students. This means that there is a very rapid feedback loop; it is common for projects to get clarified or updated in real time as you work on them (the faculty always notifies you of these changes on Slack though). In fact, you could argue that the culture at Holberton is that there is no "final" form -- learning evolves. I guess it is up to each individual to decide if this is a con or a pro. In my personal practical learning experience, this has been very much a pro.

     

    And fifth, for the last thing, and perhaps also one of the most important, this program teaches you how to learn. How to ask for help. What kinds of questions are “Google-able”. How to look something up without knowing the answer. It gives you that intuition somehow. There is so much to write that I think that it will not be possible for me to cover everything in this review, but I can definitely tell you that this program successfully and effectively tailors education to each student’s background and learning style. In short, this culture of learning has made me fall in love with programming.

     

    To sum it all up in a nutshell, this program aims to give you the learning experience you need to start a career in Computer Science. It my experience so far, it has exceeded my expectations.

  • Gloria Bwandungi • Author / Full Stack Software Engineer • Student
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    Two years may seem like an eternity, but the first few months have raced by in a flurry of challenging learning experiences that were not just about software and the curriculum set by the founders, but were also personal. I am not the person I was when I started at Holberton School.

    Four months ago I was a novice, working alone in my house and struggling to transform online tutorials into real World projects. Today I am surrounded by people on a similar journey, belonging to a class of peers whose collaboration & camaraderie makes learning an enjoyable process.

    It is not without its challenges. You have to work hard and study hard and allow yourself to go through the process of growing into your skills. 'Growing pains' are not called pains for nothing. However, because there is so much support from mentors who are industry professionals, we are finding success in our different fields of interest.

    Holberton School sometimes also feels like a startup because we're all invested in the success of the school. We're involved in marketing, dev-ops, new innovative projects for the school that are outside the curriculum, and building the community at large.

    The idea of becoming a full-stack software engineer can be daunting, and with technology racing at break neck speed, we all worry that our skills will be obsolete in a few years. This is the reason why Holberton School is the investment you want to make. Learning how to learn - a skill that will take you far into an uncertain future.

  • augustin francis-boeuf • software engineer • Student
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    The Holberton School Curriculum is unique.  It s great alternative for Bootcamps ( quite short, and focused on only one technology) and CS College (often too much theoretical, not industry oriented). They offer a 2 year program (9 months on site in SF, then 6 months internship and finally 9 months remote) to trained the next generation of software engineers.

    The education is project based, there are no formal teachers.  But the students and the team are much closer because there is only 30 students per batch and the projects are peer-reviewed. Moreover they offer something unique: a very strong community of industry experts. Many projects and Meet-ups are given by mentors, giving technical but also professional advices to the students. 

    This program is not free but the students only have to pay the tuition after the 2 years (after having a job). The mission of the school is clear: allow anyone to become a professional software developer whatever his or her background. It is not a light statement: the three founders of the Holberton School are very driven and have created a great program to help everyone achieve their goal.

  • Kris Bredemeier • Student • Student
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    I am currently a student at Holberton School. Holberton is a full-stack software engineering school. The aim of the school is to emulate the workplace as much as possible to ready us for careers in software engineering. The space is set up like a startup - one main open space that makes collaboration easy and accessible. Everything is project based - allowing us to get a feel for what its like to work with deadlines. We are given limited guidance which forces us to use our resources, work with each other, and ultimately learn how to learn. This industry changes so quickly, it is no longer sufficient to learn a single langue or framework. We need to be agile and if we learn the fundamentals, new technologies that come along will be easy to pick up. 

     

    The founders are honestly one of my favorite parts of this school. They are hard working and dedicated to this place. Each one of them has come from reputable companies like Apple, Linkedin, and Docker. They come with real world knowledge and have been able to transfer that knowledge to the projects that they have personally curated. They are passionate about what they do, and it makes this school a great place to come every day. Seeing how hard they worked to get where they are today, makes us want to work all that much harder. 

     

    The school is located in the heart of the finical district in downtown San Francisco. I can’t think of a better place to learn this industry, and than amongst some of the most reputable tech companies of our generation.

  • Anonymous • Student
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    Hi, I am currently a student who is about 7 months into the first year here.

    I would highly recommend Holberton to anyone who wants a deeper dive into computer science. If you want to learn how to code, there are many options but where I think Holberton really shines is in the depth of the curriculum. Because you spend the first three months in C, you will be working very closely with the kernel and learning lower-level tasks such as memory management/assembly. You will be working in Linux machines from the very first day and be very proficient in Bash and Git. The final project for the first trimester involves using data structures such as linked lists to build a Unix shell from scratch.

    In the second trimester, you learn Python and the Object-Oriented Programming. There is a heavier emphasis on algorithms and interview prep. We deep-dived into Big O/sorting algorithms and binary trees. I personally enjoyed this semester as we got to learn SQL and built an Airbnb clone from scratch.

    Now I'm in the third trimester which is heavily focused on Dev Ops. The topics we are focusing on are server management with NGINX and Apache. We spend most of our time in SSH and learning about networking. We are also using Docker containers to debug and deploy applications.

    Year two offers 4 specializations at the moment: Web Dev, Machine Learning, AR/VR and Blockchain.

    If you are considering schools, I would recommend this program if you are looking for an education more akin to a Computer Science degree. If you are interested in the DevOps field, this is also a great option as it is one of the only schools that teaches this topic. If you are an independent person who is comfortable with asking questions and socializing, this is a good fit because you will be working with peers all day long. There is no instructor to keep you on your toes; that is up to you.

    I would NOT recommend this program if you want to just learn web development or if you are on a time restraint. Because of the length of the program and the way it is structured, that topic is covered in Year 2 as the priority is on full-stack development in Foundations (Year 1).

    At the end of the day, there is no lack of resources to learn how to code these days. It's about how resourceful you can be. Yes, you can learn to code on your own, but personally speaking, I think you will learn much faster if you are surrounded by intelligent, motivated people every day. What I am happy to pay for is the community, mentors, and people with industry experience who can guide you on your journey. Holberton has given me that so far.

     

  • Anonymous • Student
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    I came to Holberton because I wanted an alternative to the slow and mundane learning style that I had in college. I'm currently on my 6th month in Holberton School and I've enjoyed it a lot. The program has reduced many learning barriers that I had in college. I no longer worry about losing a seat, I study at my own pace, I learn with a motivated community / peer to peer. The peer to peer learning style has helped me have a deeper understanding of the material that I was learning, everyone has shared solutions and errors. 

    I've noticed a lot of comparisons of Holberton and Lambda, I personally choose Holberton School because of its two year course, with the second year being a specialization of your choice.  Soft skills are very important when it comes to working with big tech, communication skills are everything. Everyone has the chance to share their knowledge by whiteboarding, almost like we're teaching! The curriculum is challenging but very rewarding. I remeber the struggles I shared with my peers, and it's a joy looking back and seeing how far we've come in just 6 months. 

     

  • Anonymous • Graduate
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    TLDR; This program isn't worth it, stay away. Also their ISA is choking and has a rediculous cap on maximum payment. 17%, 3.5 years and 85k max.

    App Academy, Rithm, Lambda are a few that i know which are MUCH better ISAs. around 15%, 2-3 years and 40k max. Better curriculum, better cost, muuuuch faster timeline...just better. Hell, 42 school is FREE.

    I know a lot of people share my frustrations and its stupid to see none of it brought to light because they won't make any changes if everyone is just all "Keep it up, everything is just amazing at holberton!" they will never change if they aren't exposed.

    There was one other review about lazy education and he was 100% right, it's the most helpful review on course report if you click the filter "most helpful" because it's true. 

    Do your research, message holberton students on linkedin, find their githubs and see what kind of stuff they did. Is it worth it to you? Probably not as you'll see. 

    If you really want to do this, stay for the 3 months of  C and bash ( if you really wanna learn C, Command line/Bash ) and then drop out and self learn, everything else after that is just a private company's attempt at being freeCodeCamp minus all the hundreds of hours of totally FREE videos/tutorials and lessons, all put together by actual industry experienced professionals. It's not 2014 anymore, theres many other programs with much more competitive ISA agreements and faster. 2 years is a joke their 2nd year program is a joke. 

    I've done the whole program ( which is the first 9 months lets be real ) and currently this program is just not worth it and not competitive cost wise. So lets get this out of the way:

    Don't believe any marketing they advertised about "only 3% get accepted" this is pure bs. 

    They might have taken that down already, because they accept as many people as they can get, it is a pure numbers game. I remember submitting a serious youtube video, a long ass medium post, moved on to buliding a decent website that did everything and was accepted almost immediately, seconds later, way too fast to check anything.


    Bottom line is that they just need to get as many people as possible to sign their ISA agreement and hope that a large percentage of them stay for the lock in period where they owe the full 17% I think it's over 3 months. Just completely arbitrary rules and hours about how long you stay versus what you owe:

     it is 3.5 years of payment on 17% off the top of your salary. The max here is 85K which is absolutely rediculous. They recently divided up year 1 and 2 as 40k and 45K Even if you opt out of year 2 they consider your year 1 as 60% of the full program and apparently 60 == 100 where you are expected to pay the full percentage and at the full maximum amount. This is just pure greed, bullshit.  I wouldn't be upset about this if the program was worth it but it is not. 

    Doing this program will most likely get you a devOps job. I did not even know what devOps was until it was too late. It isn't software development, it's not frontend/backend. It's playing around with infrastructure tools and services and building automation scripts. "Full Stack Developer" is also just a marketing lie. they never even mention devOps.

    The whole point here in doing this program is to get a job. You are given 3 months of C. This is helpful to nothing but C/Embedded jobs which are slim to none and definitely favors CS grad/actual computer science qualified candidates. Bash is also thrown in, a skill only nice to have with devOps. Sooo 3 months go to a low/unmarketable job skills.

    After that you focus on python. a language that favors... data science? which usually is a field of PhDs masters people or statistic majors. machine learning? Again you don't have the background for the machine learning field and that isn't taught at school anyways. Annnnd devOps, the field they failed to mention anything to you about. The only job you will basically be preparing for in this school. SO about 3 months of a very specific job skill. 

    Everything is broken up into small bite sized tasks, and then a project is thrown on you that kind of tests what you've learned. It's a good attempt at what freeCodeCamp gives you for free, but it's worse because where freeCodeCamp is constantly improving by a team of people and it's FILLED with projects to work on. Holberton's curriculum staff drinks the koolaid hard and thinks everything is just perfect and any criticism is a hostile attack that needs to be aggressivly defended on every point made.

    There are no instructors. staff at the school was always very defensive and held off on offering much support. It was as if you should be grateful you're even in the building and everything you are given is a form a charity, and don't question it.

    It's "peer learning". You are basically on your own and have to rely on google or other students that also googled it...so basically use a lot of google? So no, not peer learning. they pad the weeks with "PLDS" peer learning days. Which are days that nothing happens: people that did the work are held back a day, people that struggled and continue to struggle by asking people and failing to google then spend the day asking people again and without googling and still struggle. Most people in this category would eventually just give up and copy code or ask a friend to just give them the answer. So maybe a combined 2 weeks of the 9 months is spent like this. 

    So what about projects? You get one fully built over engineered website that they make you spend WAY too much time on. It's one website, with an API a database and very light frontend. it's all built with python and flask which again very few companies use for web development backend. MySQL which is useful. about 2 weeks of useful SQL knowledge. Again this is all WAY stretched out. 

    Your portfolio is going to be one shell terminal and one end to end website. 

    How about javascript? the most desirable language that every web development job looks for? filled with very popular and desirable frameworks? You get about 1 week of javascript and jQuery, the least cared about framework/library at this point. So basically nothing.

    The final project is something that you have to come up with yourself and spend 2 weeks off and you show it off the holberton's "connections" that they gather for a "career night". I did mine, guess how many people showed up? No one. Which leads to my next point

    How about mentors? This is another marketing Lie, WAY over exaggeration. This school has no one that works on building connections for the school. Mentors in my experience were few and far in between and usually were not even engineers. A tiny fraction of the mentors were engineers and we were basically discouraged from contacting them about anything career related. They were never helpful, just showed up for 30 minutes of public speaking practice. It's usually up to students to find mentors.

    Any connections this school had were dried up by batch 2, it is now batch 8. 

    Job Support, the biggest thing a coding bootcamp student would need? Terrible. I would say not applicable but basically it boils down to a founder direct messaging you for something he came across. If you are lucky he will message you, if not he messaged someone else and you are on your own. That means countless hours networking and going to events and practicing hackerrank 

    Interview practice? very bad. The majority of the material they would give you were recycled questions with 1 word answers "who founded twitter?" "who created C?" "how much is amazon worth" "what command would I use to change directories?" "what is the shadow file?" "what is contained in the passwd file?" Completely useless questions with no value that you'll never hear. and then 1 or 2 recycled algorithm problems that you had already worked on in a past assignment. Only the last 3-4 interview practices felt good. We did a total of maybe 10 interviews?

    So 3 months of unmarketable C and barely marketable bash, 3 months of devOps popular python, 1 week of javascript, 2 weeks of MySQL.

    Not nearly enough web development exposure (read:javascript/a portfolio) to match up to any other coding bootcamp. Hackreactor and all the rest will blow you out of the water for web development. Unless you spend more months self learning without the school, something you could have done from the beginning. 

    Soft Skills, what soft skills??? You give 3 presentations, write useless blog posts that no one reads, useless diagrams. Nope i'm not talking about something useful like UML diagrams, like "draw a picture of how recursion works". If you don't already have great people/networking skills, none of their advice is going to help you. 

    The last portion of this padded/stretched out curriculum is devOps. You learn a very VERY surface level explanation of the internet, protocols, system design, etc... just enough that maybe you can regurgitate a term or too, but if anyone asks a deeper question you are screwed. So this portion is almost just like a glimpse of "oh btw this is devOps, that thing you've been unknowingly working towards" You setup up an nginx server a few times, haproxy, draw a few system design diagrams. You don't ever focus too long any one topic or tool to be able to market yourself as having any kind of proficiency in it. So basically, it is almost useless, and if you still weren't interested in a devOps job, it is actually completely useless. 

    Out of the 9 month curriculum the most useful things you will learn and can confidently say you are at a junior engineer level of understanding are python, bash, and MySQL. Minus all the C and devOps and peer learning days and jeapordy question interviews and blog post writing....Maybe 3 months total. 

    They also mentioned a "6 month internship" this is written down as if it is baked into the program. It's not. That's completely up to you, whatever you find.  it's just more bs and makes you think like this is part of the schedule lol. No.

    The year 2 was never anything very fleshed out. And if you can go 2 years without work, in SF, ummm lucky you? 

    There was more web development practice, more C practice, and now they offer "machine learning and VR" that was developed entirely by other students??...yeah i'll pass. Udemy has courses and most are made by actual experienced industry professionals/educators. Go there for that. 

    It's bad enough that you can't just get a loan and pay it off because 85,000 is rediculous. So you will be stuck with a big chunk of your paycheck sliced off the top and after taxes and whatever fees you are basically going to be living tight in SF for the next 3.5 years. 

    The only good thing that came was from the friends I made. 

Thanks!