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 4.66
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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
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
Holberton School Reviews
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- Anonymous • Graduate • Campus: San Francisco
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.
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?
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.
- Anonymous • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
I have been learning to code on my own for a long time. It was a hobby, but when you wake up super early on a Sunday because you are excited about learning more, you start to wonder "what if I could do this every day?" But, as a 30-year-old woman, you think twice before changing career. Part of this reluctance was also coming from the fact, that despite hundreds of hours of MOOCS, I was still lacking a lot of understanding... I attended CS50 on edx, participated in the full-stack Nanodegree on Udacity and other courses on Udemy. These classes are good, but at the end, I was still not able to be a freelancer or to work for a startup. I kept on copying the examples without really understanding how the code worked. I could never re-write the code without looking at an example. Why are we using a dictionary, a list, a set? What does that imply? What are mutable and immutable objects? How do login sessions really work?
A friend of mine told me that I would make a great software engineer if I get serious about it. He advised me to check out Holberton School. As a rockstar engineer himself, the fact that he was endorsing the school and especially the curriculum, was a big deal for me. He told me that I will learn what I need to be a real software engineer. Besides, another friend told me that the difference between a software engineer and a developer is the capacity for an SE to adapt and learn new things while developers trained in a 4-month bootcamp are a bit trapped in one framework and have difficulties doing anything else.
Holberton School's curriculum is really top-notch. Check it out on the website. I learned so many things I cannot list them all here. Here are a few: I learned how an Operating System works, how to program in C with linked list, binary trees, algorithms, how to program in Python, create a web application, an API, how to structure databases, how to configure a network with load balancers, firewalls and encryption, how to create scripts to deploy servers effectively, and so on. We code on Emacs or Vim, like students from classic engineering schools. Which is pretty badass given the reaction of other SE when I tell them that.
The program lasts a little bit over 9 months because there is much to learn and if you feel a little bit more comfortable on some subjects you have optional tasks to go a bit deeper.
I loved the peer learning. At my age, I would not have liked to attend conventional classes again. This system really works, when you play the game! After a project, everyone gathers and discuss how they solved the problems and why it worked this way. The more people challenge themselves and participate the greater the value. Essentially, at Holberton, you learn how to do things, but most importantly why you are doing this way.
Overall my experience has been great. I'm at the end of year one and I really look forward to starting year 2.
Another thing is that from the beginning we have mock interviews to practice soft skills and technical questions with whiteboarding and fake phone calls. This really prepares us for job search.
I also really like the fact that the school is inclusive, respecting and encouraging minorities.
Thanks for reading and excuse my grammar, English is not my mother tongue.
- Student at Holberton- 2/8/2019Anonymous • Student • Campus: San Francisco
I am a student at Holberton School. I chose this program over a master's degree because I only have to pay them after I am able to get a job. Holberton offered me the chance to change careers and make a real difference in my life. So far, in only a matter of months I've gone from someone who didn't know a thing about coding, to problem solving and working with peers.
Only one star for instructors because there aren't any.
- a lazy education, not recommended- 10/21/2018Anonymous • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
Curriculum: Bash, C, Python, DevOps, and webdev. I give curriculum rating a 3 because it was helpful to learn about low level before moving on to high level programming. Also getting to work on soft skills is a good thing. But the webdev part seemed rushed and we only worked on one big project in bits and pieces at a time. I don't remember any CSS, JS, or other things like SQLalchemy since it was rushed. On the big project: I don't really understand all the parts or the "big picture" because they don't explain anything. The instructions are like this: task 1: do this. task 2: do that, without explaining why we're doing these things. So this was lazy on their part. It would've helped to do smaller webdev projects so that I could actually remember something.
On assignments - I have mixed feelings on this because some things we only had a day or two of experience, like using awk, puppet, bash programming. After not doing it again, I don't remember any of it, so it was like those days didn't make me any better at programming.
Peer learning days - very disorganized. It's the same thing as friends getting together to do an online course, but we're only talking about things we've already done. It would make more sense if we got together everyday for organized group activities like other bootcamps rather than talk about the homework we've already done. Other bootcamps seem to be far more organized.
Instructors: my rating is a 1. There are no teachers, so our only in person help is other students. I would give a better rating if they at least had good explanations or a wiki to go along with the tasks, but the instruction is literally: "here's a task! read this link I found from the front page of a google search to learn more!" This is extremely lazy and is an insult to me as a student as it seems they're not investing in making helpful resources, and more invested in raising money and making tools. App Academy's online course is far more professional and resourceful, and it's now FREE.
Cost: 17% of salary for 3.5 years if you make over $40k. This turns out to be expensive even if you don't get a software dev job. There are circumstances that allow them to extend the payment period, such as if you don't make over $40k, are unemployed, or go to another school after finishing Holberton. Can be extended for another 2 years.
Overall: I'm glad to meet good people, but I feel like the education is very lazy. I don't feel prepared to get a software job and I think most students aren't prepared after a year. The majority of students haven't gotten a software job after 1 year in, check linkedin if you don't believe me. A lot of students end up in DevOps, which is not really software development and more about writing scripts and learning different tools.
- A lot of pros; a few caveats.- 10/28/2016Anonymous • site reliability engineer • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
Lots of fun; each day is usually dedicated to tackling a project. Achieving the project tasks feels a lot like solving puzzle challenges, and you have peers tackling the same puzzles along side you, so if you get stuck you can start conferring with them. More like "doing" than "studying."
During my time at Holberton I felt ownership over every day, since I had so much freedom about how to approach each project. If you're a self-directed individual, this school might be for you.
Since you spend so much time with your peers, you end up with a strong sense of community that you take with you once you graduate. Your peers serve as your support network.
A few caveats: it helps if you have some familiarity with basic programming conventions when you enter the program (if, else if, else conditions; for and while loops) since those can be hard to grasp at first and the curriculum moves quickly. More vital is basic problem solving skills - if you don't have those, you have to get them down in the first few months, otherwise you'll be stuck with a lot of projects you don't know how to tackle. If you have an instinct to decompose a problem into smaller task, you can identify knowledge gaps to resolve, and you can break down information from the Internet, you should be good.
If you're able to keep up with the curriculum, you'll get trained up to be a successful software engineer, you'll get a deeper understanding of the industry than any bootcamp/college grad, and you'll have a lot of (career) opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise via the mentor network. So go for it if you think the project-based methodology suits you.