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:
- Rick Harris • Software Engineer • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
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- 9/9/2017Dora • Software Engineer • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
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!- 3/16/2017Naomi • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
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.
- Unique and Successful- 3/7/2017Bennett • Student • Campus: San Francisco
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.
- Learning at Holberton School- 3/6/2017Daniel Alzugaray • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
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.
- A Unique Experience- 5/17/2016Gloria Bwandungi • Author / Full Stack Software Engineer • Student • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
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 • Campus: San Francisco
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.
- full-stack | project based- 3/28/2016Kris Bredemeier • Student • Student • Campus: San Francisco
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.
- Overpriced & Underdelivered- 4/2/2020Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San FranciscoThere are so many better, more honest alternatives out there.
- After taxes that 17% is more like 25%.
- They were operating without approval from the government. They allegedly committed fraud to get approval, by saying they weren't issuing ISAs.
- No one is even sure whether or not our ISAs are even legally binding.
- First 9 months has no-front end. That's not full-stack.
- Year 2 Curriculums are all written by students, and not very educational based on what I hear from people who've attended.
- I know a guy who went back to work as an electrician after getting expelled, and had to pay them back.
- Another student has been job searching for a year while driving Uber. Still has to pay them back because he's making over $40k.
- Witnessed Julien Barbier(one of the founders) publicly shame two students on stage for not finishing their end of year projects.
- Seems like half of the students with ISAs never get coding jobs, but they never graduate. So Holberton claims a 99% placement rate for "graduates". Who knows what the real outcomes are.
- I know 25+ students personally who have to pay back ISAs with no coding job.
- If you successfully land a coding job, you have no idea how badly you got ripped off because you have nothing else to compare to.
Here's the CBS news story about Holberton being a scam:
And the Bureau for Postsecondary Private Education's official Notice and Emergency Decision to stop Holberton from admitting new students.
And that just scratches the surface of how bad this school is. The worst part about it is, half the students who attended cheerlead it so loudly to protect their own brand that Holberton continues to trap people into a predatory ISA.
- Overpriced & False Advertising- 1/28/2020Anonymous • Software Engineer • Graduate • Course: Full-Stack | Project-based curriculum • Campus: San Francisco
17% of wages for 3 years is steep for something you can get for $7-15k at an online or 3 month bootcamp.
Coaching and mentorship are scarce, and with unqualified people. A lot of their coaches and mentors are recent graduates in need of the job title.
The founder threatens to expel people for "insubordination"... ie questioning anything about Holberton.
I have a friend who went to Make School and it sounds like what Holberton says it is. Make School gives you 2 years and a Bachelor's in CS, with actual mentorship, for around the same price.
Holberton hasn't been approved to operate as an institution for higher learning and there's an ongoing investigation by the Bureau of Postsecondary Education. It you've been lied to by this school you should submit a complaint.
- My experience- 12/11/2019Anonymous • My experience • Student
- Very happy with my decision- 8/14/2019Anonymous • Student • Campus: San Francisco
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.