SOURCE: Holberton

September 29, 2015 09:00 ET

Challenging Colleges, Online Courses and Bootcamps, New Bay-Area School Aims to Solve the Software Engineering Talent Shortage

Proven European System Graduates High-Quality, Full-Stack Software Engineers in Two Years

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwired - Sep 29, 2015) -  Responding to the demand for software and system engineers world-wide, a group of industry veterans from Apple, Docker and LinkedIn today announced a revolutionary new hands-on school for training full stack software engineers. To foster diversity and equal opportunity, the school also announced that the inaugural class will attend tuition free.

The new San Francisco-based Holberton School offers an alternative to college, online courses and coding bootcamps -- training high quality full-stack software engineers in two years by using a project-based and peer learning system already proven in Europe to scale to graduate thousands of elite engineers a year. One of the school's goal is to drive more diversity to the industry. Betty Holberton (the school's namesake) was a programming pioneer, a good reminder that women are at the core of software engineering since its inception and that more diversity in tech would have a big positive social impact. The school believes that no matter the gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ethnicity or social status, everyone should be given the chance to become the next Betty Holberton.

According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, employment of software developers is projected to grow 22 percent annually from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. The main reason for the rapid growth is a large increase in the demand for computer software. The Bureau also reported the average wage for software engineers was $93,350 per year. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million open jobs and only 400,000 computer sciences students to fill them.

"Every year it gets harder for companies to hire high quality full-stack software engineers as the opportunities driven by software innovation become greater," said Alex Solomon, PagerDuty Co-Founder and CEO. "The current options include expensive 4-year college programs that rely on theory, online programs with high dropout rates and recently 'bootcamps' that are mostly directed at college graduates to become junior developers. It's exciting to see the Holberton system has already been proven not just to train world-class engineers, but to very quickly scale to train many, even thousands, of software engineers."

The school also announced a $2 million seed round -- led by Trinity Ventures (Dan Scholnick; board of directors, Docker and New Relic) -- and including Jerry Yang (co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo!), Partech Ventures, Solomon Hykes (co-founder of Docker) and Jonathan Boutelle (co-founder of Slideshare). The school boasts more than 60 mentors from companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, Instagram, LinkedIn, Netflix, Uber and many more.

"By helping get Holberton School off the ground, we feel we are not just helping the school, and not just the thousands of companies around the world desperate for software engineers, but everyone who will benefit from the technologies these students will help create," said Dan Scholnick, General Partner, Trinity Ventures. "By having students learn to learn and focusing on problem-solving, they are set on a path for a lifetime of learning. What's more is we have faith Julien (Barbier, co-founder and CEO of Holberton School) can turn this school into a true community. We watched him use simple pizza parties to create a strong network of Docker ambassadors, turning Docker into the powerhouse it is today. If he can do all that with a slice of pizza, I can only imagine how he will use education to help build the next generation of programmers."

A project-based, peer-learning alternative to college
Project-based learning is an alternative to paper-based, rote memorization, teacher-led classrooms, that results in a greater depth of understanding of concepts, broader knowledge base, improved communication and interpersonal/social skills, enhanced leadership skills, and increased creativity. It also makes school more engaging and more exciting for students.

"There is a great need for software engineers worldwide, and in the US particularly," said Barbier. "Holberton School uses a proven system that more closely replicates real-world employment. In this project-based and peer learning system there are no formal teachers and no formal courses. Instead, everything is project-centered. Students have to solve increasingly difficult programming challenges, with minimal initial directions about how to solve them. As a consequence, students naturally look for the theory and tools they need, understand them, use them, work together, and help each other. And, by the way, they love it -- I know because I am a graduate of the same system."

The Holberton School practices many of the techniques used the by European Institute of Technology. The French school graduates more than 1,500 students a year, 100% of them securing high-paid jobs worldwide.

Open to all
Holberton School is open to anyone -- ages of 18 to 128, whether a high school graduate or not, and whether an experienced programmer or not. The selection process is based only on talent and motivation. The Holberton School will enable students from every community and background to have the opportunity to become a software engineer. Because the school is committed to diversity and equal opportunity, students in the inaugural class meeting the strenuous standards of admission will attend tuition free.

Mentors
Holberton School students constantly interact with mentors, who share their experience and knowledge. The mentors will also ensure that the curriculum stays up to date and actually introduce some of the exercises and projects at Holberton School, from real challenges they're solving or have solved in their careers. Mentors come from small and large companies such as Facebook, Google, Uber, Instagram, LinkedIn, Docker, IBM and Microsoft.

Join Holberton
Applications are now open for the January class: Apply now.

About Holberton School
Holberton School is a project-based alternative to college, based in San Francisco, California, dedicated to training the next generation of technology leaders. For more information please visit the Holberton School website.

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