Students attending the innovative Software Engineering school Holberton don’t pay for their education until after they are working. Now, thanks to a scholarship program launched today by the school with initial funds raised by Google, Accenture, Scality and the non-profit CloudNOW, many can have living expenses defrayed as well.
[An infographic accompanying this announcement is available here.]
According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, the total cost of living in San Francisco is 62.6percent higher than the US average—and housing is nearly three times more expensive than in other U.S. cities. Holberton School recently announced a partnership with CloudNOW to raise an initial scholarship fund of more than $40,000 to cover some of the basic student expenses in the Bay Area, removing yet one more barrier for students interested in gaining a unique opportunity to get a sought-after education and become highly-paid software engineers.
Students at the school already pay no up-front tuition. They are asked only to contribute a percentage of their salaries to the school for the first three years of their post-Holberton employment, giving back to the next generation of students. But even then, the school recognized, it can still be challenging to manage the cost of living in Silicon Valley, despite the school’s track record for student hiring.
To date, 92 percent of the students who joined as the school’s first batch (scheduled to graduate in January 2018) are already working at companies such as Apple, NASA and LinkedIn (and 80 percent of the school’s second batch–before they are even half-way through with the program). One student has even started his own company.
“The internet has proven to be the great equalizer in many ways, but we need a diverse group of people to ensure it continues to be that. And to do that we need to remove as many barriers as we can for anyone seeking quality education,” said Vint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist for Google, and a ‘father of the internet’ spearheading the grant gifted by Google. “Holberton is enabling students from all walks of life to prepare for future careers, without loans and without debt. And now, Google, Accenture, CloudNOW and Scality are stepping up to help them too.”
“We want to remove as many barriers, pull down as many walls, to bring this education to as many people as possible, especially those who cannot afford traditional higher education,” said Julien Barbier, co-founder and CEO of the school which boasts a nearly 50 percent ratio of women and people of color. “The cost of living in San Francisco is a burden, especially for those who can benefit the most from our program, but San Francisco is also currently the epicenter of technology in the U.S. When Giorgio Regni, co-founder and CTO of Scality, who actually employs five of our students, approached us to help out, we jumped at the chance. Then CloudNOW generously provided additional scholarships, underwritten by Google and Accenture, who wanted specific funds set aside for women in STEM.”
This news follows last month’s announcement that Grammy Winner R&B artist, NE-YO, joined Holberton’s board of trustees and sponsored a free summer coding camp for local high school students.
“You’ve got the need–there are a quarter-million job openings for software developers in the US, half a million unfilled jobs that require tech skills, and forecasted growth of more than one million in the next decade, and you’ve got the untapped talent of millions of women and people like me who have not been able to break into the insular tech industry,” said NE-YO. “Holberton is challenging the norms, stretching the boundaries, giving the often disenfranchised a path to a great professional life. Businesses are recognizing this and helping tear down the walls for these students.”
On top of its focus on diversity, Holberton is providing an education that is training talent for companies that usually recruit Ivy League graduates. Even though no students have yet graduated from the two-year curriculum, many have found internships and jobs in prestigious Silicon Valley companies, including NASA, Dropbox, Apple, LinkedIn, Nvidia and Tesla.
Holberton’s curriculum is based on progressive education, a methodology that combines project-based and peer learning where students help each other to learn and reach goals. At Holberton, there are no lectures and no teachers, but instead tech mentors. Students acquire practical skills and an understanding of theory through hands-on learning. This guarantees that students possess the skills necessary for the technology industry’s most demanding jobs.
Businesses interested in finding out how they can help fund the scholarship or recruit Holberton students can join the Employer Network at www.holbertonschool.com/employers.
Holberton’s next class begins in January; students interested in applying can use the automated application process at www.holbertonschool.com/apply.
Material from a press release was used in this report.