A New Kind of Education

Holberton School offers a two-year higher-education program in San Francisco, training students to become highly skilled software and operations engineers, through project-based and peer learning.

The curriculum is designed for intelligent, passionate, dedicated and open-minded students. It is both intense and exciting.

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning is an alternative teaching methodology to the traditional paper-based, mechanical memorization and teacher-led classroom and results in a greater depth of understanding concepts, a broader knowledge base, improved communication and interpersonal/social skills, enhanced leadership skills, and increased creativity. It gives students the opportunity to explore problems and challenges that have real-world applications, increasing their long-term retention of skills and concepts.

Rather than just teaching our students a lot of theory and having them only occasionally apply a fraction of it through a class project, we do the exact opposite. We give our students increasingly difficult programming challenges to solve, with minimal initial directions on how to solve them. As a result, students naturally learn to look for the theory and tools they need, how to understand them and, use them, and how to work together and help each other.

The project-based learning approach represents what happens in the real world. When you are a software or operations engineer, your job is about completing projects and solving problems. You have to collaborate with your colleagues - and not only other engineers - and search for the information and tools that will permit you to accomplish your objective.

As a result, graduates of Holberton School are better prepared to work in the tech industry, and prepared to learn absolutely anything quickly, ensuring their adaptability through the quickly-evolving technological landscape.

Holberton’s methodology takes inspiration from “progressive education”, a pedagogical movement that began in the late nineteenth century. With a strong emphasis on learning by doing via hands-on projects, students develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

See some examples of projects.

Andrew moll

"This is great! I wish something like this would have been available when I was in school. I don’t use all of what I learned in school and wish I gained more project based experience while in college."

- Andrew Moll, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft.

Peer Learning

Peer learning is an educational practice in which students interact with their fellow students to reach their educational goals. Coupled with project-based learning, it allows Holberton students to unleash their creativity and naturally learn how to solve practical challenges by working as a team.

At Holberton School, each student helps all other students, and most of the projects are collaborative. We encourage our students to share their knowledge and to help each other.

When a student successfully explains a concept to another student, everyone wins-- the student receiving the explanation wins as it's been proven that abstract concepts are better understood when explained by peers; and the student performing the explanation also wins, as this is the best way to achieve knowledge consolidation.

Peer education is proven to foster a very constructive learning culture, as students are immersed into an environment where everyone is driven to help each other.

Creative and Exciting Learning

Software engineering is a creative and exciting journey, and that’s what our students experience at Holberton School. The combination of project-based learning and peer learning makes Holberton School more engaging for students; they are always working hands-on, focusing on building actual applications and solving modern day challenges.

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"Holberton School offers a truly innovative approach to education: focus on building reliable applications and scalable systems, take on real-world challenges, collaborate with you peers. A school every software engineer would have dreamt of!"

- Kate Volkova, Sr. Software Engineer at Microsoft.

Learn How to Learn

As the world rapidly changes, our focus is not to teach our students specific programming languages, frameworks or tools, because nobody can predict what they will need to know tomorrow.

Instead, Holberton School teaches problem solving. Students learn what they need to in order to accomplish an objective. They learn to find solutions to problems using both offline and online resources, as well as imagination, creativity and communication. By doing so, they will be able to quickly adapt to unknown challenges they will face in their career.

At Holberton School, students become thinkers, not information processors.

Sam alba

"Learning how to learn was key in my career, and the project-based and peer learning approach is the best way to become a highly skilled software engineer."

- Sam Alba, Senior Director of Engineering at Docker.

The “Full Stack” Software Engineer

While being a specialist in a given domain can be a good choice in one’s career, having a general understanding of the bigger picture is also important to be a complete and adaptable engineer.

If you are a specialist in web front-end development, it is important to also understand how the back-end is built, how and why the API is built a certain way, how the databases and the infrastructure work behind the scene, etc. By doing so, you can produce a better, faster front-end and better collaboration with your coworkers.

Holberton School students build different types of applications and systems on a variety of devices and operating systems. They learn low-level programming, web front-end, back-end, scripting, databases, mobile development, internet of things, artificial intelligence, reverse engineering, security, and more. While building their applications, they are in charge of everything from coding, testing, documenting, shipping, monitoring, scaling, being on call, etc. Many projects also include user interface and experience, communication, online marketing, community building, pitching, go-to market strategy and more.

Neha jain

"The best engineers I worked with are the ones with a wide knowledge in software engineering. Knowing a bit about everything makes a big difference when debugging complicated problems and building solid products. Holberton is training this kind of people and I am very excited about that!"

- Neha Jain, Software Developer at LinkedIn.

Soft Skills

Holberton students learn how to build a product, as well as how to understand and communicate with others.

Our project-based learning environment naturally pushes our students for better communication and to work as a team. In addition, our curriculum also includes projects that require them to pitch their idea, talk to users, talk to real-life software engineers, write technical articles, organize meetups, interact with industry peers through social and professional channels, etc.

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"Writing code is the easiest part of an engineer's job. The hardest and most important one is being able to articulate your ideas clearly, be it to your coworkers, boss, press, or users. That makes the difference between a thinker and a typist."

- Florent Crivello, Senior Software Engineer at Uber.

Curriculum

Holberton School provides a two-year higher-education program made up of three different parts: 9 months of intense training on software engineering fundamentals, a 6-month internship, and 9 months of on-site or remote study in a specialization of your choice.

During the first 9 months, students are expected to spend as much time as possible together at the school. The rest of the curriculum is designed to be done remotely as students are working part-time or full-time at a company or on their own project / startup.

The goal of Holberton School is not to teach students a specific programming language or a specific framework, but to teach them problem solving so that they can be successful throughout their entire career. Students learn what they need to learn to accomplish objectives, including low-level and system programming, higher level programming, web and mobile development, system administration and operations, open-source, algorithms, reverse engineering, and more, as well as documentation, communication, and community building.

At Holberton School, students develop hundreds of minor to complex applications, scripts and systems, in many different languages, and on different devices, operating systems, and clouds. Here are a few examples of technical and non-technical projects:

Student projects are open-sourced online on the project host of their choice.

Valerie tching

"At Holberton School, students acquire a deep understanding of computer science fundamentals with a pragmatic approach, adapted to the real world."

- Valerie Tching, Senior Software Engineer at LinkedIn.

A Physical School, Open Seven Days a Week

We encourage our students to spend as much time as possible together at school.

Having a “physical” school provides our students the kind of social environment that is conducive to sustained engagement and learning. It’s easier to motivate yourself and focus if all of your friends are around you, doing the same thing and helping you when you are struggling.

The school is open to students seven days a week, and provides a collaborative environment for them to work any day they like.

A Journey Among the Industry Leaders

Holberton School students regularly interact with established software engineers and industry leaders. Mentors help our students in many different ways: coaching, sharing their experience, collaborating with students, and much more. They come from both small and large companies such as Facebook, Google, Uber, Instagram, LinkedIn, Docker, IBM, Microsoft, etc.

Mentors also ensure that the curriculum stays up to date by creating their own exercises and projects.

See all our mentors.

Ludovic champenois

"To be successful, small or large software projects require a versatile team, and are often lacking profiles mastering what Holberton School is teaching: strong team collaboration, hands-on programming experience, being on call, etc... Think about learning in a startup mode, with industry mentors, not formal teachers!"

- Ludovic Champenois, Tech Lead/Manager Google Cloud.

No Upfront Cost

At Holberton, we believe that people from every community and background should have the opportunity to become a software or operation engineer.

That is why there is no upfront cost to attend Holberton School. Once our graduates find a job, we only charge 17% of your internship earnings and 17% of your salary over 3 years.

Because we don’t charge you before you find a job, we charge you only depending on your wages. We only make money if you build a successful career. No matter what, you will never take non-refundable debt.