Holbertson School Adds Medellín Campus, Offering Innovative Funding Model For Software Programming Students
The Holberton School, a college alternative for training software engineers, last week announced that it has opened a campus in Medellín, it’s second Colombia campus after opening one in the capital of Bogotá.
Holberton provides what it calls “Silicon-Valley grade” peer-learning and project-based software engineering training in a 2-year curriculum and charges no upfront tuition. Students acquire practical skills and an understanding of theory through hands-on learning closely advised by mentors from US technology companies. Holbertson claims its students have been employed at top-tier employers like Apple, LinkedIn, Google, Amazon, and Tesla.
According to Simón Borrero, co-founder and CEO of Colombian Unicorn Rappi, Colombia lacks up to 200,000 software engineers, and as such Colombian government has announced that it is a priority to support the development of software talent to advance the digital transformation of the economy.
The school charges no upfront tuition. Instead, graduates are asked 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 software engineers.
“Our administration is on a deliberate path of a digital transformation of the economy, from manufacturing to ‘mindfacturing’ through the production and export of intellectual property. We are keenly aware that there is a deficit in software engineers and programmers, in Colombia and globally,” said Colombian President Ivan Duque. “Our priority is to reform education towards a digital economy, at all stages of education … supporting efforts of the software industry training software engineers around their needs with disruptive initiatives.”
“As the world becomes increasingly digital, Colombia stands at the cusp of a burgeoning opportunity,” said Victor Muñoz, Colombia CIO. “By working with a new generation of schools, we can efficiently train at scale the people of Colombia for the current and rapidly growing number of high-paying software jobs. With more talent, Colombia will be poised to attract more businesses to our country, a virtuous cycle fueling even greater job growth.”
The Bogota school, opened in January in partnership with Rappi, Colombia’s first startup valued at more than $1 billion, including a recent investment by Softbank. The school attracted more than 5,000 candidates for just 50 spots in the initial cohort. Rappi contributed to the opening costs and provided mentors to the students. It has also committed to hiring graduates from Holberton.
Coderise, a regional non-profit that empowers youth through software engineering education, is leading the efforts and operations of the school in Colombia.
“The future of LATAM is digital, and we are leading the revolution in Colombia. But this success will depend on available high-quality software engineering talent,” said Borrero. “The ability of Holberton to attract students of all genders, rich or poor, educated or not and to effectively train them on in-demand skills is exactly what’s needed.”
Medellín has experienced significant transformation over the last five years. It was named the most innovative city of the year In 2013, and it has become a hub of digital innovation in Latin America. Ruta N, the innovation agency of the city, along with Socialatom Ventures with a joint Digital Business Development Center, will support Holberton in Medellín.
“We started in 2016 in the city of San Francisco. After we expanded our school to the state of Connecticut, with support from the governor, we were flooded with inquiries from other cities, regions and even countries, all seeking a Holberton School,” said Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holberton. “Colombia’s digital growth is so impressive that they cannot currently train the required pool of software engineering talent fast enough. These new schools will enable Colombia to take a quantum leap into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and give so many of its citizens lasting skills and high-quality jobs.”
Holberton boasts a remarkably diverse student body. Its automated admission process reduces human bias, resulting in one of the most diverse learning institutions in the tech industry. The school charges no upfront tuition. Instead, graduates are asked 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 software engineers.
Applications to Holberton are open to people with any educational background and of any age or gender.