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Holberton School

Courses: Full-Stack Software Engineering

Locations

Tulsa, Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Tunis, New Haven, San Francisco

About Holberton School

Holberton School offers two-year, full-stack software engineering training in San Francisco, CA; New Haven, CT; Bogota, Medellin, and Cali, Colombia; and Tunis, Tunisia.
Holberton has no formal teachers or courses. Holberton's education is instead delivered... Read More

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Courses

Full-Stack Software Engineering

  • Cost: Free
  • Duration: 104 weeks
Locations: Tulsa, Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Tunis, New Haven, San Francisco
Course Description:

Curriculum: Full-Stack Software Engineering

Holberton School’s two-year education is designed specifically to help anyone who can pass our admissions process learn the skills they need to become a full-stack software engineer.

The first nine months at Holberton is the Foundations program. Students start off learning shell scripting, then progress into C programming where they develop their own implementations of core system functionality, including their own printf() function and shell. Students then build upon the programming knowledge they have learned and begin working in technologies like Python, CSS, and JavaScript. As a group project, students develop a working clone of a popular service like AirBnB, which includes developing both the frontend and backend of these services as well as the scalable infrastructure. Finally, students build and develop their own technological solution to a real-world need, which could be anything from a user-friendly webapp to Arduino-based embedded hardware solution.

The goal of Holberton School’s education is beyond teaching a specific programming language or framework. Holberton seeks to teach students about the core learning and problem solving they will use throughout their careers. Students learn whatever 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, etc. They also learn documentation, communication, community building, and all of the other soft and non-technical skills that will help them stand out through the course of their careers.

After the foundations program, students can then pursue a specialization in one of several high-value fields, including AR/VR, full-stack web development, low-level C programming, and machine learning. For the latest list of available specializations, make sure to check out Holberton’s website.

Holberton School Reviews

Average Ratings (All Programs)

Overall
Curriculum
Job Support

4.32/5

(88 reviews)
    1/8/2021
  • Alex
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"ABUSIVE contract, money SCAM, poor content, ZERO support"

READ THIS BEFORE YOU TAKE THE WORST DECISION IN YOUR LIFE!! I enrolled in Holberton school Bogota last year, everything was ok when I wanted to start doing the advanced program, they suddenly issue an addendum (a document to modify the original contract);... Read More

Comment
    9/25/2020
  • Anonymous
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2018

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Holberton is a scam. Plain and simple."

It's been nearly two years since I completed the first year at Holberton and I've since had some time to reflect on the experience.

It started out with a lot of promise. The pace and rigor was exciting. The course content was engaging. My peers were friendly.... Read More

The first three months were great. The education in "low-level" programming was interesting and well thought out. I enjoyed learning C and the deep dives into memory management and collaborative projects were very well though out. Sure, it was difficult at times, but it never felt tedious or stressful.

As soon as we transitioned to Python, things took a turn. The coding challenges were less engaging, the projects were easier but more longwinded, and the content just felt less developed. Some days, and I'm not kidding, they would link to a Google search results page for the day's concept and that's it. As if we didn't know how to Google "Python List Comprehension." I get that Googling things for yourself was part of the pedagogy, but it needs to be supplemented with something more and not be repeated week after week. Also, the life of my cohort started to die out. The number of people to actually come in on a daily basis dwindled to around 5 and people just seemed less enthused about the content.

Finally, the last three months or so were almost laughable. We dipped into many different areas for a few days at most: Docker, Nginx, MySQL, web scraping, etc. The educational thread was quickly lost among the haphazard subject material. It felt like they were just trying to give us enough understanding that we could put each subject on our resume, but not enough to actually use it.

Additionally, as many graduates can attest, the support for job search is practically nothing other than a looming threat of expulsion if you don't keep up with their rigorous expectations. I'm not going to speak to the difficulty of finding a job in software engineering upon graduation, as I didn't undergo the process myself and many reviews have already covered that in detail. What I can speak to is the utter lack of support and callousness that the faculty showed my peers and myself towards the end of the program. They didn't check in anyone on an individual level, even if there were clear signs an individual was struggling (ie. not attending mandatory days or not participating in discussions). They would simply dock this person's grade and meet with them after it was too late to deliver the news that they must repeat the semester or drop out. Of the 60 students in my cohort, only around 20 remained at the very end, many bitter and jaded about the entire experience.

Holberton puts up a nice façade. They have great branding, great funding, great futuristic gates that make you feel cool when you enter the building, great bean bag chairs, and a great mission statement. But for all of their great promise the experience just doesn't deliver. As it currently stands, Holberton is designed to lure you in and keep you just long enough that you pay full price for tuition (after the first three months), but not designed to actually teach you or give you a successful career in software development. Holberton is a scam. Plain and simple.

Comment
    8/30/2020
  • Anonymous | Software Engineer
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2017

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Scam School"

This crappy school didn't do its part in helping me find a job even when I put up with its nonsense curriculum. I learned everything by myself and was usually the go to person that carried my entire cohort. Do yourself a favor and go to a different coding... Read More

Comment
    8/12/2020
  • Anonymous | Electric engineer
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2020

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Terrible experience"

I'm currently a Holberton student on third trimester. The experience is really bad. The money is not worth it. Let me begin with something, they don't teach you anything, you have to learn for yourself, they just make a plan for each topic and you have... Read More

Comment
    6/27/2020
  • Anonymous | Product Growth Manager
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"DON'T attend this school! The price is NOT worth it."

I'm going to be extremely honest and transparent about my opinion of this school because I don't want anyone to go through what I did. It's all going to sound very negative, but I'm just sharing my own experience and thoughts. Holberton School is a scam.... Read More

I just went through a bunch of reviews from this school and was shocked by the amount of people leaving super positive reviews even though they haven't even finished the program. I now remember that during the first three months of the first year, we were offered gift cards if we left a review on various sites. Many students left shining reviews so they had more of a chance to win the gift card. This is false advertising, beware of all of these positive reviews.

The brainwashing at Holberton is real. They will make you believe that finding a job will be super easy because they have ties to a ton of tech companies in this country, supposedly. It's been months and months and only about two people received actual job support from Holberton, out of 34 students in my cohort (we started out with 60). Granted, there were people who came from totally different professional backgrounds such as nursing, psychology, business, etc who were able to find jobs after the first 9 months. However, I would say that these were a minority. If you voice your concerns to staff or Holberton students who were able to find jobs, they will make you feel like an idiot for even suggesting feedback or telling them your experience. They will defend Holberton as if it were a cult and they were cult members, it's actually really scary to see. There are even Holberton students defending the school like that even if they have not yet finished the program and found a job. Like, why? What do you get out of invalidating other people's experiences? The only reason I am reviewing anonymously is for fear of attacks by current Holberton students who will get very defensive of any negative reviews or even constructive criticism aimed at the school.

The curriculum itself consisted of assignments that were due at 11:59pm and were checked by an automatic checker tool, not by a teacher or TA. We did not have teachers. All of the resources we had to learn a new topic (and we would learn a new topic with each assignment, and these could be three or four a week) were links that could be found on Google, and many times they literally would just give us a link to Google. If I wanted to learn by myself with online links, I would not have signed up for a really expensive software engineering school. I could have just learned for free or a fraction of the cost. At one point, we had one mentor for about 140 people, and it was really hard to get support. If you couldn't find the answer to anything and went up to staff for help, they would just say "Follow the framework". The framework consisted of first, looking on Google for help. If that didn't work, then you had to ask your peers. If that didn't work, then you had to ask the mentor. If that didn't work, only then could you ask on their cross-campus Slack channel. There's nothing like actually being taught by someone in the field, and not by peers who had no experience and were on the same page as you. In my case, since there were already a lot of tech people in my cohort, they would often be the ones to help everyone else. But it shouldn't be up to the students to teach everyone else, they had assignments and projects to do too.

Finally, I just want to say that the price tag for this school is extremely high for what they actually offer. This school is more expensive than a lot of the universities in my country, where you actually receive an accredited degree and where employers actually recognize the school you graduated from. You will not get any sort of certificate or degree at Holberton because it's not an accredited school and they don't plan on being one. They will tell you that you don't need a degree to become a software engineer but there are still many companies who require some sort of degree, especially depending on the country where you want to work. You're better off attending some sort of college or less expensive bootcamp with actual teachers and good support. If you're looking for bootcamps like Holberton, it's probably because you don't want or can't attend college. However, if there's any possibility that you can, I would say do it. Plus, you might even end up paying less than what you pay at Holberton. The ISA is extremely shady and has a bunch of loopholes that benefit Holberton only. Keep in mind that if you quit or get expelled from the school after the first month, you'll end up owing them for however long you attended, and they will start to charge you right away. They won't allow you a grace period to find a job, and the 17% taken from your salary every month for 3.5 years WON'T apply to you. This only applies to Holberton students still in the program. You will be charged regardless of whether you have a job or not and will be stuck in lots of debt, even if you only attended for a few months. You could be expelled from Holberton for many things, many of them not valid reasons for someone to be expelled or Holberton is very random with who they expel. For example, one student physically assaulted another student right on campus and was only docked a percentage of their score. Other students were found to be cheating and copying off of other students, and were just given a warning (despite the "if you cheat, you're automatically expelled" rule). One student missed a mandatory day because she got sick and even though she had legal medical leave of two days, they docked her grade by 45%. They then docked a total of 80% for missing a standup meeting (that other students also didn't attend but weren't marked absent like her), and because she wasn't able to bring up her grade on time before the end of the trimester, they expelled her. There seems to be a lot of favoritism and nepotism at this school, so that's definitely something to keep in mind.

When we all first started out at Holberton, we were all very hopeful and naive, and very positive about our experience. I would say that the tables have turned and a lot of the students now are trying to warn as many people as they can about this school and how fraudulent and shady they turned out to be. They do not care about the students. They only care about getting as many people as they can to apply (and they'll accept anyone who applies) so they can get rich off everyone's salaries. It takes them a really long time to consider feedback from students and implement changes. My advice is that you're better off looking for alternatives before blindly signing up to this school and signing the ISA. The only good thing about this school was the people I met (students, or peers as we're called). These people will help to teach you the basics of programming more than the actual curriculum, and it's them who should be getting paid or recognized, not the school. However, everything I learned at Holberton I could have learned on the internet for free.

Comment
    3/6/2020
  • Anonymous
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"School prioritizes expansion over student experience"

I attended Holberton school from January to October 2018 after a close friend attended for free as part of their first cohort. My review has a lot of negative and positive points but ultimately, my choice led to a successful career change, but not without... Read More

Because I was in the 5th cohort and based on the enthusiastic marketing I thought that the problems my friend experienced would be worked out, as they were in a new location, had many seemingly successful graduates and had expanded their staff. Instead I found a rigorous but partially complete curriculum with a lot of typos they made the students responsible for catching and reporting. I eventually gave up reporting errors to the staff because it was getting in the way of my project work. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you don't understand the vocabulary and technology, poorly translated and misspelled curriculum makes the "Google it" curriculum difficult to follow, because you don't know when it's an error or just a term you're not familiar with. The staff told me in one on one meetings that copy editing was not in the budget, but in the months since I left Holberton school, they've expanded to something like 8 more campuses. In the end, though, I went from having a little command line and CSS experience to being able to get some stuff running in C, which impresses people who think all boot camps are front end scripting only.

I got to know some of the students in their advertising posters and learned that they were using at least one of them with the caption "I am a software engineer" while they were still a student at the school, and the photos they used were taken by another student. Both of those students have successfully found jobs since then. When promotional photos were taken at the school they made up a reason for everyone to be on campus that day without telling us ahead of time that photographers and videographers would be on site. Then they singled out the only students of color in the entire building and featured them prominently in advertising, but the actual student body did not reflect their claims of diversity. Every student in those pictures is now among Holberton's biggest critics. Other students told me they felt people of color were not only overlooked but often more discouraged than their white peers, and when I brought this concern to the student support staff, they literally told me I was experiencing "group think." When I launched a campaign to have a sexist quote removed from the wall of the school, their response was to ask me repeatedly to remove the online petition and then they retaliated by speaking to the CTO of my company about it. To their credit, they did remove the quote but feigned ignorance as to why it would be offensive.

Lastly, I am one of the students who came to Holberton with the most information about what I was getting myself into, but found through talking to my peers that they were led to believe certain things about the curriculum and the payment structure that were different when they actually experienced the program. I got an internship through my company's connection to the school, but this only happened for a handful of the 54 people who started with my cohort, the rest were put into an extremely rigorous job hunting process that I think was devised to cover Holberton if hiring numbers didn't meet expectations. If someone couldn't find a job, it would be easy to say, "Oh well that person didn't send out x number of cold applications every week and we expelled them". Other examples are the advertised 3 year payment period (it's actually 3.5 years whether you get an internship or not), the second year specialization curriculum (more marketing fodder than practical expansion on the roles students actually end up in and from what I understand not entirely complete). The supposedly very selective application process was probably the biggest shock to me. I spent a lot of time on my application, especially the essay, only to find out that the entire process is automated to the point that they never read, watch, or view anything you submit and they accept basically everyone who completes the application. some people in my cohort were accepted along with everyone in the room at their "group interview." But after making huge sacrifices to come to Holberton, often moving, borrowing money, quitting jobs, etc. many of us tried to stay the course anyway. I tracked most of the people who completed the first 9 months and excepting the drop outs and people who were expelled, a majority of people *did* get some kind of tech job, but opinions vary on how much of a hand Holberton had in making it happen.

Ultimately, as stated before, I got a job after going to Holberton but the tuition cost is twice that of my bachelor's degree. I told myself in the beginning that this would be offset by Holberton being incentivized to make sure I got a job, only to find out that they accept everyone who applies and charge them the full 17% for 3.5 years if they complete even a fraction of the whole program whether they get a tech job or not. I could have gone back to my pre-holberton job and still technically owe them the money, which I imagine was part of their business plan in the first place.

Comment
    2/14/2020
  • Anonymous
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2018

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Overpriced, Underdelivered, Fraudulent"

They give out ISAs without approval from the government.

They committed fraud to get authorized as a school. Look it up on the BPPE’s website.

They expel anyone who can’t keep up with their sink or swim methodology, or anyone who challenges their way of... Read More

The curriculum is all curated and half of it’s written by students.

They drastically overpriced the program.

The course changes every month, so good luck getting what you signed up for.

Doesn’t prepare you for the job market. Most students have to teach themselves all the skills required to land a job.

No actual mentorship or career coaching.

If you get a job paying over $40k you still owe them. I know at least a dozen students who owe them back and don’t have coding jobs.

Stay far away from this school. It’s not as perfect as it seems in their marketing.

Comment
    1/20/2020
  • Anonymous
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"Not worth the money!"

Notice how most of these glowing reviews are from students who are still in the program. They have not yet experienced the lack of school support in the job search and the absurdity of the year 2 curriculum. Plus, Holberton School offers gift cards to... Read More

I graduated from Holberton School and was able to get a job. However, looking back at how much it costs compared to other alternatives and how nonexistent the job support was, it is definitely not worth the money.

I did everything by myself to find a job. There was no such thing as school support or a supportive professional network. If you’re looking for that, DO NOT come here. Need more proof? My cohort started with ~34 students and ended up with ~15 students. After our first year graduation, only 9 of us have jobs after 6 months. How is that for student support?

The cost of Holberton can come up to $85000 for a pitiful one year curriculum and a useless second year curriculum. The first year curriculum is basically all free URL links you can find yourself and the second year curriculum is of poor quality. Please do yourself a huge favor and choose another place (college or another boot camp). Think about it - 85K is worth more than a Masters at a top level graduate school! Do you think it’s worth it for a curriculum that basically links you to free online websites?

Please, please, please do not make the mistake I made. Even though I was able to get a job, I deeply regret my decision and hope to prevent others from doing the same.

Comment
    1/9/2020
  • Anonymous
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2018

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this school."

I decided to write a review because I do not want anybody else to be fooled by the marketing and social media and billboard branding. Especially if you are younger and have the option of doing college and getting a wholesome education.

Please search thoroughly... Read More

The Curriculum:
Firstly, there are no teachers and mentors. It's you and your cohort and some TA's who were previously former students. In this regard, it felt more like a bootcamp to me than a school. You can spin it in a positive way and say that's a good thing because you need to be able to teach yourself anyways when you're out in the workforce as engineering is a lifelong journey. There was a catchphrase that the founders passed on to the community which was "Learn how to learn." I do not agree completely with this. Even in engineering, you do need a teacher, especially if you're starting out. You do need to be able to think things through and code on your own, but you also do need experienced professionals who can teach you and help you improve. You will not get this from a cohort of peers, the quality is different. I personally found myself learning more on the job with engineers at all skill levels who were able to help me grow.

Some parts of the first year curriculum itself were actually pretty good. Like what the other reviews said, for the first year, you go through the basics in a curriculum covering C Programming, Python and Flask development, web fundamentals, and DevOps. I would not call the curriculum project-based though, there were only four real projects: making your own printf function, making a simple shell, making a very bare-bones AirBnB web app clone, and a final project of your choice. These project were great and got you to work with partners and emphasized teamwork. However, the rest of the curriculum were simple questions asking you to write a single function or make a rectangle with features from object-oriented programming. While these types of questions are also important and necessary, I would never consider it project-based. The DevOps portion itself was a complete joke and barely scratched the surface. I found I could just follow docs and simple Nginx, Apache, and YouTube tutorials to finish the DevOps assignments. Holberton's own learning concepts were unoriginal and scarce and they will tell you to google for the learning concepts. You will find yourself questioning many times why you even need Holberton since you can just google, youtube, and read docs on your own without them telling you to. The curriculum material also isn't proprietary and you could easily find a lot of the same type of content in Udemy and Udacity courses.

I have no comment on Holberton's second year as I have never done it and never will. To sum it up, you will learn and get better, but it's because of you and the time and effort you put into your passions, learning, and building and not because of the school.

The Student Experience:
One of the things that I strongly agree with the positive reviews: you get to meet a lot of cool, smart, and ambitious people in your cohort and Holberton did a good job with community network building. It's what got a lot of people to stay with the school.

There was also a lot of blatant favoritism at the school when I was there. You were able to see that if you were a woman, LGBT, or French, you would be receiving a lot more visibility and help from the staff and the founders. I have no problems with giving out help to underrepresented groups. It's very true, the software industry is very unfair and unbalanced and I do believe there needs to be more representation and collaboration from more groups and people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. But during my time at Holberton, I personally felt shunned and ignored and I know some of my former peers felt the same way. I have heard that the school has listened to this and masked the favoritism more now.

The Cost:
To put it simply, the school is very expensive and not worth the cost. The ISA is very expensive and you will be paying the bill for three and a half years to a third party company. I personally felt I didn't get the value I needed out of the school. I can honestly say to myself that I could have gotten my current job without the school. Remember, in SWE it's ultimately about your ability and presentation.

Conclusion:
All in all, the school is trying to improve. Alongside the marketing and community building, there are apparently more TA's than before and they're listening a lot more to student feedback. I still would not recommend the school to anybody given the costs and alternatives. Please look at all your options for education. Teach yourself introductory programming and web technologies and see if you enjoy it before going anywhere. Even App Academy has a completely free and very extensive online curriculum now that you could try out. Try building things on your own, especially things that you enjoy, this industry rewards those qualities heavily. As mentioned before, it will ultimately be your ability. If you need more, please look for a cheaper bootcamp. If you need a strong education, please look into a two-year or four-year college (onsite or online), get FAFSA, and have a traditional schooling experience. Explore your options.

Comment
    12/11/2019
  • Anonymous
  • Full-Stack Software Engineering
  • Graduated: 2019

Overall Score

Curriculum

Job Support

"challenge accepted"

My experience at the moment is positive, the weekly challenges have allowed me to grow in my soft skills and also develop the logic necessary to understand any language that in the future I want or need to learn. There is still a way to go in the program,... Read More

Comment

Holberton School's average rating is 4.32 out of 5.0 based on 88 review(s).

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