SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Yeshim Deniz, Jason Bloomberg

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LinkedIn, Docker, Upwork and CloudNOW Executives Support Prestigious School for Software Engineering

Holberton School brings on advisor, investor, trustees

A highly-touted school of higher education for software engineers, the Holberton School, attracted powerful backers this week with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner joining as an advisor and investor. Also, joining the Board of Trustees are industry heavyweights Docker CTO Solomon Hykes, Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel and CloudNOW CEO Jocelyn DeGance Graham. They join Grammy award-winning recording artist NE-YO.

Holberton is funded by Trinity Ventures, Daphni, Reach Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Partech Ventures, as well as a number of individual investors, including Slideshare co-founder and CTO Jon Boutelle, NE-YO and now Weiner. Holberton also has more than 100 mentors including Ayesha Mazumdar, UX engineer at Salesforce, Tammy Butow, engineering manager at Dropbox, Casey Brown, manager site reliability engineering at LinkedIn and more.

Launched in 2016, Holberton's curriculum is based on 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. Holberton students have attained prestigious positions at some of the top tech companies in the U.S. and around the world, working at companies such as Apple, Docker, Dropbox, NASA, LinkedIn, Tesla and others.

"Holberton is producing remarkable, Ivy League-caliber graduates, without the costs, the time or the prerequisites. I should know, we hired two of them before they even graduated," said Weiner. "Talent is everywhere, but with our education system stuck in a centuries-old training format, many are not even given the chance to try. And a lot of graduates are having a hard time keeping up with the rate of change once they become professionals. Holberton's education model is attracting students from all walks of life, and is providing them with the skills they need to take on a job after graduation, and more importantly to be able to continually retrain their entire life to take on new opportunities."

"Holberton has been providing a type of education that I myself experienced and that led me to create Docker," said Hykes. "I am a strong advocate of the project-based and peer-learning format that will train the next generation of highly successful tech entrepreneurs."

"High-quality education should be accessible to everyone, not just the elite," said Graham. "Holberton is taking a leadership role in diversity and inclusion by training women and minorities, and helping them secure jobs at some of the most prestigious companies in the world. It is only by making all voices heard, that we can expect to effect the greatest changes in our society."

"As we are entering the 4th industrial revolution, workers need to constantly retrain to stay relevant, and the rate of change is accelerating," said Kasriel who is also the co-chair of the World Economic Forum's council on the future of education, gender and work. "Holberton is training student on learning to learn, which is the most important skill our workforce needs."

"When you think of jobs and networking, you think LinkedIn, and with Jeff's long-standing commitment to education, he will be a valuable asset to the school and of course, our students," said Julien Barbier, CEO and co-founder of Holberton. "And having Solomon, Stephane, and Jocelyn join the Holberton Board of Trustees gives us access to some of the smartest, most successful people in tech."

[Photo of Sylvain Kalachi, school co-founder with investor and trustee member, NE-YO, and co-founder Julien Barbier]

In just its first year, Holberton students have received renown participating in a number of different projects and events. From hosting the first ever International Botathon to holding a session on innovative ways to play Pokemon Go by staying home. The school's numerous achievements included introducing highly-qualified mentors from well-known companies, articles published under both student and founders, and even having one student receive a coveted internship at NASA's SETI Institute. Holberton is the winner of the EdTech Digest Awards Program 2017 and was featured in The New York Times emphasizing diversity.

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. If not hired, students pay nothing to the school. Their success is the school's success.

Holberton boasts a remarkably diverse student body. Women comprise 40 percent, and people of color comprise 53 percent of its student population. Holberton's automated admissions process was specifically designed to reduce human bias, resulting in one of the most diverse learning institutions.

Students interested can apply here. For information about enrollment and opportunities, visit www.holbertonschool.com.

More Stories By Glenn Rossman

Glenn Rossman has more than 25 years communications experience working at IBM and Hewlett-Packard, along with startup StorageApps, plus agencies Hill & Knowlton and G&A Communications. His experience includes media relations, industry and financial analyst relations, executive communications, intranet and employee communications, as well as producing sales collateral. In technology, his career includes work in channel partner communications, data storage technologies, server computers, software, PC and UNIX computers, along with specific industry initiatives such as manufacturing, medical, and finance. Before his latest stint in technology, Glenn did business-to-business public relations on behalf of the DuPont Company for its specialty polymers products and with the largest steel companies in North America in an initiative focused on automakers.

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