Over the course of the last few years, the Holberton School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry Engineering has made a name for itself as one of the more comprehensive coding schools. The two-year program trains full-stack engineers with a focus on the basics of engineering and sees itself as an alternative to a traditional college experience. Today, the San Francisco-based school announced that it has raised an $8.2 million Series A round that will help it expand its programs.
Holberton is currently teaching about 200 students (who have to pass a pretty rigorous entry exam) and the plan is to scale the program to 1,000 students per year. That’s a larger cohort than the computer science programs taught at even the biggest schools currently. Past students have found jobs at companies like Apple, IBM, Tesla, Docker and Dropbox. Instead of charging tuition, the school takes a 17 percent cut of its graduates’ salary for the first three years after they get their jobs.
To enable its expansion to 1,000 students, the team recently moved into a far larger space in San Francisco that can handle about 500 students. As the team has repeatedly told me, part of its mission is to bring in a diverse group of students — and one that isn’t held back by the prospect of student loans. In its recent classes, about 40 percent of the students were women, for example, and a slight majority of students were minorities. That’s sadly still quite unusual in Silicon Valley.
“Everyone deserves a first-rate education. Students at Holberton come from all walks of life, from cashiers to musicians to poker players (as well as right out of high school) without the money, background and education needed to be ‘Ivy League material,’” said Julien Barbier, co-founder and CEO of Holberton. “With Holberton, they now have the same opportunity as the more fortunate and they leave with skills to learn for a lifetime. Our students compete (sometimes after only 9-12 months) with Ivy League graduates and get the jobs.”