Back in April, we covered the launch of TechMeAbroad, an online portal that aims to provide job-seekers, particularly in tech, easy access to information about the type of visa requirements that they will need to fulfill if they are planning to work in another country. But what we did not know is the team that created that project, a group that includes Frenchman Sylvain Kalache, had other ideas up their sleeve. Kalache tells me that they are now preparing for the launch of Holberton School, a program that they are developing in order to train new full-stack software engineer.
The San Francisco-based school, which is founded by veterans of Google, Docker, and LinkedIn, among others, intends to be the latest in the newest trend in training programmers, as they avoid teachers and lectures by providing students with increasingly difficult tasks and asking them to embrace their creativity in order to cope with the challenge. It is hardly a short-term course, either, as participating students are expected to commit to the program for 2 years. Those who enter this program, which plans to accept its first students in January, are expected to complete challenges such as cloning Twitter and a service of their choice (like Airbnb), create a virus, contribute to an open-source project, build a search engine, code their own shell, and so forth. The program is open to anyone at least 18 years old and does not require that applicants have a high school degree or any sort of programming experience. Rather, the startup says that they will evaluate applicants based on their talent and motivation. The first run of the program will be free, as Kalache says that they are working to figure out the appropriate offer and that they plan to offer help to those who may have difficulty paying.
In terms of funding, Holberton has picked up $2 million from a group of investors led by Trinity Ventures and including participation from Yahoo! cofounder and former CEO Jerry Yang, Partech Ventures, and others. The funding will be spent, in part, on efforts to rapidly scale up. Kalache reveals that they will initially operate a physical school in San Francisco and then look to expand globally, including to Europe.