A San Francisco-based software engineering school is opening a new location in Connecticut.
Holberton will open its doors in New Haven early next year. The school offers a two-year program designed to train students to become software and operations engineers.
One of the school’s missions is to offer a high-quality, affordable education to everyone. But it’s how they’re approaching that goal that sets the school apart from others, according to co-founder and CEO Julien Barbier.
“We did two things from the very beginning: we removed the human bias from the application process, otherwise all of my students are going to look like me and we’re not going to change anything,” Barbier said. “The second thing that we did is we removed the financial barrier. We give our students the option to pay for their tuition only when, and only if, they find a job. If you don’t find a job you don’t pay for any tuition.”
The school offers an income share agreement (ISA). You pay tuition when you get a job earning more than $40,000 a year. Once you find a job, they charge 17 percent of your monthly salary over 3.5 years.
The result, said Barbier, is a diverse school population, with 35 percent of their San Francisco students being women.
Max Johnson, whose family is from Nigeria, graduated from Holberton. Johnson said he drove to California with no place to live - determined to change his path.
“I went from someone selling potato chips to someone who was interviewing at Nike, Facebook, Apple,” Johnson said. “And just a couple of weeks ago I started a new job with this company called Pypsestream. It’s a great company and it’s doing great things. And they took a chance on me because Holberton took a chance on me.”
Holberton was brought in by private investors that include the District, a nine-acre technology park where the school will be housed, and PepsiCo.
It’s scheduled to open in January.