Holberton School Launches New Machine Learning Curriculum Encouraging Greater Diversity in this Increasingly Important Field

As Machine Learning – and Artificial Intelligence – begin to profoundly shape our world, diversity among software engineers becomes more critical

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Holberton School, the two-year tuition-deferred college alternative educating the next generation of digital workers, announced the launch of their brand new Machine Learning curriculum which will be available at all eight world-wide Holberton campuses. The announcement was made at the flagship San Francisco campus featuring Grammy award-winner NE-YO, Black Girls Code founder and CEO Kimberly Bryant and representatives from Google (Tensorflow) and IBM.

"Machine Learning, and by extension Artificial Intelligence, are increasingly dominating how we interact with technology at all levels, and the need for diversity has never been so urgent,” said Gabriela de Queiroz, founder, AI Inclusive and R-Ladies. “Having programming skills isn't enough -- we need people who are aware of the ethical implications of AI, who can bring their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to the workplace and incorporate them into the algorithms that will increasingly play a major role in healthcare, safety, and every other element of our lives."

Machine Learning, which gives computers the capability to learn without being explicitly programmed, is already in use across the globe and is rapidly supplementing, and even replacing, traditional software development. But even Machine Learning has to be developed by humans. By mastering the skills to work within these industries now, students will be able to shape and influence the future of the field. In the US, the market for Machine Learning was $100 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to about $1 billion by 2025.

“We have seen the results from the lack of diversity in Machine Learning and AI,” said Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holberton School. “For example, facial recognition tools used by law enforcement are built by white coders, with unexpected racial biases, perpetuating negative racial stereotypes. Our mission is to change the face of the tech industry with the talent we provide and the first step is providing quality education to the many.”

Holberton's machine learning curriculum teaches the fundamentals of an emerging and exciting field of study that has implications in almost every industry. Students learn to build complex machine learning models using Numpy, Tensorflow, and Keras for game-changing, real-world applications such as chatbots, autonomous driving, and game agents. By the end of their studies, students are prepared to tackle any machine learning topic that they may encounter in the industry.

“The Holberton organizers have been meticulous in designing this ML curriculum,” said Deon Nicholas, founder of Forethought, a company that builds AI-powered products that proactively embed relevant information into employees'​ daily workflows. “I’m excited that they’re teaching both solid fundamentals and practical real-world applications! These are exactly the kinds of skill sets we look for at my company.”

This new curriculum follows closely on the heels of Holberton’s recently launched AR/VR curriculum, announced in June.

“While machine learning has been around for decades, it is only within the past few years that it has truly gained traction,” said Alexa Orrico, software engineer at Holberton leading the development of the ML curriculum. “It is an extremely fast-paced industry, with revolutionary research being published every year. Machine learning is one of the major drivers for the fourth industrial revolution, getting involved now means that students can shape and influence the society of tomorrow.”

Holberton's curriculum combines project-based and peer learning where students help each other to learn and reach goals. At Holberton, there are no lectures and no formal teachers. Students acquire practical skills, an understanding of theory through hands-on learning, and the development of actual systems and applications. This practical, hands-on experience guarantees that students possess the skills necessary for the technology industry's most demanding jobs. Students are also closely advised by mentors from Silicon Valley's leading tech companies.

Holberton trains world-class full-stack software engineers, leveraging a proven system long-used in Europe. Holberton's students are hired at top-tier Silicon Valley employers, such as Apple, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google. Holberton’s tuition-deferred program provides a proven alternative to college, as well as expensive and typically ineffective online courses and coding bootcamps. Holberton is one of the most diverse learning institutions in the tech industry, boasting 30% women and more than 50% people of color, since they actively recruit diverse students and designed their innovative, automated admissions process from the ground up to reduce human bias.

The school charges no upfront tuition, instead applying an innovative Income Share Agreement (ISA) as a tuition model. Instead of paying upfront, graduates are asked to contribute a percentage of their salaries to the school for the first three and a half years of their post-Holberton employment, enabling them to give back to the next generation of software engineers

To learn more about Holberton School enrollment and opportunities, visit www.holbertonschool.com.

About Holberton School
With campuses in San Francisco, CA; New Haven, CT; Tulsa, OK; Medellin, Bogota, and Cali, Colombia; and Tunis, Tunisia, Holberton trains software engineers using a revolutionary teaching method utilizing project-based and peer learning. Holberton’s college alternative program is free until students find a job. Graduates have been placed in high-impact engineering positions at companies like Apple, Tesla, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The school is supported by professional advisors and investors who are leaders in technology, sports, and entertainment, including: Grammy-Award winner NE-YO, actor and social activist Priyanka Chopra, New York Jets standout Kelvin Beachum; and technology visionaries LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang, Docker founder Solomon Hykes, and Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel. Go to www.holbertonschool.com to learn more.

Editorial Contact
Joe Eckert for Holberton School