A new kind of engineering school held its digital ribbon cutting today in New Haven.
Holberton is a San Francisco-based school that trains software engineers. The school opened the doors of its New Haven campus in January, the program's first venture on the East Coast.
Students in the college-alternative program only study one thing, software engineering. They forgo the other core curriculum classes associated with engineering programs at traditional colleges. School leaders say this style of project-based, hands-on learning gets students ready to work in any number of jobs in the growing tech space.
“There's software developers, computer programmers, coders. It can be in the design space. It can be on the back-end space. There's a lot of different options people with a software engineering background can do,” said Nadine Krause, director of Holberton New Haven.
The school requires students have a high school diploma and be 18-years-old when they begin the program. There is no SAT or ACT test or previous college credit requirement. Students must pass the school’s application process. They also have the option to forgo paying any tuition until after they graduate and secure a job.
Current student Mohameth Seck dreams of becoming a software engineer, focusing on virtual reality. But instead of studying at a four-year university, the 22-year-old has opted to learn his career skills at Holberton.
“Here there are no teachers. No lectures. You’re not working to just be a software engineer. You’re working on soft skills as well,” said Seck, who left the University of Hartford to attend Holberton.
“It just feels right. As we’re learning, we actually feel like we’re applying our skills. We’re applying the knowledge directly and you can see it unfold” said Andrew Graf of Canton. He’s been at Holberton for two and a half weeks. He previously worked as an electrician.
Governor Lamont was on hand for the school’s digital ribbon cutting. He says these kinds of programs that give students the skills they need to be ready to work are forward thinking.
“This is a program training people with the specific skillset that the business community really is desperate for,” said Lamont.
The school is welcoming a new cohort of students in September and accepting applications through August 5.