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CST: 07/12/2019 16:10:42   

Colombia Bets Big on Digital Economy; Attracts Silicon Valley Software Engineering School and Opens Second Campus

180 Days ago

Campus in Medellin follows on the success of the Bogota school in partnership with private companies and government agencies to provide technical skills for high-quality employment

SAN FRANCISCO, June 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Making the development of software talent a priority in Colombia, in cooperation with the Colombian government, businesses and entrepreneur groups, the Holberton School, a college alternative for training software engineers, today announced that it has opened a second campus in Colombia, this time in Medellin.

Holberton, which opened a campus in Bogota earlier this year, provides Silicon-Valley grade peer-learning and project-based software engineering training in only two years and charges no upfront tuition. Students acquire practical skills and an understanding of theory through hands-on learning closely advised by mentors from Silicon Valley's leading tech companies. Students have been employed at top-tier employers like Apple, LinkedIn, Google, Amazon, Tesla and more.

According to Simón Borrero, co-founder and CEO, Rappi, Colombia lacks up to 200,000 software engineers. The Colombian government has made it a priority to support the development of software talent to advance the digital transformation of the economy. Colombia’s recently elected president, Ivan Duque, said, “Our administration is on a deliberate path of a digital transformation of the economy, from manufacturing to "mindfacturing" through the production and export of intellectual property. We are keenly aware that there is a deficit in software engineers and programmers, in Colombia and globally. Our priority is to reform education towards a digital economy, at all stages of education ... supporting efforts of the software industry training software engineers around their needs with disruptive initiatives.”

“As the world becomes increasingly digital, Colombia stands at the cusp of a burgeoning opportunity,” said Victor Muñoz, Colombia CIO. “By working with a new generation of schools, we can efficiently train at scale the people of Colombia for the current and rapidly growing number of high-paying software jobs. With more talent, Colombia will be poised to attract more businesses to our country, a virtuous cycle fueling even greater job growth.”

The Bogota school, opened in January in partnership with Rappi, Colombia’s first startup valued at more than $1 billion, including a recent investment by Softbank. The school attracted more than 5,000 candidates for just 50 spots in the initial cohort. Rappi contributed to the opening costs and provided mentors to the students. It has also committed to hiring graduates from Holberton.

Coderise, a regional non-profit that empowers youth through software engineering education, is leading the efforts and operations of the school in Colombia.

“The future of LATAM is digital, and we are leading the revolution in Colombia. But this success will depend on available high-quality software engineering talent,” said Borrero. “The ability of Holberton to attract students of all genders, rich or poor, educated or not and to effectively train them on in-demand skills is exactly what’s needed.”

Medellín has experienced a great transformation in the last five years. It was named the most innovative city of the year In 2013, and it has become a hub of digital innovation in Latin America. Ruta N, the innovation agency of the city, along with Socialatom Ventures with a joint Digital Business Development Center, will support Holberton in Medellín.

“We started in 2016 in the city of San Francisco. After we expanded our school to the state of Connecticut, with support from the Governor, we were flooded with inquiries from other cities, regions and even countries, all seeking a Holberton School,” said Sylvain Kalache, co-founder of Holberton. “Colombia’s digital growth is so impressive that they cannot currently train the required pool of software engineering talent fast enough. These new schools will enable Colombia to take a quantum leap into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and give so many of its citizens lasting skills and high-quality jobs.”

Holberton boasts a remarkably diverse student body. Its automated admission process reduces human bias, resulting in one of the most diverse learning institutions in the tech industry. The school charges no upfront tuition. Instead, graduates are asked to contribute a percentage of their salaries to the school for the first three years of their post-Holberton employment, giving back to the next generation of software engineers.

Applications to Holberton are open to people with any educational background and of any age or gender. To learn more about Holberton School enrollment and opportunities, visit www.holbertonschool.com/colombia.

About Coderise
Coderise is a non-profit that empowers underprivileged youth in Latin America through software programming education as a means to provide skills and access to opportunity for upward social mobility. Coderise has operated programs in Peru, Colombia and Honduras. The organization was founded in 2012 by Colombian-American technology entrepreneur Andres Barreto.

About Rappi
Rappi is Latin-America’s leading on-demand delivery app. Rappi is a marketplace that connects users who want to purchase food, clothes, and virtually anything with independent contractors who can fulfill those needs.  Rappi operates in Colombia, México, Brazil, Argentina & Chile. The company was founded in 2015 by Felipe Villamarin, Sebastian Mejia, Simon Borrero with financial backing from Sequoia, Y-Combinator, DST Global, Delivery Hero and Andreessen-Horowitz among others.

About Holberton School
With campuses in San Francisco and New Haven, CT, Holberton trains software engineers using a revolutionary teaching method based on project-based and peer learning. The college alternative is free until students find a job. Graduates have been placed in high-impact engineering positions at companies like Apple, Tesla, Facebook and LinkedIn. Students are supported by mentors 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 Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn CEO), 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
jeckertflak@gmail.com

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