Many celebrities have begun to use their names and wealth to leverage new frontiers in the tech industry, and TechCrunch reports that R&B artist and producer Ne-Yo is the latest to make the jump. By participating in the $2.3 million round that the Holberton School for full-stack software engineers announced in February, Ne-Yo now has a role on the school’s board of trustees. His position will include helping draw in people from under-represented groups to learn about coding.
“Everybody knows that tech and all these things are the wave of the future,” Ne-Yo told TechCrunch. “I just love the fact of what they’re doing with the school — that they’re making it easier for underrepresented people in the world of tech. They’re giving them a platform and access to this knowledge that they probably wouldn’t get otherwise. I think that’s one of the coolest things about this whole situation.”
One major thing that sets the school apart from other offerings is that you don’t pay them until you get a job. Assuming you get hired, Holberton asks for 17 percent of your salary for the first three years of your new job. It also offers a two-year program versus a bootcamp over several weeks, bringing in mentors from companies like Linkedin, Uber, and Instagram. While the school already has a pretty diverse class, due partially to a system that reduces human bias, Ne-Yo is looking to expand things even further from the 40% female and 53% people of color currently at the school. He adds that his role is not to be an insignificant one.
“I’m definitely going to be hands on,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m going to do every day because there’s this little music career thing that I’ve got going on,” he joked. “So there’s that but I’m definitely going to be hands on.” Ne-Yo also spoke on his passion regarding tech and making sure people from all groups get a chance to be a part of it.
“This is not, ‘oh, let me attach my name to something.’ This is something that I’m genuinely passionate about,” he said. “You know, diversifying the tech world. Tech is changing the world by the second so it makes sense to get the people that live in the world to be part of this thing that’s changing it, as opposed to just this one group of people.”