Invest in People: A look at Lambda School

On Impakter we often mention sustainable investment, but instead of investing in projects, some organizations, like Lambda School, invest in people. 

Lambda School does so by using a different payment structure. Their model is simple: students pay nothing until they earn a high paying job.

I reached out to Lambda School Product Manager, Teacher, and Mentor, Parth Shah, to learn more about the organization’s mission. 

Lambda’s Mission

Lambda School is an online educational system for those pursuing careers in iOS development, web development, and data science. Education is free for every student until he or she receives a high paying job of at least $50,000, and this year Lambda received over 60,000 applications alone.

Lambda is a different way to school

Lambda School is dedicated to changing the traditional landscape of schools. And it does so, by offering technical training and opportunity for all, Lambda works to eliminate barriers to entering technology.

Lambda also proves that skill is in practice, not in the degree title. It also chooses to invest in students and people, not portfolios. 

Parth’s Story

Parth Shah is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science program. During his 2018 semester, Parth pursued student teaching at Berkeley High School. Already within his short career, Parth has been named 2018 National Student Teacher of the Year. After graduating, he has continued his pursuit of teaching through Lambda School.

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Parth proposes, advises, and oversees the long term projects assigned to students within the program. During their time at Lambda, students work on a two-month-long project.

The goal is to create something impressive that can be referenced in portfolios and resumes once students enter the job market.

In the photo: Coding. Photo credit: ah.radwan

Why Teach at Lambda School?

Parth sees himself as a mentor to Lambda students. As a young professional who considered entering the coding world himself, his priority is to assure that the students learn skills that are truly applicable. After rigorous electrical education with UC Berkeley, Parth values the rigor and high expectations placed on Lambda school. 

Ultimately, he is attached to Lambda for its equal opportunity. Parth is an educational advocate critical of the many barriers preventing particular groups of people from succeeding. Particularly in technology careers, employers often reject candidates without a Bachelors from a top university. 

A different type of ROI

Because Lambda School’s profits are directly tied to student success, investing in quality education is a no brainer. Yearly application rates are increasing and student satisfaction is high. Parth praises Lambda for the student buy-in. Students coming from a variety of backgrounds know that each project is realistic and highlights their hirable skills. 

Some critics are skeptical of Lambda’s results. Attacking the school’s income-sharing agreements and underwhelming results, they question the legitimacy of Lambda School

In the photo: Empty classroom. Photo credit: Jacob Bøtter

Parth has read some of these comments and strongly disagrees. People are often critical of institutions that change the narrative of education, he says.

Lambda upholds its mission, and students can point out fundamental flaws in some of the teaching functions. While there are sometimes kinks to work out, Lambda school is extremely responsive to feedback and consistently applies changes. Just like any education system, isn’t change part of the process? 

Above all, Lambda School is approaching the barriers that prevent education for many people. And it does it by changing the landscapes of student loans and application systems, the organization is achieving its goal.

Of course, students and instructors alike should hold Lambda to its highly innovative standards, but as the school develops, one ought to admire Lambda School’s contribution to the educational system. 

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

About the Author /

Liz is an undergraduate senior at the Haas School Of Business and an Editorial Intern for ImpakterUP. As a member of Capital Investments at Berkeley, a student led collaborative fund and educational initiative, she was introduced to ESG and impact strategies. Now, Liz is looking to expand her understanding of the impakt space, particularly in technology startups and venture capital.

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