Clever Beagle is a bit of an odd duck.

What we offer stands out: we're not just teaching you how to write code using a specific set of tools, we're also teaching you how to build a product—something that can sustain you in the long-term—and how to make the right decisions to bring that product into reality.

Conversely, code bootcamps are typically focused on the solitary goal of teaching you how to code. A good way to think about this is giving you the tools to build something without the blueprints. In other words, you're a skilled worker, armed with knowledge of how to build software, but not necessarily aware of what to build or when/why.

Understanding whether or not our mentorship is a good fit for you comes down to a handful of questions.

  1. What is your current skill set?
  2. Do you want a job or do you want to be an entrepreneur?
  3. What are your internal motivations? Do you want money or do you want freedom and control?
  4. Is your primary goal to become the alpha nerd or to learn how to build your own things successfully?
  5. What is your current life situation? Do you have kids? Do you have a stable income outside of this?

For the remainder of this post, we'll explore these questions and discuss the benefits of working with Clever Beagle vs. attending a coding bootcamp.

What is your current skill set?

Building a product is certainly difficult, but not impossible.

That said, before you start working with Clever Beagle it's important to have some level of familiarity with code and specifically, our programming language of choice: JavaScript.

With a coding bootcamp, typically the assumption is that you have zero experience with programming and expect to be taught everything from scratch.

With us, a good list of things to understand would include:

  • What are variables? How do they work?
  • What is a function? What are the different ways to define a function?
  • What is the difference between a library, framework, and platform?
  • What is React?
  • What is Meteor?
  • What is Node.js?
  • What is the difference between ES5 and ES6?

This is just an example. It's important to mention, too, that we don't expect you to be 100% proficient in any of these areas; just to have a basic understanding.

Do you want a job or do you want to be an entrepreneur?

Being an "entrepreneur" has become the cool thing to do over the last 5-10 years. All of a sudden, something that used to be frowned upon—entrepreneurs were typically looked at as unemployed people chasing a dream—was hip.

Of course, as it goes with most fashionable things, a lot of people have taken on building their own business only to find out that isn't as easy or as glamorous as they may have assumed.

In short: being an entrepreneur is hard work.

Our goal at Clever Beagle isn't to help you circumvent the hard work—that's impossible—but rather, to alleviate the stress and overwhelm of building the product itself. Along the way, too, we can offer wisdom and insight that could otherwise only be gained through years of experience.

At a coding bootcamp, the goal is to move you towards employment. Knowing how to write code is an incredibly valuable skill and as such, even for a novice, can be very financially rewarding.

Being an entrepreneur is far more risky. You're betting that your idea will work and also betting that you will be willing to put in the necessary effort to make your idea work long-term. When you get a job, making an idea work isn't your responsibility: you show up, do what you're told (contributing ideas and strategy to advance your rank/role), and get paid.

Running your own thing means taking full responsibility for your success. While Clever Beagle can teach you the technical skills and show you the path we've found is best, it's ultimately on you to take that information and use it to your advantage.

What are your internal motivations? Do you want money or do you want freedom and control?

This is one that's easy to overlook but ultimately decides whether or not you actually want to build your own product (and the business backing it).

In no uncertain terms: you need to ask yourself if you want to optimize your life for money, freedom, or control.

When it comes to a bootcamp and the subsequent goal to get a job, you immediately are dropping freedom and control from the list. For some this is fine; financial security is paramount to anything else. There's nothing wrong with that.

On the flip side, with Clever Beagle, we can teach you how to build a product that will put you firmly in the driver's seat, free to do as you wish and in full control. As far as money is concerned, reiterating the point we made above: there is no guarantee. If what you're building is solving a real problem and you've executed on it exceptionally well, over time you should have no problem getting money.

What's important to ask yourself is "do I want the mid-level result now or do I want the big result later?" Quite literally, are you willing to defer gratification to build an asset or would you rather just get a paycheck and be content with what you earn?

Neither path is necessarily better than the other outside of what your own desires are in life. Understanding which resonates more with who you are and what you want to achieve will dictate your satisfaction with your choice greatly.

Is your primary goal to become the alpha nerd or to learn how to build your own things successfully?

Being respected by your peers is quite the alluring idea.

For some, being looked up to as the "all knowledgeable one" can be thing that drives people in a certain direction. When it comes to working in a job—again, the ultimate outcome of attending a code bootcamp—the individual can place themselves in a hierarchy that they can dominate to fulfill that goal.

They can more easily go to conferences to give talks (sponsored by their employer), attend various events, and contribute to open source if it aligns with their employer's goals.

When it comes to building your own thing, it can be a bit more grueling to attain this rank. The reason why is that you're not just competing with the folks that are employed alongside you, you're competing with other business owners, too. This lack of contrast means that it's far easier for others to judge you and be skeptical of what you're doing.

In order to attain notoriety, then, you have to put forth a considerable amount of effort and take some serious dings to your ego in the process.

It's easy to think that building a product will gain you the alpha nerd status, but unfortunately, humans are incredibly tribal—people will only flock to you once your idea is proven and already successful. Not when it's in the "ramping up" phases.

What is your current life situation? Do you have kids? Do you have a stable income outside of this?

A great indicator of future success is how honest you are about where you're at right now.

As a defense mechanism, a lot of people like to puff themselves up into something more than they are in an effort to intimidate others. This is a terrible way to go about life.

Instead, it's wise to really take stock of where you're at personally, professionally, and financially. What do you really have time for? What can you afford? Are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices to build something for the long-term or is your current life situation better suited for a short-term gain?

With a full time job and growing family, I did not want to hold off my dreams. I was looking for mentorship from a trusted expert and Clever Beagle was an obvious choice.

Sharad Chikara Sharad Chikara

Founder, EverServe

In particular, while we're supportive of mentoring folks with families—it's not uncommon for kids to jump on camera and say hi while we're working—we are cautious about recommending our services to people who are parents but lack the supplemental income to support that family while they build a product with us.

If you're on the fence about choosing a code school vs. Clever Beagle, really take stock of your situation. If you can afford our services as well as expenses without jeopardizing your well-being, we're happy to have you. If immediate financial gain is more preferable, though, it'd be wise to consider a code bootcamp where you can gain skills and find employment in a narrower timeline.

Questions welcome

While these are the most important questions to ask yourself, obviously these are just a few of the things that may be on your mind when debating Clever Beagle vs. a code bootcamp. If we haven't answered a question that's on your mind, don't hesitate to post a comment below or get in touch directly: business@cleverbeagle.com.