How to Choose a Track: Mentored vs Client

Berkeley Codebase
Published in
8 min readJan 15


Codebase’s Guide to Finding the Right Fit for You!


Client Track

Our client teams work with industry partners to build products ranging from full-stack web development and data visualization to machine learning and infrastructure.


  • At least 2 semesters left at Cal (including Spring 2023).
  • Taken or are concurrently enrolled in CS 61A or previous coding experience.
  • Completed a significant coding project (side project or industry experience).
  • Python knowledge (required for technical interview).

For example, our past Client devs’ backgrounds have ranged from freshmen who had done a few small side projects or high school CS classes, to second-semester juniors who had internship experience but were looking for a college community.

Mentored Track

Our mentored team focuses on learning the essentials of software development and simultaneously develops a full-stack web application for a non-profit organization.


  • At least 3 semesters left at Cal (including Spring 2023).
  • Taken or are concurrently enrolled in CS 61A or previous coding experience.
  • No prior industry experience.
  • Little to no prior web dev experience.
  • Completed 1 or fewer CS or Data Science upper-division technical courses at UC Berkeley.

For example, our past Mentored devs’ backgrounds include freshmen who were taking 61a and had never coded before that, sophomores who were taking their first upper div but had no projects or experience outside of classes, and third-year non-CS majors who wanted to learn software development.

Some FAQs!

Q: What is the difference between the mentored project and the client project?

A: The mentored project is intended for students with an interest in computer science who don’t have a lot of experience yet; the project is to build a tool for a nonprofit organization with the goal of teaching students the fundamentals of software development. Meanwhile, our client projects are for students with demonstrated skill in computer science and software engineering — client teams work with companies to deliver a real product by the end of the semester.

If you haven’t coded too much but would like to dip your feet into software development, apply for the mentored project. On the other hand, if you’ve worked on larger projects and/or have participated in a SWE internship before and would like to gain experience on software for industry, apply for the client project.

We reserve the right to move applicants between the two application pools based on experience.

Q: Is it easier to get into one track versus the other?

A: One track is not “easier” to get into as opposed to the other. We encourage applicants to apply to the track that seems right for them, based on their technical experience!

Q: How do I know if my internship experience is significant enough to apply to the client track? How do I know if my side project is significant enough to apply to the client track?

A: In terms of internship and side project experience, we are not looking for specific technologies or niche languages that you know. (we do expect you to know Python for the client technical interview though!)

We want our client developers to be a bit more self-sufficient (in terms of ramping up on technologies and being resourceful in solving problems and finding documentation) as opposed to our mentored developers! We also want our client applicants to be able to work together in a team setting, which is also gained through internships/side-projects!

We’re looking for developers with a voracious appetite for learning, and our client projects are structured to facilitate our developers learning the technologies during the project itself! At the start of every project, we have a ramp-up project designed by our project managers to introduce the developers to the tech stack. During the project, our developers have the full support of their project managers as they learn together as a team.

So, if you think you have more experience learning new technologies and being a bit more self-sufficient, apply for our client track! If you would like a bit more guidance, apply for the mentored track!

Q: I don’t know how to do web development. Does that mean I should apply for mentored?

A: No! Tons of our client developers have no prior experience in web development. Our advice is: if you have had significant experience with web development [frontend and backend], you should apply for our client track!

Otherwise, either track could be a good fit for you depending on your other experiences. If you’re confused about which track to apply to, we recommend that you find us either at one of our infosessions or our Discord office hours so that we can offer help that’s tailored to your specific background!

Q: I haven’t worked on any of the technologies that the client projects are working on. How will I keep up with the rest of the team?

A: We do not expect any of our client developers to have experience working on technologies/tech stacks that our projects are using. Even returning client developers in Codebase don’t have prior experience with these technologies. The goal of our projects is to help each developer grow technically!

We’re looking for developers with a voracious appetite for growth; Codebase works with a diverse range of technologies, and we never expect our developers to have specific prior experience. That’s why we look for developers with the passion and drive to learn something completely new!

All the project managers work very hard to develop resources to help the developers on the team ramp up whatever technology is necessary for their projects. Every project has a ramp-up project at the start of the semester that is designed by the project managers to introduce the developers to the new tech stack.

Q: What happens if I apply to the wrong track?

A: If you are in the wrong track, we will move you to the right track and inform you! We use the experiences from your resume to confirm whether you are best suited for our mentored or client teams. [We do not consider your grades, GPA, awards, or accomplishments in this decision] This will not harm your application in any way!

Q: I’ve read all of the FAQs and I still don’t know which track to apply for. What should I do?

A: Come speak to us during our infosessions or ask on our discord about any more questions you may have or if you wanna speak to a Codebase member more one-on-one to determine what track you should apply for. You can find more info on these in our FAQ doc and on our social media!

Our Stories!

Deciding what track to apply for can be a difficult decision, especially since everyone has such different past experiences. To help you out a bit more, we will be talking about some experiences that past Codebase members have had when they applied to Codebase and what track they ended up in!

Codebase Member 1

Hi, I’m A! I applied to Codebase in my freshman year; the summer before, I had an internship where I worked on making a Java application that worked with AI/ML models on the backend. Because I had no prior web development experience, I initially applied for Mentored; my interviewers noticed that my previous internship involved significant experience with software development and moved me to the client track! I ended up having a great experience on my client project learning a completely new tech stack while developing the skills I had picked up during my internship.

Codebase Member 2

As a junior cognitive science major, before joining codebase I had no prior industry experience or coding experience outside of classes. The only technical experience I had was from taking CS61A and CS61B. After talking to a codebase member during one of the infosessions, I was encouraged to apply to the mentored track. I ended up applying and joining codebase as part of the mentored team where I had an amazing experience working on our project!

Codebase Member 3

As a freshman who already had some previous computer science experience, I was unsure which track to apply to! I had take AP Computer Science in high school, and also completed a few significant personal projects including an iOS app that used Machine Learning models to help users find their perfect recipe. After talking through my background with a Codebase member during one of the Discord Office Hours (and demo-ing my app for them!) they encouraged me to apply for the client track. It turned out to be a great fit for me, where I got to build upon the skills I had learnt on my own in a collaborative environment!

Codebase Member 4

I was a sophomore when I applied to Codebase; even though I had spent a little time tinkering with some small personal projects like a Sudoku Solver, I didn’t have any substantial experience working on a production app. I was curious to learn more about web development, and wondered if the mentored track was the right fit to me. After talking to my interviewers, we agreed that mentored would be the perfect place for me to develop those skills. I ended up as a mentored developer, where being able to work on a web-app that benefited a non-profit was an amazing and meaningful experience.

Want to find out more about Codebase?

Codebase is hosting multiple info-sessions and panel events in Spring 2023; come talk to us at any of these! We’re also tabling on campus and hosting office hours on discord.

To get updates, Join our Facebook event for Spring 2023 Recruitment or fill out our Interest Form. You can also read over our FAQ if you have more questions about the club or the application process!

Here’s a brief timeline of our recruiting events for Spring 2023:

  • GEMS (Gender Minorities) in Codebase Panel
    January 20th 7–8 PM • BNorth 82D
  • Infosession 1
    In-Person & Remote
    January 20th 8–10 PM • Dwinelle 145
    Zoom Registration:
  • Infosession 2
    In-Person Only
    January 22nd 8–10 PM • Dwinelle 145
  • URM (Under-represented Minorities) in Codebase Panel
    January 23rd 7–8 PM • BNorth 82D
  • Joint Gender Minorities in Tech Panel
    January 19th 5:30–7 PM • Location TBA
  • Cookies & Clubs (Joint Tech Fair)
    January 23rd 8–10 PM • VLSB 2050
  • Tabling @ Memorial Glade
    Tuesday, January 17th to Wednesday, January 25th (excl. Weekends)
    Tabling on January 19th @ Lower Sproul
  • Tabling @ Calapalooza
    January 18th 11AM-2PM • Pauley Ballroom
  • Discord Office Hours
    January 23rd, 6–7PM
    January 24th & 25th, 6–9PM
    Discord Invite:
  • Application Due
    January 26th @ 3AM
    Apply here:



Berkeley Codebase

Software development @ UC Berkeley — Building a community for meaningful industry impact.