How to Become a MEAN Stack Developer (For Beginners)

With 95.2% of websites using JavaScript as their client-side programming language, virtually every device today runs on JavaScript. As a result, frameworks using JavaScript as their primary programming language, like MEAN Stack, have become popular and widespread. Ultimately, MEAN Stack developers have become one of the most in-demand JavaScript full-stack developers around.


MEAN is an open-source web stack that is often used to develop scalable, flexible, and extensible applications that are suitable for cloud deployment. Since every technology in the MEAN Stack uses the same programming language, developers can reuse code across the technologies.


If you’re a student or a developer who’s new to MEAN Stack, here’s a quick guide on how to become a MEAN Stack developer.


First off...


What is a MEAN Stack developer?

For starters, a MEAN Stack developer is a full-stack developer who specialises in using JavaScript’s MEAN Stack. Since they are full-stack developers, MEAN Stack developers work on both the front-end and back-end of an application.


Since the MEAN Stack primarily uses JavaScript, a MEAN Stack developer should be well-versed in the JavaScript language.


Through MEAN Stack’s four core languages, a MEAN Stack developer must be able to create various websites and applications such as news aggregation sites, and other web applications such as calendars, mapping, and location finding.


What is the difference between a MEAN Stack developer and Full-stack developer?

Since MEAN Stack developers are only focused on using MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js, they only know certain parts of web development.


On the other hand, a Full-stack developer is someone who knows all the stages of web development. However, this does not mean that they are an expert on every layer of development. Full-stack developers only have the functional knowledge and ability to create a web application from start to finish.


While the MEAN Stack developer focuses on MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js as its primary technologies, a Full-stack developer must be adept in the following basic technologies: HTML/CSS, JavaScript, a back-end language, databases and web storage, basic algorithms and data structures, web application architecture, HTTP, REST, and Git.



Related Article: Front-end and Back-end Developers: A Quick Comparison



What companies use MEAN Stack?

Because of its scalability, huge tech companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Netflix, Paypal, and Uber use the MEAN Stack for their business. They are just some of the numerous startups and large firms that use MEAN for their web development.



Now that we’ve defined what a MEAN Stack developer is and its difference from a Full Stack developer, let’s move on to the technologies and concepts that a MEAN Stack developer should know.


Learn the four major technologies

This goes without saying, but it’s definitely a must.


MEAN stands for MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js, which are its core programming languages. MongoDB is the database server, Express.js is the server-side framework, Angular is the client-side framework, and Node.js is the JavaScript runtime on the server. Let’s go through them in detail:



MongoDB is an open-source NoSQL database that allows applications to be more scalable both in performance and in storage. This JavaScript database is the first choice for many developers and businesses, especially when managing massive data with tons of tables.


MongoDB is widely used because of its document-oriented database, auto-sharding, index on attributes, fast in-place updates, high availability, rich queries, replication, and professional support by MongoDB.


Mastering MongoDB allows developers to create various functions such as user data management, mobile and social infrastructure, and content management and delivery.


Also, since JavaScript is used throughout the stack, there’s no need to translate the data as it goes through each technology in the MEAN Stack. The application can easily push data between the database and the back-end.



Known as the back-end of the MEAN Stack, Express.js (or Express) is a fast and minimalist web application framework for Node.js. Despite its full feature set, it enables developers to build a web server while being relatively easy to use.


Express forms the MEAN Stack’s back-end and handles the interactions between the front-end and database. It manages the cookies, handling routes, and forming responses, among others.


Since it was designed for Node.js, it’s also often referred to as the standard server framework for Node.js.



Angular is JavaScript’s default front-end framework. This means if you’re using JavaScript to develop a web app, you’re using Angular. Since the MEAN Stack uses JavaScript, it uses Angular for its user-facing side of the web app.


Angular didn’t automatically become the MEAN Stack’s front-end framework just because it runs on the same language. It’s an ideal and convenient front-end because of the following capabilities:

  • Its ability to develop functions on desktop and mobile at the same time
  • It's a high-performing framework
  • Its ease of use and simplified JavaScript structure


Overall, the framework is great for developing web apps with the best user experience. It’s best used when developing video streaming apps, travel apps, and user-generated content portals, among others.



One of the most popular JavaScript frameworks, Node.js is a free and open-source server environment that runs on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and other prominent platforms.


Learning Node.js allows MEAN Stack developers to create dynamic page content, write JavaScript on both client and server, collect form data, and modify data in your database, among other functions.


Node.js is one of the frameworks that’s built for performance, and that’s because of these two things:

  • Asynchronous-driven architecture - this means that Node.js can manage multiple requests. So if a request can’t be processed, it puts it on hold and moves on to the next request so it doesn’t hole up the whole queue.
  • V8 JavaScript engine - this is Google’s fastest JavaScript implementation. This engine helps increase JavaScript’s execution inside the web browsers.


Overall, Node.js provides a more efficient connection for running a server. 



Related Article: 6 Tips to Learn Programming Faster


Understand MEAN Stack development


Now the ultimate question that every starting programmer seeks to answer, how does the MEAN Stack work?


Here’s a simple summary:


  1. It starts with Angular since it is JavaScript’s client-side language. Angular accepts requests by the client and processes it for the next phase.
  2. After Angular processes the user’s request, it enters Node.js, which is the server-side language. It is the technology that handles the client and server requests.
  3. The request then enters Express.js which makes a request to access the database.
  4. After the request has been accepted, the MongoDB database stores the data and sends a response to Express.js.
  5. Express.js then sends that response to Node.js which forwards it to Angular.
  6. Angular then displays the result to the end-user.


To summarise its flow:

Angular > Node.js > Express.js > MongoDB > Express.js > Node.js > Angular


Know other technologies used in MEAN Stack development


The MEAN Stack primarily uses JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), an open-standard data-interchange format that’s easy to read and write for both developer and machine. With JSON, there’s no need for developers to use libraries for data conversion when dealing with server-client side interactions.



HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are two of the core technologies used to build web pages. HTML is used to create the page’s content structure, while CSS is used to create the page’s layout or visuals such as the font and colours.


These are fundamental technologies that any web developer should learn along with JavaScript. With these three programming languages, web developers can already create a functioning webpage or website.


Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration makes preparing a software release easier. This development practice requires developers to integrate code into a central repository several times in a day.


Once a code is logged in, it’s verified by an automated build which allows the developers to see code issues early on. 


The most popular Continuous Integration (CI) tool is Jenkins. To learn how to use it, one must have prior knowledge on Java, Nginx web server, and Ubuntu.



One of the increasingly popular JavaScript frameworks, React.js is a JavaScript library used to build interactive user interfaces. Because of its fast rendering, simplicity, and consistency as a JavaScript framework, some prefer using React.js instead of Angular for the MEAN Stack.


As a result, MERN Stack developers gained popularity. But what is a MERN Stack developer and how does it differ from a MEAN Stack developer? They basically function just like a MEAN Stack developer except that they use React.js for the UI.


Although not necessary, learning both Angular and React for this stack can make you a more flexible and competitive developer.


The best MEAN Stack developer courses to take

To give you further understanding of the MEAN Stack and to better prepare as a developer, here are some of the best courses that you can take online.


Become a MEAN Stack Developer (Udemy)

Course length: Less than 8 hours

Number of lectures: 83


This Udemy course by Bluelime Learning Solutions includes an introduction to the MEAN Stack, how to install Node.js and MongoDB, basic MongoDB CRUD operations, an introduction to Git, and a guide on creating a MEAN Stack application.


The course teaches the fundamentals of the MEAN Stack and thus is great for beginners. It also provides a step by step guide and hands-on experience of building full-stack applications using MEAN. Upon completing the course, you shall be equipped with the basics of creating a MEAN Stack application.



Related Article: 5 Best Websites to take Programming Courses



Learning MEAN Stack by Building Real World Application (Udemy)

Course length: Less than 14 hours

Number of lectures: 306


The online course by full-stack Javascript developer Haider Malik teaches a more in-depth guide on developing MEAN Stack applications. It delves on the fundamentals of Angular, components and data bindings, Node.js server setup, and CRUD on the Node.js back end, among many others.


The course is great for beginners or even current developers who want to learn MEAN Stack development from scratch and who want to tackle advanced topics about the tech stack.



Introduction to MongoDB using the MEAN Stack (edX)

Course length: Less than 10 hours


If you’re already familiar with the basics of web development, this course can give you a deeper understanding of the MEAN Stack through this course’s learn-by-doing approach. 


In this course, developers can learn how to build REST APIs using Node.js and Express.js, create single-page applications using Angular, and develop mobile apps using the Ionic framework.



Learning all of these fundamentals will help prepare programming students and even current developers learn how to create various applications using the MEAN Stack.



A successful web app starts with the right dedicated web developer. Hire MEAN Stack developers with Cloud Employee today and work with top developers without the high fees. You can hire dedicated offshore developers with us across many technologies. Talk to us, learn more how Cloud Employee works, or see our Developer Pricing Guide.

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