What is MEAN stack development? Is it the same as full-stack development? What are the core technologies of the MEAN stack? What is the salary of a MEAN stack developer? In the article, you’ll find explicit answers to these questions. We’ve looked into the advantages and disadvantages of the MEAN stack. So, keep reading to find out whether it’s worth implementing this approach for your project.
The IT world changes fast, and it’s crucial for developers to stay up to date with the technologies they choose for the projects. That’s why there is such a concept as a technology stack. It is a set of languages and tools combined to deliver the best development results and high application performance.
For each project, you need to build the client and the server sides and integrate a database. The main trait of a successful tech stack is that the technologies for each part interact with each other well. The thing is, some databases don’t support some languages. For example, if you write the app’s backend with C#, you cannot implement a PostgreSQL database.
There are numerous stack options that aim at different purposes and have various advantages and disadvantages. Today, we will talk about the MEAN stack, which is widely used for web development. We’ll discuss why it is now dominating the world of web development and why it is worth becoming a MEAN stack developer.
List of the Content
- What is MEAN stack development
- Pros and cons of MEAN stack development
- How do full-stack and MEAN stack development differ?
- MEAN stack architecture
- MEAN stack developer salary
- In conclusion
WHAT IS MEAN STACK DEVELOPMENT
The title “MEAN” is formed with the first letters of each of four technologies lying in its basis.
These frameworks and tools cover all development aspects – database, frontend, and backend. In the case of MEAN stack development, these technologies are:
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We’ll start with the database. In some sense, it’s the core part of any application because it stores all the necessary data used by the software. That’s why it’s worth paying particular attention to the characteristics of the used database system.
In the MEAN stack, M stands for MongoDB as the database solution. MongoDB is a NoSQL database. NoSQL databases store data differently compared to relational tables. NoSQL stands for “not only SQL,” and it is a more flexible approach. They allow using graphs, key-value relationships, wide-column, or document type, while SQL databases deal only with tables.
Some people think that NoSQL databases are unsuitable for large projects, but they can handle a very high load if adequately organized. Their most significant advantage is that you can amend changes on the go and add new features quickly as the application grows due to the data models.
Also, NoSQL databases, and especially, MongoDB can be much faster in comparison to their SQL competitors. The thing is, in SQL databases, all tables are interconnected, and queries for a single object require joins from all connected tables. Whereas in NoSQL databases, data is stored in a form optimized for queries so that you receive results faster.
Another significant benefit of MongoDB as a NoSQL database is that it maps its data structures the same way as in particular programming languages. So, it saves lots of coding time and decreases the frequency of bugs’ occurrence.
MongoDB has numerous upsides, especially regarding large projects and high loads, but we should say that it is not a great option in terms of data integrity because compared to RDBMS, in MongoDB, it is not a requirement.
When we’ve figured out essential information about MongoDB, it’s time to move to the next technology in the MEAN stack – Express.js.
The Pug engine lies at the heart of Express.js. It is the most widely used templating framework. It provides template support, which leads to dynamic HTML page rendering.
As for the pros and cons of Express.js, the first thing we would like to highlight is extremely fast Input/Output, which is highly important for server-side technology. It is asynchronous and uses an MVC (Model-View-Controller).
Let’s say a word about how this framework works. Primarily, it was used for creating RESTful APIs that allow receiving the request from the frontend, sending it to the backend, and returning the appropriate response. It describes the MEAN stack architecture shortly, but we’ll look into it in more detail later in the article.
As for some more obvious Express.js advantages, it has a wonderful open-source community where developers contribute and give feedback on the code. It can be beneficial for aspiring and professional developers. Also, it is the most supported Node.js framework. That’s why it’s constantly updated, and bugs are fixed immediately if there are any.
The event-driven callback nature is among the disadvantages of this part of the MEAN stack. It’s not harmful itself, but it can be very challenging for those programmers who are used to async/await. Instead of diving deep into the callback nature and figuring out how it works, they may write all code in callbacks, which makes the app almost impossible to maintain in the future.
One of the most significant advantages of the MVC model is the increased development speed. With the MVC, developers can simultaneously work on different app parts. While one dev is working with the visual presentation, the other may work with the business logic and set up the controller. Another reason for faster development with the MVC is that when one part is modified, the others remain unchanged. It is crucial for web applications because the user interface tends to change frequently.
Angular fully supports all HTML syntax and uses it as the primary templating language. So, devs can express the components according to HTML rules. You may want to ask why it is not enough to use plain HTML then? Well, it’s a great declarative language, but compared to Angular, it has a very restricted set of opportunities.
Angular has a lot of useful libraries and frameworks for different app types. Besides, it contains all the necessary features of an advanced client-side language: deep linking, data binding, testability story, reusable components, etc.
If we step away from the technical details a bit, we should mention the constant release of updates and excellent community support.
The reliability of this web framework is proved by the list of companies that use it:
Now, when we’ve figured out the details about Angular, it’s time to move to the last component of the MEAN stack – Node.js.
Node.js uses the event-driven non-blocking I/O model, making it a perfect candidate for applications that process vast amounts of data and perform numerous tasks simultaneously. Event-driven I/O works like this: while one task is being processed in the background, Node.js receives the next one and immediately starts working on it. Moreover, such an operation doesn’t require a significant amount of CPU.
Node.js has proven itself excellent for real-time web apps. It has high performance because it was initially designed for optimizing the scalability of apps and their capacity.
In addition, you may find NPM (Node.js package manager) very useful, especially if you’re working with a tremendous amount of code. It unites some parts of the code in modules so that Node.js can handle dependency conflicts quickly and effectively.
Since we’re talking about large amounts of data, we should mention the dashboarding in Node.js. HTTP requests handling are among its features, and HTTP requests are large files streams. Node.js uses GraphQL for visualizing data.
Well, now, when we’ve figured out the essential information about all parts of the MEAN stack, let’s proceed to the advantages and disadvantages of this set of technologies.
MEAN STACK DEVELOPMENT: PROS AND CONS
Like any concept, MEAN stack development has its pros and cons. We’re going to look into its strengths and weaknesses in terms of web development.
Though, to be fair, we should say that many practices are allowing us to avoid runtime errors. For example, one should not use uninitialized variables, check memory limits, check the bounds of the arrays, etc.
In the article, you’ll find detailed information about each language, see its use cases, and discover the advantages and disadvantages of each.
We should mention the fact that MEAN is entirely open-source. It means that all components are free, and developers can access public repositories and libraries at any time.
Speaking of publicly accessible code, let’s talk a bit about the community. Though the technologies of the MEAN stack are relatively new, they got trusted and reliable. According to this, many developers have worked with them for a long time. So, if you have a challenging situation with the code, there’s a great chance that somebody has already encountered the problem that you’re having. So that it’s easy to find answers to your questions and, consequently, create an application without numerous errors.
Cost-effectiveness is also a considerable advantage in terms of MEAN stack development. From the business perspective, hiring one MEAN stack developer is much more beneficial than four specialists, each of whom will work on one application part only. Apart from budget savings, development time is also reduced because devs won’t have to spend it communicating with each other and establishing something.
Cloud solutions have gained more and more popularity in recent years for several reasons. First of all, accessibility from all devices is a great pro. Cloud apps are excellent for enterprises because it guarantees that all employees are working with the same app version at any moment. Considering this, we should highlight MongoDB as the significant upside. It is a NoSQL database program that is built for the cloud.
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However, there is a disadvantage related to MongoDB. It is oriented toward small and medium-sized projects, but it might not be the best choice if we’re talking about enterprises.
The last significant downside is the poor isolation of the app’s business logic from the server operations.
So, now we’ve considered all possible pros and cons of MEAN stack development, and you can decide whether it’s a good choice for your project or not. However, it’s worth remembering that the MEAN stack would be a perfect candidate when high development speed is the top priority.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FULL-STACK AND MEAN STACK DEVELOPMENT
Sometimes, we can hear that people mix up MEAN stack development and full-stack development concepts. However, they are not similar. MEAN stack developer is a full-stack developer, but vice-versa, it is not correct.
Let’s be clear with the definitions. Full-stack developers are specialists who build both the server-side and client-side of an application. For each app part, they can choose various technologies. You can see the most widely-used technologies in the table below.
|.NET||Ruby on Rails||MSSQL|
Another significant difference is that MEAN stack development aims at web applications, whereas a full-stack developer builds desktop, mobile, and web apps. As you can see, in the case of full-stack development, you can choose from a wide range of options. MEAN stack development, in turn, means that you should use a predefined set of technologies for client-side, server-side, and database.
So, to summarize, we can say that MEAN stack development is a framework for full-stack development.
MEAN STACK ARCHITECTURE
As we already know, the MEAN stack includes four technologies – Node.js, Express.js, Angular, and MongoDB. Each of them is responsible for particular processes. Let’s discuss it in more detail.
It will be easier to understand the functions of each part of the MEAN stack if we present it visually. So, let’s look at the scheme below.
For now, let’s proceed from point to point. Angular is the first thing a user communicates with. When the request is sent, it reaches Angular at once. So, this framework’s goal is to receive requests from users on the frontend, send them to Node.js, and when the cycle goes through all the other phases, Angular returns the response to the user.
So, Angular sends requests to Node.js to handle it later. When Node.js receives the request, it will parse it and send it to Express.js. Node.js is the central part of the MEAN stack. It is the core part that handles the requests between client and server.
The next component is Express.js. It implies the APIs, which are used for accessing the database. So, Express.js uses a particular API to call the database, depending on whether a user wants to store or fetch the data.
When MongoDB receives a request from Express.js, it handles it and returns the response.
Express.js returns it to Node.js, which handles it, and sends it to Angular. In the end, Angular displays the data fetched from the MongoDB database to the user.
MEAN STACK DEVELOPER SALARY
Now, when we’ve figured out what is MEAN stack, and how it works precisely, let’s see what job opportunities there are and what the MEAN stack developer salary is.
It’s rather difficult to name the exact salary of a particular specialist because it will vary significantly depending on the world region and one’s professional experience. However, let’s take the United States as the ground zero. If we consider the middle MEAN stack developer, we will have an average salary accounting for about $125K per year, according to Glassdoor. Of course, for a junior developer, the number will constitute about $75K yearly, and on the opposite, a senior developer can expect a $200K annual salary.
Undoubtedly, the United States is probably the most expensive world region in terms of development rates. Although the quality of the provided services is fully in line with the prices, sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for outsourcing to the US.
If you still want the highest quality but for a lower price, you may consider outsourcing to Europe. Numerous countries provide excellent development services. Among all, we would like to point out Ukraine, which is the leading outsourcing destination in Eastern Europe.
If we scroll through different ratings related to software development, we will find Ukraine in most of them. So, global recognition is the first noticeable advantage of Ukraine as an outsourcing destination.
The development community in Ukraine is also highly active. There are numerous large and small groups of developers that hold meetings, conferences, etc. Among the most popular events, there are Lviv IT Arena, and IForum.
Moreover, a great deal of attention is paid to technical education. Yearly, more than 20k students graduate from technical universities. Also, we should mention the modern approach in education that provides the possibility to learn the latest technologies and gain the knowledge of using them in real life.
For now, let’s focus more on the numbers, and see what salaries MEAN stack developers can expect in Ukraine. DOU held a survey that showed many interesting facts about the IT industry in Ukraine. One of the issues was the average experience of specialists, and we’ve got such statistics:
- Less than 1 year – 13%
- 1-2 years – 25%
- 3-5 years – 29%
- 6-10 years – 17%
- 10+ years – 12%
As we can see, the greatest percentage of developers has from 3 to 5 years of experience. Let’s see, what monthly salaries they have depending on the working experience:
- Junior MEAN stack developer – $600
- Middle developer – $3500
- Senior MEAN stack web developer – $6000
We took the data from DOU. On this web resource, you can find much valuable information about the IT sphere in Ukraine. The numbers provided above are actual for the capital but they may be smaller in other towns. Also, the salaries will definitely vary from company to company, but you can see the average numbers.
It’s obvious that it’s much more beneficial to outsource to Ukraine or other European countries if you want to save some budget but still receive the highest possible quality.
MEAN Stack Developer Skills
- A MEAN stack developer is a full-stack developer, so he should be able to design software architecture, and deeply understand the programming paradigm in general.
- Knowledge of DevOps tools (continuous integration, continuous delivery, deployment automation). This is not a necessary requirement for a MEAN stack developer, but if the team is working on a large project, sometimes these skills would be useful.
- Deep understanding of database structure. As full-stack developers work with both backend and frontend, they should be able to design a database and set it up according to particular system requirements.
- Knowledge of various SDLC models with a focus on Agile development. If the project is lengthy and complicated, Agile methodology is often the best option, because it provides higher flexibility compared to its competitors, and consequently, saves more time and budget.
Speaking of SDLC models, it’s essential to be good at them, because each team has its preferred SDLC approaches, and it can save many resources if a hired specialist understands them from the very beginning.
We’ll reiterate that the world of technologies changes quickly, and it’s essential to be up to date. For now, full-stack developers are a great solution in terms of the restricted budget and timeframes.
There are many technologies that full-stack developers work with, but over the course of time, IT specialists have come to the most optimal set of tools that allows delivering the best possible results. This set is called the MEAN stack, which consists of MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js.
It often happens that you lack people with some specific skills for a particular project. For such cases, there are such options as dedicated developers or a staff augmentation model. They imply that you don’t have to go through a complicated recruitment process to find a person with the knowledge you need. It may be especially undue if you won’t need the specialist when a certain project is over. In such a case, you may want to look for a programmer that will work for you on a temporary basis.
Besides, as we’ve already mentioned, hiring a MEAN stack developer may be much more beneficial than hiring four different software developers with knowledge in each technology of the MEAN stack.
Want to implement a MEAN stack development approach for your project?
In EXISTEK, we have numerous specialists with different skill sets. Among all, you can find those who are on a first-name basis with the core technologies of the MEAN stack. If you have any additional questions or want to discuss your project further, get in touch with our specialists.