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Learn MERN Stack

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning MERN Stack

“MERN stack” is the colloquial name given to the full stack JavaScript framework made up of MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js. This set of frameworks lets developers build front end, back end, and server infrastructure for web applications entirely in the JavaScript programming language.

MERN stack is the colloquial name for a collection of JavaScript libraries utilized in full stack web development. These libraries include React for front end development, Node.js and Express.js for server-side development, and MongoDB for database organization and querying. If you’ve always wanted to learn the MERN stack but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn the MERN stack, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use the MERN stack.

What is the MERN Stack?

The MERN stack is a colloquial name given the full stack JavaScript development framework consisting of MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js. As a full stack framework, the MERN stack covers front end operations with React, server infrastructure with Express.js and Node.js, and database operations with MongoDB. MERN is quickly becoming one of the most commonly used full stack development frameworks owing to its versatility and the integration between the stack's various elements. Learning to use the MERN stack will let users build complex websites and applications.

Each aspect of the Stack serves a different function. Still, they are all built off the JavaScript programming language, meaning skilled JavaScript users can easily pick up each aspect of the stack. React is used to build client-side assets and component bundles of code that can be replicated and repurposed as developers see fit. This framework is built to improve workflow and create more dynamic single-page applications. Node.js and Express.js provide the infrastructure for programs to query and access server-side requests, allowing those applications to run JavaScript code outside a web browser. MongoDB is used for sorting, analyzing, and querying databases as part of a web application. Taken together, MERN stack training will let users design all aspects of complex web design projects.

Read more about what the MERN stack is and why you should learn it. 

What Can You Do with the MERN Stack?

Using the MERN stack, skilled programmers can develop and maintain all aspects of a web application. Using these four JavaScript frameworks, you can build the front end, back end, and database infrastructure for complex webpages, including the increasingly in-demand single-page applications and internet-enabled devices we use daily. The more complex a web application is, the more complex its programming will need to be, and learning the MERN stack offers students an accessible way to learn full stack web development skills. Learning the MERN stack will also let users take advantage of the functionalities of each framework for their non-full stack web development projects.

The most significant advantage of learning the MERN stack is that it allows you to do full stack web development projects without combining multiple programming languages. Since MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js are all JavaScript frameworks, MERN stack training will let users build the entire infrastructure of a web application in a single programming language, JavaScript. This is ideal both for making a student’s JavaScript training more versatile and for improving workflow since developers can be confident that there won’t be any problems owing to the server and client-side elements of the application running off of different languages. MERN is an ideal skill set for users hoping to build complex, multi-functional web applications without learning multiple programming languages.

Careers that Use the MERN Stack

The MERN stack is one of the most commonly used framework stacks for Full Stack Web Developers. This means that learning the MERN stack will open many career doors for students across various fields. Since MERN stack training lets users build and maintain all elements of a web application, learning these skills will also help students diversify their abilities and contribute to all aspects of a project. A few career opportunities for students training in the MERN stack include

  • JavaScript Developer: Since the MERN stack is a full stack JavaScript framework, developers who specialize in designing web applications using that programming language will frequently use elements of the MERN stack. These developers work on web applications, utilizing React to build the front-facing elements of an application and Node.js and Express.js to help the application communicate with back end functionalities. JavaScript Developers are likely to work as part of a large development team, meaning they won’t be tasked with designing and coding all the elements of a full stack development project. Still, they will need to know how each aspect of the stack interacts with other elements to build a functional final product.
  • Full Stack Developer: Full Stack Web Developers are well-rounded programmers who will be responsible for developing and maintaining both the front end and back end elements of a web design project. These developers must learn multiple programming languages and a wide range of frameworks and libraries. While they will likely learn MERN stack and other JavaScript frameworks, competitive Full Stack Developers will need to know other frameworks and languages. Full Stack Developers are in high demand but learning Full Stack development involves learning several advanced programming skills.
  • Project Manager: In most industries, web application development projects are often undertaken by large teams of developers working on discrete elements of the project. These teams will need to be overseen by Project Managers tasked with organizing the work and ensuring that the project is completed in the time and cost requested by a client. Project Managers will want to be well-versed in all elements of web development to effectively oversee teams working on front end and back end aspects of the project. This means learning the MERN stack is an excellent way to cover many different bases. Project Managers will also need to be trained in the soft interpersonal skills required to manage the human element of a development project.

Why Learn the MERN Stack?

Students with JavaScript training may want to learn the MERN stack to expand the kinds of web design projects they can work on. MERN is an accessible collection of frameworks that will let users begin full stack web development work. Learning these skills also helps complement existing JavaScript training as they are four of the most commonly used framework libraries for JavaScript (including 3 of the top 6 most commonly used frameworks). Even if you aren’t going to work as a Full Stack Web Developer, learning these frameworks can significantly expand the scope of the projects that you can code with JavaScript. Since this is a full stack framework, learning to use the MERN stack will allow programmers to manage both the front and back end of their web applications, making it easier to maintain them without needing to employ a team of programmers.

MERN compiles many of the most versatile and commonly used JavaScript frameworks and gives its users complete control over every aspect of web development. This makes the MERN stack an ideal place to follow up on JavaScript training. Learning any individual aspect of the MERN stack will pay immediate dividends in your web development career. You won’t have to wait until you’ve mastered all the elements of the MERN stack to use React training to build components front end web assets, nor will you need to learn MongoDB to take advantage of Expres.js and Node.js server-side development functionalities. Students can learn MERN at their own pace since the skills are complementary to one another, but once you have learned JavaScript, no single part of the MERN stack is required to start making practical designs with the other aspects of the stack.

Read more about why you should learn the MERN stack.

How to Learn the MERN Stack

Students interested in learning MERN have a few options to receive training. While each student will learn differently, the most important thing to consider when enrolling in a MERN stack course is your level of comfort with JavaScript. Since the MERN stack consists of important JavaScript frameworks, students must be very comfortable with JavaScript to learn the advanced frameworks. Most live training courses emphasize JavaScript training alongside MERN skills development, so students should compare their options to find the MERN training method that best suits their needs.

Most students find that live instruction is the preferable way to learn new skills, especially advanced skills like the MERN stack. The primary benefit of live instruction courses is that they are taught by expert instructors who are present to be interacted with directly. This lets students receive feedback and get necessary assistance immediately, which can be invaluable for a student’s learning. These courses are taught through live in-person training and live online training in private digital classrooms. Students enrolled in a live training course can also utilize the training center’s computer labs. In contrast, online students will be able to learn from experienced instructors from the comfort of their personal workstations.

Students who want to target their training to a specific skill or whose schedules don’t allow them to enroll in a live instruction training course may wish to consider on-demand MERN stack training. These classes are ideal for students who want to learn at their own pace since the primary advantage of these classes is their asynchronous delivery method. Students can stop and start their training when it is most convenient for them, making these classes the perfect place to learn a skill very quickly or very slowly. They are also good places for students with extensive JavaScript training to find seminars that aren’t tied to a JavaScript training program. However, these classes lack live instructors, meaning that students may find it challenging to get back on track if they find an aspect of their lessons difficult or unclear.

Finally, students may consider taking advantage of free training resources to ease themselves into learning the more advanced aspects of the MERN stack framework. These free training resources won’t replace professional skills instruction, but they are a good place to start to become comfortable with the MERN stack. Noble Desktop offers free JavaScript training seminars for students looking to learn MERN basics. This includes resources available on their free seminars page and their official YouTube channel, such as their Intro to Full Stack Web Development seminar. This course will introduce students to the functions and uses of each element of the MERN stack to help students select the proper training method that is right for them. Students should also consider checking out Noble's Learn JavaScript page's articles, resources, and tutorials.

Read the full guide on how to learn the MERN stack.

Free Introductory MERN Stack Course Online 

Students who aren’t ready to dive into an entire MERN stack course may want to consider exploring some free introductory training options. These are well-suited to help students become more comfortable with the basics of full stack web development. They let students become accustomed to the basic features of each framework, making it easier for students to decide what kind of additional training they will want to pursue. These courses won’t replace professional skills training for students who want to use the MERN stack in a professional context, but they are a great place for any student to start.

Noble Desktop offers a wide range of free tutorials and resources for students hoping to learn the MERN stack. Over at their official YouTube page, new students can view their Intro to Full Stack with JavaScript seminar, where they can learn everything they need to know about the essential functions and common uses of MongoDB, Express.js, React, and Node.js. This course will help students understand how these frameworks operate separately and what they can do together. This makes the course ideal for students who are confident that they want to pursue further training but aren’t sure where to begin.

Students may also wish to consider the free course offerings provided by training centers such as Udemy and Coursera. These training centers offer free resources for students interested in learning more about individual MERN stack frameworks or the MERN stack as a whole.

Read about more free MERN stack videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

The MERN stack is an advanced set of JavaScript frameworks. While they are relatively accessible for skilled programmers to learn, they are still a complex set of full stack development frameworks. Students must be very comfortable with computer programming to use the MERN stack frameworks to their fullest potential. Skilled developers will be able to master them with relative ease. Still, novice or even intermediate programmers may find that they need guided instruction and professional training to become proficient in MERN stack development.

The MERN stack represents a collection of four JavaScript frameworks utilized for full stack web development, so anyone looking to learn the MERN stack must first learn JavaScript. This is why many advanced training courses combined their MERN stack training with JavaScript training. In addition, learning JavaScript will require students to know HTML, CSS, and computer programming fundamentals. Not all training courses include all this, so students should be aware of the many prerequisite skills they will need for MERN training.

All of the MERN stack elements are open-source, meaning they are free for anyone to use. Some of the elements of completing a functional MERN stack development project will cost some money, such as hosting a website or storing MongoDB data, but the process of programming and developing the code won’t cost anything.

Read about how difficult it is to learn the MERN stack.

How Does Learning the MERN Stack Compare to Other Tech Stacks?

The MERN stack is not the only tech stack that developers can learn to build full stack web development infrastructure. Other stacks include MEAN (which is identical to MERN except that it utilizes Angular.js rather than React for front end development), Ruby on Rails, Python and Django, and LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). Each of these stacks provides the same functionality and makes full stack development more efficient, so developers will need to compare their strengths and weaknesses to decide which stack is best suited for their needs.

Python and Django are the most commonly used alternatives to the MERN stack and are recommended for developers who want to build simple, fast web applications, such as blogs and news update sites. By contrast, the MERN stack is more complicated and slower but better at handling large, complex requests and functions than Django. Django isn’t a complete full stack development framework, so anyone hoping to do full stack work will need to complement Django with other programming frameworks.

Similarly, Ruby on Rails is a faster, easier-to-utilize framework that will produce cleaner code, but it isn’t as powerful as its MERN alternatives. Node.js, in particular, will be very useful for building single-page applications, and neither Ruby on Rails or Django readily replicate this functionality. This means that more elaborate event-driven web applications, particularly those which run chat features or in-app browser games, will benefit from the MERN stack framework.

Students interested in learning Django or Ruby on Rails should explore the options available through Noble Desktop.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn the MERN Stack

Students looking to learn the MERN stack will have several options regarding the courses they can enroll in. Some courses cover individual MERN skills, while others are broader in their focus. Some are relatively short, while others are lengthy career-focused training courses. While each student will differ, as a general rule, the kind of MERN stack course you want to take will depend on your career goals and your familiarity with JavaScript.

Students looking to enter a new career path and need to learn all of the prerequisite skills for the MERN stack will want to consider enrolling in a career-focused certificate-granting training course. These courses are designed to take students with minimal or even no programming training and teach them all the major elements of full stack web development in preparation for a career in computer programming. Many of these classes have some measure of skills prerequisites, so be sure you enroll in a course that teaches all the skills you need to know.

Students who aren’t looking to change careers but are looking to improve their earning potential through MERN stack training should consider a skills bootcamp. These accelerated skills training courses will teach students individual elements of the MERN stack or cover all four frameworks. They tend to offer fewer professionalization training seminars, making them less desirable for students looking to find a new job after graduating. They also tend to have stricter prerequisites, such as expecting students to already know skills like HTML and CSS or JavaScript.

Students who only need to learn the MERN stack and have significant JavaScript experience may want to enroll in a targeted on-demand course or take advantage of free training resources to help guide them through the process. This will be slower than it would be under the guidance of a professional instructor, but the options for learning only JavaScript frameworks can be pretty sparse. Students will have to decide how much additional JavaScript training they want when deciding whether a guided training course is better than an unguided but focused training course. 

Learn the MERN Stack with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Students looking to master the MERN stack can turn to Noble Desktop for comprehensive skills training, regardless of their prior programming experience. These courses are taught through live online instruction or in person at Noble’s Manhattan campus. Regardless of which delivery method a student chooses, they will be taught by Noble’s experienced instructors in real-time. Students can ask questions, receive feedback, and get assistance directly from their instructors. Plus, all of Noble’s courses provide students with the chance to retake the class within one year, allowing students to receive extra instruction and more hands-on experience in all of the component frameworks that make up the MERN stack.

Students with prior coding experience who want to learn the extent of the MERN stack should consider enrolling in Noble’s JavaScript Development Certificate program. In this career-focused skills training program, students will learn how to develop web applications using JavaScript and, once comfortable with that training, will learn the functions and uses of each element of the MERN stack. By the conclusion of this class, students will be prepared to enter the workforce as JavaScript Developers. Since this is a career-focused course, students will also benefit from professionalization training seminars, including one-on-one career mentorship and portfolio-building training sessions. This course expects students to have a working knowledge of coding fundamentals and HTML and CSS, so students should consider the requirements before enrolling.

Students looking to become expert coders from scratch will instead want to look into Noble’s Full Stack Web Development Certificate. This immersive training course is designed to take students with no prior coding experience and teach them all of the elements of professional web development. MERN is a relatively advanced set of skills with many prerequisites to learn, and this course will teach students all of those prerequisites, including JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Once that training is out of the way, students will learn MERN stack frameworks and tools like Flex, Git, Virtual Studio Code, and Bootstrap. On top of this, students will also receive the same top-notch professionalization training that they can expect from any Noble certificate program, meaning they will leave the class ready to start working as Full Stack Web Developers.

Students looking for more directed training in some aspects of the MERN stack or wanting to space their training to fit their needs and schedules should explore Noble’s JavaScript classes and bootcamps. These immersive skills courses will teach students the ins and outs of the frameworks that make up the MERN stack, but they are less directly focused on helping students find new careers.

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