The real reason to learn the MEAN Stack: Employability
Before we get started, note that these data come from Indeed.com, the largest aggregator of job postings. We’re using the volume of job postings as a proxy for the volume of jobs. We only focused on non-proprietary solutions like Oracle, Microsoft and IBM.
Comparison of Model-View-Controller Web Development Frameworks
- Node.js and Express.js — the web server and bare-bones web development framework that power the MEAN stack. Node.js was released less than 5 years ago, but it’s already been adopted by LinkedIn, Walmart, SAP and Microsoft.
- Rails — the popular Ruby-based web development framework designed to help developers quickly build conventional server-heavy apps. A vast majority of coding bootcamps still focus on Rails. Fun fact: Rails was invented by a Danish race car driver.
- Django — Python’s most popular web development framework. Another fun fact: Django was invented at a newspaper in Kansas.
- Laravel — Currently the most popular PHP web development framework, though the PHP community hasn’t really gotten behind one framework as universally as the Ruby and Python communities have.
As you can see, Node.js is the clear winner in terms of job growth. And in absolute terms, Node.js is quickly catching up with Ruby on Rails:
Comparison of NoSQL Databases
The next stack component we’ll look at is the database. First, let’s compare the most popular NoSQL (non-relational) databases.
- MongoDB — The Document Store Database that the MEAN stack uses. Mongo is also popular with Rails apps, and is the default database for the Meteor.js project.
- Cassandra — A Wide Column Database created at Facebook and later open sourced to Apache.
- Neo4j — The most popular Graph Database.
- Couchbase — Another Document Store Database, built to emphasize speed.
Employer demand for MongoDB is the growing the fastest among NoSQL databases. In absolute terms, MongoDB is also winning:
But you’re probably wondering how this compares to SQL databases. Let’s take a look:
MongoDB is growing many times faster than the most popular SQL databases. But if we look at the the job market in absolute terms, it still has a long way to go:
It’s clear that NoSQL databases still represent a relatively small slice of the total market for database talent. A common interpretation of the name NoSQL is “Not Only SQL”, meaning that NoSQL databases should be used as a compliment to, rather than a substitute for, traditional SQL databases. This is one major reason why we introduce relational databases and SQL before we introduce MongoDB.
- Angular.js — The ‘A’ in MEAN Stack. Google (and by extension YouTube) have poured a ton of money and engineering talent into improving Angular.js.
- React.js — Developed by Facebook, with an emphasis on performance.
- EmberJS — Provides an MVC structure backend, while using conventional tools like Handlebars.js and jQuery on the front end.
As you can see, Angular.js is growing quickly,while Ember.js and Backbone.js seem to have plateau’d. React.js is so new that it isn’t even register on the chart, but I’ve heard of some companies, like Khan Academy, are using it. And in absolute terms, Angular.js is quickly catching up with Backbone.js:
There are, in my mind, 3 possible explanations for this:
- jQuery is so intuitive to use that less technical web designers continue to use it instead of switching to more powerful front-end frameworks like Angular.js. These web designers have a lot of legacy applications using jQuery, and are hiring people to maintain them.
Whatever the cause may be, the message is clear. In order to maximize your employability, it’s absolutely essential that you learn jQuery, even though these other frameworks can do all the things that jQuery can do and more.
- Each of the MEAN Stack’s individual components is emerging as the winner of its respective category.
- From an employability standpoint, it makes sense to focus on the MEAN Stack as a whole. If your employer wants to use, say, Backbone.js instead of Angular.js, you’ll already be familiar with one and can easily learn the other.
- MongoDB is the right NoSQL database to focus on, but it will pay to get familiar with relational databases and SQL itself.
- Learn jQuery. Practice jQuery a lot. Put it prominently on your LinkedIn profile and resume.
Originally published at blog.freecodecamp.com on October 26, 2014.