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Continuous advancements in technology constantly present ways to make our tasks more efficient, it is in the best interest of every business to seize these opportunities. The world of web development, for instance, used to be divided into two fundamental units – frontend development, which resides on the client side, and backend development, which resides on the server side – but this partition is gradually becoming easier to transcend, thanks to technologies that make the feat a breeze.

Full stack development combines these two units. While this used to be quite difficult, because a full stack developer had to master several programming languages that are dramatically different from each other, this is no longer the case. There now exist several technology stacks that fuse together harmoniously to seamlessly connect the frontend and backend departments.

One such technology stack is the MEAN stack. This technology stack is of particular interest because all the technologies it uses are based on one fundamental language, JavaScript, so MEAN stack developers only have to master one base language. Other stacks are also commonly used, such as the LAMP stack, Ruby stack, and Django stack, but we will focus on the JavaScript MEAN stack due to its unique feature.

JavaScript MEAN Stack: A Closer Look

The name MEAN is actually an acronym that stands for the four technologies in the stack: MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of using the JavaScript MEAN stack over the other common technology stacks.

Advantages

The biggest advantage to using MEAN full stack is that it uses JavaScript throughout, making it a JavaScript development stack. AngularJS, Node.js, and Express.js are all JavaScript-based technologies, while MongoDB handles data in the same form as does JavaScript: using JSON or JavaScript Object notation. Consequently, the same developer who has JavaScript expertise can develop an entire application using the full stack JavaScript framework, and transferring code to different layers becomes hassle-free. For example, the simple JavaScript code below will run in either AngularJS or Express.js:

Var N = 100;

 

For (i = 1; i <= N; i++){

console.log(“current number: ”  + i)

}

Simple JavaScript code, which will run in both AngularJS and Express.js

Another big advantage of this stack is that all its technologies are open-source, meaning their codes are available to MEAN stack developers and other full stack ones. This implies that the technologies get continuous support from the community of developers that use them, even when the original publishers have stopped supporting the said technologies.

The individual technologies in the MEAN full stack also offer their own advantages. For instance, since Node.js supports asynchronous programming, it can support running multiple independent processes that don’t have to wait for each other to finish. This gives your application the ability to easily scale up to support a large number of users. Also, MongoDB is known for being very efficient at running queries, so it can offer significant performance improvements to your applications.

Disadvantages

One of the biggest disadvantages of the MEAN stack is its age: it’s relatively new, only having been introduced in 2013, so it’s still in the process of building up its user base, as not a lot of big companies are using it yet. However, this should not deter companies as every technology passes through this phase in its lifetime.

Another possible disadvantage of MEAN stack is the technologies’ relative complexity compared to other technology stacks. It takes a highly skilled JavaScript developer to be able to quickly grasp AngularJS, Node.js, and Express.js, whereas for some other stacks, some basic skills of the technologies can get you started. Nevertheless, hiring novice developers is already out of the question, so this shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Build Your Team

You want to build a MEAN team for your project, but can’t decide where to start? Let’s explore some of the most common ways of hiring MEAN developers.

Local Market

The most obvious way of hiring MEAN developers would be to hire from your local market. This can easily be done by posting on any of the many job posting websites available, and it will get you a regular employee who will work for you and come to your office on a regular basis.

Note, however, that this method comes with some potentially serious drawbacks. First would be the cost: developers don’t tend to be cheap, especially in countries with a high cost of living. Aside from having to pay a high salary, you will also have to pay for additional fees like government-imposed taxes and insurance. In addition, you will also have to dedicate physical resources like an office workstation with a computer to your employee, which could add up to the costs.

Another drawback could be the contract: since you’re hiring a regular employee, you would likely have to sign contracts for long-term employment, in which case you will not have the flexibility to immediately scale your resources as your project requirements fluctuate.

With these, it may be worth looking at other options that may be more practical.

Outsourcing

With outsourcing, you delegate the completion of your entire project to an outsourcing company. In this way, you explain the full details of your project to the company, and they will be the one responsible for seeing the project through to its completion. This takes a big load off your hands, because the outsourcing company will be the one to provide developers and carry out project management.

One immediate advantage to outsourcing is affordability: many outsourcing companies come from countries that have a low cost of living, which translates to much lower developer salaries. Therefore, even with extra services such as project management and business analysis, outsourcing tends to be cheaper than hiring from the local market in many countries.

However, outsourcing leaves you with limited control over your project, because although you can check the project’s progress every now and then, the bulk of the planning and monitoring work lies in the outsourcing company’s hands. Misunderstandings in project requirements can therefore lead to dramatic mistakes that may be costly to repair and can cause delays in project completion.

Moreover, time zone differences and language barriers may pose challenges with meetings and collaboration.

Offshoring

One other option is offshoring, wherein you hire a dedicated team of developers from an offshoring development company. These developers will work for you full-time and report to you but remain in the offshoring company’s offices and use their office resources.

Compared to outsourcing, this option tends to cost even less, because you won’t be paying for additional services like project management and business analysis. Moreover, payments for dedicated developers are all-inclusive, so you won’t have to pay for extra fees like taxes, insurance, software licenses, office resource use, etc.

Moreover, hiring dedicated developers gives you full control over your project, so you can closely monitor your developers and your project’s progress.

Evidently, hiring dedicated developers from an offshoring company is the most practical method to hire MEAN JavaScript stack developers. One possible problem with offshoring, as with outsourcing, is time zone differences and language barriers, so the selection of which country and company to hire from is of utmost importance.

Salary Comparison

Looking at the typical MEAN stack developer salary in different countries will help in deciding which country to hire dedicated developers from. As MEAN stack developers fall under the category of full stack developers, here are the full stack web developer salary in different countries, which we have compiled from different sources:

  • US – $73,933 (source: PayScale)
  • UK – £57,667 or $75,498 (source: Glassdoor)
  • France – €57,000 or $65,363 (source: Glassdoor)
  • Ukraine – $22,600 (source: co)
  • Germany – €48,333 or $55,411 (source: Glassdoor)

Evidently, Ukraine offers far lower rates for full stack developers than most other countries, so hiring dedicated developers from Ukraine is certainly the most economical choice.