What Is a Mean Stack Developer? A Definitive Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 12, 2022

There are several technology careers professionals might pursue that focus on a particular programming language or set of applications. One of these is a mean stack developer, or technology specialists who work primarily with JavaScript applications. Learning about this potential career path can help you decide if pursuing a role in this area is right for you.

In this article, we discuss what mean stack is and what a mean stack developer is, sharing details about the role like average salary and the skills required.

What is a mean stack?

A mean stack is a series of tools that developers use to create a website. These use JavaScript-based software across applications, servers and databases to produce fully functional sites or applications. There are four technology pieces in a mean stack:

  • MongoDB: MongoDB is a NoSQL database without relations or schema options. This means you can store large amounts of unstructured data here using JavaScript.

  • Express JS: Express JS is an application framework that helps you build applications and sites using Node.js. You can use this to query databases and retrieve data or responses.

  • AngularJS: Angular JS is a front-end design framework that allows you to use code to develop one-page applications and sites. This helps display code results to users.

  • Node.js: Node.js is a back-end platform that can read and execute code to help sites and applications function.

What is a mean stack developer?

A mean stack developer is a technology professional who specializes in the tools found in the stack. They often have extensive knowledge of JavaScript and its associated programs and frameworks to build sites and applications. While some developers focus only on the front- or back-end development for technology, mean stack developers often work on both. There are several essential responsibilities of a mean stack developer:

  • Build and test applications quickly that can grow in size

  • Build and maintain databases for clients to store and retrieve data

  • Integrate existing applications with other software and sites

  • Identify and fix bugs before and after deployment

  • Host applications on various web servers including cloud technology

Related: Developer vs. Programmer: What's the Difference?

What is a mean stack developer salary?

Salary for a mean stack developer can vary depending on experience, the company for which you work and your location. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for this role is $105,444 per year. You can also earn more as a freelance developer if you take on additional projects or hours.

Related: How To Become a Senior Developer in 4 Steps

What skills do mean stack developers need?

There are several essential skills a mean stack developer needs to excel in their role. Many of the skills are common among the different types of developers in technology but some are specific to this role. Here are some you might try to develop when pursuing this career:

  • Communication: As with many technology occupations, communication is necessary to discuss complex topics with different groups of people. This also requires active listening to understand client needs when designing applications.

  • Javascript: As the tools you use focus on JavaScript coding language, a deep knowledge of this area is crucial. This means understanding how you can write code but also how you might use related tools like third-party libraries and databases.

  • Web technologies: A knowledge of web technologies, like protocols, internet servers and cloud technology are essential for this development. This means understanding cloud architecture and how you can program applications that can function on unique devices.

  • Collaboration: Mean stack developers often work with various teams, including company leadership and technology teams, to design their applications. You might also manage a team of developers in this role, where you might provide requirements and guidance for them to build new software.

Differences between mean stack and full-stack developers

Full-stack developers are similar to mean stack developers, as they also perform front- and back-end development when working. There are still several key differences between these two:


Full-stack development focuses on the more general idea of front- and back-end development. Developers in this area might have a wider knowledge of applications, codes and web technologies. Mean stack developers have this name because they work with the specific set of Java tools.

Applications and code used

While mean stack developers use java based tools, full-stack developers might use a broader range of tools. This can include having more experience in HTML and CSS while they develop their products. They'll also work with other databases, like MySQL or Oracle, and use any development framework that they prefer.

Related: What Is a Mobile App Developer? (With Key Duties and Salary)


Mean stack developers use MongoDB for scalable data storage and retrieval. This often exists on the cloud so these developers require a basic knowledge of cloud technology. Full-stack developers might use several storage databases or open-sourced content to build their applications.

Related: What Is Full-Stack? Complete Guide To Full-Stack Development

Advantages of mean stack development

There are several key advantages of mean stack development:

  • Consistent coding language: Mean stack development means using the same set of JavaScript tools across each aspect of development. This connection means it can be easier to scale or update when maintaining applications.

  • Open source: The databases and frameworks used in mean stack development are open source, which means you can access previous code and information. This can help you build and applications quicker than starting with nothing.

  • Common frameworks: As Express and Angular are common frameworks, these can easily integrate with other platforms and servers. This can provide quick requests between clients and servers.

  • Memory: Using JavaScript and open-source tools, you'll often find your applications use less memory to run. This can increase the overall speed of applications and provide a positive user experience when accessing sites.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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