Full stack Vs MEAN stack – Learn The Difference Between Full Stack & Mean Stack Developer

The websites you see on the internet have two sides. The first one is the one you see, and the other one works in the background to manage the data of the same. The former is called front-end development, and it consists of web design and its interface. The latter is called back-end development, and it deals with databases and server-side programming.

To run a website optimally, you’ll need to invest in both of these sections. 

A website wouldn’t look great if it doesn’t have proper front-end development. Similarly, it wouldn’t be able to process its data if it lacks adequate back-end development. Both of these sectors are quite complex. Due to this reason, some experts specialize in one of these two branches of web development.

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However, some professionals are proficient in handling both of these sections of a website. They are called full-stack developers. Full-stack developers learn many programming languages and tools. These tools help developers in creating websites faster. One among them is the MEAN stack. 

Oftentimes, those who are new to this field use terms like  ‘full stack MEAN developer’  or ‘ MEAN full stack developer” but unfortunately, this is not a job role that exists. Full stack developer and MEAN developer are two different jobs with two very different objectives and responsibilities where an entity works on two different facts of development and not as a MEAN full stack developer.

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In this article, we’ll be discussing the differences between these two. 

Full Stack Vs MEAN Stack

Full-stack refers to a group of programming languages and tools a developer learns to handle both the front-end and back-end development of a website. Therefore, a full stack meaning is that the developer has to build both the client’s side and server’s side of the web application.  MEAN stack, on the other hand, is a popular full-stack framework, which consists of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and NodeJS

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Full-stack isn’t necessarily restricted to a particular set of languages, while frameworks like MEAN stack is. As a full-stack developer, you’ll have to learn multiple languages related to web development along with a few concepts of web design. 

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Full-stack mainly refers to the developer, whereas MEAN stack is an acronym for a full-stack framework. Both of them are widely popular. And the demand for full stack developers  is very high. However, there are a lot of areas where these two differ, apart from the ones we’ve discussed already. 

Differing from the responsibilities of a full stack developer, a MEAN stack developer has to only work with a pool of JavaScript technologies. By doing so, they further develop web applications. The job of a MEAN stack developer is comparatively an easier one however, on the downside, their expertise is only limited to uniform languages that are used for stack development. Also, as JavaScript often makes websites slower, the popularity of a MEAN stack developer could potentially decrease in the future, which is surely not the case for a full stack developer.

Taking everything into account, it can be said that full stack meaning is the technologies or skills required to finish an entire web development project. At the same time, MEAN stack is a mere framework that is JavaScript-based and is used for developing web applications.

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Front-end Development

The MEAN stack consists of many options that make it suitable for robust front-end development. . MEAN stack full form is MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS and Node.js. 

AngularJS is a front-end framework, and it enables developers to use HTML syntax and express various components with more ease. It supports two-way data binding and enables model view controller architectural patterns for the development of large web apps. Modern-day websites require responsive designs.

Not only does a responsible design help in keeping the code simple, but it also enhances the user experience as the website easily adapts itself to different devices. Both full-stack and MEAN stack have features and technologies that enable easy front-end development. Many developers prefer MEAN stack for front-end development because of AngularJS. In both cases, developers have to use HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript as basics.

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Back-end Development

MEAN stack enables the developer to use NodeJS for server-side programming. Apart from NodeJS, Express.js also helps in this regard by simplifying back-end development. NodeJS lets you use JavaScript for server-side programming.

It creates an environment where you can use JavaScript code on the server. NodeJS also supports asynchronous programming, which is why it’s a preferred choice of many developers. However, JavaScript doesn’t have many features that help it in server-side programming.

It’s quite limited, and even with NodeJS and Express.js, it can’t offer as powerful results as popular server-side languages such as PHP and Python.

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That’s why full-stack developers get the upper hand in this case. They are familiar with common server-side languages which helps them in back-end development. MEAN stack developers can’t take advantage of C#, C++, PHP, and other languages. 

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MEAN stack developers have access to multiple frameworks that accelerate the various processes related to website creation and management. They can efficiently perform front-end web development by leveraging the enhanced speed of the AngularJS framework. Because they learn JavaScript, they also have the option to use other client-side web frameworks such as ReactJS. For back-end development, they can use Express.js and NodeJS. These frameworks are explicitly made for front-end and back-end development. 

However, MEAN stack developers are restricted to these options as they don’t know other frameworks and tools. Full-stack developers, on the other hand, know many different frameworks, which they can use as they deem right. They have more freedom in this regard. 

Apart from frameworks, there’s a big difference between the two when it comes to databases as well.

A MEAN stack developer relies on MongoDB in this regard. MongoDB is a popular choice among modern web developers because it is easier to scale data with it. MongoDB is a non-relational, open-source, NoSQL database which focuses on document-based storage of data. 

Full-stack developers have access to many other SQL-based and relational databases. So, they have more options to choose from, and they can quickly work on a variety of projects. 

Similarities Between Full Stack and MEAN Stack

Now that we have listed out the differences between the two let’s start discussing the similarities. 

First off, both of them make a person a full-stack developer. After learning either of those, you can handle client-side as well as server-side projects easily. Full-stack development requires you to learn multiple programming languages that cover front-end and back-end development, whereas, MEAN stack development requires you to get familiar with various frameworks for the same purpose.

The demand for both of these areas of expertise is high. While MEAN stack developers have a better grip on JavaScript related projects, full-stack developers have more knowledge. As a result, companies benefit from hiring both of them. 

MEAN stack is a branch of full-stack. So, if you’re aspiring to become a full-stack developer, you will have to learn the MEAN stack properly. 

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Roles and Responsibilities of a Full-stack developer vs MEAN stack developer:

Knowing the inexistence of any such roles as a full stack MEAN developer, the roles and responsibilities of a full-stack developer and MEAN stack developer can majorly vary. Below you can find the mainstream roles and responsibilities of both jobs and understand the differences by yourself. 

Roles and Responsibilities of a Full-stack developer:

  • Developing both front-end and back-end architecture.
  • Building UI and UX web pages
  • Building servers and databases for storing the front-end and back-end data.
  • Doing cross-performance optimization so that the webpages work efficiently on mobile as well.
  • Testing responsiveness of the website and applications.
  • Overseeing the entire journey of a project, starting from conception to finished product.
  • Designing and building APIs
  • Fulfilling both the needs of the web page visitors and admin
  • Staying up-to-date with the latest technology, trends and programming languages. 

Roles and Responsibilities of a MEAN stack developer

  • Working with various frameworks and databases, mainly MongoDB, AngularJS, NodeJS and ExpressJS. This is the primary ground and is very much clear from the MEAN stack full form
  • Creating, testing and deploying products that match the requirement of the clients.
  • Create and maintain huge databases. It can either be rational, non-ration or both.
  • Working directly with various tools and software
  • Being given the responsibility of deployment of a product, determining the reasons behind it.
  • Debugging various hosting-related issues that occur on the AWS cloud. 

Earning differences between a full-stack developer and a MEAN stack developer

Keeping the technicalities aside, there is also a significant difference between how much a full-stack developer and a MEAN stack developer earn. Despite the fact that both jobs are high-paying IT jobs, the vast expertise of a full-stack developer immediately makes them even more valuable for a company.

On the other hand, MEAN stack developers might be the experts in their field, but as they are very niched down and particularly work with JavaScripts, their demand and earning both get a caping. The demand for a MEAN stack developer is highly dependent on whether JavaScript is still relevant or not. 

Below is a side-by-side comparison of how much a MEAN stack developer earns compared to a full-stack developer. 


Countries Full-stack developer ( Avg. pay per annum) MEAN stack developer (Avg. pay per annum)
India  INR 6.5 lakhs INR 4.2L lakhs
The United States $ 99,274 $ 89,817

Summarizing Thoughts

The ‘full stack vs MEAN stack’ debate can go on and on but we hope we clarified the subject with this article. Both of these fields are interesting, and in the end, it depends on your career preference which one you choose. 

If you’re interested to learn more about full stack development, check out upGrad & IIIT-B’s PG Diploma in Full-stack Software Development which is designed for working professionals and offers 500+ hours of rigorous training, 9+ projects and assignments, IIIT-B Alumni status, practical hands-on capstone projects & job assistance with top firms.

What are the differences between Frontend development and Backend development?

Frontend development refers to the client-side, or the GUI (Graphical User Interface) of the applications, whereas backend development refers to the server-side of an application. Frontend is that part of the website where users can see and interact with the elements, whereas Backend deals with all the activities behind the scenes when the user performs any action on the website. Frontend includes everything that helps with beautification and enhancing the visual attributes of the website. In contrast, the server-side consists of a web server that communicates and sends requests to the database for information retrieval based on the actions on the client-side.

What are the primary responsibilities of a Full Stack developer?

Full Stack developers can work on both the frontend and backend frameworks for the project, which provides versatility to the individual capabilities of the developer. The trends in technology are changing day by day, and no one knows which framework can become redundant in the future, leading to a huge demand for full-stack developers. They can build an entire application from scratch without any gap in the development phase. They have an idea about the whole design structure, and they are capable of focusing on the problem statement and its solutions. It is easier for a full-stack developer to cope with new-age technologies and advanced tools.

Why should you use the MEAN stack?

MEAN Stack is a group of Javascript frameworks used to build an entire application from start to end. It is a collection of open-source frameworks such as MongoDB, Angular, ExpressJS, and NodeJS, which helps to create complex applications and responsive mobile apps. MongoDB is a NoSQL-based database used to store a large amount of data. It makes use of collections and documents that have a key-value pair data format. ExpressJS is a standard server framework for NodeJS projects that helps to build single and multi-page apps. Angular follows MVC architecture and creates responsive and dynamic web pages. NodeJS is a cross-platform framework used to develop server-side applications.

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