Career Insight

MEAN vs. MERN vs. MEVN Stacks: What’s the Difference?

mern stack

Within the JavaScript ecosystem, a particular app will consist of a combination of technologies, called a “stack.” The MEAN, MERN, and MEVN (pronounced “Mevin”) stacks are among the most popular technology stacks that developers use to create websites and mobile applications. But, what are the major differences between these stacks? And, do developers prefer one over the other? 

Today, we’ll explore the basics of MEAN, MERN, and MEVN and look at the benefits of using each technology stack in a development project. 

Here’s what we’ll cover in this blog: 

  • What is a technology stack? 
  • What are the MEAN, MERN, and MEVN stacks?
  • Which is better: MEAN, MERN, or MEVN? 
  • Why does Kenzie Academy teach the MERN stack?

What is a technology stack? 

First things first, tech stacks are comprised of the many components which work together to produce an application which serves the needs of users and businesses: 

  • A front-end framework does most of the “heavy lifting” of building a complex website or mobile app, so the developers and designers can focus on providing the specific features and fixes needed by the users and the business.
  • Often a CSS framework helps translate the design decisions of designers to easily-achievable and reproducible steps for developers.
  • A back-end framework does most of the “heavy lifting” of communication between the website or mobile app and the database and business logic.
  • Miscellaneous back-end technologies used for a variety of tasks, such as organizing the gradual release of experimental features, tracking and reporting errors in the system, or accommodating sudden increases in usage (such as when something goes viral).
  • Database technologies store and organize data, as well as provide features for searching, filtering, and reporting data.

What are the MEAN, MERN, and MEVN stacks? 

MEAN, MERN, and MEVN are technology stacks that help people create websites and mobile applications. All three include MongoDB, Express.js (hence why each begins with “ME”), and NodeJS. The primary difference between the MEAN, MERN, and MEVN stacks can be found in the third letter of each acronym. MEAN is a JavaScript stack that relies on the use of Angular for its front-end JavaScript framework, meanwhile, the MERN stack relies on React and its ecosystem. Finally, MEVN relies on Vue.js and its ecosystem. Here’s a more in-depth picture of the elements that make up these stacks: 

  • MongoDB – A “NoSQL” database used for storing data for a back-end JavaScript application. If your application has users, MongoDB is an example of a database where your user information will be kept.
  • Express.js – A light backend framework for serving content to the web. If your backend application needs to send information across the Internet, Express provides tools for accomplishing that.
  • Angular/React/Vue.js – Front-end JavaScript framework
  • NodeJS –  A JavaScript “runtime environment” used to run JavaScript outside of a browser, such as on a backend server in the cloud.

A big similarity between MERN, MEVN, and MEAN is that they’re all composed of open-source technologies. They also offer protection against Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks, active support and helpful documentation, and user-interface components for building reusable bits of a web app. MEAN, MEVN, and MERN stacks are not complete without a testing suite, for ensuring everything works as intended, as well as support for MVC architecture (or similar)—which is a great way to produce a well-organized codebase. 

Ok. So, what’s the difference between Angular, React, and Vue? 

Since the primary difference between these stacks lies in their use of Angular, React, and Vue.js, let’s explore what those frameworks do. 

  • Angular is a front-end framework led by the Angular team at Google. It is Typescript-based by default and used for web, mobile web, native mobile, and native desktop development. Angular is popular in the business world and is often used by traditional organizations, like hospitals and banks. Angular is a more opinionated framework in that it isn’t as customizable as frameworks like React or Vue. 
  • React is a front-end framework for creating web applications to be run inside the browser. It was originally designed by Facebook to be able to support many millions of users. React is the most popular among the startup, freelance, and software consultancy crowds. It’s highly customizable and really good at scaling for massive numbers of users, which makes it easy for teams to be confident about future growth. 
  • Vue.js is an easy-to-learn JavaScript framework. It’s known for its approachability, versatility, quality documentation, and speed. Vue was released in 2014 and is considered an up-and-comer as it doesn’t have the same market reach as frameworks like Angular and React just yet—but it is a fan favorite!

Which is better MEAN, MERN, or MEVN? 

MEAN stack vs. MERN stack vs. MEVN stack… which one is best? These stacks are all very similar, which is why we only teach one to Kenzie Software Engineering learners. Once a developer knows one of these 3 stacks, it won’t be too difficult to learn the others. All of these stacks are useful – it just depends on the type of project you’re taking on. 

In short, one isn’t necessarily better than another. Choosing the right stack for your software development process depends on the front-end framework or related tools you’d like to use. If a developer or team prefers to work with Angular, they may choose to work with the MEAN stack. Meanwhile, a developer or team who enjoys working with React will gravitate towards MERN. 

Why does Kenzie Academy teach the MERN stack? 

At Kenzie, we have been teaching our learners the MERN stack since the beginning. Here’s why. 

More startups report preferring to use the MERN stack for app development. And, based on feedback from some of our Employer Partners, we’ve learned it’s an in-demand stack those new to the industry will benefit from learning. Here’s a visualization of the MERN stack: 

mern stack

As one of the most widely used stacks in web development today, Kenzie teaches the MERN stack to prepare graduates for a wide variety of Junior Web Developer roles. The MERN stack is also an excellent starting place for development beyond the web because it marries skills, concepts, and software design paradigms from across the broader world of software development.

Our immersive curriculum reaches beyond the MERN stack by also focusing on engineering skills, problem-solving and metacognitive strategies, as well as common programming language patterns, equipping learners to adapt quickly to new tech. The ability to pick up new languages and tooling allows our graduates to grow in their careers beyond their first role.

Learn the MERN stack at Kenzie Academy 

Want to land your dream job as a Software Engineer? Advance your career through our Software Engineering program. This full-time course will teach you valuable technical skills and hone your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You’ll be ready to launch your career in tech in just 9 months. You’ll be immersed in the MERN technology stack and have access to career readiness training. 

Our Software Engineering program is deeper than a traditional bootcamp, so you have more time to develop your portfolio, build your network, and enhance your skills. You’ll study HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, MongoDB, and SQL (as well as developer tools like Git) with the guidance of industry practitioners. The first 6 months of the program are focused on front-end development while the final 3 months are focused on back-end development to round out your full-stack skills. Here’s a sneak peek of the program curriculum: 

FRONT-END DEVELOPMENT: 6 MONTHS

  • Think like a Software Engineer. Break apart interesting problems and design engaging solutions.
  • Design, create, and modify static web pages that conform and adhere to HTML5 specifications. 
  • Analyze the client-side performance of a web page to better understand the consumer experience.
  • Imagine, create, and deploy interactive and mobile-friendly applications for the web using the latest web technologies; including HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript (ES6+), and React.
  • Pair those skills with back-end technologies like databases and Node.js, as well as developer tools like Bash, Git, and automated tests.
  • Understand how to effectively work and collaborate on a software project, and how to interview confidently. 

FULL STACK DEVELOPMENT: 3 MONTHS

  • Create web applications with Express that interact with SQL and MongoDB databases.
  • Become adept at interacting with behind-the-scenes technologies, like databases and servers, and at solving more complex sets of problems.
  • Identify and fix performance bottlenecks in a web application. Propose a viable fix to a specific bottleneck in a provided sample application. 
  • Learn to make applications faster, more secure, more stable, and more capable.
  • Develop an engineering mindset toward problem-solving and receive hands-on support in your job search and technical interview skills.

Ready to get the foundational skills you need with Kenzie’s web development education? Fill out an application or learn more here


Ready to jumpstart your career as a UX Designer or Coder? Learn more about our Software Engineering and UX Design programs, or check out our free beginner’s coding program Kenzie Free.

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