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What tech stack will get me hired the fastest?

In the fast-evolving world of technology, one of the most common questions we hear from aspiring developers is, “What tech stack will get me hired the fastest?” This question is particularly crucial for those looking to break into the tech industry or make a career switch. The answer, while somewhat fluid due to the ever-changing tech landscape, often centers around the most in-demand skills and the adaptability of the tech stack in question.

Understanding the Tech Job Market

The tech job market is driven by the needs of employers, which can vary significantly by region, industry, and the size of the company. Generally, employers are looking for developers who are skilled in tech stacks that are widely used, have a strong community, and offer scalability and reliability for building modern applications.

What is a “tech stack”?

A tech stack is a way to group all technologies used to build a piece of software under a single umbrella term for easy reference.

All software is actually a system made of systems. For example, one technology (like React.js) can be responsible for JUST the user interface of a software system. Another, like MongoDb, can be responsible for JUST the data storage of a software system.

In a technology stack, all of the different technologies interact with each other to create the overall product a user experiences.

As technology grows and evolves, some technology combinations become more popular than others through a variety of factors, like community adoption, developer experience, user experience, ecosystem of third party plugins, and market factors beyond anyone’s direct control.

When becoming trained as a software developer, you want to put your focus on learning a technology stack that will increase the prospects of you being hired. But, there’s a caveat.

The Paradox of Going Wide Versus Going Deep

Because of how overwhelming the amount of things you need to learn in tech can be, many are tempted to learn as many technologies as possible to appear more marketable to prospective employers and clients.

However, you want to pick just a few technologies in the following categories and go DEEP in learning them well.

  • Programming language
  • Frontend framework/UI library
  • Backend framework
  • Database language

You’ll always learn HTML and CSS as standard technologies used to build most interfaces. The rest of the choices matter less than sticking with them long enough to master them. The amount of time this takes varies, but the path to getting there is always the same: build projects. Lots of projects. And don’t just follow tutorials, build original projects that solve real world problems to show how you would adapt to different requirements on the job.

The MERN Stack

One tech stack that consistently stands out is the MERN stack.

MERN stands for:

  • MongoDb
  • Express.js
  • React.js
  • Node.js

MongoDb is a NoSQL data storage solution, Express.js provides a minimal framework for API development, Node.js gives a runtime for running JavaScript outside the browser, and React.js allows you to develop responsive and beautiful user interfaces, easily.

These technologies interact with each other to create full stack web and software applications. There are a few reasons for its popularity:

  • Each one uses JavaScript as its programming language. That means you can use just the one language for each part of the system. Many other tech stacks require at least two different languages, which can lead to losses in developer productivity when you have to context switch between the two.
  • Companies large and small have used MERN or components of MERN for a long time now. All of the technologies are open sourced and have robust ecosystems, and that makes it easier and faster to start a project or move it to the next milestone.
  • Because JavaScript is the primary programming language, and JavaScript is consistently one of the most popular programming languages, it’s not hard to find developers able to quickly become productive on a development team.

We teach MERN because it consistently leads to better student outcomes in terms of skill development AND has a lot of carryover into other technologies. In other words, it’s easier to pick up new technologies with a foundation in MERN. That shortens the learning curve when adapting to the needs of different companies.

Other In-Demand Tech Stacks

While the MERN stack is highly popular, it’s not the only path to employment. Other in-demand stacks include:

  • MEAN Stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js): Similar to MERN but uses Angular for front-end development.
  • LAMP Stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl): A traditional stack that is still widely used, especially in web hosting and small to medium-sized web applications.
  • Flutter for Mobile Development: For those interested in mobile app development, learning Flutter (along with Dart) can be a gateway to both iOS and Android app development.

Will MERN get me hired?

The answer? It depends largely on the markets you’re focused on.

For example, you may live in Dallas, Texas where there are mostly openings for .NET engineers (a Microsoft tech stack). That means C# is the primary programming language and the other tools are completely different, although some part of MERN like React may be used.

Other areas like Atlanta, Georgia may have developer roles open that focus on a different stack like Ruby on Rails or something PHP based like Laravel.

The better question to ask would be, which technology stack can I learn that will make it easiest for me to adapt to those different markets?

The answer would be – whichever one you stick with for the longest and go the deepest with.

Again, we teach MERN because we believe it has the lowest barrier to entry for those new to coding. There are a lot of resources out there for it, and a great community.

There are other fantastic options and you would be just as set if you learn those.

But the truth is, the technology matters less than your ability to problem solve using it.

So our advice? Pick a stack and stick to it for awhile. Build at least three good projects in it.

Then you’ll be able to adapt to any other technologies that come your way.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while the MERN stack is a great choice for those looking to get hired quickly in the tech industry, it’s essential to consider your personal interests, the specific demands of the job market in your area, and the evolving nature of technology. Continuous learning and adaptability are key in the tech world, no matter which stack you choose.

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