Currently, the MERN stack is gaining popularity among developers interested in building real-world web applications.
The MERN stack consists of the following:
- MongoDB (NoSQL database)
- Express.js (Backend, Node.js framework)
- React.js (Frontend, client-side)
The stack is compelling, as it allows you to create high-performance websites and web applications for various purposes: business, mobile, and entertainment.
Undoubtedly, there is a strong demand for such skills from startups, corporations, and enterprises in 2021.
According to Glassdoor, MERN stack developers earn as much as $74,000 per year on average in the United States. You will likely make much more as you become a more experienced full-stack web developer.
By the way, it is not difficult to start learning the MERN stack. You can learn this skill from excellent online courses and become a MERN stack developer in no time.
However, not all MERN stack courses provide the same level of quality. Thus. I decided to conduct in-depth research to find the best. Finally, I found six online MERN stack courses that will help you to master this technology conveniently, which you will read about in this post.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post from Victory Tale contains affiliate links. We will receive a small commission if you purchase MERN stack online courses through them.
As we always value integrity and prioritize our audience’s interests, you can rest assured that all courses on the list are presented truthfully.
Things You Should Know
Those who want to learn MERN stack web development all need basic knowledge of the following:
You don’t need to be an expert on these topics. However, you need to understand all the fundamentals and be able to use them conveniently.
Furthermore, some courses may have specific requirements. I will write about them when I discuss each online course below.
Regarding the course order, I will start with inexpensive MERN stack courses that will cost you less than $20 one-time.
Subsequently, I will discuss other courses that are considerably more expensive but more comprehensive and might offer a much higher standard of training.
Below are my criteria for selecting the best MERN stack courses.
- Credible instructors
- User-friendly learning platform
- High-quality course materials
- Provide excellent value for money
- Receive mostly positive reviews from actual students
- My personal experience with the course, instructor, and learning platform must be positive.
Best Affordable MERN Stack Courses
Below are some of the best MERN stack courses you can learn from excellent instructors by paying under $20, thus providing excellent value for money.
1. React, NodeJS, Express & MongoDB – The MERN Fullstack Guide
This Udemy course by Maximilian Schwarzmüller is an excellent start for developers who want to build advanced web applications.
Max is a self-taught programmer with exceptional teaching skills (he has more than 1.2 million students on Udemy.) I have also taken some courses with him and enjoy them. Thus, I do not hesitate to recommend him to you.
Students who plan to take this course should understand React (including React hooks), Node.js, Express.js, and MongoDB.
You will learn the MERN stack by building a massive project. However, Max will also provide an overview of the theory so that you can code along with ease.
Below is a summary of the course content you will learn in this video course.
- Overview of MERN stack
- Big Picture (MERN Stack Frontend, Backend, REST vs. GraphQL)
- Review React.js (JSX, Components, Multiple Components, Events Handling, State Management)
- Build the frontend of the app using React.js (Project)
- Review Node.js and Express.js
- Build REST API using Node and Express (Project)
- Review MongoDB and Mongoose
- Connect the backend of your app to MongoDB
- Connect React frontend to the backend
- Add file upload and authentication features to your app
- Deploy your app
The video content is 18.5 hours long. In addition to the lectures and the main project, Max has provided tons of quizzes that would be a perfect supplement for your training.
Reviews: 4.7/5.0, 22,500+ students.
Pros and Cons
- Build a practical MERN stack app from scratch
- Clear explanation with perfectly understandable voice
- In-depth and highly-detailed project instructions
- Learn how to add essential features to your web app
- Lifetime access
- Frequently updated
- Inexpensive (when on sale)
- Students can learn on Smart TV
- The React (frontend) part is less clear and well-structured than others.
- Max’s pre-made code is slightly clunky.
2. MERN eCommerce From Scratch
Suppose you are interested in building an eCommerce app for your business or clients utilizing the formidable MERN stack. In that case, this course by Brad Traversy/Traversy Media is definitely worth your consideration.
Brad is an experienced web developer who founded a highly popular web development channel on Youtube with almost 1.5 million subscribers.
As a project-based course, you will build a complete MERN eCommerce app from scratch and add many practical features to it.
The summary of what you will learn from the course is as follows:
- Set up React and initialize Git
- Build the frontend of the app using React.js (add product listings, details, and ratings)
- Serve and fetch data utilizing Express.js and Node.js
- Data Management using MongoDB
- Implement Redux for state management
- Add the shopping cart to the app
- Add user authentication for the frontend and backend
- Build and structure the checkout process
- Create admin screens
- Add product reviews, product searches and other related features
- Deploy your eCommerce app
From an overall perspective, you will build an efficient real-world app that will showcase your skills in the portfolio.
This video course is 15 hours long. It receives excellent reviews, scoring 4.7/5.0 from 13,900+ students.
Pros and Cons
- Learn practical MERN stack skills by building a real-world app
- Easy-to-understand voice and accent
- Excellent Support Team for the Q&A Section
- Lifetime access
- Access the course on Smart TV
- Brad does not frequently update his courses. Some of his other courses have not been updated in more than a year (see “Other Alternatives” below for more information.)
- Some reviewers pointed out that some topics need more explanations.
3. React Redux Ecommerce – Master MERN Stack Web Development
This Udemy course is quite similar to Brad’s, as you will learn to utilize the MERN stack to build an eCommerce app. However, this one is much more detailed, thus excellent for learners who want to thoroughly understand the app creation processes.
The instructor is Ryan Dhungel, a web developer with years of experience building web apps using different web frameworks and programming languages.
Those who want to take this course should have previous experience building web apps using React and Node.js.
As a project-based course, you will build a real-world eCommerce app with full features, which you can confidently put into your portfolio and show to your clients or future employers.
What you will learn from the course is as follows:
- React Client
- Redux and Firebase Authentication
- Build a backend API using Node.js and MongoDB
- Auth Check (Server-side)
- Create user admin and projected routes
- Categories/Subcategories CRUD
- Add image upload feature
- Update, add and delete products
- Product Pagination and Carousel (New Arrivals, Best Sellers, and more)
- Create a star rating system
- Add searching and filtering to your app
- Add a shopping cart and build a checkout process
- Create a coupon system + Set up Stripe for payment
- Create a user and admin dashboard
- Add other useful eCommerce features
- Deployment of your app (choosing between Heroku or Digital Ocean Cloud Servers)
In addition to the eCommerce project, Ryan will provide valuable tips and tricks that you can use to build any full-stack application (not limited to eCommerce.)
Undoubtedly, this course is more lengthy than most peers. The video content alone is 43 hours long.
Pros and Cons
- Learn how to build a fully-fledged eCommerce application with numerous features, hence suitable for building your developer portfolio
- Highly detailed and in-depth
- Clear explanations of concepts and app-building processes
- Responsive Q&A Session (Ryan always answers students’ questions)
- Lifetime access
- Frequently updated
- Learn on Smart TV
- Some reviewers noted that the pre-made code could be slightly messy and unstructured in some parts of the course.
- His accent is slightly difficult to understand at first, but you will become familiar with it as you progress through the course.
Ryan’s Other Courses
If you are satisfied with Ryan’s teaching style, you can take his other project-based courses on the MERN stack. You will learn similar skillsets to this course by building other exciting web apps.
- React Node MERN Marketplace – Build A Hotel Booking App – You will build a complete real-life marketplace app that you can modify to make it suitable for any business, including hospitality, education, or even professional services.
- MERN Stack – React Node from Scratch Building Social Network – You will learn how to build a social network application from scratch.
4. MERN Stack E-Commerce Mobile App with React Native 
Unlike other MERN stack courses, this course will guide you in building a mobile app for eCommerce. Thus, aside from a typical MERN stack, you will use React Native in building your project.
The instructors for this course are Tiago Pereira, Fadi Nouh, and Laila Sermon. They are all experts who possess tons of experience in full-stack development (web and mobile.)
This course aims to create a cross-platform eCommerce app using the latest technologies. The instructors will guide you step-by-step to understand each process in no time.
Below is a summary of what you will learn from the course.
- Install all software (Node.js, Expo, Android Studio, iOS Simulator, iDE, Postman and MongoDB)
- Build backend APIs, log API requests, Create routes
- Add products and categories
- Add user authentication
- Build a system for receiving customer orders
- Add image upload and gallery features to your mobile app
- React Native Fundamentals
- Add more product and category features
- React Navigation and Redux
- Create a shopping cart and a checkout system
- Connect the frontend with the backend
- Context API
- Build an admin panel for product and user management
- Styled Components
- Speed Enhancements
The length of this course is 18.5 hours. However, the instructors have provided additional tasks to develop your app even further. After completing these tasks, you can also ask them to review your work.
The course receives mostly positive reviews. It scores 4.5/5.0 from more than 15,800 students.
Pros and Cons
- One of the best MERN stack courses for those who want to build mobile applications
- Detailed sections on backend development
- Well-structured and well-explained
- Clear voice and accent
- Optional tasks for further development provided
- Lifetime access + Learn on Smart TV
- Frequently updated
- The prerequisites on the sales page are misleading.
- The quality of the frontend section is not up to that of the backend
5. Full-Stack Web Development with React Specialization
This Coursera specialization is from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. You will learn all the tools included in the MERN stack through a series of three minor courses, which will help enhance your web developer skills gradually.
The specialization comprises three minor courses as follows:
1. Front-end Web UI Frameworks and Tools: Bootstrap 4 – The first course will review your knowledge of advanced CSS, such as CSS Grid, responsive design, and most importantly, Bootstrap 4.
You will use this knowledge to design and style a website and build a responsive design for it.
2. Front-End Web Development with React – This course will deep dive into the React library to build user interfaces and develop a complete React-Redux app.
As the instructor will teach all React and Redux concepts, that’s the reason why you may not need React as a prerequisite for this specialization.
3. Server-side Development with NodeJS, Express, and MongoDB – The last course is essentially everything about the server-side. You will learn Node.js, Express.js, MongoDB, and finally, the Backend-as-a-service (BaaS) concept.
Unlike the others, this one is not a typical MERN stack course that you will work on a massive project by building the front-end and the backend of the app and then putting them together to deploy.
This specialization more or less provides an overview of each tool (React, Node, etc.) It will not teach you how to build a sophisticated eCommerce app or a marketplace app and add features.
Instead, the instructor will explain the concepts and significant app-building processes (such as building a REST API or authentication) one by one.
Hence, this specialization serves as an introductory course that you may take before progressing to Udemy’s project-based courses discussed above.
In terms of workload, you should spend 10 hours a week on the course (according to the university), which is relatively high and may not be optimal for those with full-time jobs. However, if you can keep up with it, you can finish the specialization in only three months.
As a Coursera specialization, you can freely audit all courses. Nevertheless, if you want graded assignments and a certificate, you can opt for the full course at $49 per month.
I think you should stick with the free audit option. Since you will not be working on huge projects, feedback or grading is necessary.
Furthermore, parts of the courses are already outdated, so pursuing a certificate may not be worthwhile. You can then save the monthly payment to buy as many as 3-4 Udemy MERN stack courses.
Pros and Cons
- Good introductory course for those with no background in React.js, Node.js, Express.js and MongoDB
- Knowledgable instructor
- Clear and step-by-step explanations
- Free to audit
- Parts of the courses are outdated. However, as they focus on the concepts, I think they might still be useful.
- Definitely not for those who want to build real-world projects, as those in the courses are too rudimentary.
- Some reviewers noted that the courses lack explanations of advanced concepts.
Premium MERN Stack Online Courses
Next, I will discuss premium MERN stack courses. You will learn with faculty members from top universities.
Thus, undoubtedly these courses will be considerably more expensive than all courses I recommended in the “affordable” group.
However, you will go through intense training, which is more or less equivalent to a year in college. You will create numerous projects and obtain significant hands-on experience utilizing the MERN stack.
Finally, once you complete the program, you will receive a certificate of completion from a reputable university, which will enhance your profile and might be helpful in job applications.
6. Professional Certificate in Coding: Full Stack Development with MERN
This program from MIT xPro is unarguably the best MERN stack course available. You will learn from two experienced professors from MIT, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Unlike other courses, you do not need any background in programming languages at all for this program.
Essentially, the program comprises three modules as follows.
Unlike other courses, there will be sections not directly related to web development, but they are beneficial.
These include computational thinking, which will help one become a better programmer, and introduction to cybersecurity, which could help web developers thwart increasing cyber-attacks.
Module 2: The second module will be wholly dedicated to React.js. You will learn React.js concepts and build a full React app on your own.
Module 3: The final module will deal with everything backend. You will build a backend structure for your React app utilizing Node and Express.
However, this module does not stop here. Instructors will explain fundamental cloud computing and DevOps concepts essential for modern app development. Lastly, you will be able to deploy your app using innovative DevOps pipelines.
MIT xPro has provided tons of learning resources for the program. In addition to several real-world projects, there are coding demos and assignments that will help students obtain valuable hands-on experience and build composite skills.
The tuition for this program is $6,950. However, if you click on the referral link below, you will get as much as $500 off!
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about paying in whole, as all students can pay in monthly installments. If you are a US resident, you can pay as low as $25 per month.
In terms of pricing, this MIT program is hundreds of times more expensive than Udemy’s MERN stack courses. However, you will get bootcamp-like web developer training, which generally costs as much as $30,000 or even more at top Bootcamps.
Considering the quality of this MERN stack training, this program offers excellent value for money for all students. If you are serious about getting into MERN stack development, do not hesitate to apply to the program.
You can provide the email address and phone number for the program advisor to contact you and send more information regarding the program.
Pros and Cons
- Unarguably the best MERN stack courses available online
- In-depth and comprehensive classes from top-notch instructors
- Learn new-gen app development
- Excellent resources provided for students (coding demos, assignments, real-world projects)
- Personalized Feedback to your projects, Q&A sessions and live weekly office hours to assist your learning
- Career preparation and exercises included in the program
- Receive a certificate of completion from one of the most reputable universities.
- Extremely expensive
- The workload of 15-20 per week is intense, which may not be suitable for most full-time employees.
- Not always available (fixed start date)
These are other MERN stack training courses or tutorials that you may want to consider. However, some of them could be outdated, so I decided not to recommend these courses.
MERN Stack Front To Back: Full Stack React, Redux & Node.js by Brad Traversy/Traversy Media – This course used to be an excellent and affordable MERN stack course.
However, Brad has not updated the course for almost two years, so some content is outdated. Hence, coding along with the instructor can be tedious.
MERN Stack Master Course – Building Your Own Instagram – This Udemy course was definitely one of the best MERN stack courses. However, the instructor, Mukesh Phulwani, has not updated the course for almost a year.
Besides, the course content is relatively short (10.5 hours) and not as in-depth as the newer courses recommended above. Hence. I decided not to include it in the list at this point.