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I have been working on java for around 4yrs. and have been doing full time freelancing for about 2yrs. now

So far I have been using java for all my web applications, but in freelancing you would hardly get any enterprise level projects. Most of the projects would be small to medium sized ones.

Since java being costly to host and slow to develop upon, I would want to switch to some other web framework(MEAN stack to be more precise) to be able to attract more clients.

It would be a very big decision but I am not sure how do I make the switch?

The challenges which I see are:

  1. My profile has almost all projects on java so how do I present myself to prospect clients with MEAN stack projects?
  2. Is it at all possible to gain expertise on MEAN stack(or other technology) after just getting started while doing projects?(Rather than take months to master the framework and start making money with it)
  3. On java if my hourly rate is x then what percent of x should I charge on MEAN stack projects?
  4. How long usually it takes for getting well established (or atleast stable) with MEAN stack projects in particular and making such switches in particular. (This may well be opinion based.)

So I would request tips on the same.

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I was going through that a few months ago (work experience in Java, starting to learn and use the MEAN stack), so I'll give you my own opinion.

  1. I would create a small project using the MEAN stack (that's a good way to learn as well). The MEAN stack is quite new, so there are not so many experienced programmers out there. I think you can still present your Java Web projects, at the end of the day there are many similar things, even if the programming languages are different (i.e. there are the same web protocols).

  2. This is how I started, watching a few tutorials and then jump into a project. I have to say that's a bit stressful, and it will take you a bit more to develop than it will take if you were using something you already know.

  3. I would go for a smaller rate for the first few months until I gain experience and confidence. For example I consider myself a Junior in MEAN, so I charge accordingly. But that's going to change soon and I let my clients know about it from the beginning.

  4. It depends on your previous experience. If you already know HTML, CSS and a bit of Javascript that's going to help. Also your Java web experience will help more than you think. There are a lot of similar concepts, for example you have EJS in MEAN which in kind of JSP in JEE. Mongo DB is very easy to use, data is document-based saved as JSON, so easy to manipulate. Express can be learnt along the way. Node server is very easy to set up and use. The only trick in Angular JS I would say, but once you grasp it you'll love it. At least that has happened to me (even if I was quite skeptical about Javascript at the beginning).

I hope that helps, but remember, it is just an opinion.

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    Thanks for sharing your experience @petre! Really useful points. I would still keep the question open for more answers and perhaps more experiences like yours. Enjoy the upvote in the meanwhile :) – rahulserver May 30 '16 at 17:40
  • Yes, leave it open a bit more, so other people might share their experience as well. – petre May 31 '16 at 6:55
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As the other answer suggests, you can do a small project using the MEAN stack and then see how you can fare with an actual freelance project. The thing about technology is that you need to have a firm grasp over it in order to be able to successfully compete in the freelance markets. Besides, node is quite new in the ecosystem. You may also want to consider a shift towards python or php ecosystems as those too have lucrative markets.

Ultimately, it depends on you which skills you find easier to master and where your interests like. Here you can find some of the biggest sites built using node that can give you some inspiration. The list includes Ebay, PayPal, Walmart and even Linkedin!

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