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Heating up with the FERN Stack

At VetsWhoCode we know how valuable it is to be able to talk and relate to code in a full-stack scope (Sever-side & client-side). Even if a student’s sole intent is to become a front-end developer their career will be enhanced 💰greatly being able to talk and communicate with their team.

The FERN stack will enable our students to stand out and excel with these capabilities in the current job market. This stack uses the must-have JavaScript tech Node and Express (for the back-end)with the currently hot framework React that offers enough power and speed to deliver any content faster then a new recruit shoveling down food in bootcamp chow hall. The tech that stands out here is the database aspect, which typically can create so much overhead that the barrier to entry for students is too much. For this reason we turn to Google’s Firebase!

Let’s see why the fire in this stack is so 🔥 HOT 🔥 right now!

User Authentication: This is one of those pain points with new developers since it starts to get into areas such a encryption and cookies. This is one of the ways Firebase does heavy lifting in that it covers this making user authentication easy to integrate.

Real-Time Data: Data is updated instantly so that users across all platforms can have access to the most updated info.

Cloud Storage: If content is large and fills up database quickly(ie. pictures and videos) it will scale automatically allowing for smooth data storage with out any bottlenecks coming from the developer such as having to pay for more storage before expanded.

We all went through it, Yes, your first full-stack app of course. With the technologies offered to us there is no reason to wait until you have a bright green rectangle graph on your github. Coding is all about pushing yourself and becoming better everyday and if you fall victim to the perceived comfort of doing todo apps along with video tutorials you will be holding yourself back.

Todo App: ✅

Full-Stack App: ❎

Think back to why you wanted to start programming to begin with. Was it to be able to create whatever is in your head that the world should check out? Was it to be able to solve tricky problems or puzzles that gave you gratification when you solved them? Or maybe it was be able to start a business without paying someone to do the creative process that you wanted to handle yourself? Whatever your reason is I am sure of one thing, your not scratching that itch by playing it safe and doing follow-along tutorials all the time (note: I said “all the time”, of course the are very helpful when learning new things to a point.).

From my experience working with students one-on-one for over 300 hours I have noticed that many (myself not an exception) get so caught up learning the next thing, which there always is in JavaScript, that they never use the previous content they learned to build and create products.

At the end of the day these are just tools and while you can have the best tool shed with the latest tools they don’t serve their purpose if their not being used in creating 🎨 .

Ok, does this mean go from your first for-loop to a FERN app? Well, kinda. It means don’t wait until you feel 100% ready to tackle a full-stacker….do it now. It will be hard and you will make mistakes.

One of the biggest ah-ha moments for myself learning code was that when I did tutorials or my own projects and everything went perfect, I really didn’t learn. You end up doing so much that you never really get focused on any one part. Yes, the struggle is your best friend and the fastest way to become a sufficient and great programmer. The next time your getting frustrated and going down the StackOverflow rabbit hole pat yourself on the back and feel good that your moving forward!

As you can probably tell this is not a follow along or how-to build a FERN app. I’m not even saying that this is the best stack, I just think it offers the lowest barrier to entry to get your feet wet and learn how all of these technologies play with each other.

This is my personal advice for building up to a FERN stack app:

💥 Build a small React app

This stack gives us devs the power to build a full-stack JavaScript app with a little help along the way from Firebase doing a ton on the database side even including easy user authentication 🔐 and multi-device support. Does this mean you shouldn’t bother with such details as the ins and outs of user auth?

I heard a great case for Firebase from a friend saying that if your coding and have any entrepreneur objectives learn Firebase since it is a great way to get up and running fast without all the overhead. So of course I took the liberty of giving it another meaning based on the acronym (I mean I did live in acronym central for 4 years in the military)

FERN - For Entrepreneurs Right Now

For sure you can, and should FERN (trying to make stacks into action verbs here) even if your not trying to have the next start up. It’s a great way to use and learn the full-stack environment of JS using Node, Express and React along with a database.

Looking for another excuse to FERN? Do you ever go to the local meetups 🤝 and and the first conversation you get into involves the questions what kind of dev are you? If you have a tendency to say full-stack but then often know your more front-end then you should FERN now.

So go get your FERN on and have fun making a full-stack app with these great technologies that play well together.


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