The availability of complete genome sequences for a large number of pathogenic organisms has opened the door for large-scale proteomic studies to dissect both protein expression/regulation and function. This review highlights key proteomic methods including two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, reference mapping, protein expression profiling and recent advances in gel-free separation techniques that have made a significant impact on the resolution of complex proteomes. In addition, we highlight recent developments in the field of chemical proteomics, a branch of proteomics aimed at functionally profiling a proteome. These techniques include the development of activity-based probes and activity-based protein profiling methods as well as the use of synthetic small molecule libraries to screen for pharmacological tools to perturb basic biological processes. This review will focus on the applications of these technologies to the field of microbiology.