This review describes the current status of proteomic approaches to identify kinase substrates, which may lead to valuable medical applications. It guides the reader towards various methods using 2DE and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Dynamic changes of phosphorylation during extracellular stimuli can be quantitatively monitored by both technologies. Among appropriate prefractionation procedures, the purification of phosphoproteins and phosphopeptides is an absolute step for success. The temporal change and stoichiometry of phosphorylation are the important criteria to evaluate the physiological meaning of the reaction. Kinase substrates can also be identified by in vitro phosphorylation systems employing protein arrays, fractionated lysates, genetically engineered kinases and phage libraries. The final section contains an expert opinion on the current strategies and the issues we are going to challenge in the next 5 years.