9 Node.js Developer Skills You Need to Succeed

Nicola Quinn
Nicola Quinn
Published: 17.08.2022

Some of the biggest companies in the world use Node.js to power their websites. Netflix, Uber, Paypal, eBay, and NASA are just some of the Fortune 500 companies that rely on the framework to build scalable websites that provide an excellent user experience. If you want to work with the big guns, it’s essential you learn the most important Node.js developer skills.

Node.js is an open-source development platform that web developers use to execute JavaScript code server-side. It’s a powerful tool for creating applications that require a reliable and consistent connection from browser to server, such as for news feeds and web push notifications. Here’s a list of the 9 most important Node.js developer skills you need to know to thrive and succeed in web development.

An open laptop on a desk with code written by someone with Node.js developer skills.

9 Important Node.js Developer Skills

Node.js developers are in high demand. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of great web developers out there who are very knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to this framework. If you want to stand out from the crowd and shine brighter than the others, you need to work on these 9 Node.js developer skills.

Node.js

It may sound obvious, but one of the most important Node.js developer skills you need to know to be successful is Node.js. It’s helpful to not just understand how to use the web application framework, but how it works, too. The Node.js community has an excellent website full of information and guides to help you learn the best tips and tricks to get the most out of the framework.

Security

Online security has always been important. But with more complex and intelligent cyber scams and hacking attempts occurring every year, it’s vital you’re up-to-date with the latest online security best practices. This makes security an essential Node.js developer skill.

Get to know the OWASP Top 10 — a regularly updated list with the biggest security concerns online. This list will help you determine the most vulnerable parts of your application.

It’s important you learn how to guard your web application with secure authentication. Passport is a popular piece of software that a lot of developers use. It authenticates users with a variety of schemes.

Learning how to properly use encryption for Node.js is also a good idea. Bcrypt is a great hashing algorithm and a widely used npm package for encryption. Although you may think your code’s secure, one of your dependencies could be insecure. Identify when it’s time to upgrade dependencies by using the ‘npm audit’ command.

Database management

A Node.js codebase on its own isn’t enough to run and maintain your web application. Database management is another Node.js developer skill that will help you set yourself apart from mediocre developers.

You need to be confident enough to store dynamic data in a database. When it comes to databases, there’s a huge number of options to choose from. Whichever one you go with, it’s wise to interact with them in Node.js through an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) tool.

Sequelize is a popular ORM that gives you a reliable API to interact, whatever type of SQL database you’re connecting to. This provides you with a convenient way of defining your table schema, updating records, and switching your database engine if required.

Mongoose is a great ORM for MongoDB if you’d rather go with a NoSQL solution. The point is that whichever database choice you make, you need to understand it well.

Cloud platforms

It’s unlikely you’re going to be using your personal computer for your web application. Being comfortable with a cloud platform is one of the most useful Node.js developer skills that will help you to succeed.

AWS and Azure are two of the most popular cloud platform choices, but they can sometimes demand more complex infrastructure configuration than you may be comfortable with. A lot of smaller cloud providers offer a simple, fuss-free developer experience. Netlify and Heroku are some of the basic options you can use to deploy your Node.js applications to a cloud platform.

Web application frameworks

Being able to use one or more web application frameworks is one of the essential Node.js developer skills. While you’re free to build your own with the HTTP module, it’s much quicker and easier to use the work of other skilled developers and build upon it.

If you don’t already have a favorite, there are loads of great web application frameworks to choose from. Express is hugely popular. In fact, it’s used by more developers than all the other web application frameworks combined.

There are many reasons Express is so well received. It allows you to get up to speed as quickly as possible in most new codebases. It’s also very well maintained and is incredibly reliable.

Frontend

As a Node.js developer, you’ll spend most of your time focusing on the backend. But you’ll still need to work with the frontend from time to time to create an excellent user experience. Because of this, being familiar with frontend technologies, including client-side HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is a fantastic Node.js developer skill.

The best way to develop your frontend experience is to spend time using a frontend framework that helps you create a great UI with minimal effort. Just like everything else, there’s a number to choose from. However, Vue and React are two of the most robust and popular frontend frameworks right now.

Source control

Even if you’re not a fan of it, source control is something you should be using for every web application — even the smallest ones. If you want to improve your Node.js developer skills, become familiar with more complex git commands than “checkout” and “commit”.

Not only will this extra knowledge look great on your resume, but it will also ensure your codebase remains clean and orderly. Thanks to GitHub making private repositories free, there’s nothing holding you back from beginning to use source control and becoming a git master.

API communications

There’s no development environment that can be spectacular on its own. Every application has different needs and these needs regularly change as time goes on.

Stand out from the crowd by having an excellent understanding of API communications. With this knowledge, you can use APIs to integrate projects and tools into Node to make development quicker, easier, and more efficient.

Buffers, file manipulation, and HTTP are three of the specific Node.js API domains that are consistently used by some of the best developers. The Node.js API is constantly growing. While new features and options are always welcome, it means you need to keep on top of the latest releases so you don’t fall behind other developers.

Time management

Time management isn’t just a great Node.js developer skill — it’s an important ability that will help you in many personal and professional aspects of your life. Time management is especially important for developers, because you likely work on multiple projects or multiple parts of a single project all at once.

A proficient Node.js developer knows how to best prioritize their tasks, give accurate completion estimates, and get things done when they say they will. Being able to properly keep track of and manage your time takes a lot of stress out of working on any project.

Five people gathered around a table with laptops discussing their Node.js developer skills.

FAQs:

Want to know more about Node.js developers and their skills? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers to help you break into web dev or progress if you’re already a Node.js developer.

Q1. What does a Node.js developer do?

A Node.js developer deploys and maintains network applications. They’re responsible for managing data exchange between servers and users, connecting web applications with other services, and developing backend components. Node.js developers also help to support frontend developers by incorporating web-based applications.

Q2. Is Node.js a developer tool?

Node.js is a developer tool in the sense that it’s an open-source development platform for building scalable network applications using JavaScript. It’s a helpful tool for developing applications that need a consistent connection between server and browser. It’s most commonly used for real-time applications, such as web push notifications, news feeds, and chats.

Q3. Is Node.js a skill?

Node.js on its own isn’t a skill. But the ability to use Node.js is a skill — one that’s high in demand among web developers. To be a successful Node.js developer, it’s important to not just understand how to use the web application framework, but to have an idea of how it works, too.

The Node.js community is an excellent source of information and guides you can use to get the most out of the framework. Getting to grips with it is one of the first Node.js developer skills you should focus on.

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