Facts You Never Knew About Node.js & How You Can Become a Node.js Developer

Ever since its release in 2009, Node.js has become a household name for developers, and rightfully so. Why? Among the many interesting characteristics it possesses, the first — Node.js is neither a framework nor a library. Then what do we call it? As per the official Node.js website, it is defined as a JavaScript runtime built on the Chrome V8 JavaScript engine. In other words, it’s kinda like a runtime environment on the server-side that works outside browsers and can build fast, scalable apps in minutes. 

If that sounds exciting to you, you’re in for a lot, because that’s just the beginning. But, just because Node.js is popular and has some groovy features doesn’t mean you’d need to learn it. What’s in it for you? 

Here’s the catch: Node.js can be used for both backend and frontend operations (whoa) – and you have JavaScript to thank for it! Don’t believe us? The fact that Netflix, PayPal, Uber, and LinkedIn work the way they work is because of this technology – Node.js. Did we just hear a mic drop? 

Understanding Node.js

Okay, we agree that trying to understand Node.js from just its definition is complex. What do we mean by a runtime environment, anyways? Well, for keeping things real, Node.js is a technology. Yes, that’s right, so much more than a framework or a language; and there’s a good reason why: 

  • Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, server-side JavaScript framework, that makes the JavaScript code not restrained by the front-end, and instead can execute away from the browser making the entire process faster. Here’s a scenario for better understanding, the coding behind Gmail, can now also be used to fuel its servers. In fact, Ryan Dahl, the brain behind Node.js was inspired by Gmail to program an event-driven system for 2-way connection websites with real-time data exchange. Think about it, it means Node.js can be used for backend operations as well as in the frontend with other JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React, Vue, etc. Isn’t that efficient?
  • The asynchronous design makes Node faster, as the program doesn’t have to wait for database operations processing, and instead can manage numerous tasks thrown into its way. Furthermore, the V8 engine that powers Google Chrome is also the one used in Node.js implementation, and because of Google’s performance benchmarks, Node.js delivers speed and accuracy. Thanks to its event-driven APIs programmed in common language at both server and client sides, the synchronization takes place quicker and is preferred by online gaming, video conferences, chats, etc.  

Reasons Why Node.js preferred for Web Developer Jobs

JavaScript, currently, stands as the undisputed winner as the most popular programming language in the world and is known as one of the simplest ways to develop browser apps. Other programming languages can be tougher, require transpilation, or are limited to a few browsers. 

  • Since developers commonly learn JavaScript, it’s easier for them to learn Node.js as it uses JavaScript and becomes easier to catch up.
  • Remember how we discussed that Node.js is great for multitasking? It’s because of its ability to manage concurrent requests, without wearing out the server – something that organizations want right now. This occurs because Node.js only comes online when needed otherwise it goes to sleep, saving any usage of RAM unless required.
  • The cross-platform and mobile-friendly aspect of Node.js works great across Linux, Windows, and macOS, with little or no modifications being made, making it light and fast. 

Learning Node.js: Getting Started

Because of the distinctive nature of Node.js, with its roots deep in JavaScript, Node.js can be a good career call for those looking to do more in terms of web app development. In case you aren’t familiar with or need to brush up your JavaScript skills, it can be a good place to start before moving into the details of JavaScript:

Step#1 Learning JavaScript

Begin with the fundamentals like scopes, functions, classes, callbacks, promises, and the performing abilities of String, Objets, Arrays, Numbers, Sets, Maps, etc. Once that and more are out of your way, you can really get deeper into focusing on Node. 

Step#2 Node – What’s with its name?

You’d realize that the reason why Node is named as such plays a huge role in its operations, and even more its capabilities. Once combined with good networking protocols it becomes a foolproof system to develop scalable, distributed programs. 

Step#3 Knowing blocking and non-blocking operations

One of the first things you’d realize in your learning journey is that in Node all blocking operations are a real nuisance here. However, once you figure out the asynchronous I/O protocols in the lines of code, add the right functions and callbacks, and its execution – you’re set for the next level. 

Step#4 Enter Event Loop

Among the other details of Node, the queue in the event loop is triggered for the next message and as soon as it arrives, the callback for the message gets executed. Here’s an illustration of the loop:

Credits: CarbonFive

Step#5 Keeping up with the Global Variables

All the Node library functions, global objects, and JavaScript can be accessed by typing ‘global’ inside a Node REPL (read-eval-print-loop). Once you know all the options and usage, you get one step closer to using it in your test code. 

Step#6 Using Libraries within Node

One of the pre-final stages of writing code for Node is learning the process behind running a TCP server and program sockets by accessing ‘net’, reading and writing files with ‘fs’, or even the task of running a stream-ready web server with ‘HTTP’, etc. 

Step#7 Code Writing for Node & without using any framework

It’s always a good call to go through and understand code on different frameworks before actually writing the code yourself. In this case, you can begin with observing codes on Express and analyzing more codes on Node to make yourself comfortable and familiar. 

Apart from self-study, for a beginner, it’s also recommended that in order to get a headstart in today’s tech space, having relevant course certifications, and projects is essential. You can also opt for learning in a community of Node.js developers, be it online or in your area. This opens doors to interactive lesson experiences as well as collaborative projects in the long run.  

Final Word

By redefining scalability, performance, and security, Node.js has changed the way people look at JavaScript since 2009. However, like every other framework, Node is not a silver bullet, and neither is JavaScript. Currently used by large companies like NASA, and Capital One, this enterprise-level technology ecosystem continues to get enriched with IBM API Connect, Trace, and other tools. As it continues to evolve and expand, learning Node can be a good starting point for both young and experienced web developers. And, if you’re a developer yourself looking for promising opportunities, the global leaders in web and mobile app development, GeekyAnts is looking for seasoned Node.js developers in Bangalore to contribute to their web-based application development.  

CodeClouds, a globally recognized team of 500+ experts in eCommerce, web, app design, and development, they’re also present across the US, New Zealand, and Australia. Currently hiring for their Kolkata headquarters, they can be your destination if you’re looking for full stack web developer jobs in the area and get into action on the frontlines.

We hope this article was helpful to you in understanding a few things about Node.js. In case you’d want to stay in tune with more Node.js updates, we’d recommend following the official Node.js blog. Happy learning!