The Node.js framework is used by some of the world's largest companies to build scalable websites with excellent user experiences. This includes companies such as Amazon, Netflix, PayPal, Uber, eBay, and NASA, to name a few. To work for these successful companies using Node.js, you must have the necessary Node.js developer skills to be hirable today.
In this article, we'll delve into the essential key competencies that a Node Js developer needs to succeed and function effectively in today's modern software development landscape.
Steps we'll cover:
- Understanding of Node's Async Nature (Promises and Callbacks)
- Understanding of Event-Driven Programming in Node
- Experience with Express Framework
- Understanding of Middlewares
- Version Control Tools and Package management
- Database Management
The main feature of Node.js is its asynchronous and non-blocking programming nature, intended for building highly scalable network applications. Node provides all the benefits of asynchronous non-blocking programming, such as using different threads and processes to carry out background tasks that, when finished, will trigger a callback in your code.
This asynchronous approach significantly reduces the waiting time for requests by facilitating the simultaneous execution of multiple operations, resulting in a much higher level of program efficiency, throughput, and performance in general. However, asynchronous programming can be rather complex and challenging for developers to fully utilize because it can easily be counterproductive without proper understanding. This can result in developers taking longer to complete their projects, which is not desirable.
Event-Driven Programming is a logical programming paradigm in which events drive program execution to avoid possible collisions in programs by limiting the complexity of program execution. Typically, an event-driven application uses an event loop to wait for an event to occur. When triggered, it invokes the appropriate action or callback function to deal with the event.
For instance, a web page's user interface is an interactive interface that triggers certain events every time you interact with it - for example, a user action such as clicking a button or moving a mouse. Functions associated with these events are executed when an event is triggered to make changes to the user interface.
Node.js is event-driven by nature, meaning all actions and features run according to events. Node.js applications are designed to detect events as they occur and handle them appropriately using event-handling procedures. The fact that Node.js relies heavily on events is one of the reasons it is relatively faster than other similar technologies.
A grasp of event-driven programming in Node and some experience using it to design, write, test, and debug reasonably complex event-driven applications is a required skill that successful Node.js companies look out for when hiring Node.js developers.
Node.js has numerous frameworks and libraries that offer really powerful tools for developing highly scalable, feature-rich software applications - one of the many why Node.js is so popular. Several companies rely on these frameworks and libraries for their application development. As a result, they enjoy a great deal of market demand.
One of the essential Node.js developer skills is knowing how to work with these modern Node.js frameworks and libraries. Although you can build your servers and HTTP modules from scratch, it's more convenient and faster to build on a reliable framework as they are more secure and accelerate Node.js application development.
However, there are numerous frameworks for NodeJS, such as Express.js, MeteorJS, and Adonis.JS, to name a few. Therefore, selecting the most appropriate Node.js framework for your application development is imperative. Express.JS is hugely popular and stands as a foundational "de facto" framework that all Node.js developers are expected to be familiar with.
As a result, Express has enjoyed widespread popularity in the market and is used by more developers than any other web application framework. Express is so well received because it can help you get up and running quickly in most new code bases. Besides that, it's highly reliable and well-maintained.
Express provides numerous features for building server-side applications as a Node.js framework. Middleware is an essential dependency of any Express Node.js web application. As the name implies, middleware is something that happens somewhere in the middle and is used in many languages and tools, including Express. By acting as a bridge, it facilitates communication between two entities.
In an application's request-response cycle, middleware functions access the request object (req), the response object (res), and any other middleware function that should be called next. The Middleware functions can modify these req and res objects for tasks such as parsing request bodies, modifying response headers, etc.
Suppose, for example; you want to add products to your backend database using an API. You can create a middleware that checks if the user trying to perform this action has the proper credentials by validating the user's details. After the middleware verifies that the credentials are valid, it passes the request to the next function responsible for adding the product to the database. However, if the user is not valid, the middleware returns an error, and the next function is not called.
Therefore, having a proper understanding of Middlewares will allow you to write more robust and reliable Node.js applications.
To work collaboratively with other team members, every Node.js developer should have experience using source control tools such as git and Github. These tools provide developers with collaborative code tracking and iteration features that come in handy when working on complex projects, allowing you to track and make source code changes and resolve conflicts in the codebase.
Even if you're not a huge fan of source control, you'll use it in professional teams, and across every web application you work on. Learn more complex git commands than "commit" and "checkout" to improve your Node.js development skills.
Furthermore, a vital part of the Node.js community is package management. Luckily, Node.js ships with the NPM CLI, a command-line interface that allows software developers to share libraries and manage dependencies easily. Having package management experience is an essential skill for every Node.js developer, as you would be working with them all the time.
Developing a Node.js application requires knowledge of how to store dynamic data in a persistence layer, such as a database. Data interaction becomes equally complex as your application's complexity increases. Therefore, knowledge of database management and how to tailor database schemes to meet the project's needs is a crucial skill for any Node.js developer.
Having a strong database management knowledge is especially important when working with businesses or applications dealing with large amounts of data. As a Node.js developer, you should be able to define table schemas, update records, integrate several databases if necessary, and ensure database security.
There have always been concerns about web security, but with the recent increase in cyber-attacks and breaches, it is now more critical than ever. Nowadays, any production application that users trust with sensitive information is expected to provide data protection. Therefore, it is imperative to apply some data protection techniques to Node.js programs and web apps to maintain the application's security.
As a Node.js developer, you must know how to provide secure authentication in your web application and encrypt sensitive data efficiently in Node.js. As well as knowledge of dependency audits to identify and fix possible security issues in your dependencies
You will inevitably work on complex solutions as a Node.js developer. While there are several developer skills to have as a Node.js developer, you want to ensure that you are equipped with the essential skills required to function effectively as a capable Node.js developer in today's software development landscape.
Writer: David Herbert
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