Node.js is a versatile JavaScript framework that lets users build complex JavaScript programs that can run on almost any device. Anyone hoping to build a career in cutting-edge software development, particularly building smart devices and machines, will want to learn how to code using Node.js. The number of options for learning Node.js might be overwhelming at first glance. There are books, video tutorials, classes, and more to choose from; it all depends on your learning style and personal preferences. 

Here, we’ll discuss the various methods of learning Node.js so you can decide how you’d like to get started.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a commonly used JavaScript library and is an open-source, cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment. Node.js is among the most commonly utilized JavaScript libraries. It is far and away the most commonly used runtime environment in the professional sector, with Node.js being utilized by upwards of 98% of Fortune 500 companies. It allows users to create server-side architecture using JavaScript to build applications and webpages that constantly communicate information to server architecture without needing specific input from either the user or the server. This makes Node.js a vital programming language for any application that needs to be constantly connected to a server without needing to query that server at any given moment. For instance, it is part of the server architecture that allows users to stream video content on the internet without needing to download an entire video file. It is what allows online chat tools to function.

Node.js is also an integral tool in the continued development and refinement of the Internet of Things. More and more of our daily lives involve interacting with devices connected to the internet, ranging from our watches and phones to our cars and refrigerators. The various applications that these objects run to serve their niche functions tend to rely on Node.js to build the server environments and the asynchronous data processing events that allow multiple physical objects to be in meaningful conversation with one another over an internet connection. If you are using your voice to tell the virtual assistant on your desk to tell your thermostat to lower the temperature, Node.js infrastructure was likely vital in that exchange.

Read more about what Node.js is and why you should learn it. 

What Can You Do with Node.js?

Node.js is an incredibly versatile runtime environment that lets users construct virtually any program that seeks to use the functionalities of a webpage without needing to open up a web browser. This is vital for many web applications, such as almost all direct messaging programs and chatbot software. If you are designing an application and want to include a live chat feature, you will likely need to use Node.js. Node.js is also used for single-page web applications like Google Docs and Gmail. Even something as simple as including push notifications or scrolling news and weather updates in your application will require using Node.js.

Node.js is also a vital part of making the Internet of Things possible. Node.js is one of the key frameworks and runtime environments that allow sensors to detect changes and stimuli and relay that information to a device connected to the internet. This means that if you use the voice command on a digital assistant to tell your Bluetooth speaker system to lower its volume, you are using a program made possible thanks to Node.js. As this technology becomes more advanced and enters into sectors like the automotive and medical fields, skilled Node.js programmers will be able to construct complex, interconnected, potentially life-saving new technologies.

In-Person Node.js Training

Some learn a new skill most efficiently when they are in the same room as an instructor providing them with guidance. These in-person Node.js training courses tend to teach Node.js through the lens of JavaScript training. While there are courses strictly focused on learning the Node.js framework, it is far more likely that commuting students will be learning multiple aspects of programming with JavaScript, including other frameworks like React. These courses offer students the chance to work with experienced instructors in a communal learning environment where they can ask questions and receive feedback and assistance on their work. These classes do tend to be isolated to only a handful of in-person training facilities, and some courses have meaningful prerequisites for enrollment.

Noble Desktop offers live JavaScript instruction at their Manhattan campus. In these classes, students will receive hands-on training from Noble’s expert instructors and all of the benefits of working in Noble’s state-of-the-art computer labs. For those who aren’t located in or around the Manhattan area, it may be worth examining other service providers, such as CTS Training in Chicago or Claim Academy in St. Louis. While options will depend on where you live, these courses are still ideal for learning how to program in JavaScript using Node.js.

Live Online Node.js Training

People who don’t live near a training facility or who want to learn Node.js from the comfort of their personal workstations may be interested in enrolling in a live online Node.js course. These classes maintain all of the advantages of in-person instruction without requiring students to leave their homes. It’s still possible to interact directly with a live instructor and receive assistance and feedback on their work. Like in-person courses, these courses tend to be more focused on general JavaScript training than Node.js in particular. In addition, students will have to supply their technology.

Noble Desktop offers all of its Node.js courses through live online instruction. These classes are taught by Noble’s expert instructors and come with all of the benefits of an in-person class taken at Noble’s Manhattan campus (save for access to the physical computer lab). Students will benefit from small class sizes and the ability to interface directly with their instructor. It’s even possible for them to permit their instructors to interact directly with their devices and code editors. Plus, students can retake the course anytime within a year. Students may also wish to explore the options offered through other online service providers, such as Udemy or Coursera.

Free Online Courses & Tutorials

Anyone interested in learning the basic features of Node.js without enrolling in an immersive JavaScript course will want to consider their options for free online classes. These classes aren’t a substitute for professional skills training, but they are an ideal place for learning the basics of the library in preparation for more advanced skills training.

Noble Desktop offers a few options for free Node.js instruction. On their official YouTube page, you can watch an Intro to Node.js seminar that will give an overview of the library and its primary functions and applications. You will learn how Node.js works and how developers can use Node.js to build web applications that operate outside a browser's scope. Once you have watched this video, if you are looking for more free online tutorials, you can explore the options available on the Web Development Playlist on their YouTube Channel or their Learn JavaScript resources page.

Interested users can also explore their options for free training seminars through training providers such as Udemy or CodeAcademy. These classes will vary in content and delivery style, but they will still provide an overview of the basic features of the Node.js library. Some may also wish to explore the resources on the office Node.js webpage for free and open-source resources that they can utilize to help them learn how to use the library.

Read about more free Node.js videos and online tutorials.

On-Demand Node.js Classes

One drawback to most live Node.js training options is that they emphasize teaching JavaScript fundamentals as well. For anyone familiar with JavaScript, an on-demand Node.js course may be an ideal way to target their training to that specific framework. These classes are also ideal for students who need to learn a specific skill in a specific timeframe. These courses let participants move as quickly or as slowly as they need to, giving them a chance to learn at their own pace. The drawback is that these courses lack a live instructor, meaning that if students encounter difficulties with their training, they will need to find other ways to receive guidance and feedback.

These courses are available through many service providers, such as Udemy and SkillShare. These courses vary in format, delivery method, and cost. The most common kind of on-demand course is a structured and guided set of video lectures, though some are more driven by independent work modules. Some service providers will require students to purchase courses individually, while others will require a regular subscription fee to access a course library.

Which Learning Method is Right for Me?

Given the wide range of options that students have for learning Node.js, some may find it challenging to choose the correct method of instruction. While it will vary from student to student, the most pressing factor in choosing a Node.js course will be your level of comfort with JavaScript. Students with extensive JavaScript experience will need different training than students who need to learn JavaScript (or even programming basics).

Students who feel they need to learn how to code will want to enroll in an immersive development career-skills course. These classes are designed to take students from novice coders to professional programmers, and they are the ideal place to learn everything from HTML and CSS to Node.js. In addition, these classes tend to offer students professionalization training. Students with a background in coding, or who simply want more focused JavaScript training will want to consider enrolling in a live JavaScript bootcamp. These courses are more focused on their training, making them ideal for students who need to plug a skill gap. These courses are offered as live training seminars and taught either in-person or online.

Choosing between in-person or online training may come down to a logistical decision. Students will need to gauge whether or not they can afford the time and effort required to commute to a training facility. Students who can’t (or don’t want to) commute will find their best option for immersive Node.js training through live online instruction. Both of these modes of instruction let students work directly with live instructors who can provide them with assistance and feedback. In an in-person class, students can take advantage of a training center’s computer lab, while online students can work on their personal devices from the comfort of their own workstations.

Students who understand JavaScript and want to receive focused Node.js training will want to consider enrolling in an on-demand course. These classes let students learn at their own pace and define the kinds of skills that they want to prioritize. This makes them ideal for learning skills like Node.js, because students can search for courses that assume familiarity with skills like JavaScript. The drawback to these courses is that even experienced programmers may have difficulties learning Node.js and on-demand courses aren’t taught by live instructors. This means that students who run into difficulties will need to find alternate means of receiving assistance, which can be fairly challenging to find and doesn’t ensure that the assistance being received is useful. 

Why Learn Node.js?

Node.js is an incredibly versatile JavaScript library that is being refined and utilized in many different development sectors. It lets users build the backend server infrastructure that is necessary for applications that are constantly connected to and querying servers without the need for downloading new information. It is most commonly utilized in applications requiring real-time information exchanges between multiple devices and servers, such as content streaming applications or chatbots and other communication applications. It allows applications and webpages to run JavaScript functionalities outside a web browser that directly queries an HTML address. It is also used to make those applications more responsive to a wider range of stimuli, making it an essential tool for building virtual assistants, automated environmental programs, or other applications that utilize sensors to receive and interpret data.

Node.js is the largest JavaScript library in the world, and it is also by far the most used. Anyone looking to program complex applications, particularly those designed to run outside of a web browser, will want to learn how to use Node.js. As the devices we use in our daily lives become increasingly connected, the underlying software applications that allow those systems to operate will become increasingly more complex. As this complexity increases, the demand for skilled programmers will only continue to increase, particularly as the stakes of this development increase. The Internet of Things, wherein physical objects we take for granted are becoming increasingly interconnected, is becoming a more central fact of our lives. While the stakes are low with things like building programs that listen for your voice to turn on lights in a room, they are much higher for companies attempting to develop applications that gauge the speed of your car to detect whether or not you have been in an accident to call for emergency services. As these kinds of applications become more and more common, learning how to carefully and precisely utilize Node.js will be essential for engineers.

Read more about why you should learn Node.js.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

The difficulty of learning Node.js will largely depend on your knowledge of JavaScript. It is a relatively easy library to use for anyone who has significant experience coding in JavaScript, but anyone who lacks this knowledge will need supplemental training that can make the process both more difficult and more expensive.

Learning Node.js comes with a few significant prerequisites. The most notable requirement is that you must be familiar with JavaScript to learn Node.js because it is a JavaScript library. This isn’t a major issue in most cases, as JavaScript training courses tend to dedicate time to teaching Node.js. However, to learn JavaScript, you will need to know HTML/CSS (alongside basic coding skills), and many JavaScript courses do not offer this training. You must ensure that you meet the training requirements of any JavaScript classes you enroll in.

Node.js is an open-source JavaScript library that is free to download and use. While there are paid services and hosting platforms that utilize Node.js, the code and framework are available through the Node.js website for anyone to download. 

Read about how difficult it is to learn Node.js.

Learn Node.js with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Since Node.js is a JavaScript library, it is rarely taught on its own. It is so ubiquitous in professional JavaScript development that it is often taught alongside JavaScript as an equally crucial professional skill. Therefore, those looking to learn how to use Node.js will likely do so within the context of a JavaScript class or bootcamp. In these classes, students will learn the basics of using JavaScript to code web applications. Then they will receive training in how to utilize Node.js to expand the scope and functionality of those web applications. Many of these classes, particularly those with a significant Node.js component, presume that students are familiar with basic coding skills, particularly HTML/CSS, so looking at course prerequisites is advised.

At Noble Desktop, students can learn Node.js in a wide array of different course settings. However, no matter what program you enroll in, you’ll stand to benefit from the chance to interface with expert instructors in their field in small, intimate classes that rarely exceed twenty students. Even online, students will be placed in private classrooms with live instructors who can answer their questions and provide feedback in real-time. You can also retake any course within one year, giving them an extra chance to hone their Node.js skills.

Noble offers JavaScript and Node.js instruction in its web development certificate curriculum. These courses provide hands-on training in JavaScript and Node.js by giving them projects to code that mirror the kind of real-world projects they can expect to work on in their professional lives. You can opt to enroll in the JavaScript Development Certificate program or the Full Stack Development Certificate program. In these classes, you will receive professional career instruction in web development skills, including JavaScript. Students in the JavaScript Development Certificate program will learn how to use the advanced features of JavaScript and Node.js to build complex web applications. Students enrolled in the Full Stack Development Certificate program will receive this training alongside introductory HTML/CSS training, React training, and backend development instruction.

These courses are career-focused training seminars, meaning they are designed to take students from novices in their field and graduate them as trained professionals ready to enter the workforce as Web Developers. These courses deliver hands-on training in the kinds of Node.js projects students will be hired to work upon and provide one-on-one professional mentorship as a part of their professional development. Students will conclude the course by working on a final web development sample portfolio. Upon completion, they will be awarded a career development certificate which signals to employers that they are prepared to start working as Node.js experts.

Key Takeaways