How much JavaScript do you need to know to use Node.js?: An Absolute Beginner Guide

As a beginner, it’s hard to get to a point where you are confident enough in your programming abilities. While learning to code, you might also be confused at where does JavaScript end, and where Node.js begins, and vice versa.

If you are asking this, this means you don’t know JS or have little experience with it. Allow me to simplify this for you.

If you have taken another programming course before (like Python) then you have the proper programming foundation and can go ahead and start learning Node.js without taking a JavaScript course.

However, if this is the first time you are programming, then I would highly recommend you take a foundation web development course in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to get your ABCs down.

I would recommend you to have a good grasp of the main JavaScript concepts before diving into Node.js:

  • Lexical Structure
  • Expressions
  • Types
  • Classes
  • Variables
  • Functions
  • this
  • Arrow Functions
  • Loops
  • Scopes
  • Arrays
  • Template Literals
  • Semicolons
  • Strict Mode
  • ECMAScript 6, 2016, 2017

With those concepts in mind, you are well on your road to become a proficient JavaScript developer, in both the browser and in Node.js.

Other than general programming syntax in JavaScript, there is so much that goes into Node.js. The following concepts are also key to understand asynchronous programming, which is one fundamental part of Node.js:


When you are learning Node.js, you are most probably interested in learning how to build the backend services or the REST API of a website. You can check these skills and see if you already have these covered so you can make the right decision whether if you should learn JavaScript before Node or not.