How much JavaScript do you need to know to use Node.js

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 your first programming experience, I highly recommend starting with a foundational web development course covering HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build a strong programming base.

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

  • Lexical Structure: JavaScript code is structured using various elements like variables, functions, and objects. Understanding this structure is fundamental to writing JavaScript code.
  • Expressions: Expressions are the building blocks of JavaScript programs. You need to learn how to create and evaluate expressions to perform various tasks in JavaScript.
  • Types: JavaScript has different data types, such as numbers, strings, and objects. Knowing how to work with these types is essential.
  • Classes: JavaScript allows you to create classes and objects, making it an object-oriented language. Learning how to define and use classes is crucial for building robust applications.
  • Variables: Variables are used to store and manipulate data. You need to understand how to declare and use variables effectively in JavaScript.
  • Functions: Functions are reusable blocks of code. Learning how to define and use functions is a fundamental skill in JavaScript programming.
  • this: The “this” keyword is used to refer to the current object. Understanding how “this” works is essential when working with objects and functions.
  • Arrow Functions: Arrow functions provide a concise way to define functions. They are widely used in modern JavaScript, so it’s crucial to understand their syntax and usage.
  • Loops: Loops are used for repetitive tasks in programming. You need to learn how to create loops in JavaScript, such as “for” and “while” loops.
  • Scopes: Variable scope determines where a variable is accessible. Understanding how scope works is crucial to avoid bugs in your code.
  • Arrays: Arrays are used to store collections of data. Learning how to work with arrays is essential for many JavaScript applications.
  • Template Literals: Template literals provide a convenient way to work with strings, allowing you to embed variables and expressions within strings.
  • Semicolons: Semicolons are used to separate statements in JavaScript. Knowing when to use them is essential to avoid syntax errors.
  • Strict Mode: Strict mode is a set of rules that help catch common coding mistakes and “unsafe” actions. Enabling strict mode is a best practice in JavaScript.
  • ECMAScript 6, 2016, 2017: JavaScript evolves over time, and it’s essential to keep up with the latest features and enhancements introduced in different ECMAScript versions.

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:

  • Asynchronous programming and callbacks: Node.js is known for its non-blocking, asynchronous nature. You need to learn how to work with asynchronous operations and callbacks effectively.
  • Timers: Timers are used to schedule tasks to run at specific intervals or after a delay. Understanding timers is essential for building responsive Node.js applications.
  • Promises: Promises are a modern way to handle asynchronous code, providing a more structured approach compared to callbacks.
  • Async and Await: The async/await syntax simplifies working with promises, making asynchronous code more readable and maintainable.
  • Closures: Closures are a fundamental concept in JavaScript and play a crucial role in managing data and state in Node.js applications.
  • The Event Loop: The event loop is at the core of Node.js’s asynchronous nature. Understanding how it works is essential for building efficient and scalable applications.


In conclusion, when you embark on your Node.js learning journey, you’re likely interested in building backend services or REST APIs for websites. Check if you’ve covered these skills, and you’ll be better equipped to decide whether to learn JavaScript before diving into Node.js. Building a solid foundation in JavaScript is invaluable and will make your Node.js learning experience smoother and more enjoyable. With the right knowledge and practice, you can confidently start your journey into the exciting world of Node.js development.