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How much does it cost to hire a Node.js developer

Continuing our previous guide on hiring JavaScrip’t developers, let’s talk about Node – a solid and unavoidable part of JavaScript ecosystem and web development as a whole. For those unfamiliar with it, we should briefly say that Node is a JavaScript framework, a run-time environment in which software engineers build apps. To hire a Node.js developer, you should learn a bit more, of course.   

As an open-source environment to execute code and based on JavaScript language, Node.js has a slightly different use in browsers. To complement browsers with their web APIs, Node comes with own APIs for back-end development. The open-source free nature and a fine  package manager, NPM, also contribute to rapid growth of this framework. Node is used everywhere in today’s business, the best companies we can think of as example, include PayPal, Netflix, Uber, Ebay and even NASA.

According to Stack Overflow 2018 developer survey (about 100,000 professional developers surveyed), 70% use JavaScript, the top programming language in use. And close to 50% of developers regard Node.js the most popular framework, followed by Angular and React (look for upcoming posts on our blog).

Image credit: Stack Overflow

Leveraging Node.js, programmers build real-time applications (chats, messaging apps, IoT products), streaming data apps, single page apps, classic web pages with HTML, APIs and web dashboards. To learn about where else Node is used and its benefits, go to Why use Node.js. From here on, we want to focus on what type of developer is working with Node and how to hire Node.js developers.

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General concerns & skills to look for

Node is a relatively new framework, most of web developers have 2-3 years of experience with it on average. It’s fine, because with JavaScript as the most popular language, it won’t be a problem to find and hire JS programmers who already know Node.js, or at least other front-end technologies. Many developers know how to write both server-side and client-side apps.

Node.js community gives access to numerous code packages and modules, that anyone may utilize to build certain functions. This helps to build web apps faster and easier at times. This also entices the “is there a code for that?” mindset, which could be dangerous. How so? Well, candidates claiming Node.js skills could just paste from NPM, not caring for integration and testing (the worst-case scenario).

Make sure they can interact with and engage an existing Node package, so the whole thing works.

Jeff McAffer, Microsoft’s director of open-source programs

What skills are crucial to hire a Node.js developer then? Firstly, basic stuff like design thinking, logic, communication skills, etc., sure. Secondly, make sure a candidate is able to do more than cut-n-paste job. Check the understanding of the whole JavaScript environment, how systems and processes work, how to integrate modules properly, how to debug and so on.

If a candidate has already used Node.js in production environments previously, that would be a great advantage. Or a candidate who has contributed and shared a useful code/package/module to the ecosystem.

Skills, developers should have in Node.js

General things like proficiency in JavaScript and Node.js, asynchronous and functional programming, front-end and back-end technologies, server-side logic, data storage are a must. This is the ground to start off. Now, the more practical skills:  

  • Experience using Github repository and npm registry;
  • NoSQL databases (MongoDB, MySQL) – to be able to create a caching system;
  • Knowledge of JavaScript standard style – to work under a company-wide implemented standard, to stay productive in all projects;
  • Templating/Websockets as a common task for Node.js servers, to ensure good performance when customer devices aren’t too powerful;
  • Working with docker, a container with all the parts (code, runtime, system tools, libraries, etc.) to run apps in isolation, and basically, make the deployment secure;
  • Able to monitor applications – with tools like Prometheus or any other, to instantly notice when something goes wrong in Node.js application;
  • Using the latest “LTS” Node.js version, meaning long-term support version, for stability and new features (as of now, it is v.8.9.0.);
  • Experience beyond HTTP, which could be an XMPP server/client, peer to peer protocols, experience with, etc.;
  • Able to manage security issues, including areas like HTTP headers, session management, data validation, dependencies, etc.;
  • Capability as a DevOp – a developer involved in operations, i.e. knowing how to cope with crashes, scaling apps across multiple servers, conducting load balancing, etc.;
  • Experience with any JavaScript frameworks, e.g. Express.js, Meteor, Vue.js, Angular, Hapi.js, Koa, Keystone, etc.

Where & how to find

The top place to find Node developers would be Node.js platform itself, of course. As the main hub of activities and materials, it also has a job board. Additionally, Npm – the most frequently visited place by web developers, is also a place to find projects. It has a special hiring page for companies seeking to hire a Node.js developer, so enrolling your business there is definitely going to get your activity noticed.

Obviously, all other means are good too, and depending on your project requirements you have several options. For freelancers visit sites Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal. Another option is outsourcing your Node.js project, which suggests hiring a JavaScript development company, for instance.

Or, finally, you can hire a team of dedicated developers, Node.js developers in particular. Many outsourcing agencies offer a “dedicated team” model, when developers work full-time exclusively for you, but using their resources. Search for lists like Best Node.js companies, or whichever way you prefer, to seek such out-staffing agencies.

Tactics & mistakes to avoid

For positive hiring process, few thumbs up tactics would be the following:

  1. Creating a proper job description. A list of duties and responsibilities, anticipated skills and experience, all as clear and specific as possible. Structurally, it could include company info, job description, tasks, qualifications.
  2. Preparing interview questions. First, filter out candidates to let technical interviewers work only with the relevant ones. Check communication and problem-solving skills, ask challenging questions, not only related to Node.js. Also, it would be better if you let a Node expert compile interview questions, to ensure those include Node.js-specific questions.
  3. Searching in the right places. In addition to Node.js community hub and Npm, GitHub, Stack Exchange and Stack Overflow, and freelance portals, you may also want to attend topical Node.js conferences. Visitors there would most likely to have skills you’re looking for and you could engage with them face-to-face.
  4. Knowing best practices and common mistakes in Node.js. Programs and apps built with Node are nothing like the ones based on other technologies or tools. They require more of a strategic thinking from a developer, and not to fall for common mistakes, such as to block the event loop, to invoke a callback more than once, to not use supervisor programs, etc.

As opposite, business savvy tech experts also advise what not to do when hiring Node.js developers. Such mistakes include: A – accepting only candidates with many years of experience, B – limiting the search to local area, C – not including Node-specific questions into an interview, especially in regards to security, D – preferring full-stack generalists over dedicated back-end engineers.

Questions to hire a Node.js developer

To avoid one of those common mistakes, you have to prepare a list of proper question to interview a candidate. Why does it matter? Though JavaScript works about the same in all its  environments, yes, it doesn’t mean a developer has all the skills by default. Working in Node.js, one cannot perform same operations as in browser. So to hire a Node.js developers you may use these questions (5, 10 or 25, it’s up to you):

  • How Node works and what is I/O?
  • What is event-driven programming?
  • What’s Node good for? (good to hear – web apps, network apps, distributed systems)
  • Can you tell the difference between Node and Ajax?
  • What does term “non-blocking” mean?
  • What is a callback?
  • Describe an event loop?
  • What are the types of API functions in Node?
  • How to create a HTTP server in Node?
  • How to monitor files for modifications?

If you need more, just google it.

The cost, rates & salaries

Now, a cherry on top you’ve been waiting for – how much does it cost to hire a Node.js developer? According to Indeed and based on over million data points from employees, the salary of a Node developer in the USA ranges from $78K to $116K per year. For skilled top-level senior developers it may reach $200K.

ZipRecruiter indicates a slightly higher range of $91K to $131K in America. In UK, according to ITJobsWatch, the median annual salary makes £60,000, which is around $84K. In Germany, it is about 40,000 euros, Stack Overflow states, equaling to $50K. While in Australia, for instance, $50K is the entry level salary for Node.js programmers, whereas more experienced workers get $80K to $100K.

Image credit: ZipRecruiter

In terms of hourly rates, it differs based on skills, position, location. The average is $20 to $40 rate for a Node.js developer, so you can use it for approximate calculations of hiring cost. To corroborate this, median rates of Node.js freelancers on Upwork are in $30-$45 range. To finalize, let’s give it a third angle – as monthly salary, if you want to hire full-time.    

Years of experienceMonthly salary, minimumMonthly salary, maximum
0 – 2$1,000$5,000
2 – 5$2,500$7,500



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