First, let’s define what I mean by learn Node.js. When I say learn in this context, I’m referring to a level of competence where you can research, code, and understand any application with a low-to-moderate complexity. For example, building an API server that converts currencies.
What this doesn’t include is all the other utility skills required to deploy any production-ready Node.js application. This includes packaging and deploying Node.js to servers, application security, debugging, monitoring performance and more. For those already familiar with the DevOps world, you know that deploying and maintaing applications is a separate set of skills altogether.
What does learning Node.js consist of?
It depends. If this is your first programming language or you are in the early stages of your learning, where programming hasn’t “clicked” for you yet, it can honestly take between 8-52 weeks. I know that’s a broad spectrum, but for many, programming initially makes very little sense.
It’s hard to see the big picture of how some simple variables, if statements or for loops end up creating the amazing applications we all love today. Until you can bridge that gap and understand the fundamentals of code and how simple building blocks create complex applications, you will struggle to program in any meaningful way. For some people learning this may be quick and easy, for others, it can take a long time. For me, it took around six months before I started to get it. So don’t be discouraged if it takes a long time.
Typically, people learn Node.js to learn backend web development, such as building web servers. Backend web development concepts are fundamentally almost the same across all programming languages. If you are already familiar with these backend concepts and how web servers to function, you can become competent with Node.js for backend programming within 1-2 weeks of work.
If you want to use Node.js for basic computing tasks that aren’t backend web development related, it’s much faster to read through the Node.js documentation, find the API you are looking for and implement it as per your requirements. The Node.js API documentation is in depth and explained well.
Keep in mind, none of this really accounts for the time to learn the various libraries of the Node.js ecosystem. Node.js thrives on its NPM package repository, which has a ton of tools and frameworks. Becoming familiar with a particular framework can take just as much time as it would to be familiar with the Node.js API. Thankfully, most of the popular packages in the ecosystem have many fantastic tutorials online. You should have no issue for the most part finding a package you need and learning how it works.
Is it necessary to learn and remember all the Node.js API's?