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Hiring Node.js developers – tips, skills and questions

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BuiltinNode is a community for Node.js people, startups and communities. We want to connect and grow the community around this great language and that of course involves developers. For this reason we have a jobs section that we encourage you to use to post jobs or to check out new openings.

Although as a language, Node is pretty young, there are plenty of experienced developers out there, you just need the right tools to spot them. Node was a part of key development trends last year and it’s going to be a hot skill in the coming years. Node.js developers are in great demand, but to get in the wrestling match to find the best ones it’s good to know a few things about what exactly does a Node developer do, and what makes him/her great at his job. Hiring the best is something each company wants, for the best products and results. So how do you get the best?

It all comes up to (proven) skills in the end so let’s start there – this is what shapes and defines a great developer.

So what should a great node.js developer know? Well, a few things:

  • asynchronous programming should a no brainer

  • a good amount of knowledge of server-side preprocessors

  • knowledge about event based programming such as the differences in concurrency models, eventloop versus multi-threading.

  • complete understanding of server-side templating languages. EJS or Jade are good examples for this.

  • substantial experience with github and as many open source contribution as possible

  • active contributions in the Node.js community, in groups, StackOverflow and such, this is a strong indication of a dedicated developer truly interested in the development of Node.

  • understanding the fundamentals of a scalable application

  • skills and understanding of front end technologies, the basic HTML5 and the more advanced CSS3

  • real experience with Node tools like: brunch, broccoli, grunt and the like. This will actually show what you’re developer knows on a practical side.

These are just a few of the skills that a good, nay, great Node developer should have. If he or she checks out all of them you can get that office with a view ready.

To get started on the interview process you’ll need a few good questions/requirements. So here are our two cents:

1 Explain the Asynchronous approach in Node.js

2 What can you do with underscore in Node.js?

3 Create a HTTP server in Node

4 What’s the difference between Node.js and Ajax?

5 Explain event loop and event emitter

6 How many types of streams does Node.js have?

7 What’s the most common framework in Node.js?

When you hire a developer you have to make sure he’s all that he’s stacked up to be in the technical department, but also that he is a person driven by performance and accomplishments.  Someone creative with an analytical mind, inquisitive and with a passion for all that Node.js stands for. That’s the developer you need. We’ll help you get him or her through our job board, post now any new positions you might have or know of.

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3 services you have been using without knowing they are using Node.js

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Why do we love Node.js? Because some of the greatest platform we use on a daily basis are built in Node and working wonders for their functionality and user friendliness. 

In this weeks post we would like to showcase three of the most beloved services you might not know are using Node.js as the main technology in their development. 

So here are the three cases we cannot overlook when talking about Node.js success stories! Did you know they were built in Node?

Building with Node.js at LinkedIn

As you might already know, LinkedIn Mobile was originally powered by Ruby on Rails, now being one of the biggest and coolest Node.js apps in production. With Node.js the LinkedIn development team wanted to move to an asynchronous event system. Another reason for which Node seemed to be a great fit for the app was the possibility for the client to make a single request for a page. 

Node.js just made their job easier, as we can infer from the very first iteration of the app called “Simplify”. Not only was the code simplified, but after transitioning to Node.js, the number of machines used to host the service was reduced to more than 10:1. 

LinkedIn uses more than one technology for their services, but on the server side, the mobile software stack is entirely built in Node and the main reason for this great switch was scale. On the other hand, LinkedIn mobile app has to communicate to the platform API and database, which made Node the perfect match since talking to other services is mainly Node.js’s cup of tea.

LinkedIn is one of the greatest proofs that an up-and-coming technology can work properly and be a great fit even for such complex apps, serving the needs of the system like no other. 

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Node.js drives Uber

Talk about taking risks! Uber’s has adopted two up-and-coming language platforms for its main operations: Node.js and Google Go. As a matter of fact, Uber was one of the earliest adopters of Node and moreover one that has built a succesful business on its grounds. 

How does Node drive Uber? Well, imagine that when an user visits the website or uses the app to see available vehicles or book a ride, most of the systems involved in the process run on Node because mainly all dispatching systems at Uber run on Node. 

Node’s libraries are a steadfast support for parallel I/O service integration which allows Uber developers to be more productive and  it’s also what makes it a reasonable choice as the primary technology behind Uber’s core services. Uber’s Node.js app focuses on application logic, event sourcing and integration which improves and simplifies its’ resiliency.

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Netflix and code in Node.js

What does Node.js do for Netflix? It enables Netflix to streamline the development while cutting build times and growing the level of UI customization.

The Netflix team is thrilled with Node.js’s suitability for their company and is planning to take use of this great technology furthermore. They are currently developing a way to write scripts as individual Node apps that will allow for containers to be run and debugged locally. They are also planning to release Codex, a set of capabilities that can deliver specific features depending on customer settings and the devices that are being used. And this is great news for programmers everywhere because Codex will be an open source Node.js project. 

These are just three examples of successful businesses that take pride for always staying on the cutting edge of technology and making an amazing outcome of it. 

We are tremendously inspired by their courage and great success and we encourage companies to consider Node.js as an addition to their development. We want BuiltinNode to be a place of inspiration for current and future Node.js entrepreneurs so hopefully this will inspire you to start building your own projects in Node.js!

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BuiltinNode Company

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Cron-J is a full service Information Technology services company. We provide an array of technology, consulting and outsourcing services. In a short span of time we have successfully delivered our high quality services to a global clientele.We holistically combine your present state-of-the-art architecture with our world class services to take your business to the next level of excellence.

Explore Node.js on every level with these resources

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Learning a new skill, learning something new, be it a programming language or something else,  is a challenge, but it also depends a lot on the resources you use. Our life is, or should be, a constant journey of development and learning; there is always not just room for more, but opportunity and benefits of practising your mind and gaining insights into all sorts of things. Of course this doesn’t apply just to programming languages, it’s not about learning them all. But as a general rule of thumb, knowing and learning is very much living.

Many of us have big dreams and plans when it comes to self development, we want to learn German (it’s not impossible), node.js, how to use a bow, how to fix a car, how to build a fort (forts are cool) and more. We want, we try and every so often, more often that most of us would like to admit, we give up. And we swipe our failure under the rug of “At least I tried”.

The resources we use to learn something new are equally responsible, together with our own desire to succeed,  for our success or failure. Some people resonate better with a certain learning environment, some likes books, others like videos and so on and so forth. When it comes to programming languages you have a lot of different types of resources available out there, there is a lot of material explained in all sorts of way so you can definitely find something that clicks with your process.

We’ll show you a few resources that can help you learn or better understand node.js, resources that take you from your level, be it beginner, master node expert or anything in between.

1 The Node beginner book

Of course we’ll start with the beginner level. This is a short book, simple and easy to comprehend, great for starting up. Break it layer by layer and you’ll be have an easier time climbing the learning ladder. You can find the book here.

2 Practical Node.js

This book is a great guide after you’re more familiar with node, it has a nice guide for building all sorts of real life apps. It goes through the whole toolkit, taking you step by step through the whole process. It’s available here.

3 Node: up and running

This one is great if you have a bit of a know how in JavaScript. It’s really useful to get in depth knowledge when it comes to Node.js. It covers several interesting topics like loop architecture. It’s worth a read. Available here!

4 Smashing Node

Smashing Node is a very complex book, ideal for developers with vast previous experience in JavaScript, a great resource that encompasses all the tools and features you need to know to build a great Node.js application. You can get it here.

These are just a few recommendations, there are a lot of great books out there about Node.js, books and other type of resources that can help you understand and master it. Each one of the books that we shown here take you from a different stage of knowledge, some take you as a blank slate other take into account a substantial amount of already accumulated knowledge.

Other useful resources that you might want to try out are: mastering Node.js, available in different formats (for free), the node.js documentation or YLD’s video tutorials,

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3 reasons to use node.js for your startup

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In 2013 a few big names starting using Node, for various reasons. PayPal replaced a stack of mixed technologies with Node.js in order to transform the company, The Mail Online –  dailymail.co.uk, one of the highest ranking website in the world when it comes to traffic, replaced Java with Node.js for rapid delivery. Netflix took the same route relying on Node in order to enable rapid delivery and innovation. The number of companies that currently use Node has increased dramatically over the years and so has the demand for Node.js. NearForm, a Node.js consultancy company has grown by 600% from 2013 to 2015, a clear indication on how popular Node has become.

Choosing a programming platform is a major decision that has implications in more ways that we can imagine. It impacts everything about the company or the product, from A to Z. Here are 3 reasons why Node.js is a good choice for a startup.

1 Scalability

Scalability is crucial for a startup, it’s a major point to check out before going deeper.  Node is an ideal solution to create a lightweight and large scale system that has a good real time response. The ability to scale up at any later date makes Node a very valuable framework for startups. You never know how high will you go, so you better get ready better you take of. It’s a good argument not just for startups, for example, Groupon changed their front end system from Ruby to Node in order to upscale their system. Linkedin choose Node for the same reasons, they needed to handle multiple services and live connections.

“On the server side, our entire mobile software stack is completely built in Node. One reason was scale. The second is Node showed us huge performance gains.”

~ (Kiran Prasad, Mobile Director of Engineering for LinkedIn)

2 The community

Node has got a very good buzz going for it, a buzz that has a lot of benefits. An active community means a lot of support, feedback and frameworks that help you with development. A crucial and valuable helping hand for a startup (and not just). Our own BuiltinNode website is a part of that movement – to bring awareness of Node startups and companies, to promote and connect people in the community.  This also entails a lot of talent coming on the Node side, and a surge in node jobs. Check this graph out from indeed, feel free to add any Node.js jobs you might have on our site.

In just a few short years demand for Node devs has skyrocketed, just like Node itself, there are hundreds of meetup groups and dedicated support communities that make Node an active and living entity that’s much easier to use.

3 Speed and reduced response time

We mentioned The Mail Online at the beginning of this article, this online newspaper is also a good example of how efficient Node is in the speed department. Frankly this is rather an important one, when was the last time you waited for more than 5 second for a site to process your connection?

The Mail Online has over 150 million visitors and a hugely complex website, with more than 100 billion images and about 200 articles in the sidebar. Their readers might be happy for this apparent luxury, but this complexity increases significantly the risk for their servers to crash. They switched from 155.000 lines of Java, 30.000 lines of JSP and 50.000 lines of JavaScript to all out Node in several apps. Node solved for them several problems that seemed unsolvable. Walmart turned to Node as well, and manages to double the number of requests per second and reduced response time by 35%. This was way back in 2013, so add 2 years of development on this and think about what you got now in Node.js.

Node.js was and is an excellent choice for several large companies and it has the characteristics and features that every startup needs. An ideal choice for succes.

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‘Now It’s Simple’ rebranding to Nodejs Enterprise… but still simple!

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Your brand is so much more than the public facet of your business. A brand is not only defined by it’s visual representation, but it implies an entire spectrum of associations that people assign to it within every single interaction. Therefore, the process of rebranding not only has a rejuvenating effect over the public expression of your company, but it also reflects your brands’ positioning in the market dynamics and your business performances.

Nonetheless, rebranding seems prerequisite when the previous formula od your brand no longer makes justice to the technological innovations arising throughout your development efforts.

Rebranding occurs on a much deeper level than the simple visual existence of your business. Changing you logo, coming up with a catchy tagline and calling it a day just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially in the technological sector. Keeping pace with the innovative trends involves constantly reinventing and readapting your brand, in order to stay afloat.

In a nutshell, a well-executed rebranding could be exactly what the doctor ordered for your company to confidently reinforce its’ values and honor the commitment of a more relevant brand promise. This is the case of an early BuiltinNode community adherent, that has recently gone through the metamorphosis of the promising naming that “Now It’s Simple”, to the comprehensive status of Nodejs Enterprise, which encapsulates a full-featured and robust nodejs CMS.

Nodejs Enterprise incorporates the must-have trio manager for content, docker and ecommerce, sustaining setup content editors, controller, data bindings and parser in just a few clicks for any enterprise apps in Nodejs.

We salute the courageous movement of the up and running Nodejs Enterprise and we hope it receives and enthusiastic response within the Nodejs community!

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Interview with a Node.js enthusiast

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In the previous article posted on your beloved BuiltinNode blog, we shared our New Year’s Resolutions amongst which we mentioned the will to acknowledge great Node.js developers that passionately advocate for the adoption of this well-crafted technology and make development seem completely efortless.

In this first featured developer entry, we’re chatting with Robert Onodi, a Romanian talented technology enthusiast, with a taste of entrepreneurship, as he likes to describe himself. 

@BuiltinNode: First of all, we would like to thank you for accepting out invitation to talk about Node.js and empower its’ usability use in development. It is quite a blessing to get valuable insights from developers that actively use Node.js and are willing to give something back to the community.

Tell us a little bit about yourself first and your experience in web development so far.

Robert Onodi:

I’m Robert Onodi, currently working at Evozon. I’ve been programing for the last decade, mainly in the web area. Ultimately I settled down with JavaScript, front-end, back-end you name it.

@BuiltinNode: Let’s talk about how you got started with Node.js in the first place. Was there a pain-point that other technologies were unable to solve for you or was it just out of the curiosity of a tryout? And how much did rely on the documentation when getting started?

Robert Onodi:

I can only look back with a big, big smile on my face. It was a very fun and bumpy road, I’ve started early with flash, developing small components, full web pages, and even smaller games. After a few years PHP was getting momentum and eventually WordPress came out, by that time I adopted the LAMP stack.

Moving forward a few years, I’ve got an opportunity to dive deeper into JavaScript. Because I like challenges, obviously I went with it. Few years of only front-end development, using various JS frameworks started to get me thinking what will be my next move, should I learn Ruby? Python maybe.

Luckily for me, Node.js was born and without any hesitation I’ve started lurking around on the internet for more info. I was like ”this is it, I already know JavaScript and with my previous server-side coding knowledge will be the perfect match!” In the beginning, I spent a lot of time on IRC channels to figure out how things work, but now you can find a lot of information about Node.js on the internet.

@BuiltinNode: What other alternative programming languages did you compare it to? What were the advantages and where did it fall short?

Robert Onodi:

I wanted to catch the Ruby on Rails train, but somehow for me personally it was not an option. People are always trying to compare things, it’s in our nature to do that. I could write a post about PHP vs Node.js, but both are different concepts.

PHP is a scripting language, whereas Node.js is a runtime environment in which you run your applications written in JavaScript. I always thought you have to use the right tool for the right job. You cannot always use a hammer, regardless if you need it or not.

@BuiltinNode: As a developer, what additions or improvements would you add in order to make Node.js a more suitable and sustainable technology for your projects?

Robert Onodi:

From the top of my head, one thing that at first didn’t bother me was the loose typing. But as you start working on large projects, solutions like TypeScript, show their true value. I only used TypeScript in my Angular applications, but I have strong feeling that soon I’ll be using it on the server-side too.

@BuiltinNode: Getting involved in Open Source projects is something that we encourage here, at BuiltinNode, as a great opportunity of driving substantial innovation and gaining valuable experience as well as sharing knowledge with peer programmers. What are your thoughts regarding Open Source participation? Are you currently involved in such projects?

Robert Onodi:

In my development cycle I use a lot of open source projects. I’m fascinated about open source projects! Just imagine the impact and how many people can join and collaborate on a project! Inheriting from this drive, last year I’ve started a small project, a micro framework for micro-services, called quark.

Almost forgot to mention GitHub, which is a great drive for the open source community. From my point of view the platform contributed a lot to the open source community. You can create a new repository anytime and start building something great. If it has the necessary ”juice” in it,  people will eventually contribute to it. Or you can just fork your favorite repo and start building something even greater.

@BuiltinNode: On a final note, is there any piece of advice that you would like to give to  fellow developers just starting out with Node.js technology?

Robert Onodi:

I don’t know if it’s an advice, it’s not event related to Node.js, it’s something that hit me recently. I mean,  just imagine for a second the power we have at the moment and access to knowledge and information. You have access to information in milliseconds. You can read your favorite book, be it about programming or anything else, anywhere at any time. To get back to your question, if you want to try out Node.js, or something different, you have access to everything you need to get started. You have access to the greatest minds living on the planet just a few clicks away.

Guys, that’s a wrap for our first interview but we’ll be back with another one soon. Meanwhile, feel free to share your thoughts, feedback and questions for our friend Robert and we’ll make sure he gets back at you. You can also follow him on his blog for some briliant technical tips and programming insights!

Farewell till next week!

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When to use Node.js

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Node.js is a framework meant to help the programming world, an easier way to create certain functions. It can be used in all sorts of situations – if you’re reading this you are no doubt interested in Node.js as a framework or are using it in some of your projects. Building in node is our calling, but we also want to be useful so we’re going to name a few situations when Node.js is the is the right or the appropriate solution.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, a lovely man named Isaac said this a while back, as an analogy it applies to how Node.js is used.

For every functionality in Node.js there is application to use it in.

So the best way to find out when to use Node.js is to have a look at its functionalities:

  • It uses the V8 JavaScript engine

  • It allows code sharing between browser and the backend functionality

  • Node is event based so you can use Ajax on the server side

  • It runs JavaScript, so you can use the same language on both sides, server and client

  • It can also be used for agile development and rapid product iteration

  • Node.js is broken into small modules that can be composed in different ways, it order to be as manageable as possible

These are just a few of the things that Node.js has to offer, functionalities that help you understand how it works and what it brings to the table.

Here are a few situations when you can use and should use Node.js:

  • When you need speed and concurrency, in projects like social networks where there is a strong emphasis on real time resources

  • When you work on chat apps, irc apps

  • When you are handling small bites of data in a short timetable

  • When your server side code requires very few cpu cycles

  • When you have an application that is event driven or when you have a large number of connections to other systems

  • When you’re working on a real time app, this is one of the basic features in Node.js, it was basically designed for this

  • When you have a mobile app that handles a lot of communication to API or to a database

  • When you have an app that needs to talk to the backend often

The list could go on, as Node.js is quite versatile in various types of applications, so if you’re currently not using, it’s worth giving it a try. If you’re familiar with JavaScript it will be easy to use and practical in the situations mentioned above and not just. Also, a great way to use Node.js is in long polling. Usually this would put immense pressure on the server, as each update would eat up the server process, but with Node.js the server doesn’t have to have separate threads for every connection.

There are plenty of opportunities available in using Node.js so our suggestion is to try it if you’re not using it now, and if you are, let us know of other situations in which Node.js came in handy.

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Look Local GmbH startup on BuiltinNode.com

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We are building the FASHION CLOUD, a web plattform to exchange digital fashion content between manufacturers (labels) and retail stores. We provide a web page where retailers can download the latest marketing material that the maufacturers have provided. On top of that we also offer an API where the users can request product descriptions and product images. The FASHION CLOUD finally enables the retail stores to present themselves and their stock in new digital channels, attracting more customers back into their shops.

Share your story & inspire the Node.js Community

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Hello Node.js wizard! We haven’t heard from you in a while!

You must’ve grown since you joined the BuiltinNode.com family and you’ve sure done tons of interesting things, so we want to feature you and your business in a dedicated blog post!

Why not send over a 2015 retrospective and let your friends, followers & customers know what you achieved? December is the perfect month for a year-in review blog post.

Our dedicated community blog is the perfect space to share your news and milestones with fellow entrepreneurs, developers and Node.js lovers.

Let’s inspire others with your success story, see more Node-based startups emerging in 2016 & grow the Community!

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