Developers who need a high-paying job should look into Node.js. This popular JavaScript tool has been around for decades, but the demand for people who can master it is still going strong.

Are you interested in becoming a Node.js developer and exploring JavaScript further? Is the salary worth your time? This article will answer many of the common questions about Node.js. We’ve also included various stats to help you decide if this is the career path for you.

Excited? Let’s get started!

What Is Node.js? How Is It Used?

JavaScript has long been a versatile programming language, hence why it’s one of the most popular, if not the most popular, languages in the world. While it’s known for its ability to create advanced client-side scripts, you can also use it to create backend applications on the server-side with the right tools.

Node.js is a backend JavaScript runtime environment — a program that allows you to write both server-side and client-side JavaScript outside of the web browser.

Node.js

Node.js.

This approach has a few notable advantages over PHP and Python — Node.js functions aren’t blocking (they run concurrently). In contrast, each PHP or Python command stops other commands until it’s finished executing. In other words, JavaScript server applications can be much faster and work better in real-time.

Node.js is open source and free on top of everything else, so developers love it, especially JavaScript devs who want to take their coding to the next level. And the people hiring these developers are interested in today’s faster, real-time, event-driven servers, so Node.js developers are in high demand.

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What Do Node.js Developers Do?

Node.js developers have a unique set of responsibilities and skills. As a more complex job requiring you to know various technologies, it’s more challenging to learn the skills necessary, but it also pays better.

Below, we’ve listed the main Node.js developer requirements. You’ll need to know Node.js (and, by extension, JavaScript), but there’s a little more to it if you want to get hired. Look into these skills if you’re going to land a job as a Node.js developer:

You may also need a Bachelor’s degree or better in a computer science field, though not all jobs require this if you have hands-on experience to make up for it.

As a Node.js developer, you’ll usually work on the server-side of things, but you’ll likely collaborate with frontend developers. In this way, Node.js development is very much like a more specialized form of full-stack development.

You likely won’t be working just with Node.js but with the entire server. So if backend or full-stack development interests you along with JavaScript, this may be the right job for you.

You can also use Node.js to develop frontend applications; it’s just a less common use of the program. You can indeed still find a job if you find that idea more intriguing.

Is Node.js High in Demand?

Node.js has always been popular, but you may have been hearing about it more and more lately.

JavaScript itself is a scripting language with plenty of potential. It consistently ranks in the top 10 of the TIOBE Index, so it’s a good choice if you want to pick a language with job prospects.

Node.js took the top spot as the most-used framework spot in 2019 and 2020 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, used by over 50% of its respondents. Popularity fell somewhat in 2021, but it remained the sixth-most popular technology, and job searches for Node.js grew by 57%.

Job searches for Node.js

Job searches for Node.js.

Despite this, employers looking for Node.js developers often find that they can’t hire enough developers to meet their needs. The high demand and low supply here can lead to a higher than average salary and easier obtaining a job.

Node.js may not be the hottest career out there, but it’s clear enough that it’s not just a trend. If you’re looking to learn a technology that provides a stable, high-paying job, Node.js would be an excellent choice.

What Is the Average Node.js Developer Salary?

The salary for a Node.js developer runs on the higher end. It’s due to the gap in skilled Node.js developers and those looking to hire them. See for yourself:

Put these together, and you get an average estimated salary of $106k/year. All but one source lists the salary as over $100k/year, which is a good sign.

This salary is a little higher than similar development jobs in the industry, and it’s a lot higher than popular positions oversaturated with job seekers like PHP developers or WordPress developers.

Average Node.js developer salary

Average Node.js developer salary.

But what about similar jobs like full-stack or JavaScript development? And how do Node.js developer salaries look depending on location and experience level? Let’s take a look at the data.

Node.js Developer Salary vs. JavaScript Developer Salary

If you’re already planning on learning JavaScript, you might wonder how the salary of a JavaScript developer compares to a Node.js developer. Specialized jobs tend to pay better than generic jobs like web developer, and the numbers support this. Here are the stats:

Average salary a Javascript developer makes

Average salary a Javascript developer makes.

Averaged salary is $89k/year, compared to the Node.js average salary of $106k/year. As you can see, it’s a lot better to specialize if you want to earn more money. A niche skill set is harder to develop, but it can take you a lot further than learning a single programming language.

Node.js Developer Salaries by Experience

Experience level can have a significant impact on your final salary. Employers are willing to pay top dollar for developers with decades of experience, and you can always expect your salary to increase as you spend more years practicing your skills of choice.

But sometimes, a junior salary can be so tiny compared to the average that it can be difficult to gain enough skill to earn a decent wage. Is the same true of Node.js?

According to data from FullStack Labs, junior Node.js developers earn an average of $86k/year; mid-range developers with 4–6 years of experience earn $99k/year, and senior developers earn $117k/year.

Average Node.js developer salaries as of August 2020

Average Node.js developer salaries as of August 2020.

Throughout your career, from junior to senior, your salary may jump by up to $30k/year. Even a junior developer’s salary pays a bit better than many similar development jobs, but remember that Node.js is a specialized career that requires a lot of technical skill and is thus much more challenging for a beginner to pick up.

Node.js Salaries by Location

If there’s one thing that can have a huge effect on your salary, it’s where you live in the world. Many salary statistics can be very US-centric, so if you live outside the United States, take a look at this list of Node.js salaries by location:

Freelance Node.js Developer Salaries

Freelancing can introduce somewhat of a wild card to your potential salary. When you get hired by a company, it’s a safer guarantee that your salary numbers will be closer to the average, and you’ll always know you’re getting paid each month.

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But if you choose to freelance, how many clients you get, and the rate you charge is all up to you. There’s no guaranteeing you’ll even attract enough clients to sustain yourself.

On the other hand, if you can build up a successful freelance business, you might find that you’re earning far more than you could have while tied down to a company that pays you a flat rate.

So how do the numbers look?

According to ZipRecruiter, freelance Node.js developers make $113k/year or $54/hour. CodeMentor’s estimate is even more generous: It lists an average hourly rate of $81–100 ($168k–208k/year, assuming a 40-hour workweek) and a median hourly rate of $61–80 ($127k–166k/year).

Average hourly rate for Node.js developers

Average hourly rate for Node.js developers.

These estimates are much higher than the average Node.js salary, even for senior Node.js developers. It can be challenging to get off the ground as a freelancer, but if you have the means and are willing to try it, it could end up leading to a lucrative career.

Remote Node.js Salaries

As remote work continues to grow ever more popular, especially in the tech industry, you may wonder if you’ll earn as good of a wage working remotely or if it’s better to pursue a salaried, in-person job.

It’s also very closely tied to freelance work, which is far more often remote, which may skew the numbers somewhat. But increasingly, traditional salaried jobs are also going remote, and companies are searching for more at-home workers to fill the gap.

ZipRecruiter lists an average yearly salary of $114k for remote work — surprisingly higher than the average Node.js developer. Talent.com’s estimate is even higher at $135k/year, with experienced developers earning up to $145k/year and entry-level positions beginning at $88k/year.

Arc’s estimate is a little grimmer: It lists an average remote Node.js developer’s salary as just $73k/year, with seniors only earning $86k/year and juniors even less at $60k/year.

Average Node.js developer salary for those who work remotely

Average Node.js developer salary for those who work remotely.

As it stands, it seems that remote work is still finding a foothold in the industry, and its availability can vary wildly depending on many circumstances. You could end up earning more than the average, or you could very well earn far less. The best advice is to keep your options open and look for jobs that pay you fairly.

Node.js Salary vs Frontend, Backend, and Full-Stack Developer Salaries

You may be wondering how Node.js compares to similar jobs like frontend, backend, and full-stack developer. Full-stack development, in particular, may interest you, as the Node.js experience is identical in many ways.

Since Node.js development is a more specialized job, it’s very likely to have a higher salary. But let’s compare data and see how it looks.

According to Payscale, frontend developers make $75k/year, while backend developers make $81k/year. Finally, we have full-stack developer salaries, which average at $97k/year, $9k/year less than Node.js development.

Back end developer salaries according to Payscale

Back-end developer salaries according to Payscale.

You may already know that front-end developers tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to salary, while full-stack developers don’t often get paid enough to compensate for their broader set of skills.

Specializing in a job like Node.js development, or anything similar, is often the best choice if you want to get paid fairly for the time you spend learning the tool.

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Summary

With an average salary of $106k/year, pursuing work as a Node.js developer could be worth the effort. If you’re interested in JavaScript, want to get into a specialized tech job, and are interested in full-stack work, it may be right for you.

Not sure where to start? You can always check out the Node.js documentation or perhaps pursue the Node.js certification provided by OpenJS. Or, if you haven’t even started learning JavaScript yet, check out our starter’s guide to JavaScript to get oriented and pick out your favorite code editor from our list.

Are you looking for a role as a Node.js and/or JavaScript developer right now? Join our incredible and fully remote global team. Kinsta always has JavaScript developer positions open!


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