two developers working on a project

JavaScript is arguably one of the most diverse programming languages on the web, able to be applied to both front-end and back-end development projects and entire software stacks. It’s powerful, flexible, and compatible with plenty of other technologies, making it a jack-of-all-trades that’s always in high demand.

However, all of that flexibility makes the JavaScript development landscape (and talent pool) a complex and varied one. A JavaScript project is rarely “just” a JavaScript project, and JavaScript developers are rarely just JavaScript developers. The language’s compatibility with other technologies—and its array of open-source frameworks from an active community of contributors—has created countless niches that require combinations of skills.

For companies that use JavaScript extensively, it’s not uncommon for them to face a skills gap—even with a team of JavaScript developers in-house. That’s when tapping into a huge talent pool of freelance JavaScript developers can be an ideal solution.

Taking the power of JavaScript to the next level with skilled freelance developers

Here are a few ways you might leverage a freelance JavaScript developer to create the kinds of efficient, trailblazing software projects the language is known for.

Develop an API with Node.js and the Express.js framework

APIs can be powerful business strategies. If you’re working with a JavaScript stack, chances are you’ll want to keep your APIs within the JavaScript family. The Express framework is a great tool for building APIs on top of the Node.js platform. Use Express to layer in the structure and functions you need while still getting all the benefits of Node.

If a company wants to build out a RESTful API that shares its software with outside developers using Express.js, it wouldn’t want just any JavaScript developer. It would seek an API developer skilled in back-end JavaScript who has associated experience working with MVC-style frameworks and the MEAN stack as a whole (including the MongoDB database and the Node.js platform) and expertise writing thorough API documentation.

Write reusable, custom back-end JavaScript libraries

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) sure is great. It enables the sending and retrieving of data in the background without needing to refresh a web page. It’s the reason the “new message” counter in your favorite social media app can continue to update you without your having to refresh the entire web page. The client side and the server side communicate in a data interchange layer abstracted away from the presentation layer, preventing minor updates from disrupting the user.

But what happens if you want to present something a little more complex, like those real-time data-heavy charts you see on browser-based trading platforms? While it’s easy to see how a small team of front-end JavaScript developers could get away with a simple server setup on Node.js for less data-driven graphics, larger, complex data sets require more back-end expertise. A software company might engage a freelance back-end JavaScript developer for six months or so for around 30 hours a week to help it write reusable custom JavaScript libraries to call web services. The freelancer will set up the back-end infrastructure required to process those complex data sets and respond to requests from the client so that the local team is free to focus on designing slick visuals and browser optimizations.

Add interactive front-end functionality to your UI with Angular 2

Of course, you’ll almost always need JavaScript development when it comes to the front end of your application—especially when you’re ready to revamp your UI after a round of user testing or jazz it up with some new animations. A front-end JavaScript developer employs a mix of UI, UX, and graphic design with all the front-end logic that brings the user-facing portion of an app to life. Using HTML, CSS, JSON, AJAX, and JavaScript—the core technologies behind front-end development—the developer can build everything a user sees and interacts with on a website. For really robust dynamic front-end development, the Angular 2 framework has all the bells and whistles—and speedy server-side rendering to boot.

If you’re looking to create a new single-page application (SPA) and want to build it with Angular 2, you’ll want to look for a JavaScript developer with Angular experience plus familiarity with the TypeScript syntax and components-based development.

Tips for engaging the JavaScript development talent you need

JavaScript is one of the most widely used languages on the web, so there’s a broad talent pool to choose from—but not all JavaScript developers are created equal. Take extra care in your vetting and interviewing process to ensure you’re getting a developer of the caliber you need. You don’t have to be a developer yourself to explain what you need; discuss your goals, your mission, and any frameworks the developer should know in particular, then do your best to estimate hours for the engagement.