Establishment of neural circuits requires reproducible and precise interactions between growing axons, dendrites and their tissue environment. Cell adhesion molecules and guidance factors are involved in the process, but how specificity is achieved remains poorly understood. Glycans are the third major class of biopolymers besides nucleic acids and proteins, and are usually covalently linked to proteins to form glycoconjugates. Common to most glycans is an extraordinary level of molecular diversity, making them attractive candidates to contribute specificity during neural development. Indeed, many genes important for neural development encode glycoproteins, or enzymes involved in synthesizing or modifying glycans. Glycoconjugates are classified based on both the types of glycans and type of attachment that link them to proteins. Here I discuss progress in understanding the function of glycans, glycan modifications and glycoconjugates during neural development in Caenorhabditis elegans. I will also highlight relevance to human disease and known roles of glycoconjugates in regeneration.