Chitin is a linear polysaccharide of N-acetylglucosamine, which is highly abundant in nature and mainly produced by marine crustaceans. Chitosan is obtained by hydrolytic deacetylation. Both polysaccharides are renewable resources, simply and cost-effectively extracted from waste material of fish industry, mainly crab and shrimp shells. Research over the past five decades has revealed that chitosan, in particular, possesses unique and useful characteristics such as chemical versatility, polyelectrolyte properties, gel- and film-forming ability, high adsorption capacity, antimicrobial and antioxidative properties, low toxicity, and biocompatibility and biodegradability features. A plethora of chemical chitosan derivatives have been synthesized yielding improved materials with suggested or effective applications in water treatment, biosensor engineering, agriculture, food processing and storage, textile additives, cosmetics fabrication, and in veterinary and human medicine. The number of studies in this research field has exploded particularly during the last two decades. Here, we review recent advances in utilizing chitosan and chitosan derivatives in different technical, agricultural, and biomedical fields.