Beginner’s Guide to Learning JavaScript

JavaScript is the new black in front-end software development. It scored first in this year’s Stack Overflow report and is widely used among engineers.

Beginner’s Guide to Learning JavaScript

Although JS has made it to the list of developers’ prerequisites a long time ago, a fair share of programmers doesn’t have a good command of it. That makes sense – after all, the language is known as the most complex and nested one.

In case you are not confident in your JS knowledge or have no idea what JavaScript does, consider starting learning the basics of the language. This post is a brief guide beginner can use as a point of reference when mapping out their learning curve.

Why Developers Should Learn JavaScript in 2020?

Beginning web developers need to prioritize skills efficiently to learn the technologies that guarantee faster employment and are the most essential ones for working on projects freely. With dozens of JS frameworks flooding the market, a novice web programmer might wonder if it’s possible to get by without learning JavaScript. 

Long story short, no. Due to its skyrocketing popularity, JavaScript empowers most websites and web apps. Anyone who has to handle website management, let alone development, is expected to know JS like the back of his hand. 

Other than having to follow with the industry standard, you should learn JavaScript for the following reasons:

  • Versatility. JavaScript gives developers the toolset needed to handle both the back-end and the front-end of the system. After learning the backbone technology, a developer will need less time to familiarize himself with JS-based Node or Angular. JS is widely used across all domains – it dominates game development, lays the bedrock for AI projects, design, and software testing.
  • High demand. JavaScript is one of the most needed technologies on the market. As a result, company owners are always looking for skilled software engineers and are ready to lure talent in with lucrative offers. According to PayScale, an average JavaScript developer earns $80,000 per year. Top-tier JS engineers can make up to $130,000. 
  • No shortage of learning content. JavaScript has one of the beginner-friendliest communities in software development. You will need no development environment to start learning JS, there’s a wide range of free courses and a huge JavaScript community on Stack Overflow. 
  • Skills are reusable. JavaScript operates based on the concepts of classes, object-oriented programming, functional programming, and more. Most of these skills will come in handy when learning another programming language – be it Ruby, Java, or C++.

Where to Start Learning JavaScript?

Since there are hundreds of learning resources that promise to boost your JavaScript command, it’s easy to feel confused and overwhelmed. Before you build a custom JS learning roadmap, make sure to clear the following points up:

1. Know your current level of JS proficiency

Efficient learning starts with knowing where you’re at professionally. If a developer has a basic understanding of JS concept, there’s no point in wasting time and going back to square one. On the contrary, hitting an advanced reference guide to learn javascript will have no point if you have no JavaScript knowledge whatsoever. 

There are four stages of JS proficiency developers usually fit into:

  • Beginner. If you have no idea how JavaScript works, consider yourself a beginner. At this stage, learning the terminology and getting the hang of the basic syntax is the right thing to do. 
  • Pre-intermediate. At this point, you know how to read the syntax, are comfortable with basic practice problems but struggle to create anything on your own. Pre-intermediate developers should focus on deepening their command of DOM and building simple structures like accordions from scratch. 
  • Intermediate. An intermediate JS developer is a confident DOM user -however, his code lacks structure and is difficult to read.  If that’s the case for you, getting familiar with best practices and industry standards is the focus. Such a developer should immerse himself into the community, become a GitHub and StackOverflow regular, read multiple books, and follow blogs on JavaScript. 
  • Advanced. This developer can build anything he has in mind, keep his code readable and clean. The only thing that can improve his proficiency at this point is learning frameworks on an in-depth level or using JS to design interfaces and UX.
Where to Start Learning JavaScript?

2. Choose a preferred learning method

There are different ways to learn JavaScript. Depending on your current competencies, needs, budget, and time constraints, take your time to figure out the most efficient education framework. 

Here are the options to consider:

  • Online courses. Starting a course is a way to bring structure to the learning process. By relying on an experienced instructor, you can be confident you will not miss out on important theoretical aspects of JS development. Working in teams can help learn best practices, encourages developers to ensure the readability and clarity of the code from Day 1, cultivating positive development habits. 
  • Apps and practice problems. This is a more hands-on learning approach. By practicing writing on your own, a novice developer can apply his theoretical skills right away and build a basic portfolio. The downside of learning via apps only lies in writing messy code that, despite performing its function, is challenging to scale and maintain. On top of it, it’s easy to get stuck since you don’t have anyone to ask for feedback. 
  • Books and reference guides. Using JS literature is comfortable since it’s easier to use as a point of reference and saves a learner’s time. The downside is, you need to have a solid theoretical groundwork to be able to follow official documentation or professional literature. 
  • Tutorials and developer communities. Community-based learning is solid in its way since the practices colleagues teach are currently used in the job market. However, you’re likely to have a patchwork of skills and a lack of the bigger picture that enables you to build programs from A to Z.

3. Set reasonable learning goals

As you start learning a new technology, staying motivated throughout the highs and the lows is crucial. To get a tangible sense of progress, JavaScript learners should come up with and stick to learning goals. 

Here’s how a sample list of JS learning benchmarks can look like:

  • Learning the basics: statements, conditions, statements;
  • Knowing how to create objects and functions;
  • Understanding asynchronous code;
  • Using IDEs;
  • Learning JS frameworks. 

The learning process will be more efficient if you set deadlines for accomplishing the benchmarks.

4. Immerse yourself into the JS community

Learning JavaScript is not only about putting in uninterrupted hours as much as it’s about grabbing knowledge in bits and pieces everywhere you go. The good news is, educational content comes in different shapes – you can listen to podcasts or read books, practice challenges when you are in traffic and scroll through Stack Overflow during lunch breaks at the office. 

By integrating JavaScript learning into your day-to-day life, you will be able to progress faster without jeopardizing other commitments.

Best Resources to Learn JavaScript

Learning JavaScript is easy when you have go-to resources. It’s helpful to know which books you commonly use as reference points, which blogs have the most relevant articles, which courses and podcasts can get you up to speed in no time.

Best Resources to Learn JavaScript

Although it takes a while to create a personal library of trusted sources, here are some useful materials novice developers should check out:

Books

  • Kyle Simpson – ‘You Don’t Know JS;
  • Nicolas Belacqua – ‘Practical Modern JavaScript’
  • Nick Morgan – ‘JavaScript: A Playful Introduction to Programming’
  • Marijn Haverbeke – ‘Eloquent JavaScript’
  • David Flanagan – ‘JavaScript: The Definitive Guide’. 

Courses:

  • Mozilla Developer Network JavaScript Guide
  • Explore and Master Chrome DevTools;
  • Udemy – JavaScript: Understanding The Weird Parts;
  • Learn JavaScript with Codeacademy;
  • Java Ocre Codegym Course. 

Podcasts:

  • CodeNewbie;
  • Syntax;
  • JavaScript Jabber;
  • Front-End Happy Hour. 

Newsletters:

  • A Drip of JavaScript;
  • Friday Front-End;
  • Awesome Node.js/React.js Newsletter.

Conclusion

Starting to learn JavaScript is challenging – at first, you will get frustrated. As long as you have a solid knowledge of HTML and CSS, the concepts of JS will come around. If you are not good at markup languages, consider going back to the basics before moving on to JavaScript.

The good news is, there’s an ever-active community of JavaScript learners to have your back. Running of high-quality learning content is practically impossible as well. With persistence and determination, you should be able to get to intermediate JS proficiency in a year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search. Press ESC to cancel.

Back To Top