How it feels like to learn JavaScript in 2020

How it feels like to learn JavaScript in 2020

Talking about JavaScript in 2020 feels really old school. It still feels like JavaScript is that old building a few blocks down that never changed.

That’s actually like judging a book by its cover. But we won’t blame you. It definitely makes sense that it looks like that to someone new to programming.

However, this book was revised many times during the last few years, and it received a lot of new chapters. Angular, React, Vue are just some of them, sound familiar?

Let’s read more about the state of affairs of JavaScript in the next chapter.

What is the status of JavaScript in 2020

JavaScript was initially introduced to manipulate HTML and CSS, perform calculations and validations. However, the status of JavaScript has changed a lot by 2020. Now, JavaScript has a solution to every programming task, whether it is front-end, backend, mobile, or desktop.

On one end, React, Vue, and Angular has drastically changed how you work on the frontend of your web application. On the other end, we see a lot of programmers moving on to Nodejs to develop the backend solution of their web applications.

JavaScript made mobile development incredibly easy with hybrid tools like Cordova and Ionic. These frameworks enabled you to develop mobile applications to both Android and IOS at once. However, Hybrid mobile applications had a performance lag compared to native mobile applications. JavaScript was able to solve that problem by introducing React-Native to develop native apps.

Last but not least, You can take the support of JavaScript frameworks like Electron and Meteor to develop Desktop applications.

JavaScript is not without any downsides though

It’s not all a bed of roses, though. That’s the last cliche statement.

We spoke about a lot of pros of JavaScript earlier, now for some of the cons. The biggest and most obvious one is the security threat of code being exposed to users and being manipulated maliciously.

There are some recent innovations like Content Security Policy (CSP) and Premium third-party tools that can help with this. Both of these work by restricting what content can be manipulated by third-party JavaScript libraries. These are good solutions, despite some minor performance issues. A rather new approach is to use machine learning to monitor user actions and identify malicious or unusual activity.

Another problem is the discrepancies in the way browsers interpret JavaScript. While this is not as significant as security, it gets on the nerves of developers because sometimes, there is no way out.

Lack of a versatile native debugging facility, Single inheritance (lack of object-oriented inheritance), sluggish bitwise performance, and the risk of any single error causing rendering of the application to stop are some of the other problems.

These aren’t show stoppers though. New frameworks have many features that help to overcome most of these in addition to adding many great features.

So, should you learn JavaScript in 2020? Definitely. Let’s see why in the next section.

Should I learn javascript in 2020

We already spoke about the best reason to learn JavaScript in 2020, the great possibilities it allows with all the latest libraries and frameworks. Let’s look at a few other reasons.

It is easier to learn

JavaScript has a very low learning curve compared to many other programming languages. There are many good resources to start learning. We’ll be talking about them later in this tutorial.

In addition, JavaScript has relatively fewer syntax rules because it is prototype-based and not class-based. This makes it easier to learn as many functions can be done with just a few lines of code.

You can’t do without JavaScript

Irrespective of the programming language or the JavaScript framework used to develop your back-end, you will still need JavaScript to manage the front-end of your application. You can’t do without it, not unless your front-end is completely static.

It’s challenging and exciting

The possibilities of JavaScript and its frameworks are nearly infinite. There is so much you can do for all types of applications. The capabilities keep increasing very frequently because most of these frameworks are used with giant enterprise-level applications like Facebook.

Every new trend in social media and other internet-based forums gets added to frameworks almost immediately. This makes it both challenging and exciting because while there is a continuous learning curve, you can achieve so much. This makes more sense if you are familiar with other programming languages, which only see a major update about once a year.

You won’t feel alone as the community is so large

You’ll never feel alone, almost any issue you face has already been tackled by many other developers. Don’t just take our word for it, have a look at StackOverflow or Github.

This graph shows the number of questions raised for JavaScript and the top three frameworks during the past 10 years. The increase in usage and popularity is obvious. The steady increase in JavaScript questions up to 2016 is only diminished due to developers switching to searching for framework related answers from thereon.

Looking at Github, the increase in the number of commits during the past few years is another clear indicator of not only the size of the community but also how involved they are.

Job security and higher pay

The earlier sections should have already given you a good idea about the increasing popularity of JavaScript. So you shouldn’t have any concerns about job security, especially if you are familiar with frameworks.
Indeed.com’s survey on job openings in the US for the top three frameworks gives these results:

Job security and higher pay

“State of JS” survey is another popular source of salary scale data. Current figures show that JavaScript jobs for developers with knowledge of at least one framework range between $30,000 – $200,000 based on experience. The most common range being between $50,000 – $100,000 is a good indicator of the norm.

Where to start learning JavaScript

The best place to start learning is right at the bottom, with the basics of good old vanilla JavaScript. Follow these resources on the official JavaScript portal.

W3Schools is, of course, the favorite place for most of the students to learn the basics of JavaScript. As usual, you can find many good JavaScript courses at Udemy. 

Once you have a sound foundation, go through some of the following books for a deeper understanding:

  • A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript: The new tech-assisted approach that requires half the effort
  • Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming
  • JavaScript & JQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development

Now that you are familiar with JavaScript, select a good framework to start with. You may need to learn more than one later, and that’s a good thing. Once you choose a framework, find some related training material. The official pages of each of these frameworks provide quite detailed documentation on how to get started and all the bells and whistles. There is an endless collection of videos on sites like Youtube as well.

Conclusion

So have we persuaded you enough to start learning JavaScript in 2020?

JavaScript has come a long way and has so much more potential now when coupled with all of these great new frameworks. Job opportunities are plentiful, and salaries are very lucrative. These are all good reasons to put you in the right direction.

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