Article

3 Reasons to Learn JavaScript

July 31, 2019
Learn something new. Take control of your career.

JavaScript (JS) is an object-oriented scripting language that can be used for a variety of different projects and creations, from website development to robotic programming. Not only is this a versatile language, it’s also remarkably popular and in high demand as a career path.

Although JavaScript may not be as easy to learn as some programming languages, such as Python, the learning curve is fairly moderate due to the massive supply of learning resources available to the public.

If you’ve been considering learning JavaScript, this guide has all the information you need to make the right decision for your learning style and preferences. In this article, you’ll find information on the following topics:

  • The difference between JavaScript and Java

  • The history of JavaScript

  • Three reasons to learn JavaScript

  • JavaScript use cases

  • Getting started with JavaScript

JavaScript is not Java

JavaScript is often confused with Java, which is understandable given the similar names. However, these two programming languages have very little in common. Other than their C-like syntax, the only major similarity between the two is that they’re both heavily used in front-end website development.

Here are a few key differences between the two languages:

  • Java is a programming language. JavaScript is a scripting language.

  • Objects in Java are class-based, whereas JavaScript utilizes prototypes.

  • Java is a standalone language. JavaScript works best when integrated with HTML.

  • In terms of concurrency, Java is thread-based and JavaScript is event-based.

  • Java uses quite a bit more memory than JavaScript.

 

Of course, your skills can transfer from one to another, as is the case with a lot of programming languages. However, users should expect a moderate learning curve when switching to a different language.

The birth of JavaScript

American software technologist Brendan Eich invented JavaScript in 1995. The language took Eich a total of 10 days to develop and he originally named it Mocha. Once the beta was released, the name officially became LiveScript.

That name didn’t last long. Eich realized the increasing popularity of Java, so he made the decision to rename his language in order to position it as a companion language. Misleading? A little. Effective? Definitely. This marketing ploy played a great role in the widespread acceptance of JavaScript—eventually.

In recent years, JavaScript has maintained a consistent ranking among the industry’s lists of the top programming languages, but it certainly didn’t start out as a crowd-pleaser. In its early days, JavaScript was heavily criticized for numerous characteristics, such as automatic type coercion or a lack of block scoping and classes.

Countless others tried to replace JS with a scripting language of their own, including Microsoft, Google, and Adobe. Despite the competition and initial response, JavaScript continues to consistently outshine those would-be replacement languages.

JavaScript was originally intended to transform the world wide web into a dynamic application platform, and we would say it has succeeded. More recently, JavaScript has become a more versatile scripting language, reaching far beyond its base use case to apply to a myriad of different projects.

 

3 reasons to learn JS

If you’re not quite sure which programming language to tackle next, here are a few good reasons to consider JavaScript.

1. JavaScript comes with tons of resources

Anyone interested in learning JavaScript has an endless supply of educational resources at their disposal. There’s no shortage of books, articles, video tutorials, college classes, chat rooms, forums and online JavaScript courses for users to learn from.

With all of these resources that are so easily accessible, programmers can learn how to master JavaScript fairly quickly. And since the JavaScript community is so well-developed, new users can reap the benefits of quick answers and support from seasoned programmers

This is just one of the many great reasons why inexperienced web developers should learn JavaScript.

2. JavaScript is remarkably versatile

What began as a limited browser-based scripting language has quickly become one of the most versatile languages available. JavaScript can be utilized to perform a great number of tasks, from animating website elements to charting the course for a drone helicopter.

Thanks to a reliable network of various enabling frameworks, JavaScript can now be used to program a lot more than the front end of a website. It can also be integrated with other programming languages, such as HTML content, to improve the functions and simplify the workflow and processes for a variety of different projects.

3. JavaScript is a lucrative language

Once you’ve mastered a language as versatile as JavaScript, you open the doors to a wide range of career opportunities. These days, employees who are skilled in JavaScript are in high demand, and the salary range is well worth the learning curve.

This influx of interest is due to the great number of use cases that a JavaScript expert can fulfill. Website developers, software engineers, software programmers—these are all highly lucrative career paths and they can be successfully pursued with experience and skill in the JavaScript language.

What can you do with JavaScript?

As we’ve mentioned, JavaScript is an incredibly versatile language that can be used to fulfill a number of different objectives. To give you a solid understanding of just how diverse this scripting language can be, we’ve laid out a few examples below.

Keep in mind that these three common uses barely even scratch the surface. Here are a few more impressive possibilities for JavaScript.

Leisure activities

JavaScript is commonly used for entertainment purposes and leisure activities. Video game development is a great example of this. With a combination of JavaScript, the Ease JS library, Sprites 2D bitmaps and HTML, game developers can create an interactive collection of rich graphics for gamers.

JavaScript can also be used for artistic purposes, allowing users to draw graphics right onto a web page or mobile application.

Website development

As you probably know, JavaScript is primarily used for the client side of web-based applications. This language can be used to animate elements on a page, interact with static content without needing to hit refresh a bunch of times, play audio and so much more.

Think about the last few websites you visited. Did any of the icons or buttons change color when you hovered over them with your mouse? That’s JavaScript. Have you ever seen an image carousel on a web page that you could actively click to scroll through? That’s JavaScript.

Basically, JavaScript is often responsible for most client-side interactions on a website.

Mobile application development

Until recently, JavaScript was pretty limited to desktop applications and website development, but that changed with the release of the React Native framework. Now, developers can design a fully-functional mobile application written entirely in JavaScript.

This development has really opened the doors for JavaScript-savvy programmers. Instead of having to learn a new language in order to begin a new project, they can simply take advantage of the appropriate framework and write in the language they’re most familiar with.

Getting started with JavaScript

Before you dive in, there are a few things you should know. We’ve laid out a few of the most common points of confusion or difficulty for programmers learning JavaScript. Familiarize yourself with these concepts for a smoother learning curve.

Prototypes and objects

Because JavaScript is an object-oriented programming language, users should become acquainted with the dynamics of prototypes and objects in JavaScript. Not only will this knowledge reduce the time it takes to learn the language, it will also reduce the time it takes to complete a project using JavaScript.

Unit testing

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or a fledgling programmer, you should know by now that testing your code is as important as writing it. One small flaw can disrupt an entire webpage, so knowing how to unit test your JavaScript code is an essential skill.

ECMAScript 6

ES6 (an acronym for ECMAScript 6) is a scripting language that has revolutionized the way we can create by standardizing JavaScript in significant ways. Understanding how JavaScript and ES6 coordinate should be a top-level priority for any programmer who is interested in learning JavaScript.

Additional frameworks and libraries

Without a foundation of supporting technologies and programs, JavaScript wouldn’t be half as versatile as it is today. There are different frameworks and libraries for different projects, so before you start planning your next JavaScript assignment, make sure you know which supporting technology you’ll be using and how it operates with JS.

Supporting languages

Before you dive right into JavaScript, you may want to consider learning HTML or CSS first. These languages may be a little more complex, but they help to lay a fantastic foundation on which you can easily build with all kinds of new programming languages.

Start learning JavaScript

Are you ready to add this versatile, lucrative, powerful scripting language to your resume? Start learning today with Pluralsight.


Our online JavaScript courses guide you throughout the entire learning curve, starting with the basics and working up to expert skills. Start at the level that’s just right for you and advance through the lessons at your own pace.

Learn something new. Take control of your career.