How to Learn Javascript

JavaScript is a foundational coding language. Alongside HTML and CSS, it forms the basis of many websites and applications. If you’re interested in working on websites, apps, games and servers, JavaScript may be a good programming language to learn. It may even be fun.

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For nearly 65% of Stack Overflow’s respondents, JavaScript is the most-loved programming language.

In this article, we dive into what JavaScript is and focus on how to learn JavaScript. We’ve also compiled a list of helpful JavaScript tutorials and resources for beginners, novices and experts.

What Is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a text-based coding language that adds life to a webpage, making static elements like buttons and carousel images interactive. As a scripting language, JavaScript tells web applications what to do on a page.

JavaScript ties together with HTML and CSS, according to the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN). For example:

  • HTML establishes the structural elements of a site like headings, paragraphs or embedded images.
  • CSS controls the style of the HTML content including the fonts and colors.
  • JavaScript adds dynamic elements such as animated images and multimedia.

Some everyday applications of JavaScript include when Facebook automatically updates your feed or when Google predicts what you type after only a few letters.

Why JavaScript Is Useful

JavaScript is a front-end web development tool, but is also versatile on the back end. While some coders may prefer to learn JavaScript from scratch, it’s possible to use the programming language without learning how to write it. Prewritten scripts can be found online and used as long as you know where to paste them into your webpage code.

Some useful ways JavaScript may be implemented on a website include:

  • Create a webpage color palette.
  • Implement a copyright notice on a page.
  • Build a website scrolling menu.
  • Add the time to a page.

Some advantages of JavaScript may be that it enables web applications to be built with less server interaction, more user functionality and more advanced interfaces.

Resources for JavaScript

An array of resources exist to help all levels of coders learn JavaScript. A JavaScript tutorial video, article, class, online coding bootcamp or self-study program may be helpful, depending on your timeframe and goals. For example, you may be able to commit to a full-time course or bootcamp if you work part-time or know you’ll have free time in the evenings. If you’re not ready to commit to a formal program, don’t worry – there are videos, articles and other resources you can reference.

To help you learn JavaScript, we’ve organized resources below for beginners, novices and experts. Consider bookmarking your favorites for easy access.

  • Douglas Crockford (Video): Entrepreneur, computer programmer and author of “How JavaScript Works,” Douglas Crockford offers a series of videos explaining JavaScript to beginners, novices and advanced developers alike. Learning JavaScript involves becoming familiar with the basics. This video resource may be a good place to start before advancing into tutorials and courses.
  • General Assembly JavaScript Bootcamp (Bootcamp): General Assembly offers a fully remote, workshop-style bootcamp designed for complete beginners to learn the foundations of JavaScript — including arrays, functions, loops, objects and more. The online bootcamp is completed via Zoom and Slack. Prework is required for entry.
  • MDN’s JavaScript Guide (Article): The Mozilla Developer Network offers a large library of resources for anyone new to web development, covering HTML, CSS and JavaScript. There are written tutorials, access to guides and reference material to help you learn the language. This is an excellent starting point to practice coding problems while learning beginner JavaScript topics. The Mozilla Hacks blog also includes interesting insights and industry trends from contributors.
  • The Rithm School (Free Course): The Rithm School offers free courses in JavaScript fundamentals. Through self-guided study, you can advance through the blog-like learning materials to learn JavaScript. Topics include JavaScript arrays, objects and functions.

JavaScript for Novices

  • Coding Math (Video): Keith Peters’ videos offer tutorials that teach the math needed to learn JavaScript and be a competent programmer. Some programmers may be great at syntax, rules, design and libraries used in programming. However, they may not have the math background or analytical abilities to apply these ideas. Coding Math is a resource for those who want to further understand and apply the math, algorithms and even physics involved in programming. The videos aim to make your coding more effective, especially in a gaming environment.
  • EXLskills JavaScript Fundamentals (Free Course): EXLskills’ free, online course allows you to advance through JavaScript lessons regarding development tools, data types and variables, operators and expressions, loops, arrays, functions, strings, and more. The open-source course also allows you to contribute on Github.
  • Learn JavaScript (Free Course): This interactive course features short lessons that build on each other and may be used to complete future interactive challenges. You can work on the challenges directly in your browser on mobile, tablet or desktop. Lessons include learning and practicing syntax, functions and concepts. Flashcards and tests with automated assessments help gauge your knowledge retention. The first 40 lessons and challenges are free.

JavaScript for Experts

  • DigitalOcean Community (Forum): Offering various JavaScript tutorials, DigitalOcean helps developers learn programming and launch their skills by collaborating with others. Their tutorials cover a range of JavaScript topics for novices and experts. DigitalOcean’s technical tutorials are written by developers. They’ve open sourced many of their tools on Github.
  • Egghead.io (Catalog): This platform brings together some of the industry’s best professionals to teach lessons and courses on a variety of JavaScript topics. There are paid and free resources on this site. How to learn JavaScript involves advancing your knowledge from novice to expert; this may be a good place to start.
  • Stack Overflow (Forum): Built by developers for developers, Stack Overflow is an online, open-community forum where people may exchange code, look for a new job, and ask questions in private and public Q&A forums. Its mission is to help developers write the code for the future. There’s also a Stack Overflow for business that lets teams collaborate or helps hiring managers find new talent. It’s an open source platform that helps new and experienced coders learn from one another.
  • The Rithm School (Free Course): The Rithm School’s advanced JavaScript course covers more difficult aspects of the programming language. Topics covered include implicit binding, constructor functions, object-oriented programming, testing with Jasmine and inheritance.

What Are Some Career Opportunities in JavaScript?

Once you know JavaScript, you may consider a career as a front- or back-end web developer. Web developer jobs are expected to increase 13% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The BLS notes that online purchasing and the growth of e-commerce will expand the need for web developers. Also, as people use mobile devices to search the internet, websites will need to be optimized for mobile devices.

The median annual salary for web developers was $77,200 in 2020, according to the BLS. The top 10% of earners made more than $146,430; the bottom 10% earned less than $40,750. Per the BLS, here are some of the top industries in which web developers worked (and what they made) in 2020:

  • Publishing industries (except internet) – $123,870
  • Computer systems design and similar services – $75,450
  • Management, scientific and technical consulting services – $70,790
  • Advertising, public relations and similar services – $71,930

In addition to writing code for a website, web developers may also meet with clients, test applications, monitor website traffic and collaborate with teammates. Useful traits for web developers include strong attention to detail, a sense of creativity and the ability to concentrate. And  learning JavaScript: O*NET OnLine lists programming as one of the top technology skills of web developers.

If you are interested in learning more about JavaScript or any of its associated careers, you may consider an online coding bootcamp or an online master’s in computer science degree.

Last updated: April 2022