How to Learn jQuery

jQuery is a cross-browser JavaScript library used to make writing code more simple. Therefore, understanding JavaScript prior to beginning to learn jQuery is useful. In this guide, we’ll review some common steps you can take to learn jQuery.

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jQuery is a unique coding language that relies heavily on a working understanding of JavaScript, HTML, CSS and general programming concepts.

jQuery was first announced by creator John Resig in 2006. It’s an open source platform, meaning it contributes a significant amount of free code to the Creative Commons where anyone can access, learn from and use it in their projects. Many iterations of jQuery have been released, including one for mobile. Open JS Foundation is responsible for expanding jQuery products and coordinates all projects.  

How Is jQuery Used?

jQuery is used by front-end, back-end and full-stack developers in the creation of websites. It makes using JavaScript easier and more time efficient by giving developers the tools to manipulate how the JavaScript works on a site. It enables a developer to add creative elements to a website. Numerous websites use jQuery.

In very simple terms, jQuery takes complex JavaScript code that may take many lines and simplifies them into wrapped text that only takes a line or two. Even more simply, jQuery enables users to do more with less. It allows a user to make changes once code is already written into a browser. This jQuery basic tutorial exemplifies how jQuery handles a variety of tasks  such as DOM traversal, DOM manipulation, animation, AJAX and event handling. It has an API that works in a variety of web browsers. As a platform, jQuery can help create plug-ins that expand on the capabilities of what’s already in the library. jQuery handles and minimizes cross-browser discrepancies.

What Do I Need to Know Before jQuery?

jQuery is a programming language that becomes easier to learn if you have an understanding of general coding concepts; in particular JavaScript and how it interacts with CSS and HTML. A basic understanding of these languages is also crucial. Here’s what to study before diving into jQuery.

  • Javascript: Learning JavaScript gives students a grasp of structuring and debugging code. It also helps to know JavaScripts built-in constructs and syntax prior to learning jQuery. To learn JavaScript, Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is a helpful resource. 
  • HTML: jQuery enables HTML document traversal, and as such, a basic understanding of HTML makes enacting tasks and creating efficiencies with jQuery easier.
  • CSS: Because jQuery handles DOM modification through CSS selectors, it may be useful to have a basic understanding of this language. It handles Node elements and names so understanding Node is important to learning jQuery. Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) offers free tutorials to get started learning CSS. 
  • General Coding Concepts: Students should have a basic understanding of coding before beginning to learn jQuery because it is a tool that builds on the understanding of JavaScript, CSS and HTML.

Tips and Strategies for Learning jQuery

These simple strategies and tips will make learning jQuery easier for the aspiring coder: 

  • Start with the basics: You’ll have to understand JavaScript, CSS and HTML. With Javascript, it is important to  know the difference between variables, functions, objects, loops and arrays. With HTML, you must understand the difference between attributes and properties. With HTML and CSS, you need to understand tags and how to use CSS rules that select by ID and class name.
  • Use the latest version of jQuery: jQuery has been rereleased numerous times since it was first created in 2006. Make sure you are working with the latest version to get the most out of your learning journey.
  • Take a class: While you can do some self-study to acquaint yourself with the platform, it’s a good idea to dive into a class or coding bootcamp to make sure you are learning the fundamentals from an expert. 
  • Utilize an array of online resources: Many forums including Stack Overflow and others exist to help aspiring developers learn about coding. Look for other resources including tutorials, courses and videos. 
  • Network with other developers: Find people who have already learned jQuery and pick their brain for useful tips or to find out how they practically apply jQuery in their day to day job as a developer. 
  • Practice teaching: One way to learn is to teach. It may be helpful to  talk about coding with fellow developers who will understand what you are talking about and correct you if you are wrong.
  • Understand basic syntax: Every language has its own syntax. Make sure you understand the basics of jQuery and how it differs from other coding languages you’ve learned to date. 
  • Familiarize yourself with plug-ins: If you are going to be a developer, you will likely use jQuery regularly and you will want to explore plug-ins associated with it. 
  • Be open to being a lifelong learner: Many people have a misconception that they have to understand a language in its entirety. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Most coders continue to deepen their knowledge indefinitely. 
  • Visit jQuery.com to see FAQs: Noone knows it better than the source. Visit the frequently asked questions section of jQuery.com if you get stumped. 
  • Visit a forum like Stack Overflow: This section goes over tips and tricks for jQuery including some terminology and common pitfalls.

Frequently Asked Questions

jQuery is a  useful tool to have in your arsenal as a website developer or coder. It simplifies other coding languages. In addition to learning jQuery, you may want to explore the other programming languages to learn. 

Can I teach myself jQuery?

While it’s possible to teach yourself coding, it isn’t always an easy route to take. If you do, it may take longer than enrolling in a class or tech bootcamp. With jQuery in particular, you will have to learn the basics of JavaScript, CSS and HTML first, which only extends the learning journey. Some of the pitfalls of self-study may include knowledge gaps, faulty information from false resources and becoming frustrated by the learning process. Learning to code is like learning a new language. It’s usually a good idea to have the help of a person who is already fluent. 

Is it easy to learn jQuery?

How long will it take to learn jQuery?

How long it takes to learn typically depends on your experience or educational background. Learning jQuery can happen quickly if you already know JavaScript, but it may take longer if you have to learn JavaScript, HTML, CSS and Node first. A bootcamp or course can help accelerate the learning process.

Last updated: January 2021