JavaScript

It’s not uncommon to read reminders that JavaScript shouldn’t be confused with Java. But while that point might seem fairly obvious today, when the language was first developed back in 1995, it’s suggested that the company behind the language - Netscape Communications - deliberately wanted to leverage the popularity of Java at the time. It seems to have worked.

Why should I learn JavaScript?

JavaScript is the language of the web.

The web as we know it wouldn’t be the same without JavaScript. If you want to build websites and applications, learning and understanding JavaScript is essential.

JavaScript has an incredible ecosystem of frameworks, tools and libraries.

One of the things that makes JavaScript a great programming language is the fact that it has such an engaged, passionate and innovative community of developers. This community is constantly developing new tools and frameworks that will help you to accomplish tasks and challenges, and to become a more productive developer.

It’s an in-demand language that’s becoming more mature.

JavaScript used to have a reputation for being a somewhat shaky and unstable programming language. However, over the last decade it has matured significantly. It has even expanded beyond the browser and the front end thanks to Node.js - you can now use JavaScript on the server. This means its possible to use JavaScript to build complete applications - it’s a language that you can use across your development stack.

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The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.

Sydney Harris (Journalist)

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Top Questions about JavaScript

Is JavaScript easy to learn?

JavaScript is one of the easiest programming languages to learn. To a certain extent, it’s a natural progression for someone that already has some knowledge of writing markup (like HTML and CSS). From a learning perspective, the best language to compare it to is Python. Python is arguably a little easier to learn than JavaScript as its syntax is more readable (to put it another way, it just makes more sense if you’re new to programming), but if you’re thinking about programming from the perspective of building web projects then it probably makes more sense to start with JavaScript.

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What languages are like JavaScript?

JavaScript is a unique language - it doesn’t really make sense to compare it to other languages. Although you’ll often see JavaScript compared to JavaScript, they are, in fact, very different languages. Java is a great language for building backend enterprise systems, while JavaScript is a language that lets you build things quickly. The languages that are most worth comparing to JavaScript are those that compile to JavaScript - these are languages like CoffeeScript, Elm, and TypeScript. All of these languages have advantages and disadvantages - however, to get the most from them, you still need an in-depth understanding of JavaScript.

Is JavaScript in-demand with employers?

The web isn’t going anywhere - so JavaScript certainly isn’t either. Whatever people say about JavaScript, it’s undoubtedly going to remain a skill that employers need for many years to come. While the shape of the JavaScript ecosystem might change - developers should be vigilant and ready to learn new things when they emerge - the fundamentals of JavaScript will still be important.

Learn more about getting a career in web development.