How The Hell Am I supposed to Learn Javascript?

So you made a small site or two using HTML, CSS, maybe Bootstrap and even dabbled in Jquery, but you keep hearing all the cool kids talk about JavaScript. You know you should learn it, you know if you want a job you’ll need to use it but how the hell are you supposed learn it?

What is JavaScript, you ask? Well JavaScript is the most popular programming language most commonly used on the front end of your web application to manipulate your DOM (Document Object Model AKA your html), validate input and is increasingly used in the backend (NodeJS) and spawns a new framework each month (React, Angular, etc).

You can do damn near anything with JavaScript which is what makes it so intimidating. I tried to fake my lack of JavaScript knowledge by relying on Jquery thinking no one would be the wiser. I soon found out that many jobs don’t incorporate Jquery in their code ( yeah… I know) and screen for developers who know how to write in vanilla JS.

Yeah, that’s all great you say but how in the hell are you supposed to learn this stuff? Well, you impatient bastard here’s how: build shit. I’ve met far too many people online and IRL that buy a book, or two, or three and they sit there, reading through the rich history of JavaScript, how closures really work, prototypal inheritance and hoisting, only to find themselves months or even years later still unable to produce any meaningful code.

This is not to say reading up on JavaScript won’t greatly enhance your knowledge and learning but don’t let reading about JavaScript fool you into thinking you know how to use it.

Here, fire up your text editor and make a div. Now make a button. Now make an input box. Find a way to insert your text from that input into that div onClick (that’s a hint). Once you’ve frustrated yourself with that for a while, read up on arrays, how to iterate through an array and maybe splice, push and pop that array (kinda sounds like a catchy song). Now you’re making progress. Then start building something using an array, like a button that returns a random quote from an array to your screen. Now you’re cooking.

This combo of reading about JavaScript and then putting those concepts to quick dirty use will be more valuable than a stack of half-read books.

If you got any n00b-like JS questions or want to do some peer programming, shoot me an email at brianjenney83@gmail.com.

 

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