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How to learn JavaScript for beginners

How to learn JavaScript for beginners

JavaScript has been the number one language for so many years now. From browsers to mobile phones, from tablets to tabletops, from industrial automation to the tiniest microcontrollers – JavaScript is everywhere. And as a Front End Developer is an absolute must to learn JavaScript. In this article, I will share some tips on how to learn and master JavaScript for Beginners.

Please note this is not a course on JavaScript. In this post I will share some tips to learn and practice JavaScript, I will share a few books and other resources.

So, I am into JavaScript and Front End development for about 10 years now. And this is how I have learned my stuff over the years.

  • First of all, you are not gonna learn everything overnight. Continuous learning is key. I practice and learn every day. There’s no end to learning.
  • Javascript or any programming language in that matter is like Mathematics. The more you practice, the more you learn. You do not code for 10–15 days, you tend to forget. And then it starts feeling alien.
  • You need not look everywhere for learning the stuff. One good book is enough to get started. The web is plagiarised with information and most often or not it lacks quality. There are a few good sources of learning which I use, and I have shared them at the bottom of this long answer.
  • I always prefer a physical book than ebooks or online courses. I started my journey with books, pens, notebooks, markers, whiteboarding. I do that even today.
  • Try to learn the core JavaScript first and then pick up any Framework. Remember one thing, every JavaScript framework out there, be it React, Angular, Vue are just a sugaring layer on top of core or plain vanilla JavaScript.
  • Once you know the basics, pick up a framework that will help you build web applications. Again you need not learn every framework out there. In JavaScript world, there will be a new framework every day and it’s impossible to keep the pace at times.
  • Try out all the nitty-gritty of the language. JavaScript is a fun language to learn but can be weird at times. See a simple example below,
"11" + 1 => "111"
"11" - 1 => 10

The first expression returns a concatenated string, whereas the second expression does an arithmetic subtraction and returns a number.

  • JavaScript is not jQuery. (jQuery is the most famous library that any developer picks up when he or she starts). In fact, jQuery is built on top of core JavaScript.
  • DOM (Document Object Model) is not JavaScript. There is much more to JavaScript than the window, document, history, etc.
  • As a beginner, you might not know that JavaScript is an Object-Oriented Programming Language. It is, in fact, an Object-Oriented language and has great capabilities of reusability, inheritance, composition, etc. However, it is based on prototype-based inheritance.
  • The most important concepts to learn in JavaScript are
    • Functions
    • Objects
  • These two will form the fundamentals of every other thing in JavaScript.

Alright, there are some guidelines that will help you get started. Now let’s look at the resources that I use and it should help you too…

Books that I read, and you should read them too.

Object-Oriented JavaScript by Stoyan Stevanov (read this first)

Learning JavaScript as a beginner

JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford.

How to learn JavaScript for beginners

JavaScript Patterns by Stoyan Stevanov.

beginner's guide to learning JavaScript

These books cover the basics of JavaScript and then moves to advanced levels. Again there a lot of books out there. You need not read every book. These books should be enough to have a good grasp.

Websites and Blogs to follow

Hands-on (most important)

There is no better way to learn than to try yourself. So where can you try writing JavaScript and practice?

  • The browser console. That’s the best place to learn JavaScript. Launch Google Chrome (I prefer Chrome) and open up the Developer tools
  • Then go to the console tab and start writing JavaScript.
  • The console tab comes with a built-in JavaScript runtime. So any expression you write you will get an output.
writing JavaScript in the browser console
trying JavaScript expression in browser console

So, when you are learning some concept, open up your browser console and keep practicing simultaneously.

History of JavaScript and its weird behavior

Check out my slides which cover the weird history of JavaScript, some fun facts and cool concepts.

Where all JavaScript is being used today

  • It runs in your browser. JavaScript is the language of the browser. It runs inside your computer browser, mobile browser, tablet browser. Basically all browsers out there – Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc run JavaScript.
  • All Web Apps that you use in your daily to daily life – Facebook, Gmail, Quora, Twitter, etc, all of them use JavaScript, in fact, a lot of JavaScript to run their applications.
  • JavaScript runs in the server – With NodeJS coming out on May 2009, you can write a server-side script with mere JavaScript. Your entire tech stack can run on JavaScript. Client-side, server-side…
  • Even MongoDB which is a NoSQL database is based on JSON structure and JSON pattern of storing data. JSON – JavaScript Object Notation.
  • You can build native mobile apps too with JavaScript. For eg. using React Native you can use React and JavaScript to build native Android and iOS mobile apps.
  • From browsers to mobile phones, from tablets to tabletops, from industrial automation to the tiniest microcontrollers – JavaScript is everywhere.

I hope these tips will help you get started with JavaScript as a beginner. If you liked my wisdom 🙂 do let me know. I provide free training on JavaScript (Beginner to Advanced). We usually have a group of people connecting over Skype or Zoom meetings.

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