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How to Learn JavaScript: Top Learning Resources

Without JavaScript, the internet would be very different. JavaScript is behind most of the interactive features you see on websites, from buttons that change a web page when they are clicked to navigation bars that expand to be the size of a whole page.

Learning JavaScript can feel intimidating without the right guide. There are lots of books, courses, and tutorials online that could help you learn JavaScript, and choosing which one may be right for you is hard. We have done some research and made a list of the top learning resources to help you start learning JavaScript.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a programming language used to build interactive features on a web page. JavaScript is used alongside HTML and CSS, which are the two other building blocks of the web. You can change how a web page appears using JavaScript. Most content that changes without loading a page is powered by JavaScript.

JavaScript is used heavily by businesses like the New York Times, Google, Facebook, and more. Consider Google Maps. Google Maps uses JavaScript to render maps data. It would be impractical for Google Maps to render a high-definition map of every street in the world. Using JavaScript, Google Maps can retrieve only the content the user has requested. This lets Google Maps offer a faster experience to its users.

In JavaScript, you could build:

  • Forms that change when you submit them.
  • Images that appear larger when they are clicked.
  • Countdown timers.
  • A news site which retrieves new content every five minutes.
  • A social network that loads new posts if you keep scrolling.

These are a few of many examples of how JavaScript could be used.

Why Should You Learn JavaScript?

Learning JavaScript is a wise decision if you want to become a web developer. JavaScript is one of the three essential languages used in web development, alongside HTML and CSS. But why else should you learn JavaScript? Here are a few reasons:

  • JavaScript lets you make better web pages. Using JavaScript you can make web pages which are more interactive. Interactive web pages can be better than web pages that can only change if you reload them. Imagine a chat application like Slack that only displays new messages if you reload a page. That would be impractical and less pleasant for the person using the chat application.
  • Web developers are in demand. Talented web developers are sought after in the job market. At the time of writing on March 10, there are 62,328 jobs open as a web developer on Glassdoor. These jobs pay well, too. The average salary for a web developer is $68,524 per year as of March 10.
  • JavaScript is a good way to dip your toe into programming. Although some people call JavaScript a “scripting language,” JavaScript is a good way to learn a bit more about programming. The JavaScript syntax will teach you how to think like a programmer and may prepare you to learn more advanced languages later on.

JavaScript is useful for almost all web applications. You find that JavaScript basics are taught alongside HTML and CSS for that reason: JavaScript has become a natural part of web development.

The Best Books for Learning JavaScript

Books are a common place from which to learn a programming language. Books are great because they often dive deep into the topics they cover, meaning there is plenty for you to learn.

We have done some research and found three books that are suitable for beginners. If you prefer to learn through books, consider taking a look at the books we have found.

‘Learn JavaScript Visually’ by Ivelin Demirov

Learn JavaScript Visually is aimed at people who know some HTML and CSS. In this book, you will learn how to write JavaScript code, object-oriented programming principles, and terminology that you are likely to encounter while writing JavaScript code.

This book comes with full-color illustrations which will help you visualize what you are going to build. The author also claims to use metaphors and analogies throughout to help convey their points. Indeed, this is a book that is perfectly suited for beginners.

‘Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming’ by Marijn Haverbeke

Eloquent JavaScript, now in its second edition, claims to teach how to write “beautiful, effective” code. You will learn about topics like basic programming, using object-oriented and functional programming principles, and using Node.js.

This book comes with plenty of exercises with which you can experiment. These exercises get incrementally more challenging so you will always be learning. There is also an online repository of source code with an interactive coding environment which you can use to practice the exercises in this book.

‘A Smarter Way to Learn JavaScript’ by Mark Myers

This book recognizes that you will forget most of what you read in a book. That’s why this book makes extensive use of examples to force you to practice what you encounter in the book. You will find exercises at the very start of the book which slowly get more difficult.

This book was written primarily for beginners, meaning people with knowledge of JavaScript already may not get too much out of this book. But if you are new, you should have a good time reading this book. One Amazon reviewer refers to the book as “Very effective and fun.”

The Best Courses for Learning JavaScript

A course is a good place to learn if you prefer to learn from videos or a mix of different learning mediums. If you like courses, we have good news: there are plenty of great courses suitable for beginners to JavaScript. We have found three courses that are aimed toward beginners which may be worth a look if you decide that you want to take a JavaScript course.

Modern JavaScript From The Beginning by Brad Traversy

This course teaches JavaScript through videos and ten real-world projects. You will learn about topics like the Document Object Model, using AJAX, the Fetch API, object-oriented programming, among other essential JavaScript topics.

This course comes with 21.5 hours of video and 111 resources which may be useful as you participate in the course. There is also a GitHub repository with the code you will need for the project. Over 78,000 people have taken this course and the course has received a 4.7 star rating.

The Ultimate JavaScript Mastery Series by Mosh – Coding Made Simple

This course is a good way to dip your toe into JavaScript web development. Over the course of six hours of video content, you will learn the basic concepts behind JavaScript. Each part of the course features exercises and step-by-step solutions to help you build an understanding of how to apply the theory that is discussed in videos.

In this series, you will learn topics such as variables, using loops, working with arrays, handling errors, and using conditional statements. You will also pick up on a few best practices so you can write elegant JavaScript code.

Quick Start to JavaScript by Susan Simkins

This series of “quick start” guides was written for people new to JavaScript. Each guide comes with tutorials which are then followed by coding exercises in which you can practice your knowledge. In volume one, you will learn about basic JavaScript features like flow control and variables. Subsequent volumes discuss topics like “this”, object literals, and arrays.

The Best Tutorials for Learning JavaScript

JavaScript tutorials come in all shapes and sizes. Some tutorials cover a specific topic whereas others are more of a guided syllabus to learning the basics of JavaScript. Most tutorials feature a mix of text and code snippets.

If you prefer to learn from tutorials, check out the list of three top JavaScript tutorials below that we developed after some research.

JavaScript Guide by Mozilla Developer Network

The Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) is an excellent source for learning about JavaScript and modern web development as a whole. Alongside extensive reference documentation and more advanced tutorials, MDN has a JavaScript guide which gives a basic introduction to using JavaScript. You will learn about topics like syntax and loops.

You should feel free to search around the MDN website. You may find there are other tutorials which are more suitable for you after you have learned the basics of JavaScript. The MDN JavaScript basics guide may also be worth a look as a beginner to the language.

JavaScript Tutorial by javascripttutorial.net

The javacripttutorial.net has a range of tutorials on JavaScript and ES6, a JavaScript standard that is a crucial part of modern web development. This site has lots of tutorials suitable for beginners to JavaScript. These tutorials discuss topics like objects, strings, functions, and the syntax rules of JavaScript.

Once you have mastered the basics of JavaScript, you may end up finding out more about ES6. If this is the case, you may find the ES6 tutorials on the javascripttutorial.net website useful, too. These tutorials discuss topics like ES6 modules, arrow functions, and the spread operator.

JavaScript For Cats by Maxwell Ogden

Written for complete beginners to the JavaScript language, this tutorial is a playful introduction to JavaScript which makes reference to cats in many places. You will find knowledge on topics like the console, loops, strings, and built-in JavaScript functions in this course.

This course is designed to take no more than an hour or two to complete meaning that you can reasonably complete this tutorial in an afternoon or evening. While this tutorial is simple, the fundamentals you learn in this course will come up almost if not every day in your JavaScript projects.

Conclusion

JavaScript is a good skill to have whether you want to build your own website or pursue a career in professional web development. With an understanding of JavaScript, you could build your own blog, portfolio site, game, or anything else you desire. Or you could join a larger team at a business and build more complex JavaScript applications.

The resources we have discussed in this article should help you get started (or continue) learning the JavaScript programming language. You should try a few different resources and see which ones suit you best. After you have found a resource that works for you, decide how much time you are able to spend studying and get started.

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