Caveni Digital SolutionsWeb DevelopmentIs JavaScript difficult to learn?

Yes, JavaScript is difficult to learn, and No, JavaScript is not difficult to learn.

Are the answers contradicting? Not at all. They are two stand-alone conclusions, each correct in its own right. It is likely you have heard or read somewhere that learning JavaScript is difficult, and elsewhere that it is actually not difficult. To compound your dilemma, every narrative gives compelling reasons. Well, here is what you need to know. Both narratives are largely correct, except each takes the bait of choosing sides. It is a common thing among programmers to have a preferred programming language. That makes them inclined to vouch for the same. Here we shall take the place of a mirror, and let you judge for yourself.

What JavaScript Does

The reason is that the difficulty or ease you will likely encounter in learning JavaScript – or any programming language for that matter– depends on many factors. Some of these are within your control; others are outside your control. In either case, how you fare against them determines the degree of difficulty or extent of ease that you will encounter in learning JavaScript.

But before we delve deeper into those factors, first let us talk about JavaScript and its use. In simple terms, JavaScript is a client-side scripting language for developing the front-end of a website for example. I speak of is a “scripting language” to imply languages used to automate processes that users would have to execute on their own. Simply put, you get to use JavaScript to build the part of a website that ordinary users can see and interact with, also known as, the “front end.” Otherwise, while JavaScript is capable of creating complex programs, its primary application lies in web development.

But this is not all. Software, servers, and embedded hardware control also use JavaScript. It adds interactive behavior to webpages, giving users an enjoyable experience. That is how for example, your news feed on Facebook keeps refreshing. That is also how your website forms auto-complete, and how your page is able to display animations. In addition, you can also use various JavaScript frameworks to develop and build web and mobile apps. Furthermore, you can use JavaScript to build simple web browsers and develop backend infrastructure. Then of course, because of its interactive capabilities, you can also use JavaScript to develop browser games. Generally, JavaScript offers programmers unlimited possibilities.

How to Start Learning JavaScript

So where does this leave you? Well, it might be an overstatement to say that JavaScript is a must-know for every developer — but it is certainly not an overstatement to say that not knowing JavaScript makes your programming a lot harder. Studies show that JavaScript is currently the world’s most popular programming language. So without mincing any words, you have every reason to learn JavaScript, and certainly, every reason to ask if it is difficult to learn. That said, whether it is difficult to learn JavaScript or not, as already indicated, depends on many factors.

A very important factor, perhaps most important is your understanding of other coding languages. Are you familiar with HTML and CSS? What are HTML and CSS? Think of them as prerequisites to JavaScript. A theoretical explanation is beyond the scope of this discussion, but in practice, they are programming languages used to develop web pages. The former defines the content of web pages while the latter specifies the layout of the web pages. JavaScript then programs the behavior of those webpages. It is a step up from these two fundamental web development skills/ languages. Nonetheless, the nexus of these three languages is necessary for a content-rich, aesthetic, and interactive website.

JavaScript is therefore not difficult to learn if you are familiar with HTML and CSS. But if you are not, then you will be starting to learn JavaScript in the same shape as a person starting to learn how to spell English words without being familiar with the alphabet! Or to put it differently, in the same way, that learning Portuguese would be easier if you already knew Spanish, JavaScript will be easier to learn if you already know HTML and CSS.

Learning JavaScript Compared to Languages

Generally, Programming languages are of different styles. If the language you already know happens to be of a similar style or a paradigm, as does JavaScript, learning JavaScript will be easy for you. Moreover, JavaScript supports two styles, namely procedural and object-oriented. Do you already know a procedural or object-oriented language? If yes, then JavaScript should not be difficult for you to learn. The reverse is true.

Meanwhile, they categorize programming languages as compiled and as interpreted. Compiled means that they feed the language through a compiler, which then converts the entire code into something the computer, can understand. In that case, they run the compiled version. Thus, to make changes to the program, you have to recompile it before running it again. JavaScript for its part is an interpreted language. It converts the code into something the computer can understand at the same time that you run individual commands. This makes it easy to make changes to your JavaScript code and to run it straight away again to see your change without needing to recompile the code. Thus, even as a novice learner, you easily learn to write complex JavaScript codes by writing them in small bits at a time and then testing in the web browser as you gain proficiency.

Another important factor is your handle on the basics. As you start learning JavaScript, it is vital that you gain a good grasp of the basics. That will determine if, going forward, JavaScript gets harder for you to learn or not, and by what degree. Should you, at the beginning fall into the temptation of going too fast and rushing through the fundamentals, you are most likely to drag your feet when you get to the advanced levels. As a programming language, JavaScript builds on itself. The novice who does not keep a solid handle on the basics is certain to find writing and understanding a more involved JavaScript code a lot more difficult, compared to the one who does.

Approaches to Learning

Keeping in mind the fact that every person faces different barriers to learning, another equally important factor upon which the difficulty or ease of learning JavaScript depends is the approach you adopt. Chances are many that JavaScript will not be that difficult for you to learn if you adopt a goal-oriented approach with milestones spread across a reasonable time projection. I say over a reasonable time projection because you are not going to sprint from novice to master of JavaScript in one day or week, or even year! A thing about the world of technology is that you will spend a lot more time learning new things than just sitting around knowing things. It is a dynamic industry, and what you think you know today becomes outdated tomorrow.

This has especially proved true for JavaScript that every now and again undergoes update and extension. The JavaScript field is actually very populated with resources; you easily get intimidated when planning to start learning JavaScript. Just imagine the number of articles you have come across trying to know if JavaScript is difficult to learn! Loads and loads of webpages and tutorials. Your learning will run easier if you follow a well-organized learning strategy. One tip for any new JavaScript learner is to pick one resource at first, commit to it, and move on from there rather than trying to pile up everything.

Another tip is to choose a study method that best suits you. There are countless ways to learn JavaScript easily, without exactly needing to enroll in an undergraduate computer science program. Online courses and self-led tutorials abound. Indeed, should you want more structure and guidance, and yet not have the time or money to afford formal education; you can exploit the opportunity of enrolling in a coding boot camp program.

Conclusion

Otherwise, the one thing in which learning JavaScript is admittedly harder to learn compared to other languages is in the way that different web browsers interpret its code. It is to some extent different. As a result, an extra task is associated with JavaScript coding. This is not necessary when using other programming languages, namely, the need to how a given browser expects to perform certain tasks.

Finally, you will enjoy or dread learning JavaScript as much as you are passionate or passive about programing. Your journey from Amateur to Master will take effort and putting in a shift now and again. So here is your takeaway: Learning JavaScript will not necessarily be the easiest thing that you ever do, but as well, it will be far from the hardest. Just remember that mastery of a coding language is a marathon, not a sprint, and as I like to put it out to novice programmers who find themselves on the verge of quitting after meeting hitch after hitch, “The Novice has not yet attempted more times than the master failed!”

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