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This article was published on December 25, 2017

You still need to learn JavaScript in 2018 (I’m not kidding)

You still need to learn JavaScript in 2018 (I’m not kidding)
Derek Robinson
Story by

Derek Robinson

Derek is CEO, digital marketer and web analyst of Top Notch Dezigns, a Web Design and Development Firm based in New York USA. Derek is CEO, digital marketer and web analyst of Top Notch Dezigns, a Web Design and Development Firm based in New York USA.

JavaScript is the language of the web. Looking at the 10 million most popular pages on the internet, nearly 95 percent of them use JavaScript in one way or another.

The most popular browsers in the world such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer support JavaScript. So right now, your decision to learn this language will definitely lead you to the path of success, provide you with work and let you rise up above the countless, average-skilled JavaScript developers out there.

But as with everything in this world, there are people who are against the learning of this language as well. And it has nothing to do with whether JavaScript is dying or not: It’s because due to the presence of so many JavaScript frameworks, many beginners skip learning the basic, vanilla JavaScript programming language and move directly towards learning how to implement its frameworks.

Frameworks are awesome as they provide ready-to-use code that’s easier to read and debug. But because these frameworks provide an easier way to put code together, newbie programmers don’t get a solid foundation in JavaScript; something that annoys the more seasoned developers and programmers out there.

The average salary for a JavaScript developer is $72,500 in the U.S., while more experienced developers easily earning more than $100,000 a year. 

What is JavaScript and what makes it popular?

To learn why JavaScript became so popular, we first have to look at two other closely related web languages namely HTML and CSS.

HTML is used to tell the browser what content is being displayed. Is it a text? Is it a link? Is it a video? It is HTML that is responsible for defining what is being displayed on your browser so that it can show the content properly.

CSS, on the other hand, is used to add color and styles to your web pages. If HTML is the skeleton of your web page, CSS is the flesh and skin which makes the HTML look good and natural.

But while both HTML and CSS are good for building and designing a web page, they don’t make a website interactive. Any time a user does something like filling out a form or clicking an option, the request is sent back to the hosting server and the page reloads with the new information.

This is where JavaScript comes in.

JavaScript makes a web page come alive. When you post a status update, the web page doesn’t need to reload. All the requests sent by the user is processed on their own computer.

This is why JavaScript is so popular. This is why it is still worth to learn JavaScript and become a front-end developer.

It enables client-side processing, which reduces the load on the server-side and drastically reduces the processing power required. Plus, it makes web pages come alive with animations and behavior.

For example, thanks to JavaScript, you don’t have to fill out a form and submit it to find out you’ve made a typo. The web page can now tell you that instantly. You might have seen that in action while re-entering a password that didn’t match.

Is learning JavaScript still worth the effort?

Absolutely. As long as there are people using the internet and interacting with websites, the demand for front-end JavaScript developers will always be there.

While Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress and Joomla are definitely popular, they do not render JavaScript obsolete.

And sure, Google, Microsoft, Firefox and other major players are trying to come up with better technologies to replace JavaScript but that will not be happening anytime soon.

Because not only is JavaScript single-handedly responsible for making the web responsive to user behavior, it’s also a great language to code cross-platform applications on. And with the advent of Node.js, programmers can now write complicated server-side code as well.

Here are some practical ways you can put your JavaScript knowledge to good use:

  • You can create interactive forms that detect user mistakes when they type something
  • You can create a search box that responds to user queries on the website (like Google)
  • You can create web pages with information (company stock prices for example, or a countdown timer) that requires constant updating
  • You can move around elements of an HTML webpage and position each element exactly where you want; just like positioning a menu item or an image.
  • You can use JavaScript purely for fun or add slick animations, which give web pages a more premium and professional look.

And you can be sure most big companies and brands won’t be using WordPress anytime soon. It’s just too generic and similar looking when the goal is to be as different and unique as possible.

And JavaScript and its frameworks enable companies the level of flexibility in their websites that is unmatched as of now.

But that’s not to say JavaScript isn’t without its flaws.

The biggest issue with JavaScript is with its security. These scripts run as soon as a page reloads without asking for the user’s permission. While this is a good thing generally, in many cases it could result in your web browser being crashed due to buggy code. And stopping it is not feasible as many important websites including Google, Facebook and Quora cannot run without JavaScript, at least not properly.

Learning JavaScript in 2018 and beyond

JavaScript is an extremely fun, versatile and important technology to learn about. It helps make the web a better place and makes it come alive. Not only that, the code is easy to learn and the more you dive into it, the more you’ll learn about all its amazing possibilities. 

You can create web games, create cross-platform apps and build incredibly rich and interactive websites.

In addition, learning this skill means you get to choose between doing a 9-5 job or becoming a freelancer, as programming can be done anywhere. Many companies offer amazing remote jobs with highly competitive salaries and added benefits like health insurance and more.

And even if you’re not officially qualified, you can learn Javascript from the many excellent courses available online on platforms like Udemy and Coursera.

The important thing is to be passionate about what you’re doing and to take a real interest in your work. If that’s the case, then it’s is safe to say that it’s still worth to learn JavaScript and become a front-end developer in 2018.

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