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JavaScript,  the language known for “running the internet,” is deeply entrenched in the programming world. Created in 1995, it was first deployed as a frontend language and used to make websites interactive with features like drop-down menus, maps, forms, video players and modals. Since then, JavaScript has made a transition to the server side (as Node.js) and has earned respect as a powerful backend language in its own right. 
Despite its vast applicability and extensive network of libraries, JavaScript is not an overly complex language. In fact, with its human-readable syntax and dynamic typing, it’s downright friendly. Let’s learn more about why it’s a great first (or second, or third) programming language along with some tips for assimilating it.

The Best Ways to Learn Javascript

Why Learn JavaScript?

With more companies going remote and therefore more developers needed to build applications and websites, it’s clear that programming is an essential skill for the future. While JavaScript is the most widely used programming language, it’s not its popularity alone that makes it valuable to know. Let’s look at some other reasons why learning JavaScript is worth your time.

Easy to Learn

JavaScript is a higher-level language, which means it is more human-readable, and thus more intuitive to learn, than a lower-level or machine-readable language. Even though higher-level languages require a compiler or interpreter to translate them and make them understandable to machines, they abstract away the complexities that machines demand. This translates into being easier to learn for humans. 
Not only is JavaScript a high-level language, but it also runs in your browser, which means that you can start coding without setting up a development environment. This makes it appealing to new programmers, who might not want to deal with learning how to navigate an environment on top of learning a new language.

Ecosystem

Aside from being easy to learn by its properties as a language, JavaScript also has a huge community — also known as an ecosystem — that supports other developers and contributes to conversations, not to mention libraries, in the JavaScript world. JavaScript has the largest StackOverflow community, is the most tagged Github language, and boasts hundreds of libraries. 
Because this ecosystem is so large, you will be able to quickly develop functional applications thanks to its well documented open-source libraries. Not only that, but since so many people are also building useful tools and contributing to the ecosystem, you’ll have loads of support and guidance at your disposal should you need to troubleshoot or inquire about best practices.

Frontend Applications

You already know that JavaScript can be used for a wide variety of projects, but let’s look into some specific frontend applications that the language is designed for. We’ve already touched on JavaScript’s prevalence on the internet — you can use it to build websites from scratch, with functionality stretching well beyond simple navigation. 
But you can do a lot more than just creating websites. Entire frontend libraries, such as jQuery and the component-based library React, are written in JavaScript and make a smooth integration with HTML and the DOM. You can use libraries like these to develop high-quality applications from scratch or build interfaces based on APIs; you can even use visual libraries like react-vis to visualize and analyze data.

Backend Applications

Although JavaScript is primarily viewed as a frontend language by those unfamiliar with it, its backend applications are just as robust, despite being less well-known. With the introduction of Node.js and the ultra-flexible Express framework that followed it, JavaScript became a legitimate server-side language. The Node. js framework helps developers define their own routing, process data from the frontend, manipulate request and response objects and, in general, build scalable applications that can handle a high volume of user requests.

Automating Business Processes

The widespread applications of JavaScript should by now be evident, so let’s take a closer look at one practical and impactful way to use the language. Business process automation (often referred to as BPA) is a methodology that, if implemented properly, saves companies immense amounts of time and resources by replacing manual effort with automation code designed to execute recurring tasks. A language like JavaScript makes this possible, as this real-life automation example illustrates. 
Because you can use JavaScript to build simple desktop and mobile apps, automation isn’t just for the browser. Not only can you create automation, but with JavaScript you can also model, measure and improve that automation. Here’s a video tutorial that walks you through an example of automating tasks in the browser using hashtags on LinkedIn. 

Best Ways to Learn JavaScript

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of knowing JavaScript, what naturally follows is the question of where and how to learn it. In fact, there are a few ways to get started with the language.

Contribute to Open-Source Projects

The first way is an entirely learn-by-doing approach: contribute to open-source projects. 
But how do you find projects that accept contributions? GitHub is the first place to go — the platform features thousands of open-source software projects that welcome pull requests. The pull request feature on GitHub allows any developer to copy the code, make changes to it and submit it for the project owners to review (and possibly accept). This egghead.io article has some great tips on how to find projects geared toward first-time pull-requesters. 
The downside to learning by contributing to open-source code is that it might be cumbersome to search for projects you feel comfortable contributing to, and even if you do find one that you get excited about, submitting your first pull request can be intimidating.

Work Through a JavaScript Tutorial

Another great way to learn JavaScript is to educate yourself with a Javascript tutorial. Whether video or text, most tutorials explain concepts behind the language and show you step-by step instructions for running example code and building mini-projects. 
Many tutorials even have accompanying resources that let you tinker with their sample code. The great benefit of tutorials is that you can apply what you are learning in easy-to-use environments like browser-based IDEs and text editors such as CodePen or repl.

Take a Udacity Course

Because JavaScript is such a popular language, there are countless tutorials available, making it difficult to know which is the most reliable. For this reason, we recommend taking an official interactive course taught by industry professionals. The free Intro to JavaScript course by Udacity combines the benefits of both options above — you’re supported within a community of like-minded learners and are guided through rich content at your own pace.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored why learning JavaScript is a valuable investment and touched on some popular libraries, both frontend and backend. Here you’ll find the documentation for React, jQuery, react-vis — all the frontend frameworks we mentioned, as well as the docs for backend frameworks Node.js and Express.
We also explored ways to embark on your educational journey. Although GitHub and online tutorials are valuable resources, if you’re interested in understanding the language efficiently and thoroughly, we suggest taking a free professional course like the one offered by Udacity. This way, you have access to a cost-effective method for learning without wasting your time and resources.