What Is JavaScript? How to Learn Javascript Fast?


updated Jul 30, 2022


Do you want to learn coding and web development to start a career in tech? Are you looking for a powerful programming language that’s a valuable asset in the job market? If that sounds good, you’re in the right place.

But what is JavaScript and what can you use it for? It’s one of the most in-demand skills in web development these days. Learning JavaScript can help you start freelancing or land you a full-time developer job to increase your income and make money coding.

Therefore, in this post I’ll share with you everything I know about JavaScript, what it’s used for, and how to learn JavaScript fast. I’ll also help you find the best place to learn JavaScript for beginners.

By the end of this article, you will know exactly what to do to start learning the language right away. Once you’re familiar with the basics, you can practice your skills by building fun JavaScript projects for your portfolio website in no time.

Keep reading!

Here are a few related articles you might want to read:

Please note: This post contains affiliate links to products I use and recommend. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through one of my links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

What is JavaScript?

In short: JavaScript is an object-oriented programming language used in web development. It’s main purpose is to breathe life into static websites.

The most important thing to know about JavaScript is that it’s part of every web developer’s toolbox.

JavaScript works together with two other languages to create the visible parts of any website: HTML and CSS.

Related: What Is the Best Language for Web Development?

In two previous posts on my blog, I discussed how to get started with HTML as well as the fundamentals of CSS in more detail.

  1. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and it is the starting point for any website. Web developers use it to create the structured content for web pages, such as text, images, and other media, for instance. However, HTML doesn’t really do much to make a website look nice and easy to use. That’s what CSS is for!
  2. CSS, short for Cascading Style Sheets, is the language that creates the styling for the awesome content you first create with HTML. It lets you unleash your creativity with colors, typography, layouts, and much more. In other words, CSS creates the desired look and feel for a web page.

Recommended: The Best HTML and CSS Courses for Beginners

But how does JavaScript work together with HTML and CSS?

Websites created with just HTML and CSS are mostly very static and they don’t allow for much interactivity with the user.

But with a little bit of JavaScript, you can easily breathe life into the different elements on your website.

Thus, JavaScript is an essential skill to learn if you want to become a web developer. You can use it to create dynamic and interactive web page elements and make your website more engaging and user-friendly.

Finally, you may be asking yourself: “Are JavaScript and Java the same thing?”

The answer is: No, they are not.

JavaScript and Java and two separate programming languages. They may sound similar, but they’re quite different.

To find out more about Java, check out my free guide on what the Java programming language is and whether it’s the right tool for you to learn.

What is JavaScript and how can you learn it fast? Front end web development fundamentals for beginners

What is JavaScript used for?

JavaScript is pretty much everywhere you look on the Web. It can store user inputs in variables, run functions with them, do math for you, or simply manipulate the contents of the website when needed.

So what would be some practical applications of JavaScript then?

Once you learn some JavaScript basics, you start seeing JavaScript applications everywhere on the Web. Ranging from interactive maps and timed updates for web page contents to beautiful animations – that’s all JavaScript working in the background.

Here are a few practical examples of what JavaScript can do for you:

  1. Make websites behave more individually, respond to user interaction
  2. Build web apps and games
  3. Compute and visualize data in spreadsheets
  4. Access and process information on the Web, e.g. find out what’s trending on Twitter

And these are just the tip of the iceberg, really.

With solid JavaScript skills, you could also create browser-based games or mobile applications. And although web browser have certain limitations to the complexity of web-based games, JavaScript is still a powerful tool for game development.

Related: Web Development 101: What is a Web Application?

Is JavaScript easy to learn?

This is one question that always comes up when it’s time to learn a new programming language. Or it is for me, at least.

To be clear, it’s unlikely to find a programming language on this planet that’s explicitly easy to learn. It’s like learning anything else that’s new to you. You’ll need to work hard to see results.

But the truth is:

Some programming languages are easier to learn than others. This has a lot to do with how you use them and how they read.

For example, Python reads a lot like English, which makes it a beginner-friendly programming language.

Recommended: How to Find the Easiest Programming Language for Beginners?

Out of the three front-end development languages (HTML, CSS and JavaScript), it is of course the most difficult one to learn. But that’s just because HTML and CSS are markup languages rather than programming languages.

I’m not saying HTML or CSS are easy to learn, but they have a different sort of complexity to them.

For an epic article to help you start learning JavaScript the right way, here’s a helpful article on the best way to learn how to code.

Related: 14 Programming Languages and Their Uses Explained

How to learn JavaScript fast

Although you’ll need heaps of time to learn JavaScript and fully understand how the language works, you can start building meaningful projects early on.

And that’s what it all boils down to: applying what you learn to build programs on your own.

So, when you start learning JavaScript (or any other programming language), make sure you don’t just watch video lectures all day long.

While you’re going through your lectures, take notes. Then, after each lecture, try to use what you just learned to build a small program on your own.

If it feels difficult, look for help in your notes first. They should be good enough to remind you what to do. And if not, take better notes during your next lecture!

But why should you take notes? Can’t you just go back and watch your video lecture again?

You can, yes. But that kind of “monkey see, monkey do” approach won’t help you learn how to code by yourself. May sound harsh, but that’s the reality.

When I started learning coding, I was watching video lectures and repeating whatever exercises they showed. I felt like I was doing progress, but I soon noticed that when I didn’t have those lectures at hand, I couldn’t build anything by myself.

Therefore, don’t underestimate the importance of

  1. Taking notes and
  2. Building small projects of your own

Related: 10 Powerful Tips for Learning Coding Faster

Practical tips to learn JavaScript for beginners

Furthermore, you can use a bunch of helpful learning strategies to speed up your learning.

Whether you’re learning JavaScript or another language, try these tips:

  1. Focus on one language at a time:
    Don’t get distracted by another programming language you find intriguing. Learn your current one well before the next.
  2. Finish every coding course you start:
    When you’ve started one, make sure you finish your online coding course before starting the next one. The lectures build on top of each other, so you want to make it to the last one. That’s where you’ll learn the “good stuff”, i.e. the more advanced lessons.
  3. Keep your long-term goal in mind:
    For example, if you want to learn JavaScript to become a freelancer, keep your eyes on the prize. When you know what you want to do with coding in the future, you won’t run out of motivation along the way.

Since JavaScript uses variables, functions, and loops, it’s easier to learn JavaScript if you already know another programming language.

For example, I learned Python before I started learning JavaScript. With a good understanding of how programming languages work in general, I managed to learn JavaScript much faster than Python.

To speed up your learning even more, my #1 recommendation is to learn some Computer Science basics before coding.

Related: 6 Best Online Computer Science Courses for Beginners

How to find the best online JavaScript course?

As with pretty much any programming language, there are way more resources to help you learn JavaScript than you’ll ever need.

In fact, the biggest challenge is to find an online JavaScript course that will teach you everything you need to know to start building projects by yourself.

Related: 7 Simple Tips to Get Your Money’s Worth With Online Courses

Therefore, you have two options here:

  1. Starting a 100% JavaScript-based course
  2. Choosing a course that teaches several tools including JavaScript

The first option is better if you already know what you want to achieve with coding in the future. If you’re 100% sure that you’ll use JavaScript as a Web Developer in the future, go ahead and choose a 100% JavaScript-based course.

The latter option is better if you’re just starting out with coding and web development. If that’s the case, you want to try out several tools and languages one by one. This will help you find the ones you like the most.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours.

But I can tell you this much: Most beginners are not quite sure what they want to achieve with coding and web development in the long run.

Therefore, I always suggest they learn the basics of more than one tool. It’s just easier to see which ones you really like working with before spending money on a course that focuses on a language that’s not your thing.

How to learn JavaScript for beginners - What is JavaScript and how to learn it fast?

The best place to learn JavaScript for beginners:

First off, my #1 recommendation for any beginner is to decide whether they prefer to learn using online courses or programming books.

Once you know which learning method suits you best, check out these recommendations for the best place to learn JavaScript:

1: The best JavaScript online courses

  • The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0:
    This course covers about a dozen different languages and tools for web development. Perfect for absolute beginners, especially if you’re not sure which tool you want to specialize in. A paid course, so it includes a bunch of practical projects for practising. When I took this course, I was able to get my first small freelance jobs online in a matter of a few weeks.
  • Beginner JavaScript Track at Treehouse:
    If you’re serious about learning JavaScript, you’ll learn everything you need to know here. This complete JavaScript learning track will teach you programming fundamentals along with JavaScript and jQuery. (This link will give you a free 7-day trial.)
  • The Complete JavaScript Course 2019:
    Another excellent Udemy course for learning JavaScript for beginners. And the 170,000 students can’t be wrong – this course is packed with top-notch content.
  • FreeCodeCamp.org:
    Another excellent resource for learning JavaScript and other web development languages. Create a profile and start learning right away – it’s 100% free!
  • Mozilla Developer Network:
    A practical free guide for beginners with clear explanations and plenty of valuable content.

2: The best books to learn JavaScript

  • JavaScript & jQuery – Interactive Front-End Web Development:
    I regret not having bought this book sooner! It’s such a value-packed all-in-one guide for learning JavaScript fundamentals and much more. And yes, it’s actually written for beginners, so you won’t feel left alone with difficult topics at any point. Pair it with the HTML and CSS book from the same author for a complete front-end web development set!
  • Eloquent JavaScript:
    Another best-seller and top-notch JavaScript book for beginners. I had tons of fun with the exercises and projects throughout the book. That said, this is perhaps the best book to learn JavaScript from scratch. Free online version available here.

Related: 8 Great Websites for Learning Coding and Web Development for Free

Final thoughts: What is JavaScript?

All in all, learning JavaScript will be a valuable addition to your skills as a developer. It’s one of the most fundamental tools for web developers alongside HTML and CSS.

You can use JavaScript for a myriad of different projects, either as a full-time developer or freelancing on the side.

For more deets, check out my article about what web developers do exactly.

With the learning tips and resources listed above, you can start learning JavaScript fundamentals right away if you like. It’s a fun programming language to learn for beginners and you can start building meaningful projects quite quickly.

To get started right away, check out my free guide with the best way to learn JavaScript for beginners.

For even more great JavaScript resources, see my full recommendation page with the best online courses for learning JavaScript and jQuery from scratch.

Here are a few helpful articles you might want to read, too:

If you enjoyed this post on what is JavaScript, drop me a line in the comments below!

P.S. If you liked this post, I’d appreciate if you shared it with others, too! Thanks!

I’ll see you in the next post! Happy coding!
– Mikke

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About Mikke

Hi, I’m Mikke! I’m a blogger, freelance web developer, and online business nerd. Join me here on MikkeGoes.com to learn how to code for free, build a professional portfolio website, launch a tech side hustle, and make money coding. When I’m not blogging, you will find me sipping strong coffee and biking around town in Berlin. Learn how I taught myself tech skills and became a web dev entrepreneur here. And come say hi on Twitter!

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