What is JavaScript and why should I learn it?

What you need to know about the most popular web programming language

Javascript

One of the most important aspects of web design is JavaScript a programming language that underpins a host of the most interactive elements found on any site. These may include sliders and social media plugins, along with a whole host of other dynamic pieces.

Understanding how JavaScript works is key to developing the skills needed to create or edit websites, and mastering this language may even determine factors such as how fast the site can run too.

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JavaScript is essentially a programming language that simplifies the building and designing of websites, while also ensuring they're tooled up to be as engaging and attractive as possible. It shouldn't be confused with Java, however, which is a completely separate programming language.

From a development point of view, those versed in JavaScript skills point to the fact commands can be easily executed and that it does not have a steep learning curve. Beginners won't necessarily struggle with the language and they won't need a development environment either; JavaScript can be tweaked from within a browser.

When it was first rolled out in 1995 by Netscape, web pages were typically very static and rigid, and comprised mostly of HTML pages interlinked with one another.

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JavaScript changed this by allowing website builders and designers to create a far more engaging way of communicating the information that websites hold and respond to user inputs. Clicks, scrolls, and finger inputs like dragging, pinching and swiping are also enabled through JavaScript coding.

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How it works 

When a browser loads a page, it creates a Document Object Model (DOM). The HTML parser goes through the code and when its finds JavaScript code it hands this over to the JavaScript engine, as required. This engine loads external JavaScript files and inline code, but does not run the code immediately instead it waits for HTML and CSS parsing to finish.

When this is done, JavaScript is executed in the order it was programmed on the web page. Variables and functions are stated, function invocations are implemented, event handlers are activated.

Why should you learn JavaScript?

Demand - As JavaScript is so popular the demand for developers who know this programming language will continue to increase. It already surpasses C# in demand and has become the number one programming language used on GitHub

Pay  JavaScript developers earn better pay than most other developers. As demand grows, so should wage levels over the next few years.

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Maturity  The language itself is maturing, with browsers becoming better able to handle JavaScript code. Not only that; the frameworks around JavaScript are also maturing, meaning that JavaScript is on its way to be being the future of enterprise application development. Over the last few years, variants of Node.js are now definitely in the JavaScript ascendency. Angular, which is a Google-backed framework, also has a lot of mindshare in the development community of late.

Ubiquity  JavaScript runs on pretty much every browser you can think of, as well as every operating system. Anyone developing a website will need someone with knowledge of JavaScript to write frontend code. It is also the only web programming language that runs both in the frontend and the backend.

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