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Best Programming Language To Learn First: Javascript as First Language

You’ve made a decision to tap into the world of computer science, and that is worthy of applause already (if you haven’t, you might want to check out our article on whether CS is the right career for you). However, it is likely that the scope of things you’ve heard you should learn to become a successful coder boggles your mind.

That’s okay; everyone has to start somewhere. If you want to learn how to talk, let’s teach you to speak one language first. And even though you may have read countless times that there isn’t one best programming language to learn first, we think there is one specific choice that would be easiest for your mind to accustom to as you enter the world of programming.

Introduction to Javascript as First Language

You must have heard about the all-purpose programming language Java before, which is widely used in programming, but have you heard about its sound-alike JavaScript? While both languages share some alphabetic similarity, they are actually not quite related to each other.

In simple terms, JavaScript is a language used by web developers to make websites interactive or “functional”. It gives the developer the ability to make websites responsive to click, touch, mouse hovering, animated content, and alike, without actually refreshing the page after every operation. A dropdown menu appearing with a click on a menu button is one of the simplest examples of what JavaScript can do.

This, perhaps, is all you need to know about JavaScript (or JS) as a beginner, but it would be unkind to leave out the details that in the last decade, due to the development of new frameworks and add-ons, JavaScript has become powerful for not only front-end (visual) web development, but also game development, web applications, and server-side manipulations.

Now that we know what JavaScript is and what it can do in a nutshell, let’s take a look at why you should consider choosing JS as the first language in your journey to becoming a successful programming expert.

Why is JavaScript the best programming language to learn first for beginners?

person learning javascript as his first programming language on his laptop
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

Reason #1: No need to install the environment or compile your code

For the simple reason that JavaScript is a web development language present on each and every popular website on the internet, it is pre-installed in every browser out there. This means that you actually don’t need to install a complex programming environment when starting up and also deal with a compiler to make your code work every time you write a few additional lines. You could open up any code editor (or even a Notepad), write some code, save it, and see the result immediately in your browser!

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For a beginner, this is priceless, and when you do start learning other languages and face the inevitable and often agonizing trouble of installing their developmental environments and tools on your PC, while having to pre-compile your code with frequent problems and breaks, you will know exactly what we mean!

Reason #2: Easy interface and immediate feedback

Using basic markup strategies and styling on your website (or just an experimental page) you will be able to visualize your tweaks and tricks immediately, as opposed to using unappealing console panel that will usually output a boring line of characters to let you know you have done something (right or wrong).

An example could be a simple interactive form, where you ask the user to provide the names for all of their pets. First, you would ask for an input of how many pets they have, and when the user types “3”, three more typing fields will appear immediately to accommodate writing the names of all three of their animals. Just that simplicity and interactiveness of developer interface, in our opinion, is one of the most convincing reasons to use JS as your starting companion in your coding quest.

Reason #3: Uncomplicated and transferable syntax

JavaScript is straightforward in writing and beginner-friendly, which… can be said about many programming languages. Yet, comparatively, things like declaring variables (memory slots that hold dynamic information) and writing functions (reusable blocks of code) are easier written in JS rather than its counterpart Java. On the other hand, basic and more complicated commands and operations in JavaScript are nearly identical to other languages like C and Java, which will make your future expansion of coding abilities seamless across different programming environments.

Reason #4: Large support network

You might want to say you are a new developer just trying out some things on your local computer. Behold, however, as soon, platforms like StackOverflow and GitHub Community will become your best friends. As soon as you start coding something outside the box, you will encounter problems. But not to worry, experienced and helpful developers are out there to help you. JavaScript has the largest community on StackOverflow, as well as on other community platforms of skillful developers. There is a big chance that whatever problem you will face, there is already a solution to it asked and answered by some fellow contributor. And if not, help is only one new inquiry away. With a large network of JS developers, you will never feel helpless and alone.

Reason #5: Endless space to grow

JavaScript was created in 1995 and is currently the number one most popular programming language in the world with 97.9% of web using JS to power their websites. However, traditionally a language used for functional programming of client-side browsing experience, in the last decade JavaScript has evolved into a pluripotential programming environment capable of executing server-side operations, development of web applications, and design of powerful user interfaces due to appearance of new developmental frameworks such as Node.js, Angular, and Vue.

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According to the 2020 IT Skills report, 72% of companies are hiring for developers with JavaScript skills, which adds to the marketability and hiring potential of your future career. As mentioned, the more frameworks you get to add to your JS stack, the more abilities in development of applications, UI design, and back-end operations you will be able to contribute to a potential employer. With JavaScript, your opportunities are endless, and your value increments with your ability to absorb and practice new developer toolkits.

Where can I start learning JavaScript as first language?

red apple fruit on four pyle books
Photo by Element5 Digital @ Unsplash

We can already feel your enthusiasm and eagerness to start learning JavaScript, but there is something you need to take care of first.

Before you can start writing JavaScript code, you need to get familiar with two more things: HTML and CSS. Does that mean that to learn your first language, you need to learn more languages first? Well, yes and no. HTML and CSS are technically not programming languages. They are rather the backbone and the styling scripts used to create an interface of the webpage, which you will be working on.

Every webpage you have ever visited is primarily constructed of blocks of images, colors, shapes, or text marked by HTML code and styled with CSS carcasses. Don’t worry though, HTML and CSS are incredibly simple and won’t take more than a few days to get familiar with. These skills, as we have discussed, are actually the main reasons JavaScript is among the best first languages you can learn, as they allow for immediate construction and testing of an interface to visualize the result of your JavaScript code.

Another positive remark is that HTML, CSS, and JS are often taught together in online and in-person courses, so you will usually not need to get lost in finding compatible learning material in order to get started on your first stack. Lastly, by learning all three, you will be equipped to create fully functional, ready-to-deploy, fun and interactive websites for your hobbies and potential businesses!

Resources for learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

Let’s come to the fun part. You now know enough about the concepts and requisites of web design, user-side (or front-end) development, and responsive programming. It’s time to get to work and develop some actual skills, write some code, and deploy your first web page.

We have compiled a number of our favorite all-round courses for learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for complete beginners. These will include the creation of your first pages, building and styling static content, and adding responsiveness and functionality to your website. Afterwards, you will learn even more, cooler skills as to how to design more complex elements and applications using your front-end stack.

Course #1: Scrimba’s Coding Bootcamp Primer (Free)

Scrimba’s Coding Bootcamp Primer is an excellent first step for any beginner to start programming – and, sharing our sentiment, they have also chosen HTML, CSS, and JavaScript as the primer for starting your journey into the world of coding.

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This course will teach you everything you need to know about the basics of web page markup via HTML, components of styling using CSS, and functionality, as well as basis for programming in general, including operations, conditionals, loops, and functions in JS, which are the backbone of any programming environment. You will also get to code particular assignments along the way to apply your newly acquired knowledge and feel the impressive power of coding.

While this course is an impressive resource for fresh starters, if may not go past the foundational concepts and won’t dive into the most popular frameworks of JavaScript, which is completely fine for a beginner whose primary purpose is to dip their toes in the world of programming. If you do wish to become proficient in JS and build amazing projects, and don’t mind spending more time learning, we suggest you look into some more options below.

Course #2: Colt Steele’s Web Developer Bootcamp (Udemy)

If you are looking for simply the best and most comprehensive, digestible, and fun course not only to learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but also to acquire skills to build beautiful landing pages, interactive platforms, and complicated web projects, this course by Cort Steele is one of the most consistently highly rate course (and instructor!) out there. You will have fun learning concepts and acquiring skills in the an extremely easily comprehensible way, and graduate as a fairly skilled web developer with a few real-world projects underneath your belt. We simply can’t recommend a single better online course for learning front-end web development (along with several most popular JS frameworks) than this.

Course #3: Angela Yu’s Complete 2022 Web Development Bootcamp (Udemy)

Another exceptional all-round web development course by Angela Yu. If you complete this excellent resource that includes HTML, CSS, JavaScript and JS frameworks, you might as well fill your portfolio with some serious projects you will be capable of building by completion of the course and maybe even apply for jobs as a web developer or get a gig as a freelancer. You will definitely be knowledgeable enough to start on that route! Check out the course description and individual lectures and see if you’d like to get started on your journey with the amazing Angela Yu!

Other free & paid resources for learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript