In this post I’m going to explain how to get started writing JavaScript. First, let’s talk about why you should learn JavaScript.

A few things I really love about JavaScript … there are loads of free and easily accessible programs and websites to get you started. Another really great thing about JavaScript is that there is no installation required. Unlike other languages you need to install on your machine before you can get started, JavaScript requires only a text editor. Also you don’t need to be on any specific operating system to code in JavaScript. Mac, Windows, Linux, whatever! JavaScript loves them all.

JavaScript does have some interesting nuances that some say do not make a good language for the beginning programmer. I disagree (and I might be a little biased, since I got started on JavaScript), because I think the pros of JavaScript outweigh the weird nuances.

One more thing … Java is NOT JavaScript. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

A few things to note … most operating systems have a built-in text editor. However, I have had some issues in the past with the Mac text editor adding in characters which broke the page I was working on. You can avoid this by downloading a free text editor like Atom or Brackets.

To get started in JavaScript, you’ll need a few things:

  1. A computer
  2. An internet connections (ideally Google Chrome)
  3. A text editor (see above)

Like when you learn any new language, it’s going to be hard. Don’t let this discourage you – it’s totally normal. The first thing I would recommend is getting a book to use for a reference. You won’t necessarily learn from the book (unless that is your learning style, in which case, go crazy!), but it’s good to have to look stuff up.

Here are some of my favorite books:

Go ahead and make yourself a GitHub profile so that you can show off all the fancy stuff you’re learning! And don’t worry, I have a dandy little post on GitHub coming right up.

I would say get on Codecademy and go through their JavaScript course first. Once you get through their JavaScript course, head over to Coderbyte. This is a pretty cool place with JavaScript challenges. You can post all of these to your GitHub page to show off your knowledge. If you aren’t attending local usergroups, you definitely should. Not only can you meet cool people, you can find people to help you when you get stumped. And you can meet other beginners and help them when they get stumped! It’ll be awesome!!

By this point, you are probably feeling confident enough to start working on your own project. That is great! If you aren’t feeling confident enough, I say do the project anyway! Don’t let what you don’t know limit what you think you can do. You can always learn more. You can’t get the time you didn’t spend working on your project back though. So go crazy!

I also really recommend starting a blog to document topics you’re learning. I find that this is a very useful way to solidify your understanding of a topic. Plus it can act as a giant resume for potential employers. Basically a win-win.

I hope this helps you get started, and if you find something I missed, let me know!

Questions? Tweet me!