Why I’m Learning Javascript


I’ve always loved code. I’m not a developer by any stretch, but having worked with and around developers for years now, the “idea” of code has been part of my daily life for some time. The appeal to me – as I’m sure it is for many – is the very basic notion that something gets written in this arcane language, this amalgamation of symbols, numbers and text and magically, via the refresh of a page (in the case of client-side scripting) something appears on screen; something that I’ve created and whose purpose I myself am driving. I’m making things happen.

So, I’ve recently decided to take the plunge. I’m going to learn to code.  I can’t say with any certainty why I’ve chosen now to begin. In truth, between having two young children at home and running a digital agency, I can’t see where I’m going to find the time. So, at least initially, I’m going to approach this as a hobby. I’ll learn at my own pace, and we’ll see where it goes.

I’ve spent a decent amount of time thinking about where to start. I’ve spoken to many talented developers about which programming language they feel is the “best” one, or the one that’s the most powerful, or the most useful and so on. Each of them has made compelling arguments for PHP, for Python and for (what seems to be the “trendiest” of the bunch), Ruby on Rails. These are all impressive languages. But in the end, I’ve decided on Javascript. Here’s why:

  • It’s tied to the Web – BCS Interactive really began as a Web development shop; no matter where we go from here, Web technologies will always be near and dear to my heart. Javascript offers the benefit of being a “true” programming language while working seamlessly with less intense markup (HTML) and style sheet (CSS) languages.
  • It has reach – the introduction of frameworks such as node.js, backbone.js and others have really put Javascript on the map, and I feel that going forward, Javascript will be applied to more contexts – both Web and otherwise – giving it great utility and reach.
  • It’s a good starting point – Based on my limited experience, Javascript just seems accessible, and I feel that if I can get even a cursory understanding of its logic and syntax, I can potentially learn other languages as well.

My approach will be a combination of book learning (Sam’s Teach Yourself Javascript in 24 hours), online courses (Codecademy) and massive trial and error. My immediate goal is just to get my feet wet and start to execute a few scripts. Who knows, maybe somewhere down line, I’ll actually be able to have an intelligent conversation with a real programmer. Wish me luck. I’ll check back in a few weeks and post about my progress.


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