Getting Started with JavaScript

Experience is the only way to increase your abilities in JavaScript. I once read that gaining "expert" status in something happens after about 10,000 hours in the activity. That is roughly four years if you devote a solid 40 hours a week, day in day out, practicing. I have no idea if that is really true, but I think the sentiment is true.

Whether you are learning cook, learning to play the piano, or learning to code, it is the same. You have to learn the fundamentals, practice, and keep pushing yourself to gain mastery over it. How should you learn JavaScript? Here are some ways to get practicing.

Experiment in the Browser

The fastest way to get started is to press F12and click right into the console tab. If you are running Chrome or Firefox, this is pretty straight-forward. Mechanics pop open the hood when they start learning about cars; web developers should do the same and "pop the hood" of the internet. So, go ahead, open your console and type in console.log("Hello World!"). You should see a response back from the console. Write something else in between the double quotes instead of "Hello World!". You should get a different response message.

The web browser console is one of the best ways to experiment and explore different objects you can access in JavaScript. Browsers come with other useful tools such as a debugger, network timeline, and and element editor for manipulating the current loaded page. I recommend looking at the Chrome DevTools Overviewto learn all the valuable tools that modern web browsers offer.

In addition, I recommend checking out CodePenfor writing sample web pages. It is very convenient when you just want to try something or if you want to show off.

Do Some Tutorials

After getting comfortable with your tools, I recommend you head over to Code Academyand follow their JavaScript tutorials. Honestly, if you know a programming language or two already this is might feel a little rote, but muscle memory is the name of the game. For beginners, their tutorials will at least provide some familiarity with basic programming logic and the libraries for building pages. Khan Academyalso provides computer programming courses in JavaScript. Both are free of charge and can help give some early guidance.

Find a Community

This is probably the hardest part of getting started. It is, however, one of the most important steps. Like any other difficult task, it is easier to continue on when you have people to support you. JavaScript can't be learned overnight, so you will have faster progress if you can surround yourself with people in the know. If you manage to find someone to mentor you, keep in mind that they are giving up time they could be doing something else to help you get better. If not, find a coding rival. Rivalry can be a powerful way to level up your skills quickly and stay focused.