How to Learn JavaScript Properly

»feb. 24 2013 655

Learn JavaScript Properly (For Beginners and Experienced Programmers)

This study guide, which I also refer to as a course outline and a road map, gives you a structured and instructive outline for learning JavaScript properly. In fact, you will find two study guides below, one for absolute beginners and the other for experienced programmers and web developers.

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You do want to learn JavaScript. I presume you are here for that reason, and you have made a wise decision. For if you want to develop modern websites and web applications (including an internet startup), or if you want a high-paying developer job ($75K to $250K+), JavaScript is undoubtedly the best web-development language to learn today, unless you want to develop native iOS or Android apps exclusively. And while there exist ample online resources to teach you JavaScript, finding the most efficient and beneficial method to learn the “language of the web” can be a frustrating endeavor. This study guide streamlines and simplifies the process; it has proven successful in helping thousands, and thousands more read and follow it each day.


Study Groups
People have started study groups for this study guide. You can find such groups on Reddit here and here, and other places, including Code Crew Meetup.

What You will Learn

You will learn the JavaScript language (up to advanced-intermediate, if you follow the “Beginners” study guide; or up to advanced, if you follow the “Experienced Programmers” study guide). You will also learn HTML, CSS, jQuery, and Git. And you will build a simple HTML/CSS website, an interactive HTML/CSS/JavaScript website, and a moderately sophisticated JavaScript quiz application.

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How Will Your Life Change After You Learn JavaScript Properly?

Maybe you will look more lovely and have a kinder, more pleasant personality after you learn JavaScript properly. Who knows? I don’t know.

But I do know that you will emerge more confident, more assured in your ability, and amply trained with a highly valued skill—a skill more valuable than most college degrees. For as a JavaScript developer, you will have the capacity not only to create whatever startup or web app you imagine, but also to work, making a handsome salary, as a front-end or full-stack developer, developing modern and futuristic applications. In fact, if you have never developed any kind of application before, you will experience ecstasy, so exultant and euphoric that you will want to enthusiastically practice more and build something—anything, like a hungry chef discovering a furnished kitchen with every tool, every utensil, and a stocked refrigerator.

It is worth noting that unlike just a couple of years ago—when you needed to know a true server-side language (such as PHP, Rails, Java, Python, or Perl) to develop scalable, dynamic, and database-driven web applications—today you can do as much and more with JavaScript alone.

This is the flourishing and glorious age of the JavaScript developer.

Be Empowered

This course outline transcends an entire semester of college coursework. If you complete the study guide, you will have learned enough programming to develop modern web applications, and with a bit of experience and a couple of completed projects, you will have become a sought-after programmer. Indeed, JavaScript developers are in high demand today. But you must prove your worth by developing a few impressive (interesting and non-trivial, though not necessarily complex) web applications.

How NOT To Learn JavaScript

  • Do not try to learn JavaScript the first time from bits of unrelated or related JavaScript tutorials online; this is the worst way to learn a programming language. It could work for some after countless such tutorials, but it is an inefficient process that lacks the proper hierarchical structure needed for learning a subject matter thoroughly. And this could lead to your being stuck quite frequently, when you start to build websites and web applications with the language. In short, you will not have the know-how—the comprehensive knowledge—you need to use that language as a tool—as your tool.
  • In addition, some will recommend you learn JavaScript from “JavaScript: The Good Parts,” by the venerable Douglas Crockford. While many regard Mr. Crockford as a JavaScript godfather, his book, The Good Parts, is not the best JavaScript book for beginners. It does not explain JavaScript’s core concepts in a detailed, clear, and easily digestible form. I do recommend you follow Crockford’s advanced videos, however, as part of the Learn Advanced JavaScript road map.
  • And do not try to learn the language by using only Codecademy; while you will learn how to program bits of small JavaScript tasks, you will not have learned enough to build complex web applications. Nonetheless, below I do recommend Codecademy as a supplemental learning resource.

Resources for the Two Study Guides

I have outlined two different study guides below, one for beginners and one for experienced web developers.

  1. Beginners should follow the Learn JavaScript Properly Study Guide for Beginners and get this book:
    Beginning JavaScript.

    Experienced programmers and web developers should follow the Learn JavaScript Properly Study Guide for Experienced Programmers and get this book:
    — The paperback Version: Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (3rd Edition)
    — The Kindle Version: Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (3rd Edition)