Published on

How to Learn JavaScript


Way back in 2011 I started learning JavaScript. I took a few classes at, completed all the JS tracks then moved onto JQuery. I quickly realized three things:

  1. I didn't enjoy it that much.
  2. My time was better spent elsewhere.
  3. I still couldn't make the leap from mastering the material taught in online courses to making my ideas come to life.

So I gave up trying to learn JavaScript and outsourced all the JavaScript to developers. At the time this was a much better solution to my immediate problems...And it reminded me that not everyone should learn how to code.

Why Should You Learn JavaScript?

JavaScript has taken over the internet. I've decided there's never been a better time to learn it.

Since a few people have asked my what my plan is I've decided to summarize my experience and best advice for learning JavaScript here.

Note that you'll want to consider your motivation for learning JavaScript. I'm not interested in becoming a full-time developer or software engineer. I'm only interested in learning JS as a means to an end. I want to build the ideas I have.

Learn Vanilla JavaScript First

If you don't know any other programming languages that's great. Learn plain old JavaScript first. Master it. Learn the syntax, learn every concept front to back. Don't worry about building anything yet. Just focus on mastering the language.

Don't attempt to learn a JS framework (like react.js) first. Frameworks will come in handy later but they will just be a distraction until you have a good foundation to build on.

How to Get Started

Interactive online classes don't scratch the surface of mastery. Most of the courses (and I've taken half a dozen of them) introduce a concept, present a challenge, and then move on to the next useful bit of the language. Blog posts and online tutorials are even worse. You need a solid understanding of programming fundamentals.

I suggest you start by reading (and re-reading) Eloquent JavaScript. It's available for free online or you can purchase a hardcopy on Amazon. Be sure to do every excercise in the book.

At this point you know some JavaScript, but that's not enough. You're after mastery so you need to reinforce the concepts you've just learned. Purchase JavaScript: The Definitive Guide: Master the World's Most-Used Programming Language. Go through every excercise in the book.

Write it Down to Remember it

I recommend you write down everything you learn. I personally take notes by hand and then transcribe them into Some people use hand written flash cards. Others use spaced repetition learning apps like Anki or Quizlet. Don't overthink it, just get started.

At this point you should have a good JavaScript foundation. Now is the time to look consider taking an online course. I personally enjoy Free Code Camp. This is a different style of learning that will compliment what you learn from the two books I've recommended.

Build It

What's next? Build the next unicorn. Automate your 9-5. Get a new job or a pay raise. Whatever you do with your hard earned skills is up to you.

Like what you are reading?