“J” is for JavaScript

This is the tenth post in the A-Z Blogging Challenge.

JavaScript & JQuery by Jon Duckett. My favorite JS book. Image from: http://javascriptbook.com/
JavaScript & JQuery by Jon Duckett. My favorite JS book. Image from: http://javascriptbook.com/

I’ve been into web design and development since age 14. JavaScript has always been around. However, while I was able to learn HTML and CSS (the two fundamental languages of websites), JavaScript has always been much harder. The first real programming language that I got comfortable with was PHP, since that’s the language powering WordPress and many other open source content management systems and forum software. JavaScript was still elusive. I knew enough to be able to edit other people’s scripts, but I could never write my own from scratch.

JavaScript has now emerged as one of the “hottest” languages to learn for web development. Now that we have the ability to run JavaScript on a web server, it may even replace PHP one day in the future. Who knows?

I keep saying that “I’m finally going to learn JavaScript for good”. But saying it is one thing, actually learning it is another. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to get some JavaScript training at work — through learn-ups run by colleagues and online classes. I’ve also worked on a project lately where I wrote some of my own JavaScript. I had a lot of help, but I feel like I have leveled up in my understanding of what the language does and I have a little bit better idea of how to think like a programmer.

I am finding that these days I’m more fascinated by programming than I am by design. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love design. I started off as a web designer, even. But now I prefer programming. I have a long way to go, and a lot to learn (I would say my JavaScript skills are still “advanced beginner”), but the interest is there. My brain is not naturally wired for programming (sometimes it can get very abstract and difficult to follow, especially when jargon is thrown in there), but the more I work with code, the more fascinated I am by it. I’m lucky to work with LOTS of talented developers who are always so willing to share their knowledge.

I just need to make time in my day to learn (it’s not always easy for me to do that!). I have found that I learn best by doing real-world projects (that’s how I learned HTML, CSS, and PHP), supplemented with books that I can refer to as needed.

My favorite JavaScript book these days is JavaScript and JQuery by Jon Duckett. I like it because it uses a visual approach to teach the language, with pictures, diagrams, and analogies. I’m a visual learner, so my brain loves those.

I hope to level up on JavaScript this year. My goal is to know more than I did last year!

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