Published: 21 September 2016

Starting out with JavaScript can feel daunting. Here are some tips to hit the ground running...

jQuery or JavaScript?

Opinions on this subject tend to be divided. My conclusion? It’s down to how you use it. If you want to support older browsers (IE9 and down), then you might want to learn jQuery first, as it has better support. jQuery can also have a shorter learning curve, so can be good to build your confidence.

If you want to future proof and work with the latest browsers, cut straight to the chase with ‘Vanilla’ JavaScript. It's important to remember that jQuery is just an extension of JavasScript to fix browser support and add features, so most probably wont be around forever. Vanilla JS is advancing rapidly, eliminating the need for jQuery altogether


If books are your thing, there’s plenty to read:

You could also read through the the JavaScript tutorial on w3schools, which includes small snippets to help you understand the fundamentals of the language.

Take a free online code course

Some excellent interactive coding courses are available online, Code Academy has tutorials for both jQuery and JavaScript. This will drop you straight into an editor, giving you hands on experience.

Keep your finger on the pulse

Without a doubt my most valuable resource is Twitter. The community is very active, and if you follow the right people your Twitter feed can become a stream of JavaScript goodness! Some of my favourite tweeter's include:

Although a slightly older approach, having a newsletter arrive in your inbox each week can give you a little prompt to find a new tip. My personal favourites are Web Design Weekly and JavaScript Weekly

Build something EPIC

What are you waiting for? Go build something! You’ll encounter lots of challenges, but this is where the real progression happens. Online coding communities such as Stack Overflow can help you when you’re stuck. You could build a game, or a completely pointless app. One of my most valuable resources is CodePen, which is simple to use and completely free. CodePen allows you to build and experiment with code online, eliminating any tedious setup up on your machine.


Jamie Donnelly

Client-Side Developer


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