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Published on 27 Jan, 2021

A letter for those who want to learn JavaScript

A young developer who told me that was having difficulties learning JavaScript.

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Yesterday I received an email from a young developer who told me that was having difficulties learning JavaScript. He told me that he looked at some of my open source projects and found them pretty interesting and was asking for some advice about how he could learn JavaScript.

I'm not the best JavaScript developer in the world, in fact I am really distant from where I want to be in a few years from now, but I decided to help him.

I started to write the email to him right away and after almost 1 hour writing, I wrote this mini-blog post that you guys will read. I decided to post here because I think it might have helped other developers as well how are starting to learn JavaScript.

Hope it might be useful for those who are starting to learn JavaScript. Feel free to share in case you guys like it.

Hi Developer,

I appreciate that you liked my open source contributions. I think I can help you with a few tips that helped me to get started with JavaScript:

JavaScript is the best programming language to get started right now if you don't have any programming background and want to learn it. The JavaScript ecosystem has matured over the years and new libraries are created every day, to solve an enormous range of different problems.

I think this piece of advice can help not only you but many others who are starting to learn JavaScript.

Here are a few things that I learned throughout the years and I think can help you:

Learn the Basics

You need to start learning JavaScript by the basics, after that you can start to learn and build more complex things. Your goal here is to learn JavaScript, so start to search for content for JavaScript beginners, find what works for you. Take a few courses. Read articles. Watch talk videos. Listen to podcasts. There are a lot of different ways that you can learn it, you need to find the way that works for you. Don't compare yourself with developers that are in the field for a long time, you will get frustrated. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday as a developer, try to learn new things every day. A few years from now you will see how long you have improved and mastered JavaScript.

Learn in Public

This is the fastest way to learn, you will not only learn but also build a network while helping others as well. You might have been experiencing a problem that another person might have been experiencing as well, you might provide value to them showing how you solved or how to solve it. Start to write articles, you can write about the most basic JavaScript concept, you will not only help others but learn in the process, that's a powerful way to learn in my opinion.

Build Different Projects

I could easily say here to you, after have you learned JavaScript, to start to learn React. That would be unfair. You want to learn JavaScript but don't know exactly which way as a developer you're going to follow it, there are a lot of different ways that you could go from here. That's why you need to build a lot of different projects and work with a range of different JavaScript technologies. Build a REST API, learn how APIs work, and how to build using different approaches. Create a simple calculator using different projects such as React and Vue, learn what problems each one of them solves. Learn and work with different types of databases, know the difference between SQL and NoSQL databases. Build different things. You'll find yourself along the way.

Contribute to Projects That You like

Open source is the most powerful thing for a developer. You will work with different people from across the globe, create a network, solve people's problems, will help developers who want to start to contribute to that project, etc. Contribute to different projects that you like or that you use daily. You don't need to create the most complex thing for that project, you can easily start with a simple documentation suggestion. Try to mess a little bit with the code, read how the code works and how the project works under the hood. Open source contribution brings value not only for you who are contributing to the project but for people and companies who will use your code in the future to scale applications for millions of users.

These are the pieces of advice that I can give to you. You need to keep grinding and learning new things every day. JavaScript, like any other programming language, can be very hard for those who are not determined to learn it the right way.

Wish you success and hope you can learn JavaScript and become and fantastic developer.

Cheers,

Leonardo