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Discussion on: Is JavaScript good or bad for beginners?

peerreynders profile image
peerreynders • Edited on

In my opinion JavaScript can be a great choice to begin with

Beginning what?

For me the elephant in the room is the implicit assumption that learning a programming language will automatically teach you how to program.

There are people in the educational space that disagree with that assumption - they argue that more often than not "commercial" programming languages tend to get in the way of an efficient and effective learning process.

This lead to Data-Centric Introduction to Computing which uses Pyret (Bootstrap).

That said back in 1995 JavaScript was supposed to be "beginner-friendly" (hence ASI) but the intention was to give "non-programmers" the opportunity to add some interactivity to otherwise static web pages - not necessarily as a means to learn programming (by osmosis).

Now we're up to ECMAScript 2022 and JavaScript has acquired a lot of features from other mainstream languages making it a much larger language than it was 27 years ago. The code that is being written in JavaScript has also gotten a lot more complex.

Despite that JavaScript still has a flavour of it's own that can frustrate developers that come from other languages, wishing that JavaScript acted in accordance with the mental models they are already familiar with (mental models that can get in the way of using JavaScript effectively).

So while it may be easy to get started with JavaScript the "flexibility" you mention could get in the way of getting good at it.

Now this is just my biased observation but it seems "JavaScript masters" often have other programming languages under their belt. So perhaps part of the journey of mastering JavaScript is to learn and use some other language—preferably far away from the usual C-inspired imperative dialects—and then come back to JavaScript (or perhaps TypeScript).

curiousdev profile image
CuriousDev Author

Thank you a lot for your detailed response! With the quote, which is from me, I simply wanted to express, that JavaScript can be a way to begin learning how programming works in general. I agree on that knowing how to use a pogramming lagnuage does not necessarily teach you how to program "good programs", like large projects, which can be changed without big issues.
Also I would recommend not to stick to only one language, as you mention with the possible "journey" at the end.