FAQ: What is JavaScript?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 10 June 2022 | Published 20 May 2021

Updated 10 June 2022

Published 20 May 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

JavaScript is one of the first programming languages that you will learn when you explore the field of web development or computer science. Learning the basics of JavaScript is fairly simple, but because it's highly interactive, it comes with many complex nuances and features when used on an advanced level. As projects become more reliant on JavaScript, many employers seek out professionals who possess strong JavaScript skills. In this article, we'll discuss what JavaScript is, how it works in the workplace and how to begin developing JavaScript skills to advance your career.

How does Javascript work?

JavaScript is a programming language used mainly by web browsers to create an interactive and dynamic experience for the user. Developers and programmers use JavaScript to code the applications and functions that make the internet indispensable to modern life.

JavaScript is a client-side script. Most online applications, such as a search engine, work due to the interaction between the device of a user, such as a tablet, phone, or computer, and a remote server. The software on the remote server transmits information to the client, which is the user's machine, and the software on the client's side processes the information and renders a web page on the user's screen.

A client-side script refers to a programming language the carries out its tasks entirely on the machine of the client and doesn't need to interact with the server to work. For example, if you have a web page that loads on your device and your ISP loses its connection, you'll still be able to interact with the web pages that are already loaded on your device's browser. However, you'll not be able to access any data or navigate new web pages located remotely.

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Who uses JavaScript?

As coding and running a website typically requires a range of experts, several positions within web development require a command of JavaScript. Some of the popular positions include:

  • Web application developer: Web app developers work with JavaScript in all stages of an application's development, focusing on the interactive aspects of programming.

  • UX designer: UX designers research how people experience a website and create plans for improving site functions from the perspective of the website's users.

  • Front end developer: Front end developers mainly use JavaScript to build the visual aspects of a website that users can access.

  • DevOps engineer: DevOps engineers manage updates to JavaScript and other code to decrease errors.

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How does JavaScript work with other coding languages?

JavaScript uses other coding languages as a basis for the content and structure of a website and builds off that structure to make dynamic page elements. One of the reasons why JavaScript is popular among programmers and developers is its ability to create complex, secure webpage feature from its simplest forms of code. JavaScript, CSS and HTML all work seamlessly together to make both complex and simple webpage features. Developers also used other coding languages to enable JavaScript on different platforms and standardise JavaScript commands.

JavaScript and HTML

Programmers and developers use HTML, which is the most basic programming language, as the outline for the content of a webpage. JavaScript directly influences and updates the HTML based on user commands, such as entering information or clicking a mouse. JavaScript controls how the webpage changes or interacts with HTML content through the commands that make up its coding languages.

JavaScript and CSS

CSS outlines the paragraph spacing, structure and position of elements on the webpage, providing guidelines for how JavaScript can control the webpage. Although HTML provides a webpage's content, CSS changes the visual display through style, size, colour, and shape. JavaScript can only operate within the limitations set by the CSS code.

Other programming languages

Due to the popularity of JavaScript, many other programming languages influence its use. Other programming languages, such as ECMAScript, C++ and C, change a webpage so that it can run JavaScript. Some developers or programmers make customer frameworks to change JavaScript code, while others used standardised libraries of programming functions that run JavaScript.

What is an API?

An Application Program Interface (API) is a set of rules for developing software that provides details for how various elements of an application interact. In JavaScript, an API is used to develop interfaces between a client and a server, creating protocols for troubleshooting and security while maintaining a webpage's functions. An API allows users to access the webpage based on criteria set by the page administrators. They transmit and retrieve information that allows JavaScript to make timely changes to a webpage.

When to use JavaScript?

JavaScript is a full-stack programming language, which means that programmers can use it as code for both server and client communications. You can use JavaScript anytime you need a page to do something more complex than display static information. Programmers use the highly adaptable JavaScript language to perform several functions, though some functions are common among many webpages. Some of the functions JavaScript can perform include:

  • Sending and receiving messages

  • Interacting with website visitors

  • Storing information through caches

  • Uploading files

  • Downloading files

  • Responding to typing

  • Removing, changing or adding HTML content on a page

  • Reacting to mouse clicks or movements

You can combine these actions to create highly interactive webpages that focus on user experience. They also create a record of user errors and server issues that programmers use to make improvements to the code.

What are the advantages of JavaScript?

Most webpages use JavaScript as the basis of their site functions. This is largely due to the many advantages to this flexible but consistent coding language. Some of the biggest advantages of JavaScript for use in web development include:

  • Ease of learning: Many programmers find JavaScript easy to learn because its commands are similar to the English language. There are also many resources available for people looking to learn JavaScript because it is so widely used.

  • Low bandwidth needs: JavaScript is a client-side language, meaning that users provide the bandwidth needed to perform an operation. This saves bandwidth for the server that runs the page.

  • Fast processing: Changes to the code are completed almost immediately after the user performs an action.

  • Modifiable programming: JavaScript is easy to test and modify based on errors and bugs.

  • Functionality on any browser: Any browser can run JavaScript code, making information more accessible to a wide audience.

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How to learn JavaScript?

Learning JavaScript adds valuable skill to your CV and provides you with a greater understanding of how a website functions. The basics of JavaScript are easy to learn, allowing you to focus on improving your skills and applying them to new situations. If you're interested in a career programming web applications and writing code, you can take the following steps:

1. Think about going to school

Although most companies hiring developers or programmers will care more about your skills or abilities than your grades or the college or university you went to, it can help to have a university degree to point to. You'll learn more efficiently at university than if you teach yourself, all while getting experience guidance from your professors. There are often grants and scholarships available to those who plan to earn a degree in this field.

2. Learn from online courses

Whether you are attending a free or paid online course, you can learn a lot about JavaScript from these structured courses. You can also learn about JavaScript using online tutorials. There are a lot of programmers with websites where they can teach you the individual basics, as well as some tricks.

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3. Learn HTML and CSS

Since JavaScript interacts closely with both HTML and CSS, focus on developing your understanding of each language before attempting to use JavaScript. HTML and CSS are easy to learn, with many free guides readily available online or at the library.

4. Join a study group

Programmers have in-person and online communities dedicated to sharing knowledge about coding languages like JavaScript. Join a study group to advance your knowledge and see examples of what other professionals have accomplished with JavaScript.

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