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What is JavaScript Used For? Here is Everything You Need To Know

What is JavaScript Used For? Here is Everything You Need To Know

If you are learning the ropes of coding languages, methods for building websites, and how to add features, you have probably come across the term JavaScript. One of the more ubiquitous programming languages available to developers, JavaScript is all about interaction -- providing the framework for adding levels of interactivity to your website or application to elevate user experience and add dynamic functionality as needed.

But JavaScript is more than that -- and because we know many of you are wondering what JavaScript is used for, we decided to put together a handy beginner’s guide to help you grow more familiar with the language. For many programmers, JavaScript is the perfect entry level coding language to start with, and is the perfect choice for an online course to learn more about how languages like this one create the foundations of the websites and apps you use on a regular basis. For programming enthusiasts looking for a good coding language to grow familiar with through remote learning, JavaScript is a great place to start.

First things first, what is JavaScript?

In simple terms, JavaScript is a text-based object programming language that is designed to make web development both easier and more attractive in terms of user experience. Used on both the client-side and server-side, JavaScript goes beyond the structural and stylistic elements of languages like CSS and HTML to focus on elements that increase and foster user engagement. Consider it the design tool that accents the structure you can create with those other two languages.

JavaScript also has a unique history, as one of the longest running popular coding languages in the history of the public Internet. It was originally developed in the early 1990s, in response to static web pages that remained unchanging once loaded in early web browsers. Early browsing pioneer Netscape was behind the development of JavaScript specifically, contracting a team to develop a language that would add interactive and dynamic elements to web pages after loading. The language continued to grow, develop, and spread as more modern browsers (like Firefox and Chrome) required even more dynamic elements and functionality.

So what is JavaScript used for then? What does JavaScript do, actually?

While its main purpose is for web-based applications and web browsers, JavaScript also has use cases spread throughout software, servers, and embedded hardware. Front-end web developers usually need to be proficient in all three languages, but it is possible to specialize in JavaScript programming alone, depending on client or user needs.

Beyond these broad use cases, there are specific genres and areas of web development in which JavaScript is particularly prominent. Here are just a few of the most common uses:

Adding interactive elements to web pages

First and foremost, JavaScript is the tool for adding interactivity to web pages. This can include simple processes like:

    • Zooming in, out, or cropping an image
    • Allowing for audio and video playback on your website
    • Presenting animations
    • Rotating carousels of images on a home page
    • Including drop-down menus for online ordering or preference selection
    • Presenting or hiding information when a user clicks a button
    • Displaying calendars, timers, count-downs, or other similar features
    • Featuring random password generators
    • Enabling decibel calculators

These features are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what learning JavaScript can allow you to create as a developer. While static websites are serviceable for some purposes, and template-centric website builders can offer some degree of customization and interaction, knowing how to program with JavaScript allows you to bring significantly more options for style, improved user experience, customization, and responsiveness to your platform. 

Think of it as turning your website from a two-dimensional experience (where visitors simply look upon the site, as if visiting an art gallery) into a three-dimensional alternative, where a variety of complex and important tasks are now available for both you and your users. This is also true if you want your site to perform well on mobile platforms, as smartphone use continues to grow.

Gaming

As browser-based games continue to grow in popularity due to both their ease-of-use as well as their lower cost to develop compared to traditional console and PC computer games, JavaScript has become the foundational language for most developers. Because browser-based games are often limited in scope, and thus can be designed with more limited commands and scripts, JavaScript is the perfect tool with which to develop them.

This is important because, by some metrics, the global gaming market exceeds $100 billion in total revenue, and even simple browser-based puzzle, strategy, racing, and shooter games offer lucrative opportunities for subscriptions and advertising revenue. Even if you have some experience developing basic games previously, gaining higher-level JavaScript experience allows you to develop games that stand out from the pack, that are fun to play, that you can share with others, and that can earn you a decent paycheck.

Mobile Apps

While more complex and OS-specific coding languages like Swift (for iOS/Apple products) and Java (for Android) are the common tools for mobile app development, JavaScript still offers possibilities for developing basic web apps. If you are a startup or small business looking for a low-cost and simple web tool for your clients, JavaScript can be paired with existing frameworks like Phonegap and React Native, to allow different operating systems to access the same code.

Simple Web Servers and Server Applications

While complex server and server application work is best left to other languages crafted specifically to those needs, JavaScript still offers the ability to create simple web servers, as well as back-end infrastructure using NodeJS. As libraries and frameworks continue to emerge and expand, more and more back-end programming utilizing JavaScript will continue to be possible, making sooner rather than later the best possible time to learn more about it.

So are there specific JavaScript careers?

In a nutshell, yes. As more and more business, sales transactions, advertising, and engagements are moved online with each passing day, the growing demand for talented JavaScript developers throughout the world continues to rise significantly. Obviously, the more programming languages that you are familiar with, the more career opportunities you will find, but there are several reasons why taking coding classes and answering that “What is JavaScript used for?” question is a great idea now more than ever.

Learn how to program in JavaScript, and you can work remotely, much more easily

One of the biggest perks to becoming skilled at JavaScript (and other programming languages) are the significant possibilities for working remotely and coding for a variety of clients, regardless of where they are located geographically. Many modern web businesses and application teams employ remote development teams, which makes JavaScript the ideal platform for you to not only grow your own set of coding skills, but also add the ability to freelance or work full-time from the comfort of your home or home office or wherever you are in the world.

Of course, you can also earn more money

As more and more platforms and possibilities for using JavaScript continue to arise, the potential for making significant income as a JavaScript developer rises as well. More and more companies are seeking to add interactive elements to their web presence, develop web browser games geared toward younger markets, and find new cost effective ways to develop server applications, so the potential for making a lucrative career as a JavaScript developer is blowing up.

You can finally build your own pet project

If you have a clever idea for an interactive web app, browser game, or mobile app for your existing business, learning how to use JavaScript is the pathway for turning your idea into an actual consumer-facing product. While great ideas are the basis for any successful web venture, tools like JavaScript are the means for making those ideas into reality.

So how can I learn to use JavaScript?

Like anything new, the best way to start is by taking a course that teaches you all the basics of using JavaScript. This is the ideal way for you to learn the ropes, hone and practice your skills, and find new methods for applying your newfound JavaScript techniques in the working world. If you are looking for a way to jumpstart your career, try out an entirely new career path, or explore remote working potential, learning JavaScript through SoloLearn’s free introductory course is a great way to start!