How Much Javascript is Enough?

There is a rush to learn Javascript right now. Especially in the WordPress community, there are people clamoring for more, better, and comprehensive Javascript resources. And there’s tons available and even more lists, and lists of lists.

Similarly, most all entry level developer jobs–from Junior Developer to Front-End Engineer–are all requiring a decent amount of experience in Javascript.

It’s enough to make you wonder what you’ve been doing for the past year (or two, or five).

In hustle of trying to absord all of the Javascript syntax, functions and process I can, I’ve been asking myself this question:

“How much Javascript is enough?”

Should I know enough to be able to code up an application from scratch?

Probably not. There are libraries and frameworks for that. I don’t have to learn everything:

js20in20one20pic

From https://github.com/coodict/javascript-in-one-pic/

So, how much is enough? And the question I’m specifically asking myself as I’m seeking to get hired by a stellar WordPress agency I can learn more from is this:

“How much Javascript is enough to get myself hired so I can learn more…and more… and more…??”

This is where I’ve settled (for today).

Known Unknowns

The worst feeling I’ve had in the past two and a half years being a freelance WordPress developer is being in the dark, or not knowing what I don’t know. To add to the fear, I had no one to turn to when I first started out. In the dark and alone was a very scary place to be.

Thankfully, I started reaching out, and paying for some courses once I started to make enough money to do so (I’ve always tried to spend about 10% of what I make on resources and tools to further my development).

What I’ve learned is that the more you know, the more you know what you don’t know. And that’s strangely comforting. Now, I laugh at the “white screen of death”! Ha! That used to be terrifying.

With Javascript, there are plenty of “unknown unknowns”. But as I’m learning and seeing more, I’m moving from saying, “I don’t even know what is possible” to saying, “How is that possible?!” Once I see it, it exists, I can figure it out.

Enough to Be Dangerous

Thanks to awesome resources like Free Code Camp, I’m actually digging in and learning, retaining and applying Javascript and jQuery. All the projects I’ve been building requre JS (haha) and that’s helped immensely. FCC has pushed me to ask myself, “How can I hack this together?”

It won’t be perfect, but it just needs to function enough for a 1.0 version.

“Progress over perfection.”

Momentum is key. Getting the code in the editor and refreshing the page to see what has happened has been a really cool experience. It’s not perfect, but it works.

I’m a-ok with that.

Learn. Do.

I work with Tonya from the WPDC. Her method of teaching is “Learn. Do.” You learn about something, and then apply it immediately. I’ve really benefited from that mentality and practice.

It’s a discipline to sit down and apply what you’re learning, and the sooner the better. Between Tonya and FCC, I’ve got my butt in gear and I’m writing (and yes, copying and pasting) more code than I ever have.

But the difference is that I’m understing a lot more.

And if I can understand it, that should be enough to move me forward.

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Peace,

Nate

 

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