LearnThe Lingua Franca of software: Why you need to learn JavaScript

Michael Hulet

Michael Hulet
writes on September 18, 2018

There’s a lot of advice out there about what languages you should know. No matter the level of experience, technical background or language(s) they use every day, there’s one language that every developer needs to know: JavaScript. Here’s why:

JavaScript is Everywhere

If you’re a web developer, of course you’re going to have to learn JavaScript. It was made for the web’s front end and it’s still the only language you can use to add functionality there, but it’s long evolved from being just the language of the browser. Node.js is one of the most popular back-end servers on the web, but its dominance doesn’t end with just websites. Popular mobile apps on both iOS and Android like Facebook, Uber and Skype are all built entirely or in part with JS instead of Swift, Java or Objective-C.  Major desktop apps like Slack and Spotify for both macOS and Windows are also written in JS. It’s even a popular solution for platforms like Internet of Things boards, robots and even drones. The most popular text editors out there, like Visual Studio Code and Atom, are also written in JS — the tools you use to write JavaScript (and just about any other code) are probably written in JavaScript. There’s even a whole operating system that’s powered by it! If you see a piece of silicon or a device using one, chances are that it’s running at least a little bit of JS code.

You can do almost anything with JavaScript

One of the things that makes this language so popular is the vibrant ecosystem of tooling and frameworks that make it easy to write nearly any type of program you can imagine. Do you want to make the next viral game? There’s Phaser for that. If you need to write a script to manage lots of data? Most of the popular databases like MongoDB and MySQL have JS interfaces. Even NPM, a command line tool to manage JS packages, was written in JavaScript. From the most intricate applications to the simplest website tweaks, you can do it all in JavaScript.

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Everyone Speaks JavaScript

Imagine you’re an iOS developer and you’re trying to illustrate a programming concept to a Windows developer. You have a significant language barrier to overcome, because you spend most of your time writing Swift and your counterpart spends his days writing C#. You use different technical stacks, so which language should you write your code snippets in to demonstrate your point? There’s one language you likely both know: JavaScript. According to StackOverflow’s 2018 Developer Survey, about 70% of all developers use JS, and there were 2.3 million pull requests submitted on GitHub in 2017 that were written in JS (more than double the StackOverflow survey’s runner-up, Python). That makes it the most common language in existence, a title it’s held for six years in a row! JavaScript is the lingua franca of software.

JavaScript is In Demand

It’s no secret that JS is expanding quickly in the professional world. As it expands to more platforms, more companies are choosing to use it to accomplish more diverse tasks than ever before.  Coding Dojo reports that, after Java and Python, JS jobs are the most in-demand kind of software position open on Indeed.com. With more companies choosing to build their mobile apps in things like React Native and their desktop solutions with platforms like Electron, the chances are that if you don’t know JS, you’ll soon be replaced in your job by a JS developer.


JavaScript has been growing incredibly quickly for years, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. It can do more things than any other language, which makes it your best choice to write code that can run on any platform. The safest thing you can do as a software developer is take the advice of the original designer and developer of JavaScript, Brendan Eich: “Always bet on JavaScript.”


Interested in a guided JavaScript curriculum that leads you from beginner to job-ready developer? Check out our Techdegree in Full Stack JavaScript.
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