I used to be scared of JavaScript. I’ve lost count over how many times I started to learn, only for attempt after attempt to fizzle out when I didn’t get anywhere. I had success leaning some Python! Loved the experience of having only my script and a shell — no browser in sight. But browsers are kinda where the action is for folks like me. Being a frontend developer unarmed with JS, is an adventure on a narrowing path further into specializations. For me personally, this has been a choice I felt conflicted about.

All these missed shots formed sediments of proof that I quite obviously was not capable of learning JS. Really not optimal, when combined with that particular buzz of gatekeeping that makes sure nobody ever confuses CSS with a programming language, ranks anything visual design as beneath their full stack, and eagerly perpetuates a specific image of what a programmer looks like. Like Norwegian mosquitoes, there may be no real danger and lots of people are not bothered by them. But if you come unprepared, and are prone to reacting to bites, then we are not talking ideal conditions.

I have been writing HTML and CSS for a living since 2006. I learnt to code as a designer, at a time when web site clients didn’t expect to update content themselves. jQuery was all the rage, but of limited use in the kind of sites I built. I did a long stretch of running a business; initially focused on custom-built WordPress for my own clients — before later happily cartwheeling into collaborations with developers. My role was often as a specialist on pragmatic design in the browser, web typography, code as a design tool. Modern web development began to take shape, we started hearing about this new thing called React. I changed careers around this time. Employed as a systems developer at the Norwegian postal service, working on a logistics system for business customers. So I gained experience with the JS ecosystem, can wrangle package managers and debug bundle configs just fine. But actually learning JavaScript as a programming language escaped me. Or I dodged it. Skirting around. Specializing on the visual UI layer, the front of the front end, design systems, responsifying complex legacy layouts, and teaching CSS. Getting good at other types of valuable contributions to the codebase, product, and teams.

But the reason I am writing this now: I am not afraid of JavaScript anymore.

What happened…?! Different stuff happened, but most of all the Vanilla JS Academy. 🎉

Learning resources for JS exist in abundance, but none (of the many I tried) ever did the trick for me. I hadn’t managed to unlock JavaScipt before attending the academy. Chris Ferdinandi has created a training program that helped me slay my JS demons — and rack up necessary confidence and wins to keep going. This shit is hard, and my brain responded really well to the structured learning path. You can tell Chris puts a lot of effort into creating videos and projects that truly teach. Being in a group of people from around the world, attending together in the same class for 10 weeks, was a source of motivation. The pace and level was perfect for me, but even though everyone’s milage will definitely vary, the content is flexible enough for attendees to adapt speed and intensity to their preference.

I am only just getting started. Some sort of innocent white belt. But it really does feel like, finally after all these years, I found JavaScipt. Or as a friend put it, when I was raving about surprising fun and progress:

”Well, it was about time that JavaScript found you!”

Lost count != true. I know exactly how many fresh this-is-it starts, but that number is embarrassing. Let’s share it anyway: 7 Yup. That’s right, I have started && failed to learn JavaScript seven times since 2014. “I haven’t learnt JS yet” is my broken record was written back in 2017. This might all mean in the end, that I am not quite cut out for javascripting, but fuck nope if that will stop me. 🔥