JavaScript? Not Bad, Just Weird - in a Good Way!

31 Aug 2017

Back in high school, the only programming language I knew was LabVIEW, and I thought it was the best thing… until I started college and learned Java, and Java became my new favorite language. That only lasted until this past summer when I learned C# for my internship and started writing applications with it. Then, C# topped Java and became the new best language.

From observing this pattern, I’ve assumed that whatever language I have most recently gotten accustomed to automatically becomes my new favorite and stays my favorite, until I learn another language. But did this pattern apply to JavaScript, which I learned about a week ago? It is hard to say.

Admittedly, my first reaction to being exposed to JavaScript was something like, “What!? Why aren’t we declaring the types of the variables? How can we be allowed to put both strings and numbers inside of the same array!? What a weird language.” Prior to learning JavaScript, I had been so used to the strict data type bindings that Java, C#, and even LabVIEW had, and I was so used to having to declare the type of a variable and keep it consistent, that I often found myself accidentally writing things like “int” and “string” in my JavaScript code. The fact that JavaScript simply seemed to not care at all was very off-putting at first.

After a while, however, I came to realize that what concerned me about JavaScript was actually what made it most convenient for me. After doing several practice WODs in JavaScript on JSFiddle, I found that not having to worry about using the right types saved me a lot of time and stress! Even though I still wasn’t too clear about why things like parameter and return types and even semicolons didn’t seem to be important in JavaScript, it felt nice to be able to exclude them! From my minimal experience with using JavaScript so far, I’m not sure if I can say whether it is a bad language or a good language, but I definitely think that it is relatively simple and user-friendly so far.

The simplicity of JavaScript has actually helped take away some of the stress of my ICS 314 class where we learn “athletic software engineering” which is a style of learning software that is similar to athletic training. We assess ourselves with WODs (Workout of the Day) every week, in which we are given a limited amount of time to develop a solution to a problem with code. While I definitely think this learning style is stressful, I also feel that it is ultimately helping me to become a better problem solver, by regularly exercising the skills I need in order to be a quick and effective problem solver. Using Javascript so far has allowed me to focus more on how I am actually solving the problem, rather than whether I am using the right types and syntax, which makes the process quicker in my opinion and helps me perform better during these WODs.

I’m looking forward to the many other learning experiences that this class has to offer. It has only been the first week, and I am confident that at the end of this semester, I will be an amazing problem solver!