JavaScript developers will always be in demand; businesses will forever need to support and maintain millions of lines of JavaScript code that runs their core business software. 

However, like all powerful programming languages, JavaScript has become a main area of expertise rather than a side language. Some would even argue that JS has become the most used programming language in the world.

Today, hobby programmers can find small JavaScript gigs, but that won’t last long. JS is no longer just an obscure language you can learn in a day and have fun with. JavaScript has evolved into a required component for nearly all web applications. 

Mastering JS requires far more time and commitment than ever. That’s why future JS programming jobs will only be obtained by highly-skilled developers.

A brief history of how JavaScript became popular

JavaScript had humble beginnings in the mid-1990s. Developers from nodejs.dev explain that Netscape created JS as a scripting tool to manipulate web pages inside of the Netscape Navigator browser. Back then, server-side JavaScript wasn’t successful so JS remained more for client-side scripting.

The first JavaScript prototype was created in ten days by a man named Brendan Eich. Back then (May 1995), it was called Mocha. In September 1995, the next version was released and the language was renamed LiveScript. After the beta 3 release that December, the name was changed one final time to JavaScript.

JavaScript developers struggled early on

In the beginning, developers struggled to build cross-platform websites with JavaScript. Each browser reacted differently and it was hard to create a consistent user experience. However, the popularity of JS was solidified when browser developers altered their code to support JavaScript and make it run faster. You know a programming language has potential when browsers rearrange their code to make a programming language work.

Today, most web development courses include at least an introduction to JS. In fact, to compete in the industry, web developers need to know JavaScript. 

Now that we know where JS came from, let’s take a look at why skilled JavaScript developers will remain in high demand for years to come.

JavaScript capabilities are virtually endless 

When clients request certain features, most of those features are best implemented using JavaScript. JavaScript has many frameworks and libraries that form the core of modern web projects including:

jQuery. This is one of the oldest and most powerful frameworks used to build web pages. Developers can learn and use jQuery without the complexity of client-side web development. Common, repetitive tasks are stripped of unnecessary markup and all is reduced to short, understandable code.

The jQuery library was developed in 2005 and released in 2006. The main benefit is that jQuery abstracts away the browser differences that made JS not work in all browsers. Thanks to a demand for Ajax, jQuery became a standard dependency for most websites. 

Although jQuery has lost some popularity, it’s still a great library for web projects when you don’t have time to learn native APIs or special-purpose libraries. In fact, data gathered by W3Techs.com reveals that 73.7% of all websites use jQuery. 

Node. Another powerful JS technology is Node.js – one of the most used server-side development technologies on the planet. 

Early attempts at server-side JS failed. Even after limited success, server-side JS didn’t become popular until Node.js came along in 2009 and made JS more dynamic. 

In 2011, major tech companies began adopting Node.js including LinkedIn and Uber. Today, Node.js is used by tech giants Netflix, PayPal, Trello, Yahoo!, Mozilla, Groupon, GoDaddy, eBay, Walmart, Medium, and many more.

Angular. Originally created at Google in 2009, Angular.js is one of the top frameworks that made JS popular among developers. Angular.js created a complete architecture for front-end, single-page applications. However, it wasn’t without major flaws.

Angular.js was rewritten using smaller, powerful libraries and introduced Ahead-of-Time compiling and tree-shaking. Now known as Angular, the framework has a CLI capable of initializing new projects, generating skeletons, and creating a development server.

Angular does present many dependencies, but developers who can stick with the learning curve long enough to master Angular libraries will be in high demand. 

Knockout. Knockout.js was created to solve specific issues with overlapping behaviors. Trying to manage overlapping behaviors with jQuery can get tricky and hard to maintain. For example, say you want to display a simple list of items and allow users to add an item when there are fewer than five items. Accomplishing this with jQuery risks creating inconsistencies.

Knockout developers explain that with jQuery, you need to infer the number of items from the number of table rows in a table or the number of DIVs inside of a specific CSS class. If the number of items is displayed in a SPAN, you have to update the text content of that SPAN every time a user adds an item. Then, you have to disable the “add” button whenever the number of table rows equals five.

With Knockout, complexity can be scaled up without inconsistencies. List items are represented in an array and a foreach binding is used to transform the array into a table or DIVs. When the array changes, the UI changes automatically.

React. React is one of the most popular JS frameworks with a vast user community. Facebook created React in 2011 and the developers were heavily influenced by XHP – an HTML component framework for PHP. 

React uses components rather than templates to build user interfaces. The ability to build abstractions makes React perfect for large applications. React also unifies markup making views easier to extend and maintain.

The above JavaScript frameworks are required for most modern web projects and are the reason JavaScript developers will remain in high demand for years to come. 

Do you need a JavaScript developer? We can help!

If you’re looking for a team of JavaScript developers, look no further. At ZAGA, we have access to top talent and will hand-pick a skilled team just for your project. If you’ve got a project, we want to partner with you. Contact us today to find out how we can help bring your web project to life.

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