JavaScript’s amazing reach

There’s plenty of room to criticize JavaScript as a technology, language, and community(s). But, when I’m optimistic, I think the big things JavaScript as a phenomenon brings to the world are:

  • amazing reach: you can write JS for frontends, backends, games, art, music, devices, mobile, and domains I’m not even aware of
  • a better on-ramp for people new to programming: the highly motivated can learn JS and not worry about the breadth of languages they may need to learn for operations, design, reporting, build tooling, etc.
  • lots of those on-ramps: you could start learning JS to improve a spreadsheet, automate something in Salesforce, write a fun little Slack bot, etc.

In short, JavaScript increases the chances someone will level up their career. Maybe they’ll continue in sales or marketing but use JS as a secret weapon to get more done or avoid tedium. Maybe it gives them an opportunity to try programming without changing job functions or committing to a bootcamp program.

Bottom line: JavaScript, like Ruby and PHP before it, is the next thing that’s improving the chances non-programmers become programmers and reach the life-improving salary and career trajectories software developers have enjoyed for the past decade or two.