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The previous two posts presented free outlets where you can start learning HTML/CSS and jQuery, this post will present free outlets for beginners to learn JavaScript. What’s common between HTML/CSS, jQuery and JavaScript is that they’re all client side web development languages, which means that the code is compiled on the client computer not on the server.

JavaScript has many uses in web development, one of the uses of JavaScript is processing a form being filled by a user before sending it to the server, so you’re sure that mandatory fields are filled otherwise an error message appears to the user, it’s many other usages that you’ll know while you’re learning. Finally, you should know that JavaScript has nothing to do with Java both are separate programming languages.

The aim of this post is to provide a road map for beginners to learn JavaScript, all of the sources stated here are structured courses that you can follow along as a beginner.

If you just want the bottom line (the road map to learn JavaScript) and you don’t wish to read the entire article then go to the “Bottom Line” section at the end of the article.

How to Learn JavaScript for Free

HTML.net

HTML.net is an excellent free online outlet to learn JavaScript that doesn’t require registering to have access to the course. The site is structured in an excellent way that makes it very easy for a beginner to start and follow along. It’s also an excellent reference. After opening the website you choose the JavaScript course and you’re ready to go.

Structure: The course is divided into lessons; and each lesson covers a certain topic in JavaScript, the course is written in a simple language that makes it easy and interesting for beginners to learn.

Interface: The interface is very simple as seen below, you chose the lesson you want to study from the menu on the left side of the page, click on the lesson and you’re ready to go.

HTML.net JavaScript Course, learn JavaScript online, learn JavaScript free, how learn JavaScript, JavaScript tutorialsNow, to the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. Very suitable for beginners.
  3. The language used in the explanation makes it easy and interesting to learn.
  4. Good source to revisit certain topics, and can be used as a future reference.

Cons

  1. The course isn’t interactive as other online outlets.

Verdict: HTML.net is the primary outlet for beginners to learn JavaScript.

Codecademy

Codecademy is an online outlet where you can learn many programming languages and JavaScript is among them. Joining Codecademy is pretty simple; just register using your email and you’re ready to go.

Structure: The course on Codecademy is divided into sections and each section is divided into lessons. At the end of each lesson there’s a small quiz that you’ve to solve in order to proceed to the next lesson “don’t worry; there are helpful tips that’ll guide you”.

Interface: The user interface on Codecademy is quite simple; the page is divided into 4 sections:

  1. Lesson body section (explanation).
  2. Quiz section, you shall find the tips just under it.
  3. Body section; where you type your code.
  4. Your code output section (how your code would appear in the browser in real life).

Codecademy JavaScript Course, learn JavaScript online, learn JavaScript free, how learn JavaScript, JavaScript tutorialsYou’re awarded with badges for the the lessons you finish, which is really encouraging. Now to the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. The course is well-structured.
  3. Badges are really encouraging.

Cons 

  1. Though the JavaScript course is well structured, but the explanation might be confusing for someone new to programming, so it shouldn’t be your first stop in learning JavaScript.
  2. They don’t provide any reference material that you might use to advance in your studies.

Verdict: You shouldn’t start learning JavaScript at Codecademy if you’re a beginner, you should start at HTML.net and then exercise what you’ve learned at Codecademy.

Code Avengers

Code Avengers have a freemium (free/premium) model where the first level is free while the higher levels are paid. Joining the course is pretty easy, you just register with your email and you’re ready to go.

Structure: The course is divided into three levels. The first Level is free while the other two are paid. Each level is divided into lessons. After each lesson you’ll have a quiz that you need to pass before proceeding to the next level. What’s different in Code Avengers is that in each lesson you get a grade “0-10/10” so after finishing the course you’d know which topics require revisiting.

Interface: The user interface on Code Avengers is quite simple; the page is divided into 3 sections:

  1. Lesson body section (explanation).
  2. Quiz section, you shall find the tips just under it.
  3. Body section; where you type your code.
  4. The output of the code will be prompt in a new window but its not embedded in the course page.

Code Avengers JavaScript Course, learn JavaScript online, learn JavaScript free, how learn JavaScript, JavaScript tutorialsYou’re awarded with badges for lessons you finish, and that’s again very encouraging. Now to the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free (only level one).
  2. Badges are really encouraging.
  3. Grades in the quizzes are really helpful.

Cons

  1. The JavaScript course on Code Avengers isn’t well-structured for beginners; it doesn’t orient you properly towards object oriented programming languages (at least the free part).
  2. Advanced courses are paid (not very expensive ~ 15 $ for the level).
  3. They’ve the same problem of Codecademy of not providing any reference material that you might use to advance with your studies.

Verdict: You shouldn’t start learning JavaScript from Code Avengers, there are better outlets as HTML.net and treehouse.

W3Schools

W3Schools is one of the online outlets where you can learn JavaScript for free. W3Schools is similar to HTML.net as you don’t need to register to start, just open the web site and you’re ready to go. The difference between HTML.net and W3Schools is that the language and the material on HTML.net are more suitable for a beginner and it’s easier to flow along. W3Schools is more suitable to see examples or revise something but not very suitable to learn from it.

Structure: The course is divided into lessons; and each lesson covers a certain topic in JavaScript.

Interface: The interface is simple as seen below, you click on the lesson and you’re ready to go.

W3Schools JavaScript Course, learn JavaScript online, learn JavaScript free, how learn JavaScript, JavaScript tutorialsNow, to the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. It covers the majority of the topics in JavaScript.
  3. Good source to revisit certain topics, and it can be used as a future reference.

Cons

  1. Not interactive as Codecademy and Code Avengers.
  2. Not as simple as HTML.net.
  3. You should note that at the footer of the W3Schools website the following is written “W3Schools is optimized for learning, testing, and training. Examples might be simplified to improve reading and basic understanding. Tutorials, references, and examples are constantly reviewed to avoid errors, but we cannot warrant full correctness of all content”.

Verdict: W3Schools is suitable for someone who has previous experience in programming. You can’t start learning from it if you don’t have any prior programming experience.

Udemy

Udemy is one of the outlets where you can learn JavaScript; you can learn literally anything on Udemy for free or for free (depending on the course provider). To join Udemy just register using your email. Go to the search bar and type what you want to learn (JavaScript in our case), of course you should choose the free courses and at the time of writing this post the following courses were present:

Udemy JavaScript Course, learn JavaScript online, learn JavaScript free, how learn JavaScript, JavaScript tutorialsYou can choose one of these courses and start it. Each course is divided into lessons (depending on the instructor ); I’ve tried the 02Geek course and the instructor was good. Of course if you want to proceed with more levels in JavaScript for instance you’ll have to pay or just search for another course that’s free, but after all it’ll be inconvenient as there would be no consistency in your learning curve. The following are the pros and cons of Udemy.

Pros

  1. There is some good material for beginners.
  2. The free courses are more suitable for someone who wants to get a general idea about JavaScript.

Cons

  1. You’ll have to pay per course to proceed with your learning journey.
  2. It’s a trial and error process for both the free and paid courses as it depends on the instructor (stars aren’t that convenient as the instructor might be new that’s why he/she has no stars).

Verdict: It’s a trial and error experience; so it’s better to try other free outlet from the sources stated in this post.

Paid only Sources

Lynda: Lynda is somehow similar to Udemy as you can nearly learn anything there through videos made by professional instructors. Lynda is a monthly subscription service (I shall provide a promo code that will make you eligible for a free 7 days trial). The difference between Udemy and Lynda is that Lynda is a monthly subscription service so overall it’ll be cheaper (25$/month is better than 25-100$/course on Udemy). Lynda promo code is: Lynda.com/gizwiz (courtesy of the GizWiz show on TWiT.TV network, just click on “Lynda” stated at the beginning and you’ll be directed to it).

After registering (I’ve to warn you that even with the above promo code you’re required to input your credit card info) you can search for the course you want to study, which is JavaScript in our case then you’ve to select the level (e.g. Beginner, intermediate, Expert). If you want to be more specific you can type (e.g. HTML5 Canvas) and you shall see courses about it.

Verdict: I’ve advised not to use the free 7 days trial for HTML/CSS and jQuery. Now, I recommend using the trial period to learn JavaScript.

Tip: You can always create a virtual credit card to register if you don’t wish to give them your credit card information.

Bottom Line

  1. Start with HTML.net.
  2. Exercise at Codecademy.
  3. If you’re one of those people who can’t study except from a book, then try the books here they’re all free.
  4. Use the free trial on Lynda to take the complete course of JavaScript.

Remember that the first step is always the toughest step, and the aim of this post is to provide you with resources that will help you take your first step in JavaScript.