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Three Reasons Why I Wish My Class Taught jQuery

By wwwtc In Uncategorized

Posted July 30th, 2015

This past spring, I had the good fortune of taking a web development class at my college. Since the class is rarely offered, and was essentially on a trial basis, it was pretty rare for anyone to have taken it at all. It was a fun learning experience, and I gained exposure to many important parts of web development, such as HTML/CSS, Bootstrap, JavaScript, nodeJS, and SQLite. While it was good to be able to learn or get familiar with many topics, and I really enjoyed my time in the class, I did wish that I was taught jQuery too. Here are the reasons why:

1. It’s enormously popular

This isn’t a case of hopping onto the bandwagon so much as it is a case of pragmatism – jQuery is the most popular JavaScript library out there. If you want to maximize your usefulness as a front-end developer, you’re going to be better off if you learn jQuery. Its popularity stems from ease of use and effectiveness (which we’ll address later), which means that a knowledge of jQuery will greatly help you in anything you want to develop that requires JavaScript.

By that same token, if you want employers to be more keen on you, you should learn jQuery. Microsoft uses jQuery, ESPN uses jQuery, Google both uses and hosts jQuery. These are just a couple of the major companies that use the library. The actual list is quite long, and is telling of how ubiquitous jQuery has become since its initial release in 2006. This also means that the number of jQuery users is consistently growing. A strong, vibrant community ensures that the product will continue to live long and prosper, so to speak. You’re never going to be picking up or developing your jQuery skills in fear that it’s going to become a relic of the times. The bottom line is, jQuery is a Swiss army knife of a library, and everyone recognizes it.

2. For simplicity’s sake

jQuery loves you, which is why it was designed to make your life easier. Indeed, jQuery has the ability to condense multi-line JavaScript codes into just a couple lines in jQuery (or perhaps even a single line). This makes for much more concise, readable code, which is great for developers. “Write less, do more” is jQuery’s official slogan, and it does live up to that. For example, suppose you want to remove all the elements in the DOM with the id of “test.” Here’s what it would look like in JavaScript:

var removal = document.getElementById(“test”);


This is what it looks like in jQuery:


See? Way easier. In addition, jQuery has also been optimized to work across different browsers, something that isn’t necessarily as fluid in standard JavaScript. All of this user-friendliness just means that you’ll spend significantly less time debugging your code and more time writing it, something that every developer appreciates.

In addition, it’s fairly simple to learn (at least from what I’ve read and been told – as someone who still doesn’t know jQuery, it’s impossible for me to really say). jQuery is based off of good old-fashioned JavaScript, so it’s not too much of an endeavor to pick up.

3. To maximize functionality

This reason is tightly correlated with the other two. It’s not the greatest or most direct metaphor in the world, but think of jQuery in terms of basketball. If basic JavaScript is learning to dribble with your right hand, jQuery is learning to dribble with your left. The amount that you can do with your skills greatly increases with that additional knowledge, and allows you a large amount of flexibility in whatever you want to accomplish. The ability to easily manipulate the DOM, the simplicity of the code that makes writing and reading it much smoother, the optimization across browsers that allows you to develop without needing to bend and fix your code to accommodate the various browsers people may use – these are all amazing things that will make your web development days easier and better. Why cut off your learning and gimp your development power by not picking up jQuery? That seems positively backwards.

At the end of the day, there’s no harm in learning jQuery at all. When I have the time (I’m currently devoting my resources to Swift first), I’ll be sure to explore jQuery and all that it has to offer. It’s easy to pick up, easy to implement, and it will help you achieve more success in web development. The community is constantly growing, it’s free to use, and organizations of all types love it. And if that’s the case, then maybe, if you don’t already, then you should too.