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JavaScript Is Eating The World

Welcome news for students of COMP266 - skills in JavaScript are becoming more and more valuable every day, albeit driven mainly by NodeJS, the dominant server-side variant of JavaScript that is not (yet) addressed in the course.

 JavaScript seems to be replacing Java for many large-scale applications (the article cites Netflix, PayPal, Uber, IBM, and Microsoft) because it's easier to learn, faster to develop, more open, and easier to maintain.  What was, originally, a quick and dirty scripting language that piggy-backed its name on the then-rising fame of Java (despite bearing little or no resemblance to Java and being a completely independent project from a different company), that was and still sometimes is scorned by academic computer scientists, appears to be set to overtake Java very soon, if it has not already done so. Different sources using different methodologies come up with different rankings so it is quite hard to tell for sure. For example:

  • Based on job postings, reckons SQL dominates, but SQL is not a general purpose programming language (solely used for databases) and is predominantly used embedded within other languages, so this is very misleading. It is followed by Java, then Python, then JavaScript.
  • Based on code uploaded to GitHub, reckons JavaScript dominates, followed by Java, then Python and CSS (nb. CSS is not a general purpose programming language - in fact, it's barely a programming language at all - so I don't think it should be included). But GitHub is mostly used for open-source projects, so the results are likely a bit skewed to under-represent languages predominantly used for closed-source systems, like C# or Swift.
  • Based on numbers of courses, experts, and vendors, combined with a bit of Googling, puts JavaScript eighth, with Java dominating, followed by C, C++, C#, Python and Visual Basic, of all things. I don't find this at all convincing, especially as it focuses on the overall picture, with all its historical baggage, rather than how things are today. The methodology reminds me of the (many) studies that claim to find a relationship between programming skills and math skills, but that measure that correlation according to how well students do on academic programming exams that force students to solve math problems. The few studies that avoid this trap generally suggest that there is actually no correlation or a negative correlation between math skills and programming skills when you look at programmers in real-world settings. 

All the figures I have seen, though, suggest that JavaScript programming is a pretty useful skill to learn.


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COMP 266

COMP 266

COMP 266: Introduction to Web Programming

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