Should You Learn Java Or Javascript First?

There are so many programming languages out there to learn, and some of the most sought-after developers are ones that know Java or JavaScript. Seeing as these are the top two competitors battling it out for top tech skill in demand, we decided we should go over which you should opt to learn first. 

Choosing Java or JavaScript first would depend on your career path choice and then how easy or beneficial one is to learn. JavaScript is primarily used to build web-based applications and runs in web browsers, while Java is based on C and C++ and is used for server-side applications allowing for robust systems. JavaScript has a flexible coding approach while Java is more rigid.

I am glad I learned javaScript first and would recommend it to most people as it was easier to learn than would be Java as a beginner programmer. However, my friend went with Java and liked it enough that now she wants to get a job in the Java programming field.

If you have ever wanted to know the difference between Java and JavaScript, which is “better” or which you should learn first, then read on. This article will detail what they are and then compare their differences and similarities. We will then look at which is easier to learn and why finally concluding with which you should choose to learn first. 

Java or JavaScript first?

Before you decide which programming language you should learn, you need first to understand what they are and their differences. We cant tell you which one to learn first because without understanding what they are, what they do, and what direction you are looking to head down with programming, it will be futile. 

Furthermore, other factors such as salary play a role, and JavaScript developers get a bit more money than Java developers due to the fact that JavaScript developers are in higher demand, with Java coming in second. 

However, both are looking at a salary of approximately +- $105, 000 a year depending on the level of competency. This means top-tier developers for both Java and JavaScript will almost earn the same, with JavaScript developers making about $1000 more a year.

java vs javascript
Both languages are in very high demand. If you are short on time then I would suggest learning JavaScript first because it is in my opinion easier programming language to learn.

What is Java, and what is JavaScript?

What is Java?

In today’s digital world, we use and implement many digital devices that help us with everyday tasks like shopping, banking, and bookings. All of this is possible because of a high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language called Java. 

This language is used in a distributed environment on the internet and is a general-purpose programming language that is intended to let developers write code that will run anywhere without the need to be recompiled into another language. 

It is popularly used in gaming consoles, GUIs (graphical user interfaces), web and mobile applications, and game development. It is also used to develop software on other devices, not only computers and mobile devices but also in other electronic devices and appliances like TVs, washing machines, and air conditioning units.  

How does Java work?

Java is based on the languages of C and C++. However, it is simplified and improved, providing a way to solve errors in programming. By using a compiler, it converts its code to binary code. The Java interpreter then executes it. All of this happens on a Java virtual machine which provides it with a runtime environment. 

The main concepts in Java revolve around its Classes and Methods. A method is a block of code that performs a specific task but only when it is asked to do so (called). For example, you would use methods that would perform calculations (adding, subtracting, multiplying, etc.), convert variables (kilometers to miles), and so on. 

Grouping a bunch of methods together would then form what is known as a Class. Classes are a way to organize code, just as you would have a different section in a supermarket for other products (food products, health products, clothing, etc.). 

Java is comprised of many features making it an excellent programming language. We already stated that it is based on C and C++ but is more robust, eliminating errors within those languages.  Other features include garbage collection and exception handling, making Java very unique. 

One of the most popular features of Java is that it is platform-independent. This means that Java can essentially run on any machine. Another feature that Java has is multithreading which allows it to multitask. 

Java then works around four object-oriented programming concepts (OOPs Concepts). These are known as Abstraction, encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism. Abstraction means showing the relevant information that is needed for a task. Encapsulation makes Java secure by storing data within the Classes. Inheritance refers to a concept whereby one Class can inherit attributes and characteristics of another Class. Polymorphism is the last concept and means that you are able to use the same method (block of code) for different tasks. 

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a high-level programming language that conforms to ECMA script specifications, and alongside HTML and CSS, it is one of the core technologies of the internet. When the internet was invented web sites mainly consisted of HTML and then CSS. 

Using HTML and a web browser, another computer could successfully read documents from another computer while CSS was used for styling purposes. 

In 1995 Netscape invented JavaScript, which is essentially a computer program for a web browser. This way, when HTML and CSS get sent from one computer to another’s browser, you could also send over some programming. JavaScript would run in the web browser, creating an even better user experience. 

You probably don’t realize it, but 97% of all websites use it on the client-side (what the user sees and experiences) for web page behavior. 

For example, you are probably familiar with the social media site Twitter. Twitter uses a lot of JavaScript on its website to perform specific tasks and features that would otherwise not be possible without it. An example of JavaScript on Twitter’s site allows for opening a tweet in a bigger window. Other features that utilize JavaScript are any of the actions that you can take that are situated below a tweet, such as Favourite, Like, Retweet, and Reply. 

JavaScript is not just for programming in web browsers but also used on servers, game programming, databases, and even robots. 

Video: Difference between Java and JavaScript

What is the difference between Java and JavaScript?

Now that we know what Java and JavaScript are and how they work let’s look at the similarities and differences that differentiate them to clearly understand which might be easier to understand and learn first. 

The only aspect that actually relates Java to JavaScript is that they both have the word “Java” in their title. Other than that, they are two separate programming languages and are not in the same category in programming languages. 

One thing to consider is that the elements you can build with each of them have been converging over the past few years due to JavaScript’s recent breakout framework Node.js.

Java was initially designed to work with a TV. However, it was too advanced for the digital cable TV industry at the time (1996). IT eventually move on to dominate the world of server-side programming.

On the other hand, JavaScript was invented in 1995 and was made to be implemented in a web browser. Java and JavaScript have a similar name because Netscape partnered up with Sun Microsystems to take on Microsoft. Let’s look at the programming differences know between Java and Javascript.

Is Java or JavaScript easier?

Now that we know what is similar about Java and JavaScript, let’s take a look at their differences, and by understanding those, we will also be able to tell which language is relatively easier to understand. 

Java is a statically types language, while JavaScript is a dynamically typed language. This means that declaring variables in Java is much more rigid than in JavaScript.

For example, in Java, you will have to specify the types of values you are going to be saving to a specific variable. Furthermore, these variables can never be changed (a String can’t change to an integer). 

Conversely, in JavaScript, this is not the case. You do not have to specify the types of data that you are saving to a variable. Furthermore, JavaScript variables can be reassigned to values with different data types. 

JavaScript is considered a prototype-based object-oriented programming language, which means that you are not bound to a code pattern like Java. This simply means that you don’t have to go through so much effort to accomplish something in JavaScript. 

For example, let us consider trying to print a simple phrase in both languages, “Hello World”.

Java code print example

public class HelloWorld {
  public static void main (String [] args) {
    System.out.println("Hello World") ;
  }
}

Using Java, you will be forced to deal with Classes. We discussed what Classes are (reusable templates used to produce objects) and that they contain methods (blocks of code). You would need to construct these Classes (wrappers) in order for Java to perform any task correctly (even something as simple as printing a string). You would then have to create a function in the Class, and that function would have your action and would execute that action each time the function is called. 

Oppositely, JavaScript is much easier to use when it comes to something like printing out a string.  There is no need to wrap the action in a function or a Class, for that matter. 

JavaScript code print example

console.log("Hello World") ;

One thing to note is that JavaScript updated to include the type of Class structure that is found in Java, but in no way is JavaScript bound to this construction. 

JavaScript Class structure code example

class DenimJeans {
  constructor(material, size) {
    material = “Denim” ;
    this.size = 34;
  }
}

Java and JavaScript differences table

JavaJavaScript
Statically typed languageDynamically typed language
Class-based languagePrototype-based language
Slow start but stable in the long runEasier and quicker to build but prone to bugs
Used for large-scale projects,  Android mobile apps, appliances, hardware, etc., and is primarily a back-end system.  Used for front-end single web page applications
Works on any platform (machine)Has evolved and can do more with libraries, frameworks, and open source (Node.js)
StableFast
Used for specific projectsUsed for almost any project on the web
Used by big enterprises (corporations and companies)Used by startups and startup-y tech companies

JavaScript can also be considered to be much more forgiving than Java in the process of building out an application in the early stages.  Due to the fact that you do not have to jump through as many hoops as you do with Java building an application, it is relatively quick to get a working app up and running in a short time frame. However, it is prone to being buggy because it is so flexible. 

On the other hand, because you have to declare and construct Classes for pretty much everything in Java, this may take you time to build something, but when you are finished, it will be more stable, and the effort and upkeep time will be minimal, while for JavaScript application you may have to debug your application and sections of code a lot. 

Should you learn Java or JavaScript first?

Now understanding everything there is to know about Java and JavaScript, you will need to make an informed decision about your career path. Due to them being different languages with similarities, it would be beneficial to choose the language that primarily suits your career path.

For example, if you were looking to develop web-based applications, you would most likely learn to use JavaScript first. Conversely, if you were looking to build applications on mobile devices or software for appliances and machines, Java would be your best bet. 

However, if you are not looking to learn a language for any specific career path, JavaScript would be easier to learn first due to how easy it is to assign variables and code. 

Although it may be easier, you have to consider that it may be more problematic because you will often get confused and write incorrect code as a beginner, causing lots of errors and bugs.

Learning Java first may be a little more time-consuming; however, you have the additional benefit of learning structure, and coding is all about structure and hierarchy. Thus learning Java will give you a solid foundation that you can work from, and JavaScript will be easier to understand. 

The last factor to consider is that JavaScript developers get paid more than Java developers as of 2021, so if you are in it for the money, then JavaScript is for you. 

Conclusion

We discovered that Java and JavaScript are actually two different programming languages with a few similarities and one being that of the name “Java”. This is because Netscape partnered up with Sun Microsystems back in the ’90s to take on Microsoft because Internet Explorer was becoming ever so popular. 

Other than that, Java is primarily used for applications on mobile devices, software development for machines and appliances, and used in banking and automotive industries. It is important to understand that Java works on the server-side of the environment. 

JavaScript was a language that was developed to be used alongside HTML and CSS in web browsers giving web pages more functionality. It is now used in creating many web-based applications and is still used on 97% of websites out there today. 

Java is based on C and C++, and due to this, it is a robust language that is a little more complicated to learn than JavaScript. One example is that Java needs you to state variables and encapsulate methods and functions in Classes, and there is no way around this. It means that Java requires a lot more effort to get something done.

JavaScript is much more flexible, allowing you to change variables and not specify data types, but there is a downside to this. Even though applications can be quickly built with JavaScript, the manner of the language allows for more errors and bugs. 

On deciding which to learn first, it would be preferable that you choose one that suits your career path, and if that doe not needs to be considered, then JavaScript is easier to learn, but studying Java first will give you a sound understanding of programming as a whole.