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Are JavaScript and jQuery Additional Skills to Add to Your Resume?

I recently answered a question on Quora in which the original poster asked if it was okay to add JavaScript and jQuery to his resume, even if he hadn’t used them much. Ordinarily, I try to empathize with the person asking the question and give long detailed responses in an effort to try to help. This time? I wasn’t feeling it. I left an unusually terse response and signed out of Quora.

After a couple of days, though, I thought it was important to reflect on why this question bothered me. I wrote about it in my journal and concluded that as a hiring manager, the thought that people would add skills to their resumes that they aren’t able to use in a professional capacity is a difficult one for me to swallow. I decided to expand my thoughts about this conundrum into this blog post so that I can detail exactly why it is not a good idea to add web technologies to your resume if you have not used them. After discussing these reasons, I will cover how you can learn JavaScript and jQuery so that you actually can add them to your resume.

Reason #1: You Will Not Be Able to Fake Knowledge of JavaScript

Man taking whiteboard challengeJavaScript is a web programming language, used primarily for client-side web scripting. It is responsible for the interactions that a user has with a webpage. jQuery is currently the most popular JavaScript library, though it is arguably less important than it once was in web development. If you are applying for a position in digital marketing and JavaScript skills are desired so that you can add regular expressions to Google Analytics filters, an important tool for marketers, then you may not be penalized as much for adding these skills to your resume.

If you’d like to work as a front-end web developer, however, it is absolute essential that you have prior experience working with JavaScript and possibly jQuery, the most popular JavaScript library. If you’re able to get past the hiring manager initially, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to pass a technical interview. These are whiteboard challenges where you are asked to solve complex problems with code. Imagine trying to take one without knowing the programming language that you are supposed to use! You are much better off taking the time to learn at least the basics of JavaScript before attempting such a feat.

Reason #2: The Interview Process Will be a Time Waster

Wasting a hiring manager's timeRather than spend your time applying for jobs for which you are not yet qualified, I’d encourage you to take the time to learn JavaScript the right way, using one of the two options below. Applying for jobs that you’re not ready for wastes your time, and it also wastes the time of the team and hiring manager who are evaluating your application.

Out of all of the reasons, as a hiring manager, I can honestly say that this is the reason that bothers me the most. Many employers have little time to vet and interview potential applicants, and if someone applies for a position they are not qualified for, it takes extra time and resources to filter them out, especially if the employer does not have the option of using tools to automatically filter out applicants.

Reason #3: Lying on a Resume Could Hurt Your Reputation

Woman experiencing difficulty during job interviewSo, you get past the hiring manager initially and are invited in for a technical interview. After about five minutes and you have only written a few lines of code, it is evident that you are not qualified, and the employer chooses to end your interview. At this point, you have damaged your relationship with the company, and even if you do learn JavaScript well enough to add it to your resume, you will most certainly not be invited back to interview with the company again.

While this might be okay if you live in a large city like New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta or Chicago where there are hundreds of employers that hire web developers, it is very important that you interview strategically if you live in a mid-sized or small city with fewer job opportunities. In cities like Milwaukee and Boston, for example, having a solid reputation matters. People tend to know each other well, and a high emphasis is placed on networking and personal recommendations.

Where You Can Learn JavaScript and jQuery

Below, I will outline a couple of options for you. The first option explores learning JavaScript and jQuery while the second option explores learning JavaScript and React.js, another popular JavaScript library.

Option 1: The Web Developer Bootcamp

Web Developer Bootcamp GraphicMy favorite course for those who have struggled to learn JavaScript and jQuery is Colt Steele’s The Web Developer Bootcamp. In this course, you will learn to become a full-stack JavaScript developer. After learning the JavaScript language and the jQuery library, you will build several projects, including a web application that requires node.js, or back-end JavaScript. If you’re interested in learning more about this course, you can check out my detailed review.

If you decide to take this course, I also recommend learning ES6, which is also called ECMAScript2015. In 2015, the JavaScript language went through several changes, and the burden is on web developers to learn both. Luckily, I can recommend a great course for this, too, which is Stephen Grider’s course ES6 JavaScript: The Complete Developer’s Guide. Like Colt Steele’s course, it is also available on Udemy, where they often run specials that allow you to purchase courses for $10 – $15.

Option 2: Modern JavaScript with React.js

Web Developer Bootcamp 2018 CourseIf you have a mind that naturally has a logical bend and you’re good at picking up technical skills quickly, then you can launch right into Andrei Neagoie’s The Complete Web Developer in 2018: Zero to Mastery course. It is another bootcamp-style course, in which he covers ES6 during the JavaScript basics training and quickly launches into React.js, one of the most in-demand JavaScript libraries. The interest right now in React.js skills cannot be understated, so if you’re able to learn it shortly after JavaScript basics, then Neagoie’s course might be the right one for you.

Personally, I know that I would not have been able to complete the DOM Manipulation section without prior JavaScript experience. I would have needed more practice with JavaScript before completing the projects. If you are like me and have struggled to learn JavaScript, then Colt Steele’s course above would be my recommendation.

I should also mention that Neagoie does not cover jQuery in his course, so if you want to learn jQuery and don’t mind picking up ES6 after learning full-stack JavaScript, then I’d recommend going with option #1, Colt Steele’s Web Developer Bootcamp and Stephen Grider’s ES6 course. An easy way to tell whether or not you should spend time learning jQuery is to search for web developer jobs in your area and see if it is listed as a technology in the job descriptions. You can preview ten jobs, and if half of them list jQuery, then it would be a relevant library for you to learn.

Young man in glasses sitting and using laptop

While no one course on JavaScript can teach you everything, the two bootcamps are both excellent choices. Because they are so popular, both instructors — Steele and Neagoie — have employed teaching assistants who respond to students when they are stuck. When I pilot courses that I plan to review, I conduct a little test to see how quickly the instructor or TA responds. In both courses, I am pleased to say that the responses are swift and satisfying. Neagoie’s assistant, Wolfgang, in particular is responsive. I’ve had a few exchanges with him, and many times he would respond before I could even complete my next lecture.

I hope this post has convinced you JavaScript and jQuery are skills that you can easily add after taking a course or two. If you have any questions about either of the options I outlined, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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