JavaScript learning path: From Zero to Hero

When I started as a ServiceNow admin, in 2011, I did not have any experience with JavaScript. I had to learn the basic, fast, and I choose to continue to progress along the way. I consider that continuous improvement is especially important to be applied to oneself.

I did a previous article on the learning path to become “ServiceNow Certified Implementation Specialist”, but this time I’ll focus on building your JavaScript development skills, via a selection of free or inexpensive courses available online. I’m in no way affiliated to any content linked here. I only want to share the amazing study materials that I found in the past years.

Knowing that 94.7% of all web sites use JavaScript should be a great incentive to learn more on the subject.

Starting the Path as a JavaScript Newbie

If you are starting from scratch, one great place to learn the basic is CodeAcademy and its fully interactive “Learn JavaScript” course.

This recently refreshed course is free and can be completed in a few hours. Some extra materials are only available under their $20 per month Pro membership, but both the Free and Pro options are an incredible value.

Steering your JavaScript toward ServiceNow

Once you understand the basics of the language, it’s time to learn how to apply it within the Now platform. For this, the ServiceNow Developer website should be your new roadmap. ServiceNow add custom dedicated functions to vanilla JavaScript, and most of your development will rely on the functions included via the Client-side and Server-side APIs.

The Training section has several useful courses and “Scripting in ServiceNow” is a must have for any ServiceNow admin. It covers both API.

JavaScript: Understanding the Weird Parts

After completing these courses, you’ll have covered the basics. You’ll probably be able to understand existing scripts, do some light modifications on them, and create your own simple scripts.

I was coming from another programing language (PHP) and some part of JavaScript where still very counterintuitive to me. In my case I found the perfect course via the Udemy website. If you don’t know Udemy, it’s described as “a global marketplace for learning and teaching online where students are mastering new skills and achieving their goals by learning from an extensive library of over 55,000 courses taught by expert instructors.

JavaScript: Understanding the Weird Parts” led by instructor Anthony Alicea is an eleven hour masterpiece of video training and a great resource to become an expert in the language.

In this course you will gain a deep understanding of Javascript, learn how Javascript works under the hood, and how that knowledge helps you avoid common pitfalls and drastically improve your ability to debug problems. You will find clarity in the parts that others, even experienced coders, may find weird, odd, and at times incomprehensible. You’ll learn the beauty and deceptive power of this language that is at the forefront of modern software development today.

I learned a lot within this course, and it’s my intention to watch it again now and then.

As for the price, its full official price is $175 on Udemy (and it’s worth it). But if it’s too expensive for you, the platform has very frequent site wide sales, with up to 95% of their catalog. Just by registering to the site, you’ll trigger a sale on every course. If a course still is too expensive for you, search for online coupons, or wish list it and wait for a couple of months.

For the Service Portals: Learn and Understand AngularJS

Also on Udemy, the same instructor did another very relevant course on the AngularJS Framework. This is a framework that integrates HTML web pages and JavaScript in a much more efficient way than the vanilla JavaScript. It’s used in ServiceNow to implement the recent Service Portals. It’s feels a bit like a new language and but it’s a nice skill to have on your belt.

I recommend the “Learn and Understand AngularJS” course. It’s an amazing seven hour video course. The $175 price is the same as the previous course, but you can apply the same tips to obtain it on the cheap. I obtained most of my courses for $10 a piece.

Certify yourself as a ServiceNow Application Developer

Your final goal could be to get officially certified as an “ServiceNow Application Developer“. The 90 minute exam costs $150 and consist of 60 multiple‑choice questions. To prepare for the exam, download the exam blueprint and review what will be covered.

To my knowledge, they are two available training paths for the exam. The most expensive path is to register for both the “Scripting in ServiceNow” and “Application Creation in ServiceNow” classes. Both are three days on-site events, each costing $2,095.

If you are an autodidact, and you probably are if you’re still reading this article, you can also return to the Developer web site in the Learning Path section and follow the “ServiceNow Application Developer” free text-based course.

Conclusion

There are tons of great  learning materials available on the web, in the libraries and in classrooms. The learning path stated above was ideal for me, but depending on your learning habits, you may need to use other resources. If you wish to share your experience or feedback here, you’ll be most welcome.

 

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