Should I first learn vanilla JavaScript or Angular?

In this article we'll see how to pick the right approach to choosing whether to learn JavaScript or Angular

By: Ajdin Imsirovic 08 October 2019

Recently I talked to a developer who wanted to see if it would be better for him to learn JavaScript before learning Angular. Like many other areas in web development, this question was legitimate because the answers are not clear-cut. In this short article, I’ll offer one - in my opinion, good - answer to that question.

A man comparing two apples Photo by Raquel Martínez on

There are a few things to consider here:

How good are your skills with any programming language?

For example, could you say that you know all there is to know about basics of functions in JavaScript?

What to do when you understand the very basics of JavaScript?

If you feel pretty comfortable with some JavaScript function basics, have you built some very simple JavaScript apps?

As soon as you can understand the very basics of functions and you’ve built some very simple scripts in JavaScript, you’re ready to start working with Angular.

However, don’t expect to write meaningful scripts the way you would in vanilla JavaScript!

Learning Angular takes time, so you should start today

Learning Angular takes time, because there’s the Angular way of doing many things.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start learning Angular today; it just means that you should narrow down your expectations in the beginning.

For example, you can start by learning how to build simple layouts in Angular.

Why not have the best of both worlds?

So, what you should do in the beginning is combine two different approaches:

  1. Learn JavaScript by building simple mini-apps,
  2. Learn Angular step-by-step, from the very basics

As you get into more advanced concepts of Angular, you’ll then be able to cross-reference it against plain JavaScript.

For example, once you feel you can do it, you could write a simple Fizz Buzz exercise in JavaScript:

Then you could try re-writing the same exercise in Angular.

Next, you could compare these two implementations.

For example, you could try to find an answer to this question: Is it possible to use Observables from Angular in JavaScript?

And finally, as always, you’ll learn fastest if you have actual projects you’re working on.

Feel free to check out my work here: