TypeScript vs JavaScript, 2020

TypeScript vs JavaScript


There is no question TypeScript has grown very rapidly over the course of the last few years, and according to the State of JavaScript survey, 89% of TypeScript users would use it again, and 66% of survey respondents either use TypeScript, or are interested in using TypeScript (down slightly from 71% least year).
But while interest is certainly strong and usage seems to be growing quickly, experience with TypeScript is not yet in strong demand on the job market. Only ~7% of JavaScript job openings mention TypeScript in the job description (source). This is probably undercounting TypeScript jobs a little because hiring managers expect JavaScript developers to be capable of picking up TypeScript without much trouble, so there’s a chance they won’t bother to mention TypeScript in their job postings.

I stand by my assessment that the TypeScript language may have a low or even negative return on investment. It could hurt rather than improve your productivity, and if you’re already using great bug prevention measures such as TDD, code review, and design review, coding in TypeScript is unlikely to provide a significant bug reduction benefit.
That said, there is a lot to love about TypeScript, and you certainly should not be afraid of it, or turn down a job because they use TypeScript instead of JavaScript. Because TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript, onboarding from JavaScript to TypeScript is not as challenging as learning an entirely different language.
You probably don’t need to learn the TypeScript language to get an edge on the job market competition in 2020, but the TypeScript engine is quite useful, even for standard JavaScript.
I use it every day to provide intellisense for standard JavaScript using Visual Studio Code. That intellisense can even be enhanced using JSDoc (which the TypeScript engine understands and interprets as it would interpret type annotations) or external d.ts files, and VS Code will automatically acquire TypeScript definitions for the modules you use.

Note: I’ve been enjoying similar benefits for several years using TernJS and Atom, but that combination lacks the maintenance and community support of TypeScript engine + VS Code.
If you haven’t tried Visual Studio Code yet, you may want to start there. BTW, VS Code dominates the JavaScript IDE market among State of JS respondents, with 57% market share (followed by WebStorm, with 14% market share

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