The Importance Of JavaScript For Entrepreneurs In 2016

JavaScript is one of the most commonly used and important programming languages today. Read this article to get insights about what it takes for you to keep on track and how to learn from other developers.

Author: Kalin Chernev, Senior Web Developer @ European Commission
The article was originally published in the StartUs Magazine and is republished here with the author's permission.


I feel the real meaning of the word "disruptive technology" every day, because I make a living out of technology. I met a startup who share their expertise with the European community to take advantage of the disruptive technology.

Let me tell you the story of Philos!

One Night, After Work: A Hack-Jam

It all starts with a local meetup event in Brussels. Me and a friend of mine decided to join an after-work hack jam, and code together with other developers we didn't know. That was a hard step for us. Imagine two full-time PHP developers challenged to work with ES2015. ES2015, aka ES6 is a big-step change for JavaScript with major new features. The night turned to be surprisingly pleasant, because of the code and the spirit!

I'm sure that many developers will relate to the story already at this stage of the article. At the event, we met several other IT professionals who also did not have any prior experience with pair programming and/or ES6, but yet we worked together and shared.

The Technology Business Today

A common trait we share as software professionals today is that we find it hard to keep up with the evolution of JavaScript. I mean "we" in this particular event, but also the global community in general.

Lately, the fast-evolving world of JavaScript is especially exciting for entrepreneurs, because it opens opportunities previously unimaginable. If you have been around the technology scene in the last few years, you already know where I'm going.

Here are some facts:

  • Node.js came into play for web development in 2009. From humble "JavaScript on the server" to currently preferred technology for API-s, SOA and real-time apps.
  • Google released Angular in 2009. It changed the way we make web apps. Previously, there were mostly websites with mobile versions or native apps.
  • Microsoft released TypeScript in 2012. This changed many perceptions about JavaScript as a programming language for the enterprise large-scale projects.
  • Facebook released React in 2013. Nowadays, reactive component-based UI is the preferred front-end for web apps.
  • Phonegap / Apache Cordova was open sourced around 2011 and made mobile apps development easy
  • Meteor was introduced in 2011. Now many companies quickly validate business ideas with this platform having end-to-end JavaScript everywhere.

The list shows just a tiny portion of the vast set of new opportunities ahead of us: there are so many tools, frameworks and libraries which have changed the world in the last 5-6 years.

That is one of the reasons why it's important for technology professionals to get together and share during events like hack jams, presentations and conferences – to have the opportunity to keep up in a fun way!


Let's step back from the topic of JavaScript, because there are many other programming languages, and technology advancements in general, that happened in the last 5-6 years. Nevertheless the technology and the programming language, one thing is certain – all technology advancements are driven by people, and the biggest advancements are achieved through community efforts.

And that's why I believe that it's important to speak about companies like Philos. They facilitate growth in communities and help developers with the fast pace of change, and it's so fun!

What About The Future?

It's time to meet with the two passionate people who founded Philos – Davy Engone and Maxime Czetwertynski (Max). They're on a mission to prepare European developers to be and work better, while contributing to the community.

In the following you'll find a few questions I asked the team directly to share insights with you – keep in mind that some exciting projects are going to happen and you can be part of them!

What is the story behind Philos?

Davy is a passionate software engineer and Max is a digital enthusiast – after spending some time abroad, we both came back to Europe. Quickly, we realized that European companies (and individuals) tend to lack behind in terms of technologies, methods and tools used to build their products. Frustrated by the loss of productivity and the technology constraints, we decided to do something about it. That's how Philos came to life.

With Philos, we help communities of passionate developers to learn and share their experience thus bringing their skills to the next level. We also partner with companies to enable them to ship their most ambitious projects with leading technologies.

Last year, we organized 20+ events in Belgium and in the Netherlands. 600 passionate developers joined our community. We hope to strengthen this community by continuing with the events and by launching some new projects that we have in the pipe (Hacker Space, DevLeague, Code-Fit, …).

What is your vision?

Imagine a future where Europe is at the leading edge. Where companies and individuals alike use the latest technologies to build the best possible products on the market. A future where passionate communities get together and share their knowledge to contribute to building tomorrow's software. This is the future Philos is building.

What is your advice for startups who want to be on the cutting edge with JavaScript?

"JavaScript is the new black. Investing time in it is undoubtedly a wise move."

The first thing we advice is to learn and understand the deep rooted concepts of JavaScript. Frameworks come and go. Learning the abstracted concepts behind these frameworks won't. Make sure you're savvy about what the frameworks are trying to abstract. Once you master them, the rest becomes so much easier.

JavaScript's popularity makes that tons of frameworks, libraries and tools pop up on the radar, which can be overwhelming. Our advice is to choose the ones that truly help you be more productive, build better products and which you feel the most comfortable with. But that doesn't mean you should always stick to it and remain in your comfort zone. Always try to keep an eye on the new stuff and get feedback from others if you don't have time to explore it yourself. The JavaScript world is vast and resourceful.

Our last advice would be to interact with other developers as much as possible. Work in pair programming, absorb advice from experienced developers or share yours. You will gain invaluable insights either ways. Sharing your knowledge will get you to develop your mentoring skills and make sure that you understand the concepts deep enough to be able to explain them afterwards. Learning from others can teach you new concepts and help you develop a whole new vision on a specific problem.