JavaScript vs. jQuery: Top 4 Differences You Need to Know

Written by Bruno Boksic
JavaScript vs. jQuery: Top 4 differences you need to know
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JavaScript and jQuery have been around for more than a decade; JavaScript was invented back in 1995 in Netscape, while jQuery was invented in 2008 in BarCamp NYC. And developers still use both languages for web development, showing they have stood the test of time. 

A software developer doing web development therefore needs skills in both JavaScript and jQuery. In this article, we will go over in more detail what JavaScript and jQuery are, what features they include, and how they are different.  

First, let’s start with JavaScript.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a scripting language that has been around for more than 25 years. Programmers use it to add interactivity to a web page: Clickable buttons, change of color when going over a text, and popups are all part of the JavaScript programming language. 

It’s part of the trifecta of website development, with HTML and CSS being the other two. You use HTML and CSS for defining the structure of the website and web pages, but JavaScript enables you to make the web page dynamic (“brings it to life”). 

You don’t need to worry about programming in different web browsers – JavaScript has been around for so long that all web browsers have an in-built JavaScript engine. That means that any web browser identifies JavaScript code and interacts with it. 

When working on the basics of JavaScript, programmers use it as a procedural language. However, when working on the more advanced features of JavaScript, programmers use it as an object-oriented language. 

In addition to developers using JavaScript for website development, server programs such as Node.js and even databases like CouchDB and MongoDB as use the scripting language.

What is jQuery? 

When programmers started to use JavaScript, they began to understand the commands they had to use. Because JavaScript is quite a complicated language, requiring long lines of code, some developers created a library that could manipulate DOM to simplify coding. That’s what jQuery is. 

jQuery offers a JavaScript library that enables programmers to use Animate, Delay, Fade-In, and many other commands more easily. This enables programmers to write all that code in only five or six lines instead of writing the entire code by themselves in JavaScript. In other words, jQuery simplified the process of writing code for JavaScript.

jQuery is an open-source library made on top of JavaScript, and it’s used to create dynamic webpages. It’s one of the most popular JavaScript libraries (although not the only one: Others include MooTools, Knockout, and Angular). 

Although programmers will still basically write code in JavaScript, jQuery is a tool that helps them write that code more easily. In general, when software developers use jQuery, they use it for the following actions: 

  • Handling events

  • Developing Ajax applications

  • Doing animations

  • Selecting and manipulating DOM elements

  • Navigating documents 

The top 4 differences you need to know when it comes to JavaScript and jQuery

The top 4 differences you need to know between JavaScript and jQuery

There are some important differences between JavaScript and jQuery, which include: 

  • Usability. JavaScript uses long lines of code, all written by a programmer. With jQuery, a programmer can write fewer lines of code to achieve some of the same functions. 

  • Compatibility. Even though JavaScript is supported by all web browsers, compatibility can still be an issue. Programmers need to write additional lines of code for different browsers, moving them to specific locations to work properly on all browsers. With jQuery, the programmer doesn’t need to worry about additional lines of code because the library has in-built cross-browser compatibility. 

  • Speed. Although jQuery is quite a fast library, it still needs to translate its code into JavaScript before interacting with a website. JavaScript does that automatically. JavaScript also accesses DOM faster than jQuery. 

  • Maintenance. Because JavaScript requires many lines of code for functions, it can be tricky to reuse or maintain them. With jQuery, the programmer simply calls the predefined functions of the library and reuses the same functions where needed. 

Here’s how TestGorilla can help you find the right programmers

Once you decide to hire a programmer who can work both in JavaScript and in jQuery, you will still need to find and evaluate that person to ensure you have the right candidate. 

Evaluating your candidates will be easier for your organization if you use pre-employment tests in your hiring process. At TestGorilla, we have helped more than 5,000 companies implement pre-employment assessments in their hiring processes. Here are just a few of the benefits: 

  • They’re bias-free. When your hiring manager receives 250 applications per job posting, it is a major challenge to review all your applicants. Unconscious bias creeps into hiring decisions when reviewing CVs, even with the best hiring managers. With pre-employment tests, you don’t have that problem.

  • No longer rely on CV screening. Your hiring manager will send all applicants a pre-employment test, like the JavaScript (coding): Entry-level Algorithms test, and simply wait for the test results to come back. And the results are numerical, so they can easily compare candidates. 

  • They’re scalable. It doesn’t matter if your hiring manager receives 50 or 500 applications – they will still spend the same time on the pre-employment tests. You can send the test to all your applicants with a single click.


The difference between JavaScript and jQuery won’t matter if you don’t hire the right people who can implement one or the other in your organization.

So don’t leave your web development to chance: Use pre-employment tests like the jQuery test and hire the best candidate.

Get started for free today and start making better hiring decisions, faster and bias-free.

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