Is learning JavaScript enough to become a software developer? (Solved)

Starting to code can be daunting. You’ll have a lot of questions about how much you need to learn and what life is like as a programmer.

People like things they can measure or work towards, so asking how much JavaScript is needed to get a job or whether learning JavaScript is enough to get a web developer role comes up a lot.

We’ve spoken before about the oversaturated web development world and how competitive it can be to get a job.

The greater skill you have as a developer makes you more desirable to potential employers. So it never hurts to go above and beyond when picking up a language.

Whether learning JavaScript is enough will depend on a whole host of factors. Let’s take a look at the typical journey of a software developer, then go onto discuss what enough means in the context of learning.

Source: Developer Roadmap GitHub

Learning JavaScript for web development: The Journey

The image above is a small snapshot from a fantastic resource that highlights the typical front-end developer journey from an absolute beginner.

I’ll give a brief overview of the typical journey of someone learning JavaScript but the above roadmap gives a high-level view of front-end development as a whole.

As you will discover for yourself, the journey to becoming a competent coder is a long and varied one with a lot of cool things to pick up along the way.

Asking if learning JavaScript is enough kind of defeats the purpose of becoming a programmer. The entire job is centered around continual development, progression, and learning. 


Any online course, book, or resource will first teach you how to use HTML and CSS. These are markup and styling languages respectively and not programming languages.

HTML is the building block of the web and it’s essential to have a working knowledge of it. CSS makes everything look the way you want it to.

Front-end development has undergone a massive transformation. JavaScript frameworks like React and Vue.js have provided us with CSS-in-JS and libraries of existing components.

So the need to fully master these things before moving on to JavaScript has begun to decline.


Pick up HTML and CSS is fun. It is relatively easy and you see some quick results. Putting together your first web page and patting yourself on the back all happen shortly after you pick up the core concepts.

JavaScript is a different beast. It will be your first introduction to core programming concepts and you will have to learn the various gotchas of JavaScript.

With JavaScript you make things happen on your web pages. It allows them to be interactive and it’s where the fun really starts.

But it is where most people give up!

The concepts take time to wrestle with and understanding why stuff isn’t working can be a complete mind-melt.

At the start, small issues can take hours to solve. You have to have a lot of resilience to keep at it and there will 100% be times when you question whether you are an idiot, or even cut out for learning JavaScript.

But you have to persevere. It’s here where you will start to think and act like a programmer. Looking at each task as a problem to solve.

Once you learn the basics of JavaScript and have a good understanding of the language, your next step is to move onto a framework like React, Vue, or Angular. For me, that is when the magic starts to happen.

These frameworks and the ecosystems that have been build around them have completely changed the way web applications are built.

Learning JavaScript is never enough!

Generally speaking most people in the world of development are awesome and friendly.

There are a lot of people to help you with problems and plenty of communities to support you on your journey to becoming a software engineer.

However, a trip over some coding subreddits will have you convinced you’ve chosen the wrong career path and will never make it as a software developer.

There are always puritans that will disapprove of the language you are learning or the path you have chosen. For these people learning JavaScript is not enough, nor will learning any other language for that.

To them, anything but coding directly into the terminal using a language nobody has ever heard of isn’t considered “proper”. These are the hipsters of the coding world, they are annoying and can be disruptive to your learning if you take what they say to heart.

Midway through learning JavaScript I stumbled upon a few of these threads and was overcome by a sense of dread.

Had I wasted my time and JavaScript wasn’t a proper language? Should I have learned C# instead and gone into back-end development? Was front-end development a joke and would I ever really be a “real” developer.

JavaScript is the most used programming language in the world with 69.7% of developers using it day-to-day. It is the go for front-end software development and can provide you with a stable and lucrative career.

Don’t be disheartened by people saying JavaScript is not enough because once you’ve nailed the basics learning JavaScript is enough to land a job.

Source: Stack Overflow

Is learning JavaScript enough to get a job?

If you jumped straight into learning JavaScript and didn’t bother with any other web fundamental like HTML and CSS then it may be harder to get a job.

You will have a fairly narrow knowledge base and technical interviews can sometimes be quite broad.

In reality, the deciding factors on whether JavaScript is enough to depend on the type of role you go for and at what company.

You may struggle with a more design-focused role that expects a good understanding of HTML and CSS.

However, if you go for a React-based role and have spent your time nailing the core JS concepts beforehand then learning JS is enough.

But what is enough?

For me, this is the fundamental question. Who decides whether learning JavaScript is enough to become a web developer?

Too many people put pressure on themselves and think they have tick boxes by doing a certain number of courses, reading a specific number of books, or completing X number of code alongs.

The reality is you are ready when the person sitting opposite you in the interview says you are.

Don’t be the blocker to your own success. 

This also doesn’t mean do a week of HTML and apply for a full-stack role.

Learn the basics. Build small projects and a portfolio. Mix up your learning resources and try to constantly improve. Practice and understand the type of questions you will be asked in a technical interview.

Then once you have a decent set of skills, let the interviewer decide whether your JavaScript or React skills are enough to land a software job.

How long does it take to learn JavaScript?

Learning to code can take anywhere from three months to a year.

You can expect to be able to use the fundamentals of JavaScript in a couple of weeks but it takes months to fully master the language. It all depends on how much time you are putting in and whether you’re prepared to code every single day.

Chipping away at it every day will keep the concepts fresh in your mind and help you gain expertise quicker. 

Once you have the syntax nailed you will need to move onto understanding APIs, Hoisting, Scope, and Closures.

The most in-demand JavaScript framework at the moment is React. React was first developed by Facebook and is now used by companies like Netflix and Airbnb.

These jobs are offering the highest salaries and I’d highly recommend learning React if you want to be involved in a more technical front-end role.

You can pick and become proficient in React in around 4 months.

Remember when hiring for a junior role companies aren’t expecting you to be a world-beater. Learn the concepts, build some projects, get a portfolio, and start applying.

You will probably learn more about JavaScript and React in your first few months as a developer than you did in the time teaching yourself.

You’ll have experience colleagues to show you the ropes.

Putting a time limit on learning JavaScript

When starting I was impatient and wanted some time to give me an exact timeline for learning.

But don’t push pressure on yourself to learn JavaScript in X number of months. It can make the entire process more stressful if you don’t hit these milestones on time.

Remember the journey to becoming a programmer will depend on so many factors:

  • What is your previous experience?
  • Have you ever written a line of code before?
  • Are you working full-time?
  • How many hours a day can you dedicate to the learning?
  • Do you have other people alongside you learning too?
  • Are you going self-taught, attending a boot camp, or at university?

Enjoy the process because you’ll only ever get to do it once. Every other language you learn will be a walk in the park compared to your first.

Is JavaScript hard to learn?

I wrote a longer article on how hard web development is in general check that out if you want a more comprehensive take on the difficulties of being a software developer.

Generally speaking, a lot of people struggle with JavaScript at the start. It is considered by many a fairly odd language that has a lot of gotchas. We won’t cover these here but I’ve linked to a longer article at the bottom of the page.

I wouldn’t say this makes JavaScript hard to learn for a newbie though as they have no other languages to compare it against. The introduction of TypeScript has also been fantastic at addressing a lot of JavaScript’s criticisms.

The big thing people struggle with is the switch from HTML and CSS which are markup and styling languages to JavaScript.

JavaScript is considered a “proper” programming language. So unlike HTML AND CSS, it will require you to learn the core programming concepts.

It’s the first part of the journey that makes JavaScript seem hard to learn. But once you get past this it opens the doorway to your new career!

What is the best way to learn JavaScript?

I appreciate there are so many different ways to learn JavaScript. The best thing you can do is vary your JavaScript learning enough so you never get bored.

A mix of books, courses, and YouTube will do the trick. Here are some I’d recommend: