JavaScript is one of the most common languages for making webpages interactive. Along with HTML and CSS, it’s a must-have web developer skill and is considered standard in web technology. But unlike HTML and CSS, it’s not a language you can ace in a few weeks, or even a few months.

So how long does it really take to become a JavaScript expert? Here’s the short answer: most programmers agree that it takes six to nine months to develop a working proficiency in JavaScript. And even then, you’ll spend years learning new skills and developing your understanding of it.

Luckily, most employers are happy to hire a web developer with basic JavaScript skills, which can then be honed on the job. Let’s take a more nuanced look at the skills and tools needed to develop your JavaScript proficiency so you know exactly how much time to block off in your calendar.

What Is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a computer language used for scripting and programming. With the power of JavaScript, programmers can build complex features into a webpage. Any multimedia or complex features you see on a website—a ticker, an interactive map, graphics, or videos—are usually executed with the help of JavaScript.

If you’re building a web page, you’ll use HTML to define paragraphs, headlines, and data tables. You can also use it to embed videos and images. Once the content’s ready, you can use CSS to style it. Background and font colors, layouts, and formats are all edited using CSS. You can even define the presentation of your web page or document with CSS.

Next in line is JavaScript. This scripting language is used to update your content  dynamically. You can control multimedia, create interactive content, and  animate images on a webpage using JavaScript. So, all three languages  are used to complement each other while layering the page to give you  the final web page or document.

Skills Needed for JavaScript


JavaScript developers are always in high demand since most companies are after a multi-skilled web development team to boost their online presence. As the fundamental scripting language of the web, JavaScript has become essential to the tech world. So what skills will give you an advantage and set you apart as a JavaScript developer?

Adaptability – Things move quickly in the tech world, and in order to stay relevant in the field, you need to stay abreast of new developments and emerging trends. New technology emerges at an incredible speed, and you’ll need to stay on top of the latest coding languages, applications, and devices. JavaScript development itself goes through new trends, and you need to be aware of these to stay on top of your game.

Cross-platform awareness – It’s important to have a thorough knowledge of different platforms and browsers. New technologies always bring forth questions about their compatibility with different platforms and browsers. As technology becomes more diverse and varied, you’ll have to learn how to replicate your work across different browsers and platforms.

Adaptability – Things move quickly in the tech world, and in order to stay relevant in the field, you need to stay up-to-date with new developments and emerging trends. New technology is created at an incredible speed, and you’ll need to know the latest coding languages, applications, and devices. JavaScript development itself goes through new trends, and you need to stay on top of your game.  

Cross-platform awareness – It’s important to have a thorough knowledge of different platforms and browsers. New technologies always bring forth questions about their compatibility with different platforms and browsers. As technology becomes more diverse and varied, you’ll have to learn how to replicate your work across different browsers and platforms.  

React and Redux – React and Redux are must-have tools for the JavaScript developer skillset.  React is a JavaScript library that makes it easier to create  interactive user interfaces. It designs simple views for each state in  your application and updates and renders the appropriate components when  your data is modified. Redux makes testing of applications easier than  ever before and debugs applications effectively.  

Meteor – As a newbie JavaScript developer, Meteor is worth checking out. It’s an open-source framework for desktop, mobile, and web applications that  makes shipping JavaScript applications super simple and scalable. Not  only that, since it integrates different technologies you might already  be using, you can complete a task in 10 lines of code through Meteor; without Meteor, you would’ve needed more than 1000 lines. Clearly, it's a life saver for JavaScript developrs.

Soft skills – So you can manage 1,000 lines of code if it comes to it—but that's not the only skill you need to thrive as a software engineer. Communication  skills are as important as  technical abilities, even in programming. In order to collaborate with other  departments, manage stakeholders, and accept feedback on your code—you need great soft skills.    

Forget about popular portrayals of IT professionals working in dimly lit rooms obscured by computer screens and desks. Today’s techies are dynamic individuals ready to communicate effectively and collaborate with a range of clients, stakeholders, and team members. Having a diverse skill set and commitment to continuous learning and professional development will put you on a straight path to success in web development.

Tools Used by JavaScript Developers

Some of the most widely used tools in the JavaScript developer’s arsenal are:

Sublime text: A shareware cross-platform code editor also used for editing markup language and prose. It supports most markup and programming languages natively. Sublime text enables users with plug-ins to add functions to the code.

IDEs and Editors: These are the platforms or environments where you write your code. Developers either go for editors or Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) to enter code. You can achieve a smooth and responsive performance with an editor but with an IDE, you can work on more complex projects since they come with debugging functions and also support ALM systems.

WEBPACK: This is an open-source module bundler for JavaScript but also performs changes in HTML, CSS, and images. It’s known as a bundler because it takes similar files from your project and bundles them into a single concise file.

How to Learn JavaScript

There are a few options when it comes to learning JavaScript. Some employers want their developers to at least have a  bachelor’s degree in computer science or programming. The  course modules in these subjects teach students the basics and some of  the most relevant computer languages and scripts. A formal education goes a long way in teaching you the fundamentals of your field, and there’s less likelihood of theoretical gaps in your knowledge.  

On the other hand, you can save yourself the time and expense of a four-year degree by opting for a coding bootcamp for beginners. Bootcamps pack in a career-focused education in a short  amount of time, so you can establish foundational knowledge in just a few months. You'll become a JavaScript fiend through a bootcamp course, and you'll end up with a portfolio that reflects all the current skills employers need. Many  employers are just as happy with a candidate with work experience and a certification to validate their knowledge, as they are with a computer science grad.  

Teach Yourself JavaScript

Some prefer the self-learning route, and as you’d expect, there are pros and cons of teaching yourself JavaScript. There are a range of free or low-cost resources available online, such as videos, blogs, tutorials, e-books, and short courses. You can join forums and online communities for JavaScript and web developers on various platforms. On some of these platforms, you can talk to people in the field and make valuable networking connections.  

Self-learning can be challenging, but it’s also fun and it allows you to learn at your own pace. You can gauge your own strengths and weaknesses through teaching yourself. You can also decide how much or how little time you wish to devote to a particular aspect or component of the subject. Be sure to back up your self-learned knowledge with proof of experience through a portfolio or work profile when it comes to job-hunting. To build a work profile,  you can volunteer to create websites or applications for clients or complete an internship.

Learn JavaScript with Thinkful

Our web development program introduces all the core concepts and practical techniques needed to kick-start a career in web development. You can learn the essentials in all the necessary platforms like HTML5, CSS, jQuery, Responsive Web Design, AngularJS, and of course: JavaScript.

You’ll undertake comprehensive hands-on exercises facilitated by expert instructors, with at least 50% of the course hours reserved for practical exercises. This ensures you’re confident in applying your new skills, and it helps boost your knowledge retention. The courses’ self-directed schedules allow you the flexibility to complete your training in the timeframe you need.

More than that, you get paired up with a 1-on-1 mentor when you join the course. The amount of support that you receive with Thinkful’s programs is unrivaled. You even get career counseling to make sure that you’re on the right track to land your dream job when you graduate. And if that wasn’t enough, you don’t pay a cent towards the course if you don’t get hired within six months of graduating.

If you’re ready to get started, or if you have any more questions, you can schedule a call with our admission reps to go through your options at a time that works for you. Or, if you still want to learn more about different career options in tech, our blog is a great place to start.

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