One of the most common questions beginner programmers ask is how long it takes to learn JavaScript. You want to know how long it will take you before you start building JavaScript projects and get a job in software development.

In this article, you’ll learn what’s taking so long for some beginners to learn JavaScript, things that can influence how soon you will master it, and finally, you’ll get some tips and suggestions that will help you learn JS a little bit quicker.

Okay, so let’s begin by answering the most frequent question:

How does it take to learn JavaScript?

The short answer is one year. It will take you a minimum of one year to learn JavaScript from a complete beginner to a job-ready Junior Software Engineer. These 12 months can be split into four learning stages. (Note: While the actual timeline is different for each person, they all still have to go through these learning stages.)

Novice (1 - 3 months)

In this stage, you just started learning JavaScript. In the first weeks, you’ll spend a lot of time going through a course that will teach you all the basic JavaScript concepts.

You won’t get all the new and weird JavaScript concepts immediately, but that’s okay, as these concepts will start making sense to you in the coming months. Your main goal for this stage is to familiarize yourself with the JavaScript syntax, how the programming language works, and make small programs to get a feel for writing JS code.

Advance beginner (4 - 6 months)

By the fourth month, you should be familiar with JavaScript’s basic concepts and its mechanisms. You’ve studied the main points of JavaScript and know how to use the programming language to create programs.

From here on, your main goal is to put what you’ve learned into practice and the best way to get better at JavaScript is to build small projects.

Intermediate (7 - 9 months)

At this stage you’re no longer a beginner - you now understand the basic concepts of JavaScript. The remaining months of the year are spent refining your skill in JavaScript.

You may still need to refer to some guides and tutorials now and then but most of the time you’ll spend on building projects as this is where the real learning happens.

Advance intermediate (10 - 12 months)

In this last stage, you should now be able to write Full-Stack projects in JavaScript, read and understand the code, and know how to fix bugs and errors. At this point, you are effectively an intermediate in JavaScript and ready to take on entry-level software engineer jobs.

Why is it taking so long to learn JavaScript?

The reason why it’s taking so long to learn can be sum up into two things:

  1. HTML and CSS are not programming languages
  2. JavaScript is not intuitive

HTML and CSS are not programming languages

Learning JavaScript is very different from HTML and CSS. Both HTML and CSS are technically not programming languages as they don’t contain programming logic. Because it has few basic methods and a low learning curve, it’s quite easy to learn them, and you can become fairly proficient after a few months of practice.

However, this is not the case for JavaScript. JavaScript is a real programming language, and it contains programming logic meaning it requires a lot of thinking and figuring out how to execute the program in the right way.

In addition to having various methods and a long learning curve when compared to HTML and CSS, it’s no wonder why many beginners find a hard time learning JavaScript.

JavaScript is NOT intuitive for complete beginners

Another problem with learning JavaScript is it’s not intuitive. In HTML, it’s all about knowing which tags to use. CSS is simply figuring out which tags to choose and change the styling. As long as you remember these rules, then you can create anything with HTML and CSS.

As for JavaScript, it has so many rules and on top of that, you need to spend time thinking of how you are going to create something in JavaScript before even writing a single line of code! That’s why it takes 3-6 months to know all of its rules before able to use its full potential.

Factors that influence the time it takes to learn JavaScript

Time you spent learning JavaScript

The first thing that affects the time it takes to learn JavaScript is how long you are willing to spend time coding. If you spend a minimum of 30 minutes to 1 hour per day writing code, you can expect to improve a lot as you’re constantly practicing.

On the other hand, if you only spend a few hours per week coding, it’ll be tough to learn JavaScript because most of the things you learned will be forgotten after a week.

It’s like learning how to drive a car - you can’t just expect to be good at driving if you practice it once per week.

Prior programming knowledge

The second factor is having prior knowledge of programming. If you took computer science or software engineering courses in a college, learning JavaScript might take less time as you’re already familiar with fundamental programming concepts.

For self-taught developers, though, it’s going to take a while since you will also learn the fundamental programming concepts. It’s not the same as learning a programming language, but these concepts are so important that you cannot afford to skip this step.

How you learn JavaScript

The third factor is how you approach the way of learning JavaScript. If you spend a significant amount of time learning by building many small projects, you’re progressing as programming is a craft skill. Like any craft skill, the only way to get better is to keep using the skill. And that means writing more code.

If, however, you find yourself stuck in a situation where you’re going tutorials after tutorials without ever building projects, then you’re dealing with what’s called a Tutorial Hell, which is quite common for beginners. Luckily enough, there are three ways you can do to overcome this problem.

If you need more practice but still not ready to build projects yet, try Coderslang, which will give you exercises to help apply the lessons you’ve learned.

Tips and suggestions on learning JavaScript

Here are some tips and suggestions you can use to reduce the difficulty of learning JavaScript:

  1. Focus on basic concepts first: JavaScript may have hundreds of ways to build programs, but in reality, you need to know few basic methods, like functions, variables, if/else statements. There are many things you can build knowing these methods alone.
  2. Learn what you want to build: Instead of learning some advanced concepts like async, promise, callback - learn what you want to build and then google the methods needed to build it. That way you will have a better chance of learning JavaScript since you’re applying the knowledge and not learning just for the sake of it.
  3. Don’t rush learning JavaScript frameworks: Most frameworks like React, Vue, and Angular are built with JavaScript. Knowing the core of JavaScript means you’ll understand any frameworks since you have to remember the syntax and its underlying rules. Besides, the demands for JavaScript frameworks constantly change, but the language itself remains the same.
  4. Build something: Many tutorials will teach you what and how to do things but the only way to stick that knowledge into your head for a long time is to build projects no matter how small or simple it is. Building the project is perhaps the most effective way to improve JavaScript knowledge.
  5. Take a break: It’s important to take a break because learning for too long is not efficient. Taking breaks can help you absorb all the information you have been accumulating and give your brain a chance to process it. That’s how you learn all kinds of life skills and not just coding. I recommend taking a break after every hour of learning and on weekends to refresh yourself.
  6. Don’t give up: Above all, don’t give up! While JavaScript is indeed tough to learn, it is a skill anyone can learn regardless of their work and educational background. Because many companies are looking for new software engineers every year and this skill cannot come by easily, it’s why this job is paid well.

Conclusion

So there are you have it! In short, it will take one year to go from a complete newbie to a job-ready software engineer. While your educational background, time spent learning, and how you learn can influence how soon you can expect to gain the skill, just remember this one:

No matter how long it takes to learn JavaScript, you can become a Software Engineer! Work diligently and patiently. Believe in yourself.

Want to learn JavaScript in simpler way?

Coderslang will teach you JavaScript in a simple and fun way. With the help of short and easy-to-digest lessons, practical tasks to master what you learned in lessons, and tools that you will actually use as a software engineer, you can go from zero to your first programming job in one year. Take a free course today and start learning JavaScript for real!