Working on Javascript

I’m working on JavaScript tutorials a couple hours at a time and I got the gist of HTML. I plan on working on projects soon to start building a portfolio. My question is: if I work on JavaScript and web development a few hours a day, how long do I have to study to land a job? I’m looking for something in the $40k a year range to start off. I’m not studying as much as I could. I have all the time in the world. Would like to hear from someone who has experience.

That really is an impossible to answer question. It would be like asking, “How many baskets do I need to shoot before I get drafted into the NBA?”

There are a lot of factors that get people hired: skill, experience, education, your aptitude, the state of the local job market, your portfolio, your resume, how well their tech stack aligns with the local market, how well they interview, how well they network, and of course luck.

I would say that even if you become great at JS, it’s going to take more than “the gist” of HTML. I know it’s frustrating to not have the answer, but that’s the truth. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you.

That being said, I’d say that the meat of the bell curve is around the 1-3 years range. Don’t quote me on that. That is a very unscientific casual observation.

There is no guarantee of a job. But if you work hard, don’t give up, keep building your skills, keep building apps, work on your resume and soft skills, try to pick up a little experience here and there, build your professional network, etc. - if you do that, you will gradually become more attractive to employers and your skill, their need, and luck will intersect.

The first job is insanely difficult to get. You can search and find plenty of threads on this subject.


I’m not sure a beginner job and the NBA is a fair comparison.

Hi @henrylabrada85 !

I wouldn’t focus as much on a specific number of hours to become a professional developer but rather what you are doing in that time.

For example, my background is in music and I know a lot of musicians that practice but they don’t practice well. As a result, they sound just ok and itch out a living.

But those who practice consistently, practice smart and know how to network end up creating a very good life for themselves.

My advice to you is to work hard and be smart about your approach.

Focus on building projects outside of a class, getting involved in the developer community and take the time to learn about this industry.

Good luck! :grinning:


Come back in ~500 hours and show what you’ve got.

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No analogy is perfect and hyperbole is often used to make a point.

If you prefer…

  • How many people do I have to ask out before I get married?
  • How many nails to I have to hammer before I get hired as a carpenter?
  • How long do I have to study music before I get in a band?

As a former music teacher I used to get asked that one a lot. There are just too many variables. The point is that it is impossible to answer.

I’m not trying to discourage you, just keep you pointed in the right direction. But if you don’t like my answer, there are others here and this type of question gets asked a lot so you can do a search in the forum.


I wanted to bring up, this number might make sense, or be unrealistically cheap depending on where you live and what other developers are getting.

I usually advise using something like Stack Overflow’s Salary Calculator to help consider what is the “going rate” for a developer in your area.

Don’t undersell yourself just to get a job, as it can create other problems down the line if you take a massive pay-cut just to get work. For example, you take a pay-cut, and get just as much work as co-workers, you’ll feel undervalued. Or if you take a pay-cut and get less work, you might end up not learning as much, or your co-workers think your “lazy”, or some other weird mix.

Again, this goes back to if 40k is reasonable for your area. Obviously working and living in somewhere like Silicon Valley is vastly different than working and living in another country where the salary and cost of living is way less.


Yeah, if you underbid one of a few things are going to happen:

  • You may signal to the hirer that you have no self-respect.
  • You may get hired but it will be someone that will exploit you.
  • You may get hired by a good company but now everyone is going to hate you because you’ve set the precedent that that is what a dev is worth and that will be the new wage and no one will get a raise again and that’s what people will get paid. Everyone would hate you.

Realistically, I don’t think good companies would hire you. Both jobs I’ve gotten, they asked me how much I expected. Having done some research, I new what the salaries looked like so I told them. Both times they countered with slightly more money. Real companies already have an idea what they want to spend and what they think a dev is worth. Good companies aren’t trying to get the cheapest person - they’re trying to get the best fit.

For that first job its tough because you have little experience. But if you’re really only worth half of what they were expecting, then it would be a huge waste of time to hire you because they’ve just tied up all that salary with someone who is only half (or less) capable as what they need. Most companies are thinking about building an engineering team rather than trying to save pennies. Most good companies are more worried about time to market and quality code.

Just my $.02.

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I wanted to add to this, the reason for this is because if your building software, you want to be either saving money by automating something at some level.

Its possible you end up creating something that sucks up more time, or creating something no one wants, in those cases your just losing money.

As such, hiring a bad developer who doesn’t do their job correctly, could potentially lose the company more money than if they hired no one. Or they end up creating more problems, such as creating apps with security vulnerabilities.

Not saying your a bad developer, or anything like that, I only want to extend the explanation about why it isn’t a good idea to get paid less “to just do the work”. Unlike most other professions, developers ultimately are trying to lessen the work the company is doing, or the clients are doing at some level. As such “going cheap” for developers in any capacity could end up costing the company more in the long term.

PS. There are companies that will happily bite at paying you less, but that just moves the above problems to a different level. IE management needs to get bodies to meet a quota, even if those bodies end up costing more $ down the line as they are ill-equipped for the job at hand, as an example.

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