Should I give up learning JavaScript?

Recently a student asked me a very honest question, and I wanted to share my answer. It’s a thought that may have crossed your mind. It certainly did for me, many years ago. 

“When do I know it’s time to give up learning JavaScript?”

Before I answer, let me just say this. I have coached and mentored dozens and dozens of students - everyone from complete newbies to seasoned professionals with 11+ years experience. It is something I offer through The Great Sync, and it’s my responsibility as a senior in a development team. 

Not once have I thought a student should give up and quit.

I am also 100% certain I will never ever have to.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t valid reasons for deciding to give up learning JavaScript. While as a coach or mentor I will never suggest quitting, there are two questions you should ask yourself if you're thinking about calling it a day.

Two questions to ask before giving up

1. Does the idea of coding tech products (websites, applications, plugins etc) still excite you?

2. Are you a problem-solver (not just in tech but in any context) ?

If you answered no to both, it is time to reflect on your reasons for learning JavaScript. It is not uncommon if you have changed your mind - once you loved the idea of coding things, but after experiencing the reality of programming and the complicated JavaScript ecosystem, the effort no longer seems worth it.

Building things and solving problems are the two things you do with JS skills. Even if you’re terrible at both, as long as the prospect still excites you then you should continue reading this blog post.

If not, I request that you email me. Let’s chat. Maybe I can help you find what you’re missing. If your motivation is purely career and salary (nothing wrong with that, by the way), there may be better options for you than spending years honing a craft you don’t actually enjoy.

The Imp that haunts every developer

If you answered yes to either of these questions, it is highly likely your reasons for wanting to quit are along the lines of:

  • Suffering severe imposter syndrome
  • Long periods of being stuck 
  • You find yourself learning the same concepts again and again
  • Frustration heavily outweighs any feeling of accomplishment

If your reasons for wanting to quit are any of these, hang on a minute!

No matter how inept you may feel… No matter how long it’s taking you… I strongly encourage you to keep going, keep taking the punches, keep chipping away at it. 

From someone who was once convinced JavaScript required too much of a computer science brain, who struggled to write a simple line of jquery, and who almost decided to stop at CSS - you gotta trust me on this. 

You aren’t alone. Thousands of developers experience this. Read this reddit thread, for example.

In the world of The Great Sync, this feeling of inadequacy manifests as The Imp - a devilish creature who rears its ugly head whenever you show any sign of doubt, feeding off your lack of confidence. 

The Imp wants you to give up learning JavaScript

The Imp sticks with you forever. But it is most powerful early on, when you are learning. 

What to do when The Imp becomes too powerful

There are steps you can take to get back on track and put The Imp in your shadow. It’s a big topic, and deserves its own blog post.  But here are the 2 main things you can do when you start to think you should give up learning JavaScript.

Build a tiny project / complete an easy exercise

The goal here is to complete something small. You’re looking for a win - even if you think it is a pathetically small win. Remind yourself that you do know something, even if you are still a beginner.

It sounds silly, but for me it was writing a function that console.logged #s in a grid. The function was something like printHashes(), and it took grid dimensions: printHashes(1, 3) would log one line of 3 hashes - ###. printHashes(3,3) would print 3 lines of 3 hashes. 

Alternatively a good idea is to redo a past exercise from a course. It could be coding an If/Else conditional flow. Or perhaps one line of JavaScript that finds all the headings on a web page and turns them red.

Anything at all.

Small wins like this should be frequent, and celebrated. Stop constantly trying to build your portfolio project that will get you a job. Play and produce.

Find a coach or mentor

It is one of the best things you can possibly do. I did it - twice actually. I first joined a part time class after my day job. I then paid for 1:1 coaching to help me with web components - something I was struggling with at the time. 

If you are interested in personal coaching sessions with me, email me at We can create a game plan for you to move forwards.

Alternatively, Codementor is an excellent resource for finding skilled coaches and is highly recommended. 

The reward is worth it!

The rewards from not giving up JavaScript are substantial. Not only do you become highly employable, but you learn a skill that opens so many other doors:

  • Freelancing
  • Specializing in specific areas of web development, such as accessibility, performance or backend development
  • Branching out into other areas of programming, such as mobile app development or machine learning
  • Building your own Platform As A Service (PAAS)

The bottom line, if you are thinking about giving up, or are in need of coaching, please email me.

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