To be honest, I did not start this article with the plan to tackle this subject. But, after doing research for a different article, I started asking myself: should people even learn JavaScript in 2019? What about 2020?

And to my surprise the internet did not supply a persuasive answer. The best I could find was: “It depends”. Not a bad answer, but if it’s the right answer, I want to know why. So, I’m setting out to get to the why.

Why talk about learning JavaScript instead of, maybe, why VueJS is not doing as well as ReactJS? The reason is because JavaScript is the most popular programming language in 2019.

 It’s being taught at code camps all across the globe and the students attending those camps are, more often than not, people who didn’t learn to code in college. Which means that the tools they learn at code camp are all they will have to succeed in this work environment.

The importance of those tools being useful and relevant cannot be overstated.

I’m not saying people should come out of a coding camp and already be on the cutting edge the second they join our ranks. Most of us weren’t. I’m just saying there needs to be some kind of future waiting for them.

Here we’re going to examine the question of whether you should learn JavaScript, from three different points of view:

  • Possible Fields for a JavaScript Developer in 2019-2020.
  • Market demand for JavaScript in 2019 and going into 2020.
  • Median Salary for a Front End JavaScript Developer (across skill levels) in 2019.

And then we’re going to add this all together and decide if the answer’s still “It depends”.

Ready? Let’s go.

Possible Work Fields for a JavaScript Developer in 2019-2020

Here, check this out: Front End… wait for it… Web development. That’s it. Next topic.

Just kidding. Yes it is true that “The web”, corporate competition (and pressure) were the reasons JavaScript was invented. But that does not make it any less worthy of mention.

And, with the language coming prepackaged with every browser in existence, it’s pretty safe to say that JavaScript for the web isn’t going anywhere. So, if this is the thing for you, let me tell you, you’re more than covered.

Otherwise keep on reading. You know what? Keep on reading anyway.

Mobile Development

But, what if you’re not into building things on the web? Maybe you’ve got pages and pages of apps where there once were tabs and bookmarks. Then perhaps you’d be more interested in the Mobile scene

Then perhaps you’re into the Mobile scene. In which case you have a lot to look forward:

  • React Native has become one of the leads in cross-platform Mobile Development. Some companies have even started making full shifts on to React Native (like UberEats for Uber, Pinterest and, of course, Facebook and Instagram.)
  • Native Script is used by Audi, Target and Salesforce; just to name a few.

The option for cross platform Mobile Development is too cutting-edge for companies to resist. And who could blame them? When you can have the same team who builds your Android app, work on the IOS version as well. And then even have them tweak the website a little, or work on your next web app. The possibilities are endless.

And to top it all off, cross-platform mobile development has been on the rise for a few years now. And it’s led by good old JavaScript.

BackEnd Development

Honestly, people do not give NodeJS enough credit. The V8 engine may be single threaded, but it’s still got a lot of power behind it. If you don’t believe me, you can just ask the following companies:

… If NodeJS is good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for me.

NodeJS is a powerful technology capable of writing robust backend applications. And, while the demand may not be as big as for Front End, talented developers will surely be able to make room for themselves here.

Desktop Application Development

Electron is the lead when it comes to JavaScript Application development as of 2019, and with good reason. It currently powers the likes of Slack, Discord, Visual Studio and (of course) Atom. And sports an impressive collection of no less than 744 registered applications (as of this writing.)

Not only that, Electron is also seeing its best year so far in terms of downloads, having peaked in March with an astounding 1,044,590 downloads:

JavaScript 2019 2020
Electron downloads: July 2018 to July 2019

Which means developer interest is definitely there, and talented people are building applications with it.

So don’t ever let anyone tell you JavaScript doesn’t belong on a desktop.


By now, you probably get the point: you can do a lot with the good old JavaScript.

Market Demand for JavaScript in 2019 and going into 2020

The roles exist but, what about the jobs?

Before I made a point out of mentioning that every single coding boot camp ever will teach you JavaScript. And while that’s not the only thing they will teach you, it doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a job out there for you if that’s your preference. Even if you do have to compete for it.

Here are some numbers to help paint the picture.

Note: this summary is based off of findings from LinkedIn, Stack Overflow Jobs, AngelList, and FreeLancer.com; only positions in the United States; an encompasses search results from JavaScript, TypeScript, front-end developer, ReactJS, VueJS, Angular, React Native, NodeJS, and ElectronJS.

LinkedIn

The largest professional network is very likely the largest sample size we’ll have at one time for this research. So please keep that in mind when examining the results.

Stack OverFlow Jobs

A professional network made by developers, for developers. Please do keep in mind that these results are coming out of a 4763 total, as of the time of this writing.

AngelList

Angel.co is a professional network geared entirely towards Startups, which lowers our entire market pool down from the start. Also keep in mind is that, being an invitation-only website, the listings are not open to the public. Additionally, the results shown are Startups that want a position filled, not the positions themselves.

And finally, the total pool is represented by 23,860 active startups as of the time of this writing.

Freelancer.com

Finally, I thought we would have a little bit of a peak into the Freelancing world. For this I decided to have a peak into the world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace. That being Freelancer.com.

The total list consists of 15,089 jobs that are updated very frequently, and expire just as often.


In these professional networks, JavaScript represents a decent demand with regards to the total job market. So while there will be competition, there are many opportunities.

Median Salary of a JavaScript Developer in 2019

There was a developer survey done by Stack Overflow just at the start of this year. That survey looked (amongst many other metrics) at the median salary of developers using different technologies.

Based on this research, JavaScript developers in 2019 have a median salary of 56,000 USD globally. That amount doubles in size (110,000 USD) when you only look at the US market. For reference, these numbers are based on a sample of 55,699 respondents at the global scale, and 14952 US respondents.

These numbers put JavaScript on the bottom half of earners in terms of median salary . For reference, Java has the lowest global income at 52,000 USD; while Clojure sports the highest at 90,000 USD. In the US these titles go to HTML/CSS at 105,000 USD (just 5000 above JS), and Scala at 143,000 USD; respectively.

I could very well just call it a day with these numbers. But that wouldn’t be fun. Let’s look at more numbers:

And that should do for now.

While JavaScript developers do no boast the highest median salary amongst all programing languages (hanging closer to the bottom actually) it is still a pretty comfortable one. Specially in the US, the 110,000 median salary goes well beyond the 75,000 USD happiness threshold set by Princeton in 2010 (in this article.)

Not only that, the highest peaks we could find (220,000 USD a year) is actually less than half of what the President of America makes a year. That’s not bad at all.

Note: If you’re interested in reading more about salaries for software developers in general, I highly recommend this article by the Daxx team. It goes way more in-depth about salaries for all different Software Development Disciplines.

You should learn JavaScript in 2019, 2020 and moving forward

I’ll be honest with you, back when I started writing this article, I was a little more pessimistic. It turns out it’s pretty great to be a JavaScript Developer in 2019. There are plenty of fields to go about, the job market’s booming, and there’s even some big bucks in it, if you’re into that sort of thing. Although, who wouldn’t be?

Going back to my initial answer of “It depends”, the truth is that I stand behind it.

This whole article has been about giving you reasons why the profession is still booming in this day and age. But at the same time I was able to see that JS is not the greenest field out there. It’s not the highest paid, nor the one with the most applications. It does have one of the highest demands though.

Still, even though JavaScript is not the best programing language out there, none of them really are. And that’s kind of the point. A programming language is just a tool to solve a problem. And you’re not just a programmer, you’re a problem solver.

You should learn JavaScript in 2019 (and 2020 too), but you should also learn other languages. The more tools you add to your toolbox, the better of a problem solver you’ll be. And hey, If you’re looking for places to start, this article of mine goes over 10 things I wish I knew when I first started at software. Maybe it’ll help you

But I digress, JavaScript’s great. Go learn React (Native) and make some good money, peace out.

Author

My name’s Orlando Paredes Hamsho. I’m a 25-year-old Web Developer living (mostly) in Guadalajara, Mexico; albeit I intend to move pretty soon. Apparently, I also run a blog now, and have been doing so for a while.

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