Coding (computer programming) is one of most valuable skills to learn in today’s world. But when you’re just getting started with code, learning the different programming languages can seem such a daunting task. It’s natural to wonder how long it will take to grasp the concepts, to be able to create applications and tackle real world problems using code, and to get a job as a developer.

In general, it takes 3 to 6 months to grasp the basic concepts and get started in programming. That said, your learning journey can be shorter or longer depending on how much time you commit to learning each week, how many programming languages you want to learn, and how you’re learning. Learning to code is also a continuous process that never stops.

In this article, we will delve into how long it takes to learn code depending on the method of learning and the factors that go into determining how fast you can learn coding.

How Long Does It Take To Learn To Code With Different Learning Methods?

How long it takes to learn coding will depend on how you choose to learn. You can immerse yourself in an intensive coding bootcamp program, teach yourself programming, or enroll in a computer science degree program. Let’s take a look at how fast you can learn coding with each method.

Method of Learning: Coding Bootcamp

Learning Duration: 3 to 18 months

A coding bootcamp is the fastest way to learn coding. Most programs offer intensive courses where you’re required to dedicate 6-8 hours a day to learning how to code as well as flexible options where you can learn at your own pace.

At the end of the course, you will have gained a solid foundation to get started in your programming career. The best thing is that most employers regard coding boot camps highly. Le Wagon, App Academy, and Nu Camp are some of the top rated coding bootcamp programs you can consider. 

Method of Learning: Self-Study

Learning Duration: 6 to 12 Months

Teaching yourself to code is the most convenient way to learn coding. You can learn whenever you have time to spare and there are plenty of free and paid learning resources such as those on Udemy, Udacity, and Code Academy.

You can teach yourself coding in 6 to 12 months. However, your learning journey might take longer if you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to learning and practicing code each week.

On the downside, it takes a great level of self-discipline to schedule learning code and actually show up.

Method of Learning: Formal Degree Program

Learning Duration: 2+ Years

Lastly, you can learn to code the traditional way by enrolling in a university degree course. You will gain a strong theoretical foundation in computer science and learn the most in demand coding skills.

Depending on your background and the type of course you enroll in, it will take you 2 to 4 years to graduate with a programming related degree.

It Comes Down To How Much You Want To Learn and How Many Hours You Commit To It

Whether you learn coding in 3 months or a couple of years depends on how much you want to learn and how many hours you dedicate to learning each week.

Programming is a vast field. There are hundreds of programming languages you can learn. The time it takes to learn coding will depend on the languages you want to learn and how complicated the languages are.

What and how many programming languages to learn depends on the programming career you intend to pursue or what you intend to do with your skills.

  • Do you intend to become a website developer? You should learn HTML, CSS, and PHP.
  • Want to learn how to develop mobile applications? Focus on Swift or Kotlin.
  • If you don’t know where to start, Python and JavaScript are the top languages to learn first. They are beginner friendly and among the most in demand programming skills.

Once you narrow down on the skills to learn first, your weekly time commitment will determine how fast you will learn them. The more time you dedicate to learning and practicing each week, the shorter your learning curve will be.

Learning To Code Never Stops

While it might take you as little as 12 weeks to learn coding and get started as a junior developer, learning coding never really stops.

Programming is an incredibly wide and rapidly evolving field. Old languages become obsolete and new languages emerge all the time. Programmers have to stay on top of the trends and constantly learn new skills in order to stay relevant.

Even senior developers with 20+ years of experience still don’t know everything there’s to know about coding. They learn new things every day. This is why it’s important for companies to constantly invest in their developers with continuous learning programs.

The good news is that mastering new languages is easier and faster once you’ve learnt the fundamentals of programming.

Wrapping Up

Learning the basics of coding so you can start developing things or get an entry level programming job can take as little as 3 to 6 months. However, there’s no one universal timeline for learning programming.

Whether you’re a casual learner looking to learn coding as a hobby, a career advancer, or a career changer, how long it will take you to learn to code comes down to the languages you’re learning, the time you dedicate to learning and practicing, and also the method of learning you opt to go with.

This means that you’re directly in charge of how long it takes you to learn to code. The more hours you put into it, the faster you’ll learn. Figuring out the exact skills you need to learn, setting a weekly time commitment and sticking to it, and focusing less on memorization and more on practical projects are key to learning fast. 

Finally, it’s important to note that learning to code is a continuous process. Once you learn enough to tackle real-life projects and get a job, you will continue learning more and honing your skills on the job.

By the way, you can start writing your first lines of code right now (takes two minutes) to see it run! 🙂