Many factors come into play when considering the question, how long does it take to learn coding? Some people learn faster than others, and some resources allow you to pick up new and complicated concepts at a faster pace.
Most of the time, you’re directly in charge of how long it takes to learn to code on your own. The more time you put in upfront, the faster you’ll grasp the essential rules and procedures you need to know. If you are wondering how long it takes to learn to code, check out this article where we explore educational resources and provide a few pointers on how to learn faster.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Coding?
Coding is not hard to learn, so it typically only takes three to six months to learn code if you want to master the basics. To figure out how long it takes to learn coding, you can look at the answers to questions like “how long are coding bootcamps?” because the answer is about the same.
Learning to code online will take just as much or as little time as it will take to learn coding in person. The key factor in how long it takes is how much time and dedication you are willing to put into learning. If you want to learn all aspects of computer science by getting a college degree, it can take you four years to learn programming.
It Depends on the Programming Language You Want to Learn
One important factor in how long it takes to learn a programming language is which language you choose. Most people say that learning a relatively easy programming language takes about four to six months. It would not be unreasonable to assume that you could learn HTML, CSS, or Python in that time if you buckle down and practice full-time.
It Depends on Your Learning Style
There is a wide range of resources available to prospective coders, and each of these comes with different time commitments. If you choose a structured and rigorous program like a full-time bootcamp, you will likely learn to code much faster than someone who spends a few hours every week working through tutorials on their own.
Having access to experts and a community of fellow students to work through difficult concepts is extremely beneficial to many coding beginners. An instructor giving you personalized attention can help you master new tools and techniques faster than if you were studying independently.
Coding Is an Ongoing Learning Process
Coding is an ongoing learning process that will continue throughout your career, so you will never really finish your education. At the same time, you can certainly set a deadline for working knowledge. For example, it’s reasonable to ask how long it’ll take before you’re ready to build an app or work for clients.
Professional coders learn every day they work and continuously sharpen their skills by learning new languages and staying up-to-date with new techniques. If you want to be a programmer, you’ll need to be prepared to learn all the time. New coding languages always take time to master, but the time will get shorter as you learn more.
Can You Teach Yourself to Code?
Yes, you can learn coding on your own. You don’t need online courses or professional instructors to master a programming language if you are the kind of person who prefers to study independently. There are online tutorials, interactive websites, and the best books that can provide all the instruction you need.
Best Ways to Learn Coding Fast
If you are looking for the fastest way to learn to code, take a look below where we provide further details about your educational options. Each option comes with its own benefits, so the best one for you will likely depend on your personal and professional goals.
|LEARNING METHOD||TIME TO LEARN CODING|
|Self-Study||6 – 12 months|
|College Degree||4+ years|
|Coding Bootcamp||3 – 6 months|
Learning to code through self-teaching is a very popular option, as it’s usually the cheapest and most flexible. These days there are loads of online courses, books, websites, and apps for beginners to learn coding skills.
The downside to teaching yourself coding through these methods is that you have to be especially disciplined. Learning to code is an ongoing process, and if you don’t stick with it, you won’t make much progress. It will also likely take you longer to learn since you won’t have the structured approach or access to projects that you would in a coding bootcamp or computer science program.
College Computer Science Degree
Pursuing traditional degree programs in computer science is a very effective way to learn coding and other web development skills. It is also the most effective way to prepare yourself for a tech career. While you can get an entry-level programming job without a degree, many potential employers prefer to hire college graduates.
The downsides to four-year degree programs are often time and cost. For many people, especially career changers, it’s simply impractical to pursue a four-year degree. Few of us are able to leave the workforce for that long, just to learn a new skill. Additionally, higher education is more expensive than ever, and many people are unwilling to take on student debt to finance their education.
Coding or programming bootcamps are short-term programs that teach you the fundamentals and everything you need to start a career as a coder. With a coding bootcamp education, you will gain in-demand and job-specific skills in about three to six months.
Further, a programming bootcamp usually offers access to mentors, job placement assistance, and other great tools. These resources not only help you learn to code fast but also help you get a job in the tech industry when you’re done.
How Long Does a Coding Bootcamp Take?
If you are hoping to join the workforce as soon as possible, you may be wondering: how long are coding bootcamps? In general, you will spend anywhere between 12 weeks and six months in a coding bootcamp. You may also spend a week or two preparing prior to the start date.
If you are pursuing a tech role in a more advanced tech industry, you will likely need to attend a bootcamp that takes a bit longer to complete. Software engineering and data science bootcamps can be only 12 weeks, but often take closer to four to six months to complete.
Whichever bootcamp you decide to enroll in, you will learn valuable skills and you will master at least one coding language. The marketable tech skills you earn in a bootcamp will significantly improve your chances of getting your dream job in tech.
Should I Learn to Code Online?
Yes, you should learn to code online if you study well independently or are hoping to gain new skills on a flexible schedule. The best way to learn programming will often come down to your preferred learning style, available resources, and educational and professional goals. Below we detail some of the pros and cons of learning to code online.
Advantages of Learning to Code Online
- Flexibility. Most online resources are self-paced, which means you can design your own learning schedule. This allows you to study even if you have a full-time job. It also means you are free to learn at your own pace and take the time you need to fully understand new concepts.
- Accessibility. Anyone with a computer and Internet access can utilize resources like online courses, video tutorials, and interactive websites and applications. You don’t have the burden of transporting yourself to and from a college campus or classroom on a regular basis.
- Affordability. Online courses can be expensive, but they’re generally a lot cheaper than a college class, private tutoring, or all the textbooks you’d need to cover the same material. You can also learn to code for free using online resources like video tutorials.
- Interactivity. Interactivity is a big advantage to learning online since you can’t learn to code unless you actually write code. While reading or listening to lectures, you won’t get as much actual hands-on experience.
- Variety. Studying coding online gives you the ability to choose from dozens of courses so you can find one that covers the specific skills you are looking for. You can decide whether you want a rigorous and comprehensive program, a lecture-based self-lead short course, or anything in between.
Disadvantages of Learning to Code Online
- Mixed quality. While there are definitely bad textbooks and college courses, there’s usually a lot of vetting that occurs before someone can teach at a college or publish a textbook. Because pretty much anyone can create an online programming course, not all courses are of high quality.
- Lack of structure. Many online programs lack structure. As a beginner, it can be difficult to know what order to approach different subjects. It can also be difficult to stick to your own study schedule if you aren’t accountable to anyone but yourself.
- Lack of a community. Learning in a classroom with other students can help you build relationships that will motivate you to continue when you hit roadblocks in your coding journey. Online learning can be isolating for many students.
- No individualized attention. While some online programs do allow you to interact with instructors, most online coding courses don’t have an adequate system for making sure you get the assistance you need when you are struggling.
- Knowledge gaps. Many online courses are skill-based, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But at the same time, taking a range of disconnected online courses might leave you with a lack of background and structural knowledge that will make it difficult to land a tech job or advance to more complex topics.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Computer Programmer?
It can take anywhere from three months to four years to become a programmer, depending on your dedication, current knowledge of coding, time available, and learning method. If you want to earn a programming degree, you will need at least two years. However, you can master a programming language in just a few months of self-study.
The question of “how long does it take to learn coding?” doesn’t really have a simple answer, because it depends on you. Programming comes easier to some students than others, but like most subjects, the more time you spend practicing, the sooner you will get better.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Coding FAQ
HTML, CSS, Python, PHP, and Java are some of the easiest high-level languages for beginning coders to master. You can begin learning these languages on your own with textbooks and online courses or through a coding bootcamp.
It takes two to four years to get a coding degree, depending on the program you choose. You can get an associate degree or a master’s degree in two years of study but most bachelor’s degree programs require four years.
You can get a coding certificate in just a few weeks or several months, depending on the type of certificate you are looking for. Many online courses provide a certificate of completion. Undergraduate certificates from accredited colleges or universities take several months to complete.
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It takes a long time to learn programming because it is a highly technical skill that many people have to learn completely from scratch. Learning to code also takes a long time because there is such a vast range of related tools and languages. If you don’t have much experience with computers, it can take several months to feel comfortable programming basic applications.
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