How Long Does It Take To Learn To Code? Understanding the Variables

Online coding courses and bootcamps vary in duration – from monthly express courses to 6 months and longer. Four to six months in order to learn a language or a framework – that seems to be the standard time for online education platforms.

However, if you are wondering how long it really takes to learn to code, you need to take many variables into account. Not everyone functions the same: people have different abilities, motivations, and goals. Everyone puts in different amounts of energy and hours into education – ultimately, not all coders are producing the same quality of code at work!

As a result, if you ask “how long will it take me to learn to code”, any specific answer will be misleading.

Let’s take a look at some of the issues at hand here.

There are levels to this.

You can memorize the basics of a coding language relatively fast – in a month or so. Moreover, you can build simple apps by using code snippets and tutorials within several weeks. You can, in fact, Google for code snippets and pre-made fragments and use them to build your app.

However, this level of ability hardly makes you an employable professional. Most of the computer science jobs are based on problem solving, and that is a separate skill you need to train.

Working app != good app

Being able to build working apps is amazing, but it’s just a part of the game. Your apps need to be scalable and efficient in order to be valuable.

You can learn the basics of Python in several months, if you’re after that, but it will take you a lot longer to master problem-solving. 

Another set of skills deals with app scalability and bottleneck elimination, learning that takes additional time!

Play the long game

Probably the worst part about learning to code is not knowing whether what you’re doing is necessary or not. We’ve all been there and it’s ok – in fact, that’s part of the learning process.

The longer you stay in the dark, the more options you try and give up, the more dead-ends you discover – the stronger you become as a professional.

Rushing keeps you shallow

Sure, you can follow a curriculum and complete a course. You can memorize variables and basic operations. But then the first real-world problem from a client will challenge you beyond imagination.

Instead, try to find challenges and fix problems. Build your own apps that have practical value, even if they are clumsy and slow (fixing and optimizing them will be your next project!) 

Such a practical approach serves two purposes: a) you actually learn better b) you get into the problem solver mindset that your future employers and clients will value you for.

Things you need to learn to learn

Some people need to invest considerable time in learning to learn, and that is also OK. Just throwing yourself at an online course may be ineffective without the right mental tools. Here’s what most self-taught coders have listed as essential:


Everyone gets there. Anyone can learn coding skills, and very little depends on talents or genetics. 

No matter how tough it feels at the start, just know that you will have your moment of clarity sooner or later, and that’s a guarantee.

A clear purpose and set goals

Set your milestones and revise them often. You need to know what you are in it for. Some learn to code to get a better job, others want to build cool stuff. Set a specific goal and go towards it.

Time management

Always track your time, – that’s a great habit to adopt if you are going for a coding career. Always know your numbers: what took you time and how much, because that leads to optimization and efficiency. 

Whatever gets tracked – improves.

Top myths and misconceptions about learning to code

People keep believing certain things even though there are no reasons to do so. 

Software development  is not an exception – some of the myths are so persistent that we have to remind you they’re wrong.

Here’s a list of myths about learning to code that are not true as of 2021:

You have to be good at math

That is true for some areas of computer science, and completely irrelevant for others. 

For instance, Python is known to be one of the easiest programming languages to learn with little or no math knowledge. This article even claims that people not too good at math are showing great results with Python and other similar languages. 

Incidentally, Python is one of the central languages in data science.

You don’t need people skills

The stereotypical borderline autistic software developer is a model of the past – and not just due to societal trends or fashion. 

Coders with underdeveloped soft skills are less efficient.

Networking and being active in communities helps you a) build a better portfolio b) find better jobs c) make more money d) produce better solutions. 

You can learn programming once and get done with it

With computer science in general, and coding in particular, learning never stops. New technologies, new frameworks, new market needs – the whole software development world is constantly evolving. 

Change is the only constant

Constant change is something that will accompany you in your coding career, so be ready for it and learn to love it.

How long does it take to learn to code? Several months if you go all in. 

How long does it take to become a high-end problem solver? All of your career – and that’s a journey, not a destination.

All in all, no matter how learning goes at first, do not get discouraged. You need to find your pace and keep up with it. 

You can’t shortcut into experience – so enjoy earning it!

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