February 11, 2018
How Long Does It Take to Learn to Code?
By Jay Wengrow, CEO of Actualize
How long does it take to learn to code?
Once you’ve decided that you’re interested in learning to code, one of the next natural questions to ask is: How long will it take me? What kind of time investment am I dealing with here?
Of course, it’s impossible to give an answer to this in terms of exact hours, as each person learns at different speeds and each person may have a different goal of what exactly they’d like to learn. However, it is possible to highlight various factors that can increase the speed it takes to learn to code.
• Consistency: If you could spend an entire day each week learning to code, or one hour each day of a week learning to code, you’d make more progress by spending an hour each day. Your speed of learning can be greatly enhanced by having a good streak of spending some time on it each day. For each day you don’t practice, you regress. Even if you could spend just a few minutes each day keeping your skills sharp, you’ll learn at a significantly faster rate.
• Practice: Learning to code is similar to learning a musical instrument: It takes lots of practice. If you try to cover ground faster by constantly learning new material without ever practicing the old material, you’ll ultimately learn at a slower pace than expected. Most people think that since coding is very much an intellectual endeavor, it’s either something that you understand or you don’t, and practicing doesn’t play much into it. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Computer programming is a very different way of thinking that can be very counterintuitive at times, and you can only get used to thinking this way by practicing thinking in this way. So the more practice you have, the more you’re equipped to learn new concepts.
• Guidance: Let’s face it. Learning to code can be difficult. It becomes unnecessarily more difficult to learn to code by yourself. How do you know what concept to start with? How do you know what concept to learn next? What concepts are important, which resources are accurate, and which resources provide the clearest explanations? It’s so easy to get bogged down in researching what you should be learning, that you may be losing a lot of time that you could’ve used towards the actual learning itself.
These factors are all part of why coding bootcamps can be so effective. They provide a clear roadmap of what you should be learning, and they force you to constantly and consistently practice what you’re learning. Many people who enroll in coding bootcamps are individuals who have been teaching themselves to code for awhile, but are frustrated with how long it's taking them. Coding schools help students learn enough to be employable in a matter of months using these and other strategies.
However, whether or not you are in a coding school or simply teaching yourself, remembering the keys of consistency, practice, and guidance are turbo-boosters that will allow you to learn to code much, much more quickly.
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