How Long Does It Take A Beginner To Learn How To Code? (2023)

If the only thing stopping you from learning how to code is time, join the club: When we recently surveyed 3,000 Codecademy learners, we found that not having enough time to commit to learning was the most common challenge that people faced during their coding journey. So how much time do you really need to learn how to code?

The answer, as you might guess, isn’t straightforward. But to put it into perspective, most American adults have an average of about 5 hours of “free” time each day to spend on leisure activities, like socializing, exercising, or watching TV, according to the latest American Time Use Survey findings. Of course, those 5 “free” hours could look vastly different from person to person depending on their individual circumstances and resources — and for many people, coding can be a substantial time commitment.

Take it from Elena Gorman, a UX Designer in the U.K., who took the Codecademy courses Learn Python 3 as well as Introduction to UI and UX Design. Finding time to learn how to code with two young children at home was “an absolute juggle,” she said.

How Long Does It Take A Beginner To Learn How To Code? (1)

The only time Elena had to squeeze in study sessions was in the early morning before her kids woke up, and then late at night after they were asleep. “I was literally up until 1 or 2 in the morning studying and trying to learn,” she said. “But I loved it so much that I had to pull myself away from the computer to go to bed. Learning is like a luxury for me.”

The good news is that all Codecademy courses and paths are designed for self-guided learning, meaning you’re in charge of setting a pace and schedule that works for you. You have the freedom to take breaks, stop and start lessons, and adjust your weekly learning target at any time. Whether it takes you 5 hours or 5 years to reach your coding goals, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Here are a few tips for how to figure out how much time you should (realistically) spend each week learning how to code.

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Work backwards from your goal

Broadly speaking, the more ambitious a goal is, the longer it will take to reach it. In our learner survey, we found that most people who are job-seekers (meaning they’re learning to code so they can get a new job) spent between 1-3 hours a week learning to code. On the other hand, we found that technologists learning to code so they can grow in their existing role spent less than an hour a week learning.

A lot depends on the end goal that you’re trying to achieve by learning to code. You may have heard about the SMART — short for “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound” — framework for setting goals. The last parameter, time-bound, is important because it helps you set your pace and stay focused.

Figure out how you can structure your goal around a timeframe. For example, maybe your goal is to participate in a #100DaysofCode challenge, where you get in the habit of coding for at least one hour every day for 100 days and post about your progress on social media.

How Long Does It Take A Beginner To Learn How To Code? (2)

Or, if you want to learn to code so you can get a coding job, set a deadline for yourself to start applying and build in check-in points along the way. Full-Stack Engineer Andrew Polemeni learned how to code with Codecademy while he was in college studying IT, and set a goal to be ready to apply to software engineer jobs by the time he graduated.

“I just spent pretty much all my free time learning nothing but coding, so that way, I could be job-ready,” Andrew, who is now a Senior Software Engineer at Ford Motor Company, said. “I mostly learned to code after I was done with my classwork. I would shovel food in between, and then just go back to doing Codecademy.”

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You can also explore Codecademy career paths, which are designed to guide you through everything you need to know in order to land an entry-level position. (Take a look at popular career paths like Front-End Engineer or Data Scientist: Analytics Specialist to see the syllabus and portfolio-ready projects you’ll complete.)

Make the most of the time you have

When Codecademy learner Doug Henderson was first learning how to code, he would mark off 20- and 30-minute increments of time on his Google Calendar that reminded him to take a break and work on a Codecademy course. Throughout the day, those chunks added up, and enabled him to spend 2 to 4 hours a day coding. Check out this blog post to discover even more genius time-saving strategies that Codecademy learners use.

There are ways that you can make the most of your coding time, even if you only have a few minutes scattered in your busy day. For example, did you know that taking a 10-minute break for mild physical activity (even a walk counts) can boost your memory function, making it easier to pick up new information? Other research has shown that just telling yourself, “I am excited!” about a goal can be enough to make you feel like you have more time on your hands. Be sure to read this blog post about other simple strategies that will make your learning sessions more effective when you’re short on time.

Measure your progress with other metrics

Try not to get too hung up on how many hours you spend learning, and instead focus on what you’re learning in the process. If you’re a total newbie, acknowledge when you reach common coding milestones, like writing your first line of code or finding (and squashing) your first bug. You might be surprised how much you’ve accomplished in just a short amount of time.

Software Engineer Shadow Smith still remembers the a-ha moment he experienced building his first website with HTML/CSS. “I got that endorphin rush whenever I first wrote a <p> tag, and then I wrote a style tag and changed the color to red,” he said. “It tapped into one of my passions in life, which is creating something from nothing.” The small milestone motivated him to keep learning, pick up JavaScript, and ultimately complete Codecademy’s Front-End Engineer career path.

There are a few other tangible ways that you can check in on your progress outside of Codecademy courses and paths. Consider tackling a practice project to get experience applying coding concepts to practical problems. Or, you might want to test your skills by completing a coding challenge that’s based on real-world technical interviews.

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The bottom line

In truth, there’s no strict rule for the precise amount of time you need to learn to code, because everyone has different schedules, lives, and goals. As a realistic starting point, we typically recommend spending anywhere between five and 15 hours per week on coding if you’re looking to make a career-change, fast — but remember, everyone is different.

Curious how people like you make it work and find time to learn how to code? Connect with other coding enthusiasts by joining a Codecademy Chapter near you, or check out Codecademy Forums for coding advice, tips, and encouragement. And read more success stories from Codecademy learners to find out how people found new passions and rewarding careers by learning to code.

You can start learning how to code today by signing up for a free Codecademy account and browsing all of the beginner-friendly Codecademy courses. No clue where to start? Take our programming personality quiz to get recommendations for programming languages and careers that match your interests and preferences — the quiz only takes a few minutes to fill out, and could be the start of a fulfilling new career in tech.

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How Long Does It Take A Beginner To Learn How To Code? ›

Most coders agree that it takes three to six months to be comfortable with the basics of coding. But you can learn coding faster or slower depending on your preferred pace. Let's get into the specific skills you'll need to learn.

How long will it take me to learn coding by myself? ›

If you go the self-taught route, you may spend between six and 12 months learning to code. If you are concerned about how hard it is to learn coding, you may want to choose a structured program over teaching yourself.

How long does it take to learn coding well enough to get a job? ›

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.

How many hours does it take to get good at coding? ›

About 3 – 6 Months. With passion and focus, an hour or two a day can go a long way over the course of several months. Whether it's through programs like our After-Hours Bootcamp, or utilizing online resources, it's very possible to find a way to balance coding with your busy schedule.

Is 2 hours a day enough to learn coding? ›

On average, people spend 2 – 4 hours a day coding”.

The duration of time allocated to coding is individual-specific. This means you alone know your daily work schedule, and you're in a much better position to figure out what best works for you than any published guideline on the internet.

How many hours a day should a beginner code? ›

It is true that the more time you put in, the faster you'll learn, but if you're okay with a longer timeframe, an hour a day is plenty. In fact, if you had the choice to spend ten hours learning to code over the weekend versus spending one hour each day of the week, I'd recommend the latter.

Is 25 too late to learn coding? ›

Coding is a skill that can be learned at any age. Many people who learn to code later in life go on to have successful tech careers.

Is self taught coding hard? ›

One last thing: coding is difficult, and learning on your own can be even tougher. You'll definitely come across some bad days. Just remember to go easy on yourself on days when things don't make any sense. In the long run, your consistency and perseverance towards learning will definitely pay off.

What is the average day for a coder? ›

How many hours per day do computer programmers work? Typically, computer programmers spend an average of 40 hours per week on their jobs, which narrows to eight hours per day, between Monday and Friday. Programmers usually work between 9 am to 5 pm or work schedules comparable to typical office culture.

Is coding a hard career to get into? ›

Many coding specialists have learned to code through self-studying, bootcamp programs, or online courses to get coding jobs without a degree. Is it hard to get into coding? It's not hard to get into coding, as long as you prepare.

How hard is a coding career? ›

No, coding is not hard to learn; however, it can initially seem intimidating. When learning anything new, the beginning can be challenging. Coding gets easier over time with patience and persistence. If you're considering learning how to code, it can be easy to focus on the difficulty.

How long did it take you to learn coding and get a job? ›

Most coding bootcamps last 3-4 months and teach enough coding skills to qualify graduates for entry-level coding jobs. It typically takes 6-12 months to learn to code on your own. Likewise, a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer programming usually takes four years.

Will learning to code get me a job? ›

The tech skills gap means that learning to code will boost your chances of getting a job—and not just any job, but a role you like, and a high-paying one at that!

Does coding require math? ›

While some fields of programming require you to have extensive knowledge of mathematics (such as game development and machine learning), you don't need advanced math skills for most coding jobs.

What is the 20 minute rule for coding? ›

Word of Warning: At Coding Dojo we suggest using the 20-minute rule. Take at least 20 minutes to figure something out on your own before asking for help. There's a good chance that the answer is already in front of you, and besides, struggling makes you a better programmer overall.

Why does coding seem so hard? ›

The major reason why programming is considered difficult to learn is primarily due to the complexity of the instructions that computers comprehend. You can't give computers instructions in English or any other human language.

How many hours a week do most coders work? ›

Typically, computer programmers work an average of 40 hours per week, which comes to eight hours per day, Monday through Friday. They usually work between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m or comparable work schedules that are typical to office culture.

How do I start coding at zero level? ›

How to Start Coding
  1. Figure out why you want to learn to code.
  2. Choose which coding language you want to learn first.
  3. Take online courses.
  4. Watch video tutorials.
  5. Read books and ebooks.
  6. Use tools that make learning to code easier.
  7. Check out how other people code.
  8. Complete coding projects.
Jun 29, 2022

How many lines of code do coders write a day? ›

The mythical book, Mythical man month quotes that no matter the programming language chosen, a professional developer will write on average 10 lines of code (LoC) day.

Is it worth it to do a coding bootcamp? ›

Short Answer is Yes – coding bootcamp alumni earn ~51% higher salaries compared to their previous jobs! On average, graduates earn $80,943 at their 2nd job after bootcamp, and $99,229 at their 3rd job. There are tips you can follow to choose a bootcamp that is worth it and to make a bootcamp worth it for you.

Which age is best for coding? ›

Kids as young as 7 years of age can start coding and learning programming basics. In fact, coding for kids has gained popularity rapidly in recent years as technology becomes increasingly part of everyday life. Kids who learn to code when they're young can set themselves up for a lifetime of opportunities for success.

How many people can actually code? ›

So, do yourself a favour and hop on one of those busses.” There's also a misconception that so many people know how to code and it's already competitive. Well, actually only ~0.5% of the world knows how to code.

What famous programmers started late? ›

Famous and ordinary programmers who started late Aimee Morgan, Clayton Boyle, Wendy Zenone, Bill Barnett, Tyson Daugherty, Sara Powell, Derek Langton, Pavol Almasi, Laurie Alaoui and others are ultimately showing by example that «it's never too late to do what you love or what you are passionate about».

Why do coders make so much money? ›

There's always more demand for programmers than supply. So, if you're a programmer, it's like playing a game of musical chairs, but where there's way more chairs than there are people. In a sense, there's not a lot of pressure on a programmer if they're not in a Silicon Valley or high-pressure job.

What is the hardest thing to learn in coding? ›

Here are 5 things most people struggle with when starting with programming.
  1. Arrays. One of the first obstacles new programmers often walk into is the concept of arrays. ...
  2. Loops. ...
  3. Recursion. ...
  4. Object-Oriented Programming. ...
  5. Regular Expressions. ...
  6. Wrapping it up.
Jun 15, 2020

How hard is coding with no experience? ›

Can I learn to code with no experience? While it's not easy, anyone can learn to code without prior experience. Coding is a lot like solving puzzles—if you enjoy that kind of problem-solving, then you will likely enjoy learning to code. If you're new to computer tech, try taking an online course.

Do most coders work from home? ›

But the best part about coding careers, as I mentioned, is that the vast majority of them are remote jobs. You can work from anywhere with a decent internet connection, including your home office.

Do a lot of coders work from home? ›

Many full stack developer jobs are remote because everything can be completed online. You can even learn what you need to know for a remote full stack developer job from anywhere with an online coding bootcamp.

How much do coders charge per hour? ›

Coders on Upwork cost $15–$30/hr.

How do you know if coding is for you? ›

Consider your career goals and interests. Coding could be a good option If working in technology appeals to you. If you enjoy thinking logically to solve puzzles and engaging in the creative side of your mind to develop new programs and apps, then coding could be an ideal career.

Can I do coding without a degree? ›

Can you get a programming job without a degree? Yes, you can. If you are more interested in beginning a career in tech quickly, then you don't necessarily need a degree in coding. Coding bootcamps can get you the skills you need, in a much more affordable and time efficient way, to start your career in coding.

What is the easiest coding job to learn? ›

9 of the best entry-level programmer jobs
  • Junior web designer.
  • Junior software developer.
  • Junior web editor.
  • Junior QA engineer.
  • Computer programmer.
  • Data analyst.
  • Entry-level application developer.
  • Entry-level web developer.
Jun 24, 2022

How stressful is IT to be a coder? ›

In general, coding is a fairly relaxing job. There is the flexibility of working remotely as a programmer, and in many cases there is the security of routine. However, as with any job, whether coding is stressful depends largely on the company you work with. Cultural pressures and tight deadlines can cause stress.

Why coding is not for everyone? ›

In general, it is a specific profession and not meant for everyone. Certainly, it's better to be outstanding in a different career, than to be a mediocre coder. Besides, you don't need to be a software developer of any kind to become a part of the IT world.

Is math or coding harder? ›

The majority of programming doesn't involve any math at all, and the parts that do require basic math. Advanced mathematics, on the other hand, will let you solve complex formulas, but you will never have to do this in web development, so coding is far easier.

Can a self-taught programmer get a job? ›

Once you have some professional experience under your belt, very few companies would care what formal education you have. As long as you are able to demonstrate your programming skills during the recruitment process, you will be able to get a job as a software developer.

How much do coders make? ›

The national average salary for a computer programmer or coder is $73,473 per year . However, once you specialize in a certain area of coding , you have the potential to earn a higher wage. Salary expectations differ based on your job location and years of experience.

Can I learn coding for 3 months to get a job? ›

Most coders agree that it takes three to six months to be comfortable with the basics of coding. But you can learn coding faster or slower depending on your preferred pace. Let's get into the specific skills you'll need to learn.

What skills do you need to be good at coding? ›

Here are some of the most important skills to have as a computer programmer:
  • Proficiency with programming languages. ...
  • Learning concepts and applying them to other problems. ...
  • Mathematical skills. ...
  • Problem-solving capability. ...
  • Communication skills. ...
  • Writing skills. ...
  • Inquisitiveness. ...
  • Self-motivation.
Mar 10, 2023

What level of math is required for coding? ›

Computer science is a broad field, so if you're looking to get your computer science degree, the kind of math you'll need to know will depend on your specific program and career path. But generally speaking, most degree programs require a basic understanding of calculus, algebra, discrete mathematics, and statistics.

What kind of math is used in coding? ›

Binary mathematics is the heart of the computer and an essential math field for computer programming. For all mathematical concepts, the binary number system uses only two digits, 0 and 1. It simplifies the coding process and is essential for low-level instructions used in hardware programming.

What is the golden rule for coders? ›

Rule 1: Follow a consistent coding standard. Rule 2: Name things properly, long variable and function names are allowed. Rule 3: Be expressive, write code as you speak, and be optimally verbose.

What is the 5 rule of coding? ›

Rob Pike's 5 Rules of Programming
  • Rule 1. You can't tell where a program is going to spend its time. ...
  • Rule 2. Measure. ...
  • Rule 3. Fancy algorithms are slow when n is small, and n is usually small. ...
  • Rule 4. Fancy algorithms are buggier than simple ones, and they're much harder to implement. ...
  • Rule 5. Data dominates.

What is the 90 90 rule in coding? ›

The ninety-ninety rule is a humorous aphorism that states: "The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time."

How do I gain confidence in coding? ›

How to Improve Your Coding Skills & Boost Your Confidence
  1. Practice, Practice, Practice. First, you need to build your own confidence in your own abilities. ...
  2. Create a Project & Release It. ...
  3. Contribute on GitHub. ...
  4. Give a Talk at a Meetup. ...
  5. Talk to Everyone.
Nov 25, 2022

Is it worth learning to code by yourself? ›

Learning to code is not a waste of time, and coding is not hard to learn. Learning to code will help you develop in-demand skills and open up many job opportunities. Having experience in programming means you can earn more money and have more career options.

Can I teach myself to code and get a job? ›

Yes, you can learn to code and get a job without even having to leave your current company!

Can I learn coding in 30 days? ›

If you're starting from the point of an absolute beginner like I did, you cannot expect to be a full-stack developer by the end of the month. Learning how to program is challenging and will take time. But if you use those 30 days to soak up as much as you can and build a daily coding habit, then success is inevitable.

Can I learn coding in 10 days? ›

depends on you. Typically you will need around 10 to 15 days to get a hang of the language and another 20 days to get control on it. Nothing is impossible for human. if you have a passion and like to learn and give more than 8 hours in a day to it .


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