How Long Does It Take to Learn Coding? (Plus Tips to Learn Faster)

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How long does it take to learn coding skills? It’s different for everyone, but this article will give you a ballpark estimate of what to expect as you start your journey. 

We include real-life examples from people who’ve learned to code (often completely from scratch and with other responsibilities) and secured jobs so you can plan for how long it might take you.

🚦 As a starting point, let’s look at the results of the CareerKarma and Replit survey, which asked respondents how long it took them to learn to code:

  • 69% of respondents spent less than one year learning to code
  • 15% said 1-2 years
  • 16% said over two years

As these responses illustrate, the answer to “how long does it take to learn to write code?” can be as little as as a few months to a year. 

But for the long answer, we have to establish some context!

How long does it take to learn how to code well enough to accomplish your goals?

Let’s take a look! 

Table of Contents

Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the resources mentioned in this article. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!

How Do You Know When You’ve “Learned to Code”?

There’s a reason why “how long does it take to learn to code?” is such a nebulous question.

Similar to learning a language (e.g. Italian), learning is an ongoing process that doesn’t have a defined ending point. When you do go from “I speak a little Italian” to “I speak Italian”? When are you fluent? It’s subjective! 

So, returning to the main question—how long does it take to become a coder? You can learn to write a line of code in a few minutes. Does that mean you can code?

Is it when you’ve learned to read and write one language, e.g. HTML? Or two? Or three? 🤔

person on laptop

It kind of depends on how you define coding. There’s also the question of coding vs. programming. They’re often used synonymously, but how long does it take to learn programming vs coding (and is there really a difference)?

Alex Booker tweets: “You can learn to code in 90 days but you can’t learn to program in 90 days. Code means the syntax and features of a language. You can learn and understand the syntax of a language in around 90 days, I reckon. Programming is about logic—approaching problems methodically and coming up with correct and efficient solutions. It takes many months to become a good programmer and arguably a lifetime to master.”

Or maybe you’re thinking more along the lines of “how long does it take to learn to code well”?

A little further down, we’ll get into some more specific examples of coding goals and the time it may take to achieve them. First, let’s look at some personal factors that can influence your personal “how long does it take to learn code” number.

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How Long Does It Take to Learn Coding? 5 Key Factors

Every person starts the coding journey with their own unique sets of circumstances. How long does it take to learn how to code when you have other responsibilities and challenges to deal with?

Let’s look at five factors that can affect your learning time and examples of people who were in the same situation!

1. Your responsibilities & available time to learn 👪

If you don’t have a lot of responsibilities and you have a pretty clear schedule, you could choose to learn really intensively and reach your goal in a matter of months.

Although just because you can, doesn’t mean you should…

What’s more likely though, is that you do have other commitments, like a full-time job and a family. In that case, it will probably take you longer than it will a high school graduate taking a gap year to learn programming full-time.

Christina Gorton was a stay-at-home mom for five years before she became interested in tech. She decided to learn to code from home and landed a job as a remote junior developer in just nine months.

mom with child coding

Her advice? “Don’t be scared to take it slow. You might see someone who’s like coding for eight hours a day and you know, getting a job within two months. But when you have kids, it goes slower and every little bit counts. Just one hour a day can be enough!”

2. Health issues, barriers, etc. 🏥

Tech is a field that welcomes everyone, but your challenges may mean that your road is a little longer. How long does it take to become a coder if you’re dealing with sickness, injury, disability, lack of resources, and other potential barriers?

Let’s look at four people who overcame different challenges along their paths to tech.

woman in wheelchair at desk working

1️⃣ Stacey Graham: It took Stacey 13 years to get an IT degree. She’s gone through a lot – moving into another state, becoming a mother of three, and losing a six-month-old son.

But even after all that, her tech career took time to grow. Unemployment rates were high, and she couldn’t get a job. And when she decided to start job-searching, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Thankfully, she recovered and got back on track by learning various coding languages and getting certified. Currently, she’s working at a digital financial services company.

2️⃣ Matt Wiethoff: Matt Wiethoff had a promising career in tech…until everything was put on pause because of an injury that made it painful to type on a keyboard.

But he turned his challenge into an opportunity and founded Serenade, a powerful tool that lets you code using only your voice, from refactoring code to writing docs.

3️⃣ Judith Lung: How long does it take to learn coding if you’re blind? For Judith, it was about 5 years.

“I had to learn how to innovate, because very few blind students take programming classes, and I took one known to be hard. So on top of having to learn the different concepts, I had to deal with various accessibility issues. For example, how do you use the text editor with a screen reader? I had to learn without much guidance, so it took time!”

4️⃣ Elvis Chidera: Incredibly, Elvis grew up in a rural part of Nigeria and taught himself how to code on a Nokia phone. He started at 11 years old and became an Android developer at 19, making it an eight-year journey from start-to-hired. 

3. Previous experience/tech ability 💻

If you’ve already worked at a tech company or in tech-related roles (e.g., help desk/customer service for a tech product), it could be faster for you to learn to code.

It helps to have a foundational understanding of technical concepts, even if you’re new to writing code itself.

On the flip side, how long does it take to learn programming if you have no experience? Probably a little longer!

4. Age or life stage 👴

How long does it take to learn computer programming when you’re starting at a later age? The answer to this one might surprise you.

According to the 2020 StackOverflow survey, those who started learning after 30 were able to start using their coding skills professionally within just 2 years. Younger coders took 5 years on average to go pro!    

Check out our tips for learning to code at 40+.

older man on a laptop

5. Budget, learning materials, + learning style 👨‍🏫

Finally, what methods are you using to pursue a tech education? Some are designed to be more accelerated than others. 

✍️ Self-teaching: This can run the gamut from super-fast to taking your time for years and years!

There are so many resources that you can use to customize your journey. Maybe you plan out a series of intensive courses and feel career-ready in a year or less. Or maybe you’re just dabbling at first and finding out what you like, or grabbing fifteen minutes a day to learn between other responsibilities.

🎓 College degree: These generally take 3-4 years, but it could be less if you already have some college credits or an associate’s degree. A computer science degree teaches you more than just coding—you’ll learn CS theory and typically attend gen-ed courses outside of tech.

🧑‍💻 With a bootcamp: Short bootcamps can range from a few weeks to a few months. More immersive bootcamps tend to be full-time for months.

For instance, Fullstack Academy’s flagship software engineering immersive lasts 17 weeks. You’ll graduate from Flatiron School’s Software Engineering program after 15 weeks of full-time learning. A 2019 research report found that, on average, bootcamps take 16.5 weeks.

After just six months, Clement Mihailescu went from a new coder to landing a job at Google after attending a three-month coding bootcamp.

Caitlyn Greffly started with Free Code Camp, which was enough to realize she liked coding and wanted to pursue it. She joined a boot camp called Thinkful for six months and got first job offer pretty quickly afterward.

woman studying at a computer

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How Long Does It Take to Learn to Code for These Goals?

⏰ How long does it take the average person to learn how to code? It’s hard to say, because there’s no such thing as “the average person” here. Are they working full-time or learning full-time? Do they have kids? What’s their budget? What are their goals?

Tech welcomes so many diverse people that it’s genuinely impossible to smash them all into one “average coder” example. 

Here’s a graph showing the results of the Career Karma + Replit study we referenced earlier, asking respondents how long they spent learning to code:

survey results: how long to learn

But when it’s just numbers on a screen, we don’t know anything about these people and their circumstances!

So instead, let’s look at some specific, goal-oriented examples, like…

  • How long does it take to learn code well enough to get a job?
  • How long does it take to learn a new programming language?
  • How long does it take to learn to code a website?
  • How long does it take to learn to code useful apps?
  • How long does it take to learn how to code games?
  • How long does it take to learn to code at the level of a software engineer?
  • Etc.

Let’s check out these questions and some of the answers from people who have followed these paths in their own tech journeys!

How long does it take to learn to code and get a job? 💼

How long does it take to learn code well enough to get a job? It depends on what job you want and how intensively you’re willing to train, but we’ve already met some people who went from newbie to job in under a year!

Let’s look at a few more…

How long does it take to become a computer programmer or developer?

How long does it take to become a software engineer?

How long does it take to learn to code a website? 🖥️ 

For websites, it depends on the complexity of what you want to build. But if you literally just want to put stuff on a page and get it online, you can get there in a few hours with some HTML/CSS!

person on laptop

If you’re only learning to code so you can build a website, you can actually do this without coding (using a site builder like WordPress, no/low code, etc).

How long does it take to get good at coding and build better sites? Let’s do a little crowdsourcing:

How long does it take to learn how to code an app? 📱

If you’re only learning to code so you can build an app, there are some no-code tools you can do it with, e.g. Glide.

But if you want to build them from scratch (e.g. to sell on app stores), how long does it take to learn to code useful apps? In many cases, you can get there in a couple months!

How long does it take to learn how to code games? 🎮

If you want to build video games or browser games, you’ll need to learn more skills than just coding. That means it’s a difficult process to fast-track. As these answers illustrate, you’re looking at a year or more of extensive study and practice: 

How long does it take to learn to code well? 👍

Completely subjective! Your perspective might be totally different than another coder’s. I think you could say you’re good at coding as soon as you can build projects you’re proud of, whatever those may be!

How long does it take to learn your second programming language? 🔢

Once you’ve already got one under your belt, how long does it take to learn a new programming language?

The good news is, it should be a lot easier! The underlying concepts of many coding languages are pretty similar. It still depends on how much time you can dedicate to learning another language, though.

How long does it take to learn a programming language (specific ones)? 🐍

How long does it take to learn a code language? Are you thinking of a specific one you’d like to learn? Some are pretty easy and entry-level (e.g. HTML), while others will take time (like Java).

coder using a laptop

After scouring Twitter and Reddit for people’s answers to this question, we’ve rounded up a whole range of answers below. As you’ll see, some people learn a language in hours, days, or weeks, while it takes others months or years for the same one. 

  • How long does it take to learn HTML code? 8-10 hours; 3 days; a couple weeks; a month; three months
  • How long does it take to learn CSS? 10-20 hours; 1 month; 6-7 months
  • How long does it take to learn Javascript? 1 month; 2-3 months; 9 months; several years
  • How long does it take to learn Swift code? 2 hours; 6 months; a year
  • How long does it take to learn C code? 1.5 months (for C); 3 weeks-1 year (for C#); 1 week-2 years (for C++)
  • How long does it take to learn Java code? 6 weeks; a few months; 6 months
  • How long does it take to learn Python? 3 months; 200-300 hours; 3 months of 35 hours/week 

How can you speed up the process?

No matter where you are on your journey, you might be feeling antsy and just want to know how to learn coding fast. 

Now, speedy isn’t necessarily the best way to learn, as @blackgirlbites writes on Twitter: “Everybody always wants to rush the process of becoming a software engineer. I get it. You need money…fast. Although the process is more accessible and quicker than most fields, I think it’s better if you give yourself 6 months – 2 years to learn to code + land a job.”

But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to learn to code fast, either. If you have the time and know yourself well enough to avoid burnout, an accelerated plan could work for you.

Use the tips below on how to learn coding faster!

woman working on multiple screens

1. Know why you’re doing this

First of all, if you’re going to commit to spending hours every day immersed in code, it’s important to “start with why” (like the Simon Sinek book!).

You will get stuck, and it will get hard, so if you’re going to push through those times without giving up or taking long breaks that delay your journey, make sure you always keep your goals top-of-mind. Whether you want to build apps, websites, get a software engineering job—it’ll go faster if you’re motivated!

2. Don’t just go for the money; follow your interests

Don’t learn a skill just because it’s lucrative. If you don’t enjoy it, even the best-case scenario is ending up in the “golden handcuffs” of money tying you to a career you dislike. 

Instead, choose what interests you most. You’re more likely to stick with it and enjoy your life while you’re at it!

3. Don’t neglect CS principles

If you want to learn to code fast, you might plan to just jump straight into learning a language. However, skipping foundational computer science knowledge may actually end up slowing your progress!

Check out these compelling reasons to learn CS before (or in addition to) coding.

4. Learn one of the easier/quicker languages

The easy answer to how to learn coding fast is simply to learn one of the languages that doesn’t take much time to master! I always suggest starting with HTML, then CSS. They’re simple languages that can get you building basic websites quickly. 

Plus, easy languages get you used to programming, so you can still learn to code fast when you move on to something more advanced.

5. Implement what you learn

If you want to learn quickly and effectively, don’t just follow tutorials. You need to do your own projects. Learn how to make mistakes (and recover from them), find and fix bugs, etc.

Like with human languages, you can only get so far doing scripted role plays in a classroom environment. You’ll learn the most when you start having real conversations with native speakers.

You could also use this opportunity to contribute to open source projects or start a side gig to get real-world experience!

6. Build something you’re excited about

This is my favorite way to learn by doing! If you choose a project that excites you, you’ll be more motivated to overcome the problems and challenges you encounter.

And your vision for your project will undoubtedly mean you have to learn all sorts of tricky things that you wouldn’t necessarily learn in a beginner’s course!

7. Immerse yourself in tech

Listen to podcasts, read blogs, go to meetups, read other people’s code on GitHub, etc. to get familiar with the terminology, issues, news, and everything tech. This will help keep you in that accelerated, immersive mindset!

8. Accountability

When it’s just yourself, it’s easy to come up with excuses for skipping days or even quitting. Don’t even give yourself the opportunity to take those easy outs! Join groups (online or in-person) or challenges like 100DaysOfCode to give yourself an external motivating factor.

9. Be flexible but committed

The chances are slim that you’ll know from the get-go exactly what you want to learn and what eventual tech job you want. That means you might need to change direction at some point—and that’s perfectly fine!

listening to podcast

But on the flip side, changing your mind too regularly and never committing to one thing is a sure-fire way to never get anywhere. 

Alexander Kallaway (creator of 100DaysOfCode!) said, “You think to yourself, okay, I’m going to learn Python then two months later, you read something about iOS, how it’s so simple and elegant and you switch to that, and you go and like, divert your path toward learning iOS, and then something always comes up and you think oh, I’m not on the right path.”

So it’s also important to strike a happy balance. Take time to experiment, but consider giving yourself a deadline to commit to a direction.

10. Prioritize learning and start a routine

To learn to code fast, treat it like a part-time (or full-time!) job. Don’t be haphazard or random about your schedule. Be intentional and build coding into your calendar!

Josh Kemp: “I found two people who had taught themselves, and asked how many hours did it take you? And both of them had said about 1000. I thought if I work hard, I can get the same results. I figured in a year, I’m going to get hired somehow. And I needed 21 hours a week to make this happen, meaning three hours a day. I would code from ten at night to one in the morning or later.”

(Josh ended up putting in only 827 hours of study over 9 months and 2 days before he landed his first junior developer role!)

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11. Leverage your network to get a job faster

Sometimes, it’s who you know as much as what you know. That’s why networking is important if you want to speed up your path to going pro!


Jesse Moore, who lived in a small town in Montana, was learning to code without many opportunities to build his network. He ended up meeting a software engineer while volunteering at a youth program, and eventually landed a tech internship through that one connection!

Ultimately, if you really need your path to be quick (because you need a job or money), see this article about tech jobs you can get without lots of schooling.

You never really stop learning!

Tech is a field for those who love learning, because the field is constantly evolving and your skills have to keep up. And that’s just part of the fun!

We’ll end with wise words from @TheAkhiCodez on Twitter: “Someone asked me “how long did it take to learn to code?” Truth is we never stop learning. To survive in this industry, you need to get good at learning.”