How Long Does it Take to Learn Coding? A Detailed Guide.

how long does it take to learn coding

If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ve probably been flooded with the glamourous tales of tech. The amazing salaries, the ability to work from home, the flexible hours – It all seems too good to be true. It probably has you wondering how long does it take to learn coding? Could I reasonably learn this on my own and secure one of these amazing jobs? The answer is yes!

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How long does it take to learn coding?

On average, it takes anywhere from 3 months to 2 years to learn coding. Most people learn to code from free online resources at their own pace, so it really depends on how much time you put into it.

What kind of coding should I learn?

learn to code

How long it takes to learn to code really depends on what kind of coding you want to learn. Here are some kinds of coding you should look into learning based on the type of job you want:

Software engineer/Software developer

What is a software engineer?

A software engineer designs software with an engineering perspective. Their job consists of lots of coding to fix problems, writing new code and working with other engineers and customers to understand project requirements.

How long does it take to become a software engineer?

To achieve the level of proficiency needed to be a software engineer, it will take between 6 months to two years if you are learning part-time. Even if you did a full-time 12 week boot camp, most reputable ones require you to have some prior knowledge to be accepted. So it all depends on how aggressively you study.

What you really need for any entry-level coding job is proof of knowledge. When you apply for jobs, you need to have a GitHub (if you don’t know what GitHub is, think google docs for coding) with your portfolio of projects. This is necessary and one of the primary things employers look for.

What languages should I learn to be a software engineer?

Software engineers are typically proficient in at least 3-4 languages, including Java, Python, C, C++, and SQL. Don’t let this overwhelm you though. As a software engineer, you’ll work with several languages throughout your career and will learn along the way. You don’t have to be perfectly proficient in every language to land a job as a software engineer.

Look at job postings for entry-level software engineering positions near you. They will list what languages they are primarily looking for. Most online guided courses will walk you through the basics of the primary languages. If you’re really at a loss, start with Python. It’s currently one of the most common languages.

Web Developer

What is a Web Developer?

To simply put it, a Web Developer is someone who creates websites. However, there are front-end developers, back-end developers, and full-stack developers.

Front-end developers handle the user interface aspects of the website. Back-end developers do the more behind-the-scenes aspects. For example, let’s say you go on a website and see a “click here” button. The front-end developer is the one that programmed the button to be there and made it look nice. The back-end developer coded the button’s response, whether it be to redirect you or retrieve data. A full-stack developer does both front-end and back-end work.

How long does it take to become a web developer?

To become a web developer, it will take about 3 months to a year if you consistently study 2+ hours a day. To get a job as a web developer, you need to build at least 1-2 custom websites from scratch. This will act as your “portfolio”. However, a website being completed is subjective. Some people aim to recreate a website from scratch, while others follow online resources that provide you with projects to complete.

Becoming a web developer takes less time than a software engineer. There’s a smaller range of languages used in web development, and having a set goal of completing a certain number of websites gives you a more concrete deadline.

Again, with coding, you are never done learning. The goal is to get your first job to continue learning while getting paid to do so.

What languages should I learn to be a web developer?

A variety of languages are used for web development, and certain companies/projects will require different languages. The most common languages for front-end development are JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. The most common languages for back-end development are Java, C, C++, and Python.

Just looking to learn for fun!

If you’re just looking to learn for fun, there are many ways to go about learning to code. Consistency is key to learning anything, but there is no need to push yourself to study multiple hours a day. It would still be best to follow some structured online resources. This ensures you learn how to code properly and don’t miss any fundamental information. It will also allow you to learn to code faster.

Start with one language. The thing with learning a coding language is that there’s no set finish line. Even the best coders in the world have to google how to do things sometimes. The goal is to be comfortable enough with the language to feel proficient, but also know how to find and understand answers if you get stuck.

How can I learn to code?

software engineering job no experience

Now is a great time to learn to code because there are SO many online resources available. It’s important to not procrastinate for months trying to find the “best” resource. There are tons of good ones and the best thing you can do is to pick one and stick with it. Do the entire thing even if it gets hard or boring at some points.

Free resources to learn to code:

Always start with a free resource. Do not jump straight into a paid boot camp. After starting with the free resources you may decide you don’t need a boot camp. If you decide to do a bootcamp, you will be much more prepared going in with some prior knowledge. We always recommend starting with Harvard’s CS50, Introduction to Computer Science course. It is online and free for everyone. It gives a great baseline introduction to coding.

Here are some other recommendations for websites to learn to code on:

Coding Bootcamp recommendations:

Again, you do not need to pay to learn to code. What you really need is consistency. The major benefit of coding bootcamps is the incentive to study consistently. They have structured, rigorous courses. Paying $15-20k is definitely good motivation to keep you on track. If you choose to do a bootcamp, do your research into which is best for you, but here are some things to look for in a coding bootcamp:

  • Their job success rate– How many of their attendees secured jobs after gradation and how fast did they secure jobs?
  • Do they have an application process?– Most reputable bootcamps require an application. Once you graduate, you will represent them and they want applicants that will be successful. If a boot camp will take just anyone, then they’re probably just trying to get your money.
  • Do they require previous experience?–It’s really hard to take a person from zero to a hundred in a matter of weeks. Coding boot camps designed to get you a job will want you to have previous knowledge. It also shows them you are serious about the program. Be wary of boot camps advertising “no experience necessary!”.
Here are some coding boot camp recommendations:
  • Codeworks: Codeworks is a 12 week full-time program that costs $14,800. We like this course because they have a policy where you don’t pay until you get a job, and 9/10 of their candidates get a job offer within 30 days of completing the program. Their program has an application process and they do not accept applicants starting from zero coding knowledge. Check out their website for all available programs.  
  • Codesmith: Codesmith has both full-time and part-time programs available. Their full-time program is 12 weeks long and costs $19,950. They also have an application and interview process to get into the program.
  • Per Scholas: Per Scholas offers FREE boot camps. They have courses available in a variety of specialties and over 80% of their students acquire jobs upon finishing. Most of their boot camps are full time and remote.

Again, there are TONS of options, both free and not free, to learn to code online. These are just a few of the many great options available. There are options for everyone based on your schedule and skill level.

*Please note that Guide to Engineering is not affiliated with any of the recommended websites or boot camps. Our recommendations are based on extensive research and reviews.

Read More:

How to Get a Software Engineering Job with No Experience: 3 Tips

5 Ways to Become an Engineer Without a Degree

8 Work from Home Engineering Jobs