How Long Does Coding Take to Learn?

How Long Does Coding Take to Learn? Coding is the process of writing instructions in a language that computers can understand and execute.
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  • Coding is the process of writing instructions that computers can understand and execute.
  • How long it takes to learn coding varies depending on the language learned and the method used.
  • Coding bootcamps teach students how to code in 3-4 months.
  • There are three main ways to learn coding: Teach yourself, attend a coding bootcamp, or go to college.

What is coding? Coding is the process of writing instructions in a language that computers can understand and execute.

There are over 700 coding and computer programming languages in existence. Fortunately, most computer programmers only need to know how to code in a handful of languages. The University of the People recommends that programmers try to learn at least three languages.

So how long does it take to learn coding? This depends on the programming language and the method you use to learn coding. The easiest programming languages, such as JavaScript and Python, take much less time to learn than more complicated languages, such as C and C++.

Many people take coding bootcamps to learn to code. 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.

Coding Languages

  • HTML: HTML is the basic code web developers use to create webpages. Every page on the internet uses HTML to tell the web browser how to display its content. HTML creates headings, paragraph breaks, links to other websites, and more.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript is used to make webpages interactive. This language expands upon basic HTML to add features such as sliders and images that change sizes when you hover your mouse over them. Both front-end and back-end web development can use JavaScript.
  • Ruby: Ruby is an open-source programming language that focuses on productivity and simplicity. It balances imperative and functional programming. Learning coding with Ruby is relatively easy due to its natural syntax. Even though Ruby seems simple, the language can handle complex tasks.
  • Python: Python is one of the most important coding languages for data science and machine learning. It is a high-level, object-oriented, interpreted programming language that is fairly easy to learn. Python is known for boosting productivity due to its fast edit-test-debug cycle.

Ways to Learn Coding

There are three main ways to learn coding. You can teach yourself to code, go to college to earn a traditional bachelor's degree, or attend a coding bootcamp through a university or another bootcamp provider.

  • Self-Taught: If you're curious about how to learn coding on your own, there are plenty of online courses, tutorials, and YouTube videos that can teach you how to code. Through many of these resources, you can learn to code for free. The downside: By taking various courses instead of sticking to one structured program, you may get sidetracked easily. It typically takes 6-12 months to get a firm grasp on 3-4 programming languages.
  • Traditional Degree: It takes about four years to complete a bachelor's degree in computer programming or computer science at a traditional college or university. Your first year or two will most likely consist of general education requirements, with your last two years focusing on programming in various languages.
  • Coding Bootcamp: Coding bootcamps typically last 3-4 months, although some run for six months or longer. Bootcamps provide structured curricula to prepare students for entry-level coding jobs. Many coding bootcamps require students to complete projects to add to their portfolios.

How Can I Teach Myself to Code?

Start by considering which coding languages you want to learn. Then look for courses that teach coding for beginners with a focus on those languages.

Try to work through a single course from beginning to end rather than jumping from one course to another. Once you have finished the first course, pick another that complements it. In addition to working through the assignments, try creating your own projects for more practice.

Here are a few courses to consider:

Benefits of a Coding Bootcamp

  • Structured Curriculum: Bootcamps offer structured curricula that take you from being an absolute beginner to being ready for your first coding job. As long as you attend all of your classes and don't fall behind, you'll be ready to start putting in job applications as soon as you graduate.
  • Instructor Feedback: Another benefit of coding bootcamps is that instructors teach bootcamp courses. Part of the bootcamp experience is being able to ask your instructor for help when you get stuck. Some bootcamps also have mentorship programs, providing additional help through your program mentor.
  • Cost: The average cost of a bootcamp in 2020 was $13,579. Although this is quite a bit more than many self-directed online courses, it also costs less than an average four-year college degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition and fees for a four-year college or university cost $16,647 per year as of the 2019-20 academic year.
  • Time: Coding bootcamps provide an intense learning experience, allowing students to learn coding in just a few months. This is the fastest way to learn how to code in most cases. The typical coding bootcamp teaches HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, giving students the training they need to pursue a front-end or full-stack web development job.

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning Coding

Is it hard to learn coding?

Some programming languages, such as Python and JavaScript, are fairly easy to learn. Others, like C++ and C#, are more difficult. If you are willing to dedicate the required time to attend a bootcamp, take online courses, or pursue a bachelor's degree in computer programming, there's a good chance you will be able to learn to code.

If you are worried you might not be able to learn coding, start with one of the easier languages. Once you have a firm grasp of your first programming language, you can move on to something more difficult.

Does coding require math?

Whether you need to know math depends on what you are coding. For a typical webpage, you don't need math. You'll be coding the page's layout, including headers, paragraph breaks, and pull quotes. None of these tasks require math skills.

You may or may not need to know math for programming that uses algorithms. If you are using algorithms from a library, the math may already be done for you. However, if you are doing technical things with your computer program, you may have to write your own algorithms, which could require extensive math skills.

How much do coders make in a year?

Your salary potential may vary based on job title, location, and experience level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), web developers earned a median salary of $77,200 as of 2020. Computer programmers earned $89,190 per year, and software developers earned $110,140 per year.

Most coding bootcamps focus on web development. However, once you get your first entry-level web development job, you can work on building additional coding skills so you can move up to a higher-paying position in the future.

Are coders in demand?

One benefit of learning to code is job security. A search for "web developer" on Indeed returned over 63,000 results as of March 2022. A search for "software developer" returned over 259,500 job listings. The BLS projects that web developer jobs will increase by 13% from 2020-30. Software developer jobs will grow by 22% during the same time period.

Unfortunately, not all coding jobs are expected to grow. For example, the BLS projects that jobs for computer programmers will decrease 10% from 2020-30.

Feature Image: Rohane Hamilton / EyeEm / Getty Images