Empty chair at desk that has a laptop and computer monitor showing lines of code How Long Does It Take to Learn a Programming Language

How Long Does It Take to Learn to Code?

You can learn a programming language in about three to six months. This time may vary depending on the type of coding language, your programming experience, and your learning style. It also depends on the learning method you choose. There are dozens of different ways to learn to code.

Understanding basic programming concepts and code concepts creates a strong foundation for a career in tech. Learning to code can set you up for many different career options. You can become a software engineer, full stack web developer, machine learning engineer, and more. 

Learning to code is an ongoing process. By examining the options below, you can learn to code and program in no time. These tips will help you to increase your programming knowledge whether you’re an absolute beginner or an expert software developer.

Popular Programming Languages

There are hundreds of different programming languages that you can learn, and some take longer than others. You should also learn a programming language based on your career goals. Read below to learn about the most common programming languages today and which one you should learn.


Python is a general-purpose programming language used across many industries. It can be used for web development, artificial intelligence, operating systems, and machine learning. It is also used for design and analytics. Python is a very popular language due to its simplified syntax, making it easy to write and implement.


JavaScript is an object-oriented programming language used for web applications. It allows you to make interactive web pages that engage the user. JavaScript is popular because it unifies web application development around one programming language. You can learn JavaScript at most coding bootcamps.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails gives web developers a framework and structure for the code they write. A repetitive task can be simplified with this coding language. It is user-friendly and easy to learn. Its design enables it to make programming applications simpler by providing a framework to get the program started.


C++ is used to develop games, operating systems, and browsers. C++ works with procedural, functional, and object-oriented programming. C++ is popular because it can efficiently run and manage memory. It also has a clear learning process, which is good for junior developers who want to take the next step for their development skills.


Java is a server language used for big data and development projects. It is also common in numerical, desktop, and mobile computing. Java is widely used and very popular. This is because of its ability to run on many different platforms and types of computers. Most computers can run Java if they have installed a Java Runtime Environment. 

Ways to Learn Coding

Three men with laptops sit around a table in a learning environment How Long Does It Take to Learn a Programming Language
If you want to learn to code, you can find the best method that works for you.

There are many ways for you to learn to code. These options allow you to choose the education style that works best for you. You can teach yourself through online classes, books, and tutorials. 

Another option is to earn a degree from an institution of higher learning. This can be done in person or online. You can also enroll in an online coding bootcamp to learn to become an effective programmer.

Any of these options will teach you basic skills, concepts, and knowledge needed to code effectively and efficiently. The variety of learning options means you can pick one that fits with your learning journey. 

Teaching Yourself to Code

If you’re a complete beginner, you can teach yourself to code with free resources. This is a good way to save time and money. Read below to learn more about the best ways to teach yourself to code.

Online Courses

Online programming courses are a great way to teach yourself to code in a short period of time. They are constantly being updated, which means you’re more likely to find the most current information for any subject. Additionally, online courses are usually free or offered at very affordable rates.

There are a wide variety of online coding courses. You can choose to take a course that covers the basics or a specialized coding topic. This makes the education you receive through online classes custom to fit your needs and interests. Additionally, it allows you to join online communities to network and learn from other successful students. 

However, online courses can be difficult to follow. Video lectures may move too quickly, or they may not be offered in your language. Additionally, most courses have you pay upfront before receiving full access to the course. It can be difficult to check the quality and structure before you start, which may cause problems moving forward. 

Coding Books

Learning to code from programming books may seem old-fashioned, but it does have its perks. Coding books allow you to take in the content at your own pace. You can read and reread chapters to ensure your understanding. Additionally, books are easier to share with others and purchase secondhand.

Books also allow you to access the content without an Internet connection. This means you can learn anytime and anywhere. As opposed to online courses, it is much easier to check the quality and content of the information in a book before you purchase it. You can keep the book for future reference. 

There are downsides to learning from books. Often, programming books are packed with content. This means they can be quite large and heavy. These books may be inconvenient to take with you on the go as they take up a lot of space.

Additionally, the world of technology is advancing quickly. Books aren’t able to keep up with the fast pace at which information morphs and changes. This means that some content may become outdated very quickly. This is one place where online courses have the advantage. 

Coding Tutorials

A big advantage of code tutorials is that a majority of them are free. Coding tutorials are especially helpful because they often contain example lines of code so that you can verify your process along the way. Tutorials also allow for a very customizable education. You can find coding tutorials on YouTube or in blog posts.

However, if you are going to follow a coding tutorial, don’t copy exactly what they have done. Copying and pasting the entire tutorial does not help you to learn and solidify the coding concepts you learned. 

Tutorials are meant to be an interactive form of education. Take what you are learning and have fun with it. Get creative and try building something new. This does take time, effort, and attention, but it will be worth it in the long run. 

College Degree Programs

If you want to get a job in tech, a college degree might be your best option. Most employers value a four-year degree over other forms of education. However, you aren’t limited to one subject. Take a look at the different degree programs to learn to code below.

Computer Science Degree

A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science takes about four years to complete. Students of computer science typically learn C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, and Python. This degree focuses strongly on math and problem-solving. Careers in computer science are in high demand. Professionals can expect to achieve higher earnings. 

However, many individuals find the program for this degree to be difficult. Computer science is very math-heavy, so if math is not your strong suit, you may want to pursue a different degree. 

Computer Programming Degree

In this program, students will gain an understanding of Java, C++, and other coding languages, depending on their focus. A degree in computer programming is a great choice due to job security and salary expectations. Additionally, programmers have opportunities to combine creativity and coding skills in their work. 

As with any career in technology, those who pursue a degree in programming may find it difficult to keep up with technological advances. Programmers also work long hours. Sometimes their shifts stretch into overtime, specifically when project deadlines are near. 

Computer Information Systems Degree

Information systems is a good fit for those interested in data, computers, and business. A degree in information systems opens doors to many different positions and industries. Students of this degree can become analysts or work in managerial roles. They will learn SQL, Java, and other programming languages.

This degree can be very challenging because of the difficult required courses. Again, these professionals have to stay on top of constant changes in the tech world. If you like to interact with people, this degree may not be a good fit. Often, professionals in this field work independently. 

Web Development Degree

This degree focuses on JavaScript, Python, C#, and Java. A degree in web development qualifies students for many different positions. Web developers also get to demonstrate their creativity along with critical thinking skills. Developers can pursue anything from game development to web content management. 

Some negatives of this degree include long hours and constant changes. Professionals may have to deal with clients who are unfamiliar with technology. They might expect you to perform tasks outside of your job description. However, if you want to enter this field, you can do so with an Associate Degree in Web Development, which only takes two years.

Computer Engineering Degree 

Computer engineering degrees focus on JavaScript, SQL, Python, and C++. Students may not use all of these languages, but it is beneficial to be well-versed in one or two. Computer engineers are in high demand. Their ability to deal with large amounts of data sets them apart competitively. 

Computer engineers also get to create and innovate in their careers. They often work in advancing and updating products and sites. However, a career for graduates in computer engineering can be fairly repetitive. Not only that, but it can be stressful working with strict deadlines and other complex challenges.

Coding Bootcamps 

Coding bootcamps offer many specialized courses and resources to help you earn and refine your skills. These courses help to set you apart on the job market and take less time than a traditional degree.

For example, at a C++ bootcamp, you can learn essential skills and become a software developer in less than a year. There are many options to choose from, which means that you can customize your resume to suit your interests and strengths.

Flatiron School

Flatiron School teaches many coding languages. Its data science bootcamp prep course focuses on Python. It also has an online introductory course in coding bootcamp prep that provides lessons on HTML, CSS, Java, JavaScript, and Ruby on Rails. These prep courses are often free and come with on-demand support if you need it.

General Assembly

General Assembly (GA) is a well-known bootcamp. It offers many courses, programs, and locations. GA offers custom courses so you can work at your own pace and learn to code in no time. According to its official website, over 90 percent of General Assembly graduates found a job within 180 days of graduation in 2019.

Coding Dojo

Coding Dojo offers many bootcamp courses for any student interested in a career as a software developer, software engineer, or any other tech-related job. It offers a data science program that is online and part-time. This course teaches Python and SQL. Coding Dojo also teaches C#, CSS, and JavaScript.


Wyncode offers an accelerated learning program. This course teaches the art of code. Students can choose to focus on front end or full stack web development, UX/UI design, and digital marketing. The programs at Wyncode teach HTML, Java, JavaScript, React, Ruby on Rails, and SQL. 


Springboard offers high-quality education that covers many fields. Its bootcamps provide certificate, degree, and master’s level education online. It has a specific course specializing in Python and its coding libraries. Springboard’s data analytics career track also teaches Python along with Microsoft tools. 

How to Improve Your Programming Skills

There are many ways to improve your programming skills. You can do so through apps, courses, and books. Online resources are some of the best ways to launch your programming career. You may also enroll in bootcamps or degree programs to put your skills into practice. These options allow you to customize your skills and save time.

To improve your coding skills, you should use your study time wisely. Don’t forget to work on your soft skills because they are equally as important for your career path. You should also research in-demand languages and average salaries for your preferred career. For example, PayScale reports that computer programmers in New York earn $83,108 per year.

These options will help you to prepare for a job in software or another tech-related career. Online options like apps, classes, and bootcamp courses allow you to learn coding skills in a short amount of time. Many also offer impressive career placement options. If you want to learn to code, you should start in 2023.

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