Technical mastery is not an overnight process.
Learning to program is something that you’re going to have to commit to in the long run in order to be successful.
How Long Does It Take To Learn To Code?
While you can learn the basics in a few months, ideally you should be prepared to put in a consistent effort for at least 6 months or a year in order to feel like you really have a firm grasp on the basic concepts.
Then, like any skill, it can take decades to truly master. Check out Peter Norvig’s infamous article on mastering programming here.
But before you can even begin to get to that point, you have to get through the basics.
The Programming Learning Curve
In my mind, the better way to think about becoming an expert coder has nothing to do with how long it will take, but rather what steps you have to go through in order to get to your goal.
The absolute hardest part about learning to code is the act of getting started. There’s a huge learning curve before you can even begin to understand what the he** other programmers are talking about, and getting over those initial hurdles is all about mindset.
Here are the two biggest obstacles to getting started.
Thinking Like A Computer
The first hurdle you’re going to have to work through has nothing to do with your ability to write comprehensive software programs.
It’s far more basic.
You first need to learn how to think like a computer.
This means that you need to understand the fundamental processes a computer goes through when interpreting software programs, and what those processes mean to you as a programmer.
For most people, this means that you need to get much more specific about the way you think, and begin to outline every contingency scenario in more details.
One example I always like to use is to think of the instructions you might give to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To most people, you’d simply say “make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” but to a computer that doesn’t cut it.
One level of detail further might be to say “take the peanut butter and put it on the bread,” but again this doesn’t cut it. Imagine how someone who didn’t know what you were talking about might react. They might take the entire jar of peanut butter (jar included) and place it on top of a package of bread! Not quite what you were expecting, right?
Computers will often respond in the same way.
Understanding Tech Jargon
Another major hurdle you’re going to encounter is the barrier of understanding all of the tech jargon used by people in the industry.
I remember when I read my first book on programming, I felt like I had to look up almost every word! Each page I read, just led to new questions!
There’s definitely a huge barrier to entry with this process, but the good news is that if you can stick through it, once you master the basic vocabulary and method of thought, you’ll be able to apply that knowledge to program just about anything!
So, how long does it take to learn to program? That’s up to you. But to get there, you need to begin. Crawl before you can walk. Walk before you can run…you know how it goes.
The question really is: are you ready to try?
Click here to get a free guide to learning programming.