How Many Hours to Learn Programming from Scratch?

In optimal circumstances, it will take around 500-1000 hours to become a job-ready programmer.

If you practice 8 hours a day on 5 days a week, this means 13-26 weeks.

But this is a ballpark estimate. Your mileage may vary.

Some companies offer apprenticeships where you start from zero and become a programmer in 3-6 months.

This means you apply to a company without previous knowledge of programming. Then after a couple of months, you work for them as a software developer.

So it is possible to learn to program quite fast.

But usually, this is not the case.

Especially if you are teaching yourself, chances are you are making mistakes that slow you down drastically.

In this article, we are going to talk about why it takes so long to learn to program and how you can make it faster.

Why Does It Take So Much Time to Learn Coding?

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary of a junior-level software developer is $63,250.

Yet it only takes a couple of months to become applicable to this.

In that sense, becoming a programmer is quite fast!

In comparison, think about sports. If you want to earn $60,000+ as a professional athlete, it will take at least a decade of hard work. And still, you probably end up failing.

The fact that you can become a programmer in 3-6 months is incredible.

You Will Never Master Programming

Similar to any other skill, you cannot master programming.

In this sense, programming takes forever to learn.

But why?

Programming is not a skill. It is a craft.

It requires a variety of skills, theories, creativity, and critical thinking at the same time. Thus, programming offers a different way of thinking from what we are used to.

This is why it takes time to learn to program.

These days, almost any piece of software is way more complex than it appears.

A software developer has to handle this complexity every time they introduce new lines of code to the codebase.

Each piece of code needs to solve a problem.

This does not sound like a lot.

However, in addition to solving a problem, it has to:

  • Introduce as few bugs as possible.
  • Make potential bugs easy to track down.
  • Keep the software is scalable.
  • Keep the code is readable.
  • Be tested and covered thoroughly.
  • Follow all the other best practices.

Writing code while keeping all these factors in mind is tough and time-consuming.

It takes years and years of experience to become a senior-level programmer who can handle these aspects.

Why Learning to Code Likely Takes More Than 500-1000 Hours?

As I pointed out, in optimal circumstances, learning to code takes somewhere between 500-1000 hours.

However, for most of us, it takes way more than that.

Many factors can hinder your progress in learning programming.

These include:

  • Lack of passion, focus, and motivation
  • Lack of schedule and consistency
  • Using bad resources
  • Confusion and information overflow
  • Learning without writing
  • Focusing on wrong things
  • Getting stuck for too long

And much more.

To become a self-taught programmer, chances are you are making one or more mistakes in the above list.

This is understandable.

No one is pushing the pace or showing you the right direction.

How could you be efficient if you do not know what efficiency means?

The best way to avoid these mistakes is by getting assistance from an experienced software developer. In other words, you should take part in a bootcamp or intensive course.

A great place to start learning is Udemy. They have a massive catalog of courses in different fields of software development. These courses and bootcamps are held by professional software developers in the field.

In addition to taking a course, let’s talk about other ways you can speed up learning how to code.

How to Learn Coding Faster

There is no shortcut to learning to code quickly.

However, there are easy ways to speed up your learning process.

For example:

  1. Take a zero-to-hero bootcamp.
  2. Repeat everything you see in tutorials or lectures.
  3. Understand your goals.
  4. Use a developer community to get help.
  5. Get out of your comfort zone.

And much more.

Last but not least, let’s talk about college degrees and the time it takes to learn coding.

Does a College Degree Make Me a Programmer Faster?

A college degree in computer science is a great way to learn a variety of skills in the field of software development and tech.

However, it usually takes years to graduate.

In other words, getting a degree is not the fastest way to become a software developer.

A degree consists of a variety of introductory-level courses. In other words, you have some experience in many areas, but you are not really an expert in any of those.

If you build an impressive portfolio of projects in different fields of software development during college, you have lots of career paths you can choose from.

But this takes years to accomplish.

On the other hand, if you have no college degree, you can take a 3-6 month bootcamp to become a job-ready developer in no time.


Becoming a job-ready programmer takes 500-1000 months in the best-case scenario.

To accomplish this rate of learning, you need to do lots of things right.

You are almost guaranteed to fail if you do it unassisted.

A great way to get assistance is by taking part in an intensive bootcamp or programming course taught by experts. These courses:

  • Set the pace
  • Push you harder
  • Show you the right path

And much more.

Another great option to learn to program is to get a college degree. However, it is not something you “have to” do to get a job.

A college degree is a rather slow way to become a software developer because it takes years to graduate.

Thanks for reading.

Happy learning!

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