How Long Does it Take to Learn Programming?

Aspiring Software Engineers and Programmers can master basic programming skills in as little as three to six months, or up to a year for those lacking a background in advanced mathematics. This article provides useful insights into the world of programming, including details on what programming entails, the various career opportunities it offers, and how to learn programming effectively.

Key Insights

  • Programming involves writing coded instructions that enable computers and software applications to perform specific tasks. It often requires fluency in various coding languages like Python, C++, and JavaScript.
  • Programming offers diverse career opportunities across industries, including web design, game creation, mobile app development, automation, advanced statistical analysis, and database management.
  • Learning basic programming skills typically takes most people between three to six months. However, this duration can extend up to a year for those lacking a background in advanced mathematics.
  • Several factors influence the speed at which you learn programming. These include prior knowledge of advanced mathematical concepts, problem-solving skills, experience working with data structures and algorithms, and familiarity with coding languages.
  • Noble Desktop offers in-person or live online coding courses that provide comprehensive training in programming. These courses provide the opportunity to learn core programming concepts, making it easier to master programming.
  • While the difficulty level of learning programming can be high due to the complexity of coding languages and the requirement of logical reasoning, many core coding languages, including C, Python, R, Java, and C++, are free to use and simply require installation.

Like many aspiringSoftware Engineers, you might want to learn programming but worry that it will take too much time. On average, it takes most learners between three and four months to learn programming. This range can extend to six months or even a full year for those who don’t have a background working with advanced mathematics. Of course, this estimate depends on several factors. Keep reading to learn how to study programming and some resources to help speed the process along.

What is Programming?

Computer programming is writing coded instructions that communicate to a computer, software program, or application you’d like for it to perform a specific task. Programmers write code to create these instructions to find solutions to different issues and ensure that different software programs and apps will operate successfully. This process often involves devising strategies to enhance code to implement organizational initiatives more effectively. Most programmers work with various coding languages, such as Python, C++, and JavaScript.

Typically, Computer Programmers perform various daily tasks: writing code, updating software programs to address security vulnerabilities or fix bugs, writing and testing code for apps and programs, troubleshooting code to spot errors, and translating existing code from one programming language to another. It’s a job that is ever-changing. The field of computer programming continues to grow in popularity as Programmers find new ways to communicate more effectively with computers.

Programming has changed drastically over the past century. Initially, programmers used punch cards containing rows of numbers read by a machine. Now, it incorporates drag-and-drop interfaces and other methods that allow for much faster programming speed. Although some individuals use the terms “programming” and “coding” interchangeably, the two are slightly different by definition. Programming is a mental process that requires creating the instructions given to a computer. In contrast, coding pertains to translating those instructions into a written language understandable to a computer.

Read more about what programming is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with Programming?

Software Engineering Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

Computer programming is a versatile skill with various uses across industries and professions. Because we rely so much on computers for daily tasks, those who know how to program have many job opportunities. 

The following are a few items you can do with a background in programming:

  • Programmers who know languages such as JavaScript, CSS, or HTML can design interactive websites for clients.
  • Individuals with advanced programming skills are needed to create computer games, a popular form of entertainment for many. 
  • Mobile apps are more popular than ever as cell phones become more widely used for everyday tasks like banking and navigating. Those who know how to program can create mobile apps to simplify these tasks.
  • Repetitive work tasks can take many hours of tedious work to complete. However, with the help of automation, they can be instructed to work independently to complete said tasks. Programming skills make it possible to automate tasks like posting on social media, controlling the thermostat at home, or sending emails.
  • Programming with R or Python allows users to incorporate advanced statistical analysis into analytical or research tasks. 
  • With programming, it is possible to build or maintain large databases. Programmers use languages such as SQL or PHP to use and maintain extensive databases.
  • Those who work in the field of data science rely on programming to perform tasks such as developing models that can make predictions based on data insights.

Average Time it Takes to Learn Programming

Like any other skill, the time required to learn computer programming depends on various factors. Generally, most people can learn basic coding skills in as little as three to four months. Developing more profound programming knowledge takes most people between six months and a year. The process of learning to program requires you to learn new concepts and languages, such as HTML, Java, or Python. It also requires learning in a fast-paced environment, one that’s constantly evolving. In addition, learning programming also requires adopting and applying new technologies. These skills and soft skills like problem-solving contribute to the time it takes to master programming.

Other Contributing Factors

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a Programmer, several factors will contribute to the speed at which you learn to program. Your prior knowledge of advanced mathematical concepts, experience working with data structures and algorithms, problem-solving skills, and familiarity with coding languages are contributing factors. The following sections will briefly explore each topic in more detail.

Prior Knowledge of Advanced Mathematics

A strong background in mathematics is essential for a successful Programmer. Most Programmers have a background in primary, as well as more advanced, mathematical concepts and skills. The following is a breakdown of the most critical math skills needed for programming:

  • Because programming languages are algebraic, pre-algebra knowledge is necessary for Programmers. Programming languages use functions, variables, and operations to define and solve problems. Typically, the equivalent of high-school pre-algebra knowledge suffices for Programmers, such as basic operations like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing are requirements, as is a logical mindset. 
  • Binary mathematics provides a backbone for various computer science tasks. Computers use 0s and 1s to represent everything from numbers to symbols to text. Executing binary instructions requires using Boolean logic in which 1s represent true and 0s represent false.
  • Whereas computers communicate using numbers, graphical representations are expressed in geometry, the mathematics of shapes. Programming graphics like animation and video games requires a solid background in geometrical concepts.
  • Working in the data sciences is easier for those who know linear algebra. Linear algebra has applications for data analysis and for working with matrices.
  • Calculus is integral for Programmers who work with machine learning or video games. It’s used across industries like data mining, image processing, and scientific computing. 
  • Graph theory plays an integral role in nearly all forms of networking technology. Google even used graph theory when it created its first algorithm to order search results, PageRank.
  • Function notation is used in programming languages that take the notation and concept of a math function and extend it into general computing. 
  • Knowledge of statistics is essential for machine learning, data science, and analysis. Once you master basic statistical concepts, you can apply these skills to learning programming skills. One essential statistical analysis skill you can learn for programming is performance analysis. This form of analysis is used when extensive performance data requires analysis, such as the amount expended by large-scale systems or performing an array of tests. Generally speaking, most Programmers don’t need to know advanced statistics; instead, it may be easier to collect additional data or edit the program to eliminate various confounding factors.

Background Working With Data Structures and Algorithms

The more you know about data structures and algorithms, the easier it will be to master programming. A data structure is a method by which a specialized format can organize the data in a virtual system. Well-defined data structures can take various forms, such as number sequences or tables. Algorithms are a set of steps used by a computer to transform an input into an output. Programmers use data structures and algorithms when creating programs, making knowledge of these two fields essential to programming.

Problem-Solving Skills

Programmers require essential skills such as the ability to solve complex problems. Simply writing high-quality code is only one facet of programming. The ability to solve problems is also needed, or this code serves no purpose. Problem-solving skills help Programmers know and document how they got from point A to point B, which is much more valuable than simply arriving at point B. Skilled problem-solvers will find it easier to acquire programming than those with no background in proposing solutions to complex problems.

Familiarity with Coding Languages

Code is written in various programming languages, such as Python, C++, and SQL. Although Computer Programmers don’t need to know every coding language, most are proficient in two are more languages. Although coding skills are one facet of programming, the more familiar you are with various languages, the easier it will be to acquire the other skills needed to be a successful Programmer. 

A great way to study the core concepts Programmer use is to enroll in one of Noble Desktop’s in-person or live online coding courses

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

If you’re interested in learning programming, you may wonder how hard it is to write code. Programming is generally considered difficult to learn due to the complex instructions a computer can understand. When communicating with a computer, you can’t simply feed it instructions in English or any other human-created language. Thus, depending on the project in the cue, Programmers have to learn different languages to communicate with the computer, a process similar to learning French so that you can speak to locals when visiting Paris. 

Programming is also considered by most to be a complex skill to learn because of the sheer number of languages being created each day. It can be challenging for some individuals to decide which is best to study. Another factor contributing to the difficulty of learning programming is the inherent uncertainty in this field. Additionally, the vocabulary required to write code can be challenging to acquire for those who don’t have prior technical experience or aren’t familiar with primary foundational languages such as C. 

Because programming requires an understanding of logic, it’s essential for those who wish to master different coding languages to have a solid background in the field of logic as a prerequisite. Logic involves the study of “correct” reasoning. There are two primary branches of logic: formal and informal. Formal logic studies logical truths or deduct inferences; informal pertains to critical thinking, informal fallacies, and argumentation theory. Logical or “correct” reasoning is used in many fields, such as linguistics, philosophy, math, and computer science. Learning to code will be a much more challenging task if you don’t know how to understand or work with logical statements. 

In terms of cost, the good news is that most of the core coding languages are free to use and simply require installation. Popular languages like C, Python, R, Java, and C++ are free downloads.

Read about how difficult it is to learn programming.

Watch a Free Programming Online Course

Free introductory programming courses are available online if you want to learn computer programming but aren’t sure about enrolling in an entire course. These courses and videos are designed to help you understand different programming languages before committing to more intensive learning options. 

Noble Desktop offers an hour-long webinar devoted to getting started with Python programming. Intro to Python Fundamentals provides an overview of how to use Python for automating boring or repetitive tasks. This beginner-friendly course is designed for those who may be new to programming and want to know what Python is and how to work with it. Noble also offers Intro to Node.js for those who want to learn about this popular JavaScript framework used for creating web apps. 

In addition to Noble’s free online programming resources, materials are available from other top educators as well. Udemy currently has several free online programming classes, such as Programming 101, designed for those new to working with hardware, networking, licensing, and programming. In addition, Git & GitHub Crash Course: Create a Repository From Scratch is also available. This course is a mere half an hour long and teaches students how to make a Git repository, clone it, and make changes. Coursera also provides a wide range of free programming courses. Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming offers 12 hours of beginner-friendly content on core programming principles in software engineering. Coursera’s C++ Basic Structures: Vectors, Pointers, Strings, and Files includes nine hours of instruction on how to code and run a C++ program.

Read more about free programming videos and online tutorials.

Learn Programming with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop, an educational provider, located in Manhattan, offers a range of programming courses for those new to this field and individuals with more advanced coding skills. Noble’s bootcamps and certificates provide hands-on programming training in the small class setting and are an excellent option for those who want to take their programming skills to the next level.

Those wishing to pursue a career as a Full Stack Web Developer, explore Noble’s in-person and live online Full-Stack Web Development Certificate since it presents a high-level learning opportunity. Instruction is provided on both front end web development and back end programming. Participants in this rigorous course learn CSS, JavaScript, and HTML. In addition, instruction is provided on using Git to track code changes. Those enrolled also create dynamic web apps using Node.js and React. For those who want to study the most widely used programming language, Noble’s JavaScript Development Certificate is for you. This intensive certificate program teaches students how to use JavaSript to design websites, build web applications, and create database-driven apps.

Noble also offers a Data Science Certificate for those interested in becoming Data Scientists. This hands-on program provides mentoring, as well as hands-on training, from industry experts. Instruction is provided on core data science skills, such as creating machine learning models, using SQL to query databases, and performing data analysis using Python. Tuition includes the option of a free class retake for up to one year, as well as one-on-one mentoring.

Noble also offers an in-person and live online Python Developer Certificate for those who want to work with Python. Those who enroll in this certificate receive hands-on instruction on fundamental Python programming skills, like using Django for Python software development and working with Django REST, SQL, and Git. This training is designed to prepare students to become Back End Developers, Software Engineers, or Python Engineers.

Key Insights

  • Computer programming is writing computer programs to perform various tasks.
  • Learning basic programming skills takes most people between three and six months. This range can extend up to a year for those who yet have coding experience.
  • Some factors that will determine the speed at which you learn to program are your prior knowledge of mathematical concepts like linear algebra, calculus, and geometry, problem-solving skills, and experience working with data structures and algorithms.
  • You can receive comprehensive programming training through an in-person or live online course with Noble Desktop.

How to Learn Programming

Master programming with hands-on training. Programming with Python, JavaScript, or another popular coding language is a crucial skill to have for many tech career fields, including data science, web development, and software engineering.

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