Coding is being taught earlier and earlier. If you didn’t learn it while you were young, you might have some questions. So, here’s the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions on the topic of learning to code.
How long does it actually take to learn to code?
This is a really common question, but unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Coding is a skill, so how long it will take you to learn will depend on a few factors. For example, the amount of time you put in each week to learn, if you have a relevant background, if you enjoy it, what level you hope to reach – all these factors will affect the final answer.
So here are a few answers to give you a feel.
If you are thinking about changing your career and take part in a coding bootcamp, you can expect the training to last around 3 months. At the end of that time, you will have the basics of coding under your belt, but you will still be low on experience. So it will probably take at least another 3 months of practice until you are at an adequate level of proficiency.
If you are looking to learn as a way to upskill but don’t intend to change roles, you’ll probably be motivated to learn but, unlikely to be able to dedicate time to an intense coding bootcamp. So, if you practice consistently for a few hours each week, you could expect to be proficient in around one year.
Finally, if you are looking to learn coding as a hobby or only for pleasure, then you can pick up the skills and techniques over the course of a couple of years. Of course, when you’re coding for fun, you don’t need to develop the same level of skills. You’ll be able to put together functioning programs long before then.
How long does it take to learn a programming language?
Before I answer this, let’s quickly cover what a programming language is. Programming languages are the tool you use to give instructions to your computer. Different programming languages do this in different ways. Some use words, some use 1s and 0s, some use visual representations instead.
For instance, a drag and drop programming language like Scratch is designed for kids to learn how to code with. It’s pretty quick to pick up, and you can use it to do some exciting and quite complicated things. Learning Scratch can probably be done in a couple of weeks of causal learning.
A high-level programming language (one that uses words), will take more time to get your head around. To be confident and fluent in a programming language usually takes between 3-6 months.
Low-level programming that relies on using binary code will take longer. Being mathematically minded will likely help. This is something that only really hardcore coders will ever really learn to do. It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of it.
How long does it take to learn your second programming language?
Once you’ve got one language under your belt, others tend to come more quickly. The more similar the languages, the faster you’ll pick things up. Generally, the more experience you have with coding, the easier it is to pick up new languages.
Is it hard to learn coding?
Learning to code isn’t any harder than learning any other skill. The more consistently you practice, the easier you’ll find it to learn. Just remember that part of learning to code is making mistakes. Figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it is one of the best learning tools around.
How many hours a day should I learn to code?
It depends on how quickly you want to learn and how much spare time you have. If you’re just learning casually, then spending a couple of hours every other day is good practice. If you’re trying to upskill yourself an excellent target to aim for is 15 hours per week.
Do you need to memorize code?
Coding isn’t about memorization. My husband works as a software engineer, and he regularly tells me that a big part of his job is looking up how to do things. Through repetition, you’ll pick up the things you need. Then when you get stuck, you can go and find out how to solve your problem.
Does coding have a future?
I think it’s safe to say that coding is a skill that’s here to stay. Computers, technology, and AI are continuing to have a growing place in our lives. That means that even if you don’t intend to work directly in coding, it will be helpful to have a least a basic understanding of how everything works.
What is the right age to start coding?
Learning to code is a skill. Like most skills starting earlier can be helpful. So understanding the basics of logical thinking and sequences can be learnt along with reading and math. Learning to program with a high-level code can probably be started anywhere between 8 and 14 years old.
Of course, there is no upper age limit. As long as you want to learn and have the time to put in, anyone of any age can learn how to code.
Which language should I learn first?
If you have no experience of coding at all, then it can be helpful to start with a graphical coding language like Scratch. This gives you a feel for how blocks of code can be combined to get you the desired result.
Once you have a feel for the basic ideas behind coding useful starting languages, include Python and Java. If you plan to do anything in iOS, you’ll want to start with Swift. If you’re interested in playing with hardware and things like Arduino, then C can be a good option. For android, Kotlin is a good choice.
How can you teach myself to code?
If you are ready to start learning, then there are loads of great resources you can access. Here are a few of my top picks. All of them are free or offer good quality free lessons.
They have a mix of free and paid courses. You learn and practice as you go by typing directly into your browser. I’ve done a few of their courses, and they are easy to follow and engaging.
This is a tremendous little coding school. They have a curriculum of over 800 hours. You then get to practice your skills on real projects for nonprofits. It’s a great way to learn and do some good at the same time.
This is a fun, game-based learning system. The whole idea of this site is that you learn to code like a martial art. You can gain ranks and level up as you learn to code.
This is a slightly different option. It’s a social platform for learning to code. What makes it stand out is that it’s mobile-based. So you can learn to code using your phone – wherever and whenever you want.
What are the laptop requirements for programming?
When you’re just starting out you can get by with pretty much any machine. There are plenty of options for learning to code which can be done in a browser.
However, if you are thinking of getting a machine purely for coding and you are serious about programming, these are the minimum specifications that I would recommend
- 4GB RAM (although 8 would be better)
- Reasonable processor – intel i5 or i7
- SSD, 256GB is a baseline size, but the bigger, the faster you can compile code
- A comfortable keyboard (backlit if you will work in low light)
- Minimum of 1080p display
- 15inch screen – again, bigger is better for multitasking
Can you really learn to code a mobile app in under 30 days?
If you put the time in and are dedicated, you can learn enough to code a mobile app in 30 days. However, it will probably not be the greatest thing in the world, and you’ll undoubtedly be able to make better products the more experience you have.
If you like to have goals to aim for, then creating something is a good one. I would suggest that you remain realistic in your expectations. You are not going to make a multimillion-dollar app after only 30 days of coding.