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Lucy Oleschuk
Level 31

How Long Does It Take to Learn to Code?

Published in the Learning Java group
If you're beginning the winding path to learning Java, it can feel daunting, and many questions may jump into your mind. How long will it take? Where should I start? What's the result? These are the fundamental questions that can make your head spin. So if you're feeling overwhelmed, keep on reading. This brief guide will tackle each of these questions (and many more) to understand how much time you will have to spend on learning Java and where it will take you in the long run. How Long Does It Take to Learn to Code? - 1

What Does It Mean "To Know Java"?

First, let's start with the basics. Actually, learning to code often boils down to solving problems. So, once you master skills like fixing a bug, using frameworks and libraries, structuring a website, and some other specific methodologies, you may safely say that you have already taken the first significant steps. Whereas some developers consider they have already got the hang of coding as soon as they have completed their first project, others believe they should get their first job offer to say: "I'm ready."

How Long Does It Take to Learn Coding?

There is no correct answer to this question since everyone absorbs information differently — quicker or slower, depending on their preferred pace. But, roughly speaking, it shouldn't take you longer than 18 months, even if you're an absolute beginner willing to devote at least 2-3 hours a day to learning Java. And accordingly, the more time you spend learning, the quicker you'll be able to transfer your skills to solve problems.

Does the Background Matter?

Of course, the background matters, too. For example, learning to code from scratch may take up to 18-24 months, depending on your comfortable pace and other factors. If you're a casual learner with zero programming skills who want to try new things just for fun, you'll take the most extended amount of time to learn to code (a couple of years or so). But it's pretty ok if you're approaching the task as a hobby. Career advancer? Typically, they know the basics of coding and understand what additional knowledge they need to acquire to do their job better. Likewise, they already know which topics they should focus on. It's pretty hard to pinpoint an exact timeframe for this type of learner, but a year is considered a reasonable estimate. If you're a career changer, you definitely know your goals and will do your best to learn to code as quickly as possible. Most likely, you'll switch your career in less than a year.

What Are the Welcome Skills that Can Boost Your Learning?

Many skills can enhance your learning, and among them, we can highlight: Ability to learn code concepts. This is the key feature required for any future coder. In other words, you can know and memorize code concepts. Ability to adopt new technologies. As we live in a fast-evolving world, you should be able to be open to new technologies and emerging trends, advance with the times, and keep abreast of what is in vogue in the modern tech world. Problem-solving capability. Quick thinking is one of the main benefits of any successful coder. Solid problem-solving skills can help you predict problems even before they arise. Attention to detail and good editing skills. The elements are essential for codes since an omitted colon may change the entire command. Among other essential skills that can skyrocket your learning path, it's worth mentioning:
  • fast typing speed;
  • proficiency with numbers;
  • database management;
  • communication skills.

What Are My Options?

Career paths also matter. If you'd like to become a Java software developer, you'll need one skill set, but if you'd like to tie your life with Android apps, you'll need to acquire other skills. Yet, there are some must-have skills for any Java learner regardless of their future type of occupation. They include:
  1. Java syntax.
  2. OOP principles.
  3. Java collections.
  4. Java exceptions.
  5. Input/Output streams.
  6. Algorithms.
  7. Java multithreading.
  8. Java patterns.
  9. Unit testing.
  10. Lambda expressions.
  11. Serialization in JSON, RMI, HttpUrlConnection, socket.
As just mentioned, these are just the essential topics you should get familiar with. Afterward, it would help if you considered some add-ons. Of course, those who want to become professional software developers will stick to learning Git & version control tools. Want to become a Back-end developer? Then, the additional knowledge of JavaScript will be precious for you. Are you interested in becoming a Data Scientist or a Big Data Architect? Knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL) will ensure strong career prospects.

How to Stay Consistent?

A big mistake of many students is that they try to learn too many topics chaotically. Instead, it's better to figure out what type of work you want to do and then set your tactical goals. Then, once you decide on your future profession, you can narrow in on the foundational skills you might need to learn. Then, build a practical roadmap tailored for your specific needs and follow it. The next step is to define a personal learning schedule that will help you stick to your plan. Ideally, you should devote at least 2-3 hours a day to coding. Consider your lifestyle and, say, if you're a pretty busy person, try to get up at 5-6 in the morning and study one hour before work and a couple of hours in the evening. Ideally, you should start your day with theory and spend more time practicing in the evenings. The 20%/80% theory-to-practice balance is what you should try to achieve. That said, try to set realistic time-bound goals without overburdening yourself. Don't put extra pressure on yourself — consider your lifestyle and put a reasonable portion of your time into your pursuit to make progress each week.

Additional Boosters

Don't neglect using additional tools for coding. As a future programmer, you may want to get armed with the best software allowing you to write code, check it, and test the results efficiently. Among the most common ones that can significantly boost your productivity, you may benefit from:
  • Text Editors like Sublime Text, TextMate, and Vim
  • REPL (read-eval-print loop) Program
  • Code Browser
  • Version control tools (Git, Mercurial, CVS, SVN)
  • Continuous integration tools like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket
  • Continuous testing tools: JIRA, Selenium, Bamboo, Jenkins, Docker, and Tabnine
  • Continuous deployment tools: Jenkins, Bamboo, GitLab

Bonus Tip for Learning to Code More Quickly

There is one more super-effective way to overcome difficulties and speed up your learning process accordingly. We bet you already know it. Just refer to communities and forums when you're stuck on some task. They are full of Java developers of all levels from all over the world who are willing to offer their help and solve tricky problems. Moreover, you can find like-minded people who can support you and go through the "learning Java journey together." Basically, on Quora and Reddit, you can ask even the most stupid questions to overcome errors on the way. In contrast, Coderanch, StackOverflow, and GitHub can help you find peers to share the experience.


Summing it all up, everyone absorbs information differently, and many different factors may influence your learning. A lot depends on the career you choose and the consistency of your lessons. But if you avoid long study gaps, create an effective plan, stick to the correct theory/practice balance, use auxiliary tools and refer to communities for help, we bet you will already get hired in a year. Let's try and see for yourself!