Time It Takes To Learn A Programming Language

So how much time it takes to learn a programming language? This is the first question every programming student asks. In my early days, I have spent weeks and months on the internet looking for an answer to this easy question. Some guides often promised to teach me programming in 24 hours, some claimed a week and some said a month long course should be good. But which one do I believe?

So what’s the Answer?

Well, there can never be an exact time period for learning a programming language. But you need to understand what is it that you need to learn in programming. There are some really important concepts that you need to understand in order to learn it. You must have often seen code examples in various tutorials or other places on the internet. None of this might be making any sense to you as a beginner. But believe me when I say this that writing code is the easier part of programming. The tough part is conceptualizing the program.

So what do I need to learn?

Now let’s get straight to business. Programming is something that can be taught in less than a day or maybe a week or over a month. When we talk about programming we don’t mean that you need to learn every damn function from the standard library of that programming language. All you need to do is be clear with the fundamentals of various concepts used of any language. Here is a list of some important concepts in all programming languages.

  1. Variables
  2. Loops
  3. Conditional Statements
  4. Operators
  5. Functions
  6. Data Structures
  7. Error Handling

These are the main concepts that you need to learn. These are the major concepts used in all programming languages. Once you know what a variable is, how a loop works, what are conditional statements etc., you are ready to program. The next question would be about which language to choose.

Which language to start with?

This is another question that people ask too many times. Different people will have different choices about it, some feel Python is good for beginners, some say Java. Even though you can choose any language of choice, I strongly disagree with both. The first language that you learn should be as imperative as it can be. This is the reason I always recommend people to start off with C. The first time that you choose a language, you will be writing code for the first time. It is of utmost importance that you understand each and every word of the code you write.

How much time does it take for ‘X’ programming language?

I see many people often misguide others with this question. The simple answer would be that under normal circumstances, it shouldn’t take you more than a week. It is important to note that you should already have completed at least one programming language before this. Once you have done programming in one language, you already know the concepts of programming. So learning a new language would only require you to learn the syntax of that language, rest everything is same.
Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook learned PHP in a couple of days and started working on Facebook in its early days. This was because he already has done programming in C. Even for me, since I already knew C, C++, and JavaScript, learning python hardly took 2 days.


Programming is not about the code, it is about the idea. The way you solve a problem is more important than the tools needed to solve it. Once you understand how programs are written with the use of various concepts like looping, conditional statements, and data structures, you can pretty much learn any language you want in just a matter of days or weeks at most.

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Mohd Sohail
Mohd Sohail

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