Five years? Two years? 5 months? 6 days without sleeping with a caffeine infusion in the femoral? There are as many possible answers as units of time measurement. Let’s venture to give a precise answer to a question that is not precise.
What does knowing how to code mean to you?
Of course, you know what “knowing how to code” means. And we know you do. But your definition may be different from your neighbor’s.
What does knowing how to code mean? How to build a website from scratch? Develop the splash page of your cousin’s barber shop? Manage the intranet of a high-traffic site? Being technically advanced enough to entrust a project to another dev? As you can see, the expression “knowing how to code” is subject to multiple interpretations.
You need the basics
We have just seen that “knowing how to code” can mean many things. Let’s say we settle on one definition. Ex: knowing how to code = being a professional developer. We still need more than this to answer our main question. We would still have to stop on the common prerequisites.
A student who has practiced programming assignments with HTML and CSS for a few weeks will surely finish his learning faster than someone who wonders what “lines of code” is. They start from a different point. The learning time will therefore be significantly different.
Learn to code, yes, but how?
The last parameter to set before answering the question is the learning methods. It isn’t easy to define a single learning time when several training solutions exist, and they require a different investment from the learners.
And again, we could also raise the question of support: with or without teachers? With or without students to motivate themselves? With or without teaching resources available?
All of these factors will influence the duration of learning and lead us to believe that it will be complicated to peremptorily impose a single, unequivocal minimum duration.
From beginner to professional
Even if all students do not have the same abilities and intellectual ease, we still observe similarities between each path that lead us to deduce key “stages” of learning.
Having code doesn’t mean being a developer
A little analogy to make us understand: baking bread. On Sundays, you have fun making your bread for your enjoyment. Would you say you’re a baker because of this? No. Yet a baker makes bread, just like you. But not only. He makes bread, baguette, croissants, pains au chocolat, quiches with bacon, madeleine and many other delicacies.
But beyond that, he is a baker. He has knowledge built up through thousands of hours of experimenting with gluten from morning to night. But he also knows how to manage stocks, customer demands, pricing of his products, etc.
Like the baker’s job, the developer’s job is not limited to executing one of his main tasks. A whole set of skills and abilities must be brought together. Knowing how to code is like making bread. It is a means. Either “simply” to have the leisure to make bread on Sunday or to make it a profession. And in the second case, learning requires a little more time.
There are two stages in the long road leading us to the web developer profession.
The first stage is the discovery and learning of the first languages, and with this first theoretical contribution, the beginnings of know-how. At this stage, the student knows how to “code.” He has a few technical skills that he knows how to understand and whose practical use he knows. What he does not know represents a colossal margin, and the acquired knowledge is still wavering. But he can code. It is a fact.
It takes at least three months to reach this stage. And still. We are talking about intensive training where you code morning, noon, and night. If you take a pancake break during the day, it slows down the process.
Five months minimum to become professional
After three months, if you know how to handle HTML and CSS with a bit of PHP and JS, you still need to be operational in a professional environment. At this level of learning and keeping the same “intensive” pace, it would take another two months to develop what an amateur coder will sorely miss.
If the first three months set a general technical context, it is afterward that one decides to focus on techno or the part of the web development (front or back, basically).
This is what beginners lack. Being a developer is not just putting lines of code in a text editor. Many learners forget that what we call “soft skills” are not soft at all for a developer.
Five months is a minimum below, and it seems almost impossible to claim to be a web developer. But of course, you’ll hear other voices from other schools. It’s difficult to find your way around when several training organizations may have opposed opinions.
Reading between the lines
Once you know you need five months, how do you tell the difference?
Your heart. And if your heart knows less than you do, you’re not out of the sand. The first thing to do is to contact all these schools in question and ask them about the stated purpose of their training.
The training field remains a very competitive market. So all the players sharpen their arguments and their best punchlines to seduce you. The goal is to know if there is natural benevolence behind these effects of the announcement.
Having read all the information above, grab your keyboard or your phone and ask: “What will I learn during these “X” months of training? What will I use this course for? Will I apply as a developer after the training, etc.? Multiply the questions, and accumulate the answers and the sounds of the bell to build an accurate opinion. Of course, many indisputable factors coincide with your abilities that indicate how much time you’ll need to become an experienced and educated programmer. But eventually, it only depends on your desire when you reach your goal and success.