How much time to commit to learning how to code?
It is better to work in long sprints than to dedicate an hour a day to programming. If you can only find time a few days a week to dedicate 2 or more hours to diving into learning how to code, you will get much more out of that intensive 2-6 hour session than you will from one-hour sessions every day?
Why is this? It’s because programming requires you to think about a problem in many different ways in order to find the best solution. It is better to give yourself enough time to reach a state of flow, where you are deep into the problem, completely in over your head into the work you are doing.
This takes time as every time you sit down to start doing work you have to open up your IDE, take our your notes from the previous session, maybe review what you learned and remember/get back to where you last left off. This can take some time.
Let’s say you are working on a project and you need to pick up where you left off. You’re going to have to find your place and remember the solution or way you were thinking of implementing it the last time you looked at the project. Then you will have to consider whether that is still the best solution or wether you now know of a different solution and that is all before you even start writing code.
Because of this, I recommend you try to dedicate at the very least 2-3 hours to learning how to code. The most successful people I know who taught themselves to program in the last couple of years dedicated 3-5 hours 5 days per week in the beginning (and by beginning I mean the first 1-2 years). Of course, once you land a job, gig, contract, etc you will start being paid to learn so a lot of that time you will actually be making money but in the beginning, you’ve got to put in the time to make yourself hireable.
In programming, there is a concept known as Maker time. Maker time is the time people like writers, artist, and programmers, etc need to create things. We work best by breaking up our days in bigger units than an hour or so because you simply cannot build most meaningful things in an hour and interruptions can be detrimental because they prohibit us from entering a state of flow. I’ll link an interesting article about it below. Although you are not working as a software engineer just yet, you should treat your time as if you already are one.
Author: Madelyn Tavarez