How Long Does It Take to Learn Python?


Python is one of the high-on-demand languages preferred by learners, developers, and recruiters all across the world today. This demand is because Python has so many use cases, and it is a language used everywhere.

Python is one of the most preferred programming languages in this fast-upgrading technology arena, ranging from machine learning and artificial intelligence to game development, web development, data science, and data visualization.

Suiting the demand, Python developers are one of the top-paying professionals in the IT field. Python is also a scripting language that is high-level, interpreted, interactive, and object-oriented.

Python is also a very understandable language for beginners. It typically uses English terms instead of punctuation and has fewer syntactical structures than other languages.

So all this said, when can you say that you have complete knowledge of Python? How long does it take to start building actual applications or scripts in Python?

Although the answers to these questions are subjective and differ from person to person, I will try to answer these questions with a few general approaches.

In this article, let’s take a quick sneak at understanding how to master Python and how long it will take.

How Long Does It Take to Learn the Basics of Python?

Like every other programming language, Python is a syntax-oriented language. The syntax is a set of rules that must be followed while coding in a particular language.

You don’t need to worry, as Python has got your back. The reason is that the syntax of Python is quite learner-friendly and doesn’t contain any complex and unnecessary symbols or operators.

The reserved words in Python are simple English terms as part of its syntax, and they exactly mean what they are supposed to mean.

Python doesn’t have the braces that are supposed to be present at the beginning and end of loops and conditions in other programming languages. However, indentation between blocks of code is strictly followed, i.e., lines of the same block of code should have the same indentation.

For example:

if True:
  print("True")
else:
  print("False")

Output:

So, in general, how long will it take to learn Python? If you already know a programming language, you can learn the syntax of Python within a week (assuming 2-3 hours of effort per day). However, if you are a beginner and don’t know anything about programming, it would take a month or two or even more time to learn the syntax and understand how things work in Python.

Programming is not only about completing a course or a tutorial series. If you want to understand coding and how to put your ideas into code, you need to take time, practice writing code, and learn by doing.

Along with the syntax of Python, one should have a basic understanding of how to write code in Python, how to use a Python integrated development environment (IDE), and how to run Python programs.

The syntax of Python is available on the internet, and you can learn it by referring to the official documentation of Python, courses, websites, books, YouTube videos, etc.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Python Developer?

The things that a Python developer would do can vary depending on the roles and companies. You can be a Python developer who builds web applications, machine learning models, automation scripts, or anything.

In general, a Python developer should be able to solve the problem he has or is given to him using the programming language.

If you are solving problems using Python, you might require to create new applications, debug errors, test and deploy your applications, etc. Mastering that extent of skills does take quite an amount of time and practice.

You might need to have strong knowledge of Python language, web frameworks, libraries, data structures, and algorithms.

The library or framework you should learn depends on the problem that you would be solving. If you are creating web applications, you need to learn any one of the web application frameworks of Python like Flask and Django.

Flask is the easiest one to start with compared to Django. However, Django is used more often than Flask for large-scale web applications. There are also other Python frameworks like Web2Py, Pyramid, FastAPI, etc.

To learn these frameworks, you need to understand the working of frameworks, the fundamentals of the front end and back end of web apps, and the basics of a good code editor such as Atom or VS Code, along with its tools and packages.

It would take approximately 3-6 months to master a web application framework, web development fundamentals, and the tools needed for web development so that you can build fully-fledged web apps for production.

While an algorithm is a set of instructions for processing data to achieve a specific purpose, data structures deal with how the data is organized and stored in memory. An algorithm leverages a logical combination of data structures to solve a computing problem.

It would take at least a month to understand how to implement common data structures like linked lists, stacks, queues, and graphs, and algorithms like searching, sorting, recursion, dynamic programming, etc.

How to Learn Python Faster?

For a beginner, it can be overwhelming to see all sorts of tutorials and courses available online. Choosing the best learning material and filtering out things that are not needed can be quite an uphill task.

Here are three tips to become good at Python in the fastest way possible.

  1. Choose your niche/role and learn this accordingly: You can choose your area of interest (for example, web development or machine learning) and create a learning plan based on your goal.
  2. Learn only what is required: You don’t need to know everything under the sun about Python. Learn only the libraries and tools required for your applications. You can deep dive and master one technology/niche within Python.
  3. Learn by doing: Whatever the area you want to get into, learn the technology by writing code and building things. Your coding skills will significantly improve as you practice writing code, debugging, and testing.

It is really important to write code daily. No matter how simple your code is, open the IDE, type it out, compile and run it. Check whether the given output matches yours or not. Repeat. Practice is and always will be the key factor in your progress as a Python programmer. Though this may sound like a piece of outdated advice, this can be summed up as the best way to learn Python.

Committing to coding on a daily basis will greatly aid in the development of your coding muscle memory. Writing down pseudocode and drawing rough flowcharts can also help you visualize the structure of your code.

A smart developer should be capable of breaking down complex problems into smaller and easier ones. This also serves as a great hack for easy debugging.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned earlier, though the title of this article may sound quite vague and subjective, the answer to such questions always comes down to one necessary thing: Practice!

This article is not about forcing you to choose what I think the best way to learn Python is. Instead, I hope this will act as a guide to let you choose what you feel will be the best way for you. 

Take the initiative to start learning. Everything will start falling into place, and you will figure out the best way to learn Python. As they say, “everything is about hitting the first domino”. 

Happy coding!

Ashwin Joy

I'm the face behind Pythonista Planet. I learned my first programming language back in 2015. Ever since then, I've been learning programming and immersing myself in technology. On this site, I share everything that I've learned about computer programming.

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