DEV Community

Cover image for How long did it take you to get comfortable with coding?
Silvestar Bistrović
Silvestar Bistrović

Posted on • Originally published at

How long did it take you to get comfortable with coding?

I recently got a LinkedIn invitation from a random person. After accepting it I got a message from this person. It said:

Hey Silvestar! I recently started to learn React and all the wonderful things that go with it. I really liked your write up about CSS auditors, lots of good links and info and very well written. I was just wondering how long it took you to get this comfortable with coding? Thanks.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to answer or should I answer at all, but then again, it didn’t cost anything for me to reply and possibly help this person. Here’s my reply:


Thank you for the kind words.

To answer your question honestly, it took several years to get comfortable with coding, especially when I started to learn new things.
For example, it took a year to get comfortable with PHP, then it took several months to get comfortable with HTML and CSS, then it took several months to get comfortable with jQuery, then it took several months to get comfortable with JavaScript, then it took several months to get comfortable with Angular2, and so on.

Now, I am working mainly with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and I am in my maximum comfort zone. It took approximately 7-8 years.

But that was my journey. I bet you will have a completely different one.

I hope I have answered your questions.

This person thanked me, and that was it.

But after that, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’m still not comfortable in some areas. For example, when I need to write a NodeJS script or lambda function, I am very uncomfortable, and I still don’t know if I am doing the right thing. The code works, but could it be better, more secure, and performant?

That reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite shows, Peep Show. In it, Mark has a good hand in poker, but, Mark being Mark, he folds because “there’s just no way of knowing for sure (if someone else has a better hand).” He is just not comfortable with the situation, and he gives up. On the other hand, Jez has a pretty bad hand, but, Jez being Jez, he goes all-in and bluffs the other guy with a stronger hand. He then says to himself: “I’m really good at this without realizing how.” I love that quote, and I’ve been using it in my email signatures forever.

Getting comfortable with coding is definitively tricky and individual. So how long did it take you to get comfortable with coding?

Top comments (28)

lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr

When I started, I was a little kid hacking along on a Z80-CPU in Mallard basic and assembly. I was almost instantly comfortable, but my childish experiments, though they worked, were not really elaborate. Later I learned other languages and switched to x86.

The more complex the challenge, the more I had to learn and the longer it took me to get comfortable, until I specialized in front-end and became a senior developer, so I can comfortably rely on my experience and the ability to learn new things. Still, it can take between a few minutes and days to become comfortable with new things.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

Very similar experience here, starting on a zx81 in basic and then a TRS-80 in asm.

syeo66 profile image
Red Ochsenbein (he/him) • Edited

Almost 40 years into coding. More than 20 years professionally. Comfortable? Sorry to say this: still not.

I think the main problem is things get harder the further you progress.

molotovbliss profile image

Jr Devs always have a wide eyed approach to learn & rebuild everything. Most Sr of Devs say: "Only thing I know for sure is... I don't know anything or everything." But is comfortable with that. 😼 Just getting sh*t done. As those legacy tools that seem a mess have a history of bug fixes & testing.

syeo66 profile image
Red Ochsenbein (he/him)

Yeah. I guess this puts it perfectly.

jeremyf profile image
Jeremy Friesen

I got comfortable with coding once I started writing unit tests. I started to internalize things like the Law of Demeter and Command / Query Separation because I found myself needing to do "too much" to test a function.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I basically learned to code a bit when I was ~13, but based on my personal journey with the whole craft, it mostly didn't "click" until about a decade later. I had already resigned myself to "it's cool that I sort of know how to code, but I'm not a real coder"...

It took beginning a career I didn't really like to convince me to really give coding another look in case it could really click.

bramuel profile image

Happened to me today after I received a resignation later from a colleague. He had quit his job to learn coding and we as remote startup company had given him access to real word projects and resources, but after 5 months he lost his nerve because he saw it as unfruitful, hectic and painful. He is more than willing to secure his old job in order to pay bills.

timmortal profile image

I think there's a quote that be like this

" Comfort is the enemy of achievement"

Just read an article about discomfort, few mins ago, the title says

"Want to Be Successful? Don't Chase Success, Chase Discomfort"

My Two Cents.

ozchidi profile image
Ozuzu Chidiebere

I started coding last year, and I can tell you I am not yet comfortable with coding.

Learning a programming language has never been easy for me. Most times, I try implementing the language in a real-life project. But I end up crashing out.😟

eljayadobe profile image

As soon as I get comfortable, I overextend myself in something that is outside my comfort zone. For example, I enjoy learning a new programming language every year. For funsies.

Many of them I learn, and never use again. Like Boo, or Groovy.

Some of them I learn, then get to use on a real project. Like Java. Or SQL.

But some of them, I learn something totally new (to me) and mind-blowing (to me). Like F#.

annetawamono profile image
Anneta Wamono

I think my comfort lies in "I can get it to work", but I feel uncomfortable/unconfident about "Can I get it to work better?". I think that is because it's easy to find examples of how to make code work but hard to find examples to improve your code. I think it's something you learn over time and when you work on projects of different scales.

laci profile image
Laci Kosco

For me maybe couple of years. The confidence grows as you see your code running in production. Maybe do some fixes.
What surprises me is every time I look at my old code because something needs to be changed, I wonder what was I smoking that time. I would definitely write it different this time. And this happens even to one year old code!
It is great fun, even after 20 years of practice.

cppkingalan17 profile image

it took me 2 years to be comfortable to coding with c++ well excatly if you see its been me 4 years html,css 1-2 years 1-2 years c++ and now python after some months after finishing the directx 11,12 learning also OpenGL therefore it depends how long it takes to learn an language and its lib's like OpenGL and other

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy 🎖️

I'm not sure I've ever really felt 'uncomfortable' with it... even starting on the ZX Spectrum as a 7 year old back in 1983, it was never scary - it was and has always been an enjoyable voyage of discovery driven by curiosity.

devatrest profile image
Glenn Miller

I've been a programmer since 1975, nearly 47 years. Now, at my age, I realize the work I accomplished through most of my career doesn't exist anymore. There is no trace of you. No legacy. All that remains is nostalgia with no one to share it with. The thing is, I don't care. The challenge of tackling the next big thing is what I enjoyed most in this profession. I'm still programming several hours a day, but now it's Rust instead of C/C++/C#, and it's WASM instead of plain old web. Enjoy the journey.

t20league profile image

Comfortability is not the concern, its more of remembering the colons and semi colons.. Anyway, I am now comfortable in CSS, Javascript, Python and Php

metacollective profile image

I compare it with playing golf. Someday you think you got it and the very next day it frustrates you.
Having said that, it takes time but if you enjoy it then it can get easier as you go along.

Some comments may only be visible to logged-in visitors. Sign in to view all comments.