Is it possible to increase the speed of learning to code? I think it’s possible to learn in half the time. Allow me to explain…

Recently, I took up speed reading using the book, Break-Through Rapid Reading. It’s a fantastic book that improved my reading speed. I was already a fast reader, and I would guess I can read twice as fast as I did before with a high level of comprehension.

That got me thinking. Is it possible to increase the speed of learning to code as well?

Can I Learn Faster?

After putting some thought into this, I believe there is a way to learn code far faster than most do.

The majority of people I’ve met in the software world don’t learn anything quickly. The skill of writing software takes time to develop. Same as every other skill in the world. But, from what I’ve observed, most are going about learning the wrong way.

Most developers procrastinate. Over time they learn one or two core skills, and then sit back and ride those skills for a decade. Every once in a while they have to pick up something new.

And if you are one of those people who thinks I’m making this up… Look at the armies of corporate Java, C++, Fortran, COBOL, Visual Basic, and C# developers out there.

Millions of developers around the world have not read a book about code since college.

The best developers I’ve worked with never stop learning or improving their skills. They have an advantage over the majority and they press that advantage through hard work. By the time anyone notices the best developers “make it look easy”.

The best developers “make it look easy” because they’ve spent so much time writing code. They’ve made all the mistakes you make hundreds of times, so they spot them quicker and fix them quicker.

Again, I don’t mean to take the magic and wonder away from those who are superhero 10x programmers. In reality the best of the best programmers I’ve met spend obscene hours at their craft.

That is how you learn twice as fast you simply…

What Would EVH Do?

Before I blurt it out, I’m reminded of something I read years ago.

Eddie Van Halen wasn’t always a great guitar player… At some point in his life he sucked at guitar.

Eddie’s brother tells a story about how in high school he would go out with friends and Eddie would be in his room playing guitar.

Hours later, his brother would return home and Eddie was still sitting on his bed playing guitar.

If Eddie was practicing 2 or 3 hours a day, he was getting close to 1,000 hours of practice a year. Do that for five or ten years and you might become Eddie Van Halen.

And you might be able to play this:

I know the 10,000 hour rule is a bit of a misnomer, but it seems directionally correct.

The people who get good at things end up putting in thousands of hours of practice. Most people practice watching Netflix, hanging out with friends, and otherwise goofing off.

The most skilled people practice their craft.

How To Get To 10,000 Hours

And to stick with the guitar as an example…

I recently came across an excellent guitar player on YouTube talking about practice routines.

He said two things that I found completely fascinating:

  1. He enjoys practicing guitar because he practices songs he enjoys or is deeply interested in.

  2. He has played guitar every day for 15 years (except for a few days when he was sick or something)

In my experience, those who learn programming and find it “easy” are often very much in the same category. They do it every day and they are always building something that interests them.

Over time, showing up, doing the work, and being motivated to keep showing up makes a dramatic difference.

So, to get back to the original point. There is absolutely a way to learn to code in half the time…

And The Secret Is…

You immerse yourself in writing code.

Build anything and everything you can imagine to build. It doesn’t matter the language. It doesn’t matter the library or framework or algorithms.

Just build and build and build and build for years. When you look up after two or three years of practicing your craft, you’ll be better than most developers.

Enjoy the learning process and show up every day to learn and you’ll get to wherever you want to be. In my experience, you’ll get there faster by practicing every day than for looking for hacks/tips/shortcuts.

Daily practice is the shortcut.

Now, go practice!