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How many hours a week should you code?

Coding, or computer programming, involves writing instructions for computers using programming languages. It is an in-demand skill across many industries and can be a rewarding career path. But how much time should you devote each week to honing your coding abilities? Let’s take a look at some guidelines.

Why Code Regularly

Like any skill, coding requires regular practice to improve. Here are some key reasons to code frequently:

  • Maintain and build skills – Coding skills become rusty if you don’t use them. Regular coding keeps your skills sharp.
  • Learn new techniques – The industry is always evolving with new languages, frameworks, and best practices. Frequent coding helps you stay up-to-date.
  • Prepare for interviews – Many coding jobs require demonstration of skills during interviews. Candidates who code consistently will be better prepared.
  • Gain experience – Experience coding all types of applications, fixing bugs, optimizing performance etc. is invaluable. The more you code, the more experienced you become.
  • Build portfolio – Having a portfolio of coding projects and contributions to show employers is key. More coding equals more artifacts for your portfolio.

In short, routine practice will help you gain and maintain coding skills over time.

Recommended Weekly Coding Hours for Skill Development

So how much practice is enough? Opinions vary on the optimum number of hours to code each week. Here are some general recommendations based on your experience level:


If you’re just starting out learning to code through self-study or a coding bootcamp, aim for 5-10 hours per week. As a beginner, it’s important to allow time to learn programming concepts and get comfortable using new tools and languages. Starting with small, manageable coding sessions will help avoid early burnout.


For developers with 1-3 years experience, 10-15 hours of coding practice weekly helps advance skills. At this level, coders are proficient enough to build on existing knowledge through medium-sized coding projects and learning more complex programming techniques.


Those with 3+ years experience should aim for 15-20 hours of coding weekly to continue growing as a developer. This includes time spent coding new projects at work as well as personal coding outside of work. Experienced coders can tackle larger challenges to expand their capabilities.


Experts with 5+ years experience should code 20+ hours a week to achieve mastery. This level of commitment provides exposure to solve all types of complex programming problems. It also allows time for activities like contributing to open source projects or publishing coding tutorials.

Coding Frequency Recommendations by Profession

Amount of recommended coding time also depends on your specific job role:

Profession Weekly Coding Hours
Software engineer 20-30 hours
Web developer 15-25 hours
Data scientist 10-20 hours
IT administrator 5-10 hours

Software engineers and web developers should aim for the most hours, since coding is a primary function of their jobs. Data scientists and IT administrators code frequently but have other major responsibilities as well.

Tips for Being Consistent

Reaching the recommended hours each week requires dedication. Here are some tips to code consistently:

  • Set a schedule – Choose specific days/times each week to code and add them to your calendar. Treat coding time as seriously as other commitments.
  • Start small – Don’t overwhelm yourself starting out. Build up to more hours gradually.
  • Vary projects – Work on coding tasks both for work and personal interests to keep things interesting.
  • Pair program – Team up with other coders which helps motivate you and exposes you to new things.
  • Join challenges – Participate in coding challenges like Hackathons which provide focus and accountability.
  • Avoid burnout – Take breaks, get exercise, maintain hobbies, and spend time with family/friends to recharge.

Balance with Other Obligations

While the recommendations provide a helpful starting point, be sure to balance coding with your other responsibilities:

  • Reduce hours if coding interferes with job performance or ability to give adequate attention to life outside work.
  • Conversely, maximize coding time within reason if you want to accelerate skill development.
  • Adjust hours gradually up or down until you find an amount that works for your situation.


Consistently devoting 5-30 hours per week to coding will build and maintain programming skills over time. Start with a reasonable amount based on your experience level and adjust from there. Code frequently through a mix of work projects, personal learning, and coding challenges. But be careful not to obsess over coding to the exclusion of other important life priorities. Find the right balance and coding regularly will take your career far.