We have all seen gifted programmers who seem to have an innate ability to code circles around others. These coders are like the 12 year old prodigies you see banging out Scott Joplin tunes on the piano like nothing. I'm sure there are many Monks blessed with this kind of skill.
But leaving the gifted ones aside, how long does it take for the "normal" person to code fluently? By "fluently" I mean being able to code about as effortlessly as one types out prose in their native language into the keyboard. It means not having to think about the mundanities of grammar or spelling or syntax. Instead, you just let the ideas in your head flow kind of magically out from your brain and into your fingertips. It also means you know a lot of the basic tropes and idioms to express yourself in a clear, compact way without much effort. Maybe every once in a while you consult a dictionary or thesaurus but by and large you can bang out something relatively quickly without much struggle.
As a programming hobbyist who has never worked alongside other programmers, I'm curious to know if this state is achieved by most professional programmers and what it takes to get there. Are we looking at 2 years of full-time programming? 5 years? 10? Or maybe programming is by nature an activity that starts and stops in fits and is never quite effortless? I'd be interested in hearing some experienced programmer's thoughts on this and what it took to get you to a blissful, effortless state of coding.