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Calculate Time taken by a Program to Execute in Python

 JULY 1, 2019   by hafeezulkareem

Time is precious. As programmers, we have to write programs which take less time for their execution. But to optimise our programs, we must first learn to calculate the time taken by a program for execution. In this tutorial, we are going to learn two different ways to calculate the running time of a program in python.

Calculate python script running time

1. Using the time module

We have a method called time() in the time module in python, which can be used to get the current time. See the following steps to calculate the running time of a program using the time() function of time module.

  • Store the starting time before the first line of the program executes.

  • Store the ending time after the last line of the program executes.

  • The difference between ending time and starting time will be the running time of the program.

Let's have an example:

import time

# starting time
start = time.time()

# program body starts
for i in range(10):

# sleeping for 1 sec to get 10 sec runtime

# program body ends

# end time
end = time.time()

# total time taken
print(f"Runtime of the program is {end - start}")


Runtime of the program is 10.030879974365234

We can calculate the running/execution time of any program using the following approach.

2. Using the timeit module

The timeit() method of the timeit module can also be used to calculate the execution time of any program in python. The timeit() method accepts four arguments. Let's see what are these arguments:

  1. setup, which takes the code which runs before the execution of the main program, the default value is pass
  2. stmt, is a statement which we want to execute.
  3. timer, is a timeit.Timer object, we don't have to pass anything to this argument.
  4. number, which is the number of times the statement will run.

Let's take an example to better understand this:

import timeit

setup_code = "from math import factorial"

statement = """
    for i in range(10):

print(f"Execution time is: {timeit.timeit(setup = setup_code, stmt = statement, number = 10000000)}")

Just for this program, we will be executing the above script 10000000 times just to increase the time of execution of the program.


Execution time is 7.536292599999996


Calculating the time of execution of any program is very useful for optimising your python script to perform better. The above two techniques can come in handy when you have to optimise some complex algorithm written in python. If you have any doubts regarding the tutorial, please mention them in the comment section.


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