Becoming an expert a new skill often takes 500-1000 hours of study and effort. That's 4-6 months of regular office time. My second boss a great old guy said most people can learn a new skill in 90 days. I wasn't sure I believed him at first but he reminded me of how long a semester of school was.
Can you learn a new skill faster? Sure you can.
• A mentor, someone who has learned it before can help guide you past some of the pit falls and it can cut your learning time in half.
• If you are passionate about learning something, and the material is presented in an interesting way then you can learn something at 30 times the normal rate.
Most schools take a couple of years to teach algebra, presented in the most brutally boring way imaginable. The fundamentals of algebra don't actually have to take up that much time. For those interested in it, it only takes about 20 hours to learn.
There are two ways to learn to remember something, keep repeating it to yourself until you brain cries, "Uncle." and remembers it for you or you can make it interesting, not entertaining but interesting, and it will remember it right off.