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We Are Typists First, Programmers Second


Your speed was: 105wpm.

Congratulations! You made no mistakes, practice does make perfect.

First thing in the morning, I’m hungover, I paused to talk to a co-worker half way thru and I have AIDS.


35 wpm but I’m not a native english writer…but yes, I type using only 2 fingers. u_u I have to take a course to improve my typing…I think I’m better with code…intellisense, snippets and a common collections of words helps.


76WPM, no errors, and I’ve never had a typing class. If the paragraph didn’t have so many odd words I had to double check for spelling, I would have scored as I usually do on other tests, in 80s to 90s.

In other words, you type fast and never took a class. I type fast and never took a class. Neither of us made errors.

Why the hell would you burden someone with a soul-killingly-boring typing class? The only people I know with carpal-tunnel are those that learned the proper method of typing which strains the tendons too much. I only use the first two fingers on each hand and the thumb, moving my arms to position my hand, and can type faster than anyone else I know.


I love it when I see posts like this because they piss me off. Typing speed does not equate to anything. Mediocrity is the only problem within the programmer ecosphere.


There is obviously somewhere a limit where inefficient typing technique becomes a productivity inhibitor. I’d propose that less than 35-40wpm could be a potential concern. But there are so many other factors that consume your time, that a typing speed gain would be like fitting an 3.5GHz CPU in a 10-year-old motherboard - assuming it was physically possible): All other system components are so slow, that the time gains in the CPU hardly matter.

I scored 60-65 wpm on the test (including inline backspacing to correct errors), forcing the speed beyond that results in one or more errors being left in. I’m not unhappy with my typing speed, at least I’ve never felt it was a productivity bottleneck.

Of course I could be faster. Let’s say I could train myself to be 50% faster. Would it make me 50% more productive as a programmer? Clearly not. I rarely type that much code in one go without long thinking-pause, compilation, test, etc.

I recognise your description about walking into rooms, but while coding, I rarely ever forget what I’m doing - in fact, good programmers excel at tracking this kind of task path in their head while they’re creating code. And perhaps it’s exactly because you have to shake off this kind of deeply nested contexts that you have trouble remembering non-coding-related tasks like fetching coffee, going to bathroom, etc.


showing my age - accuracy was always more important - had to use keypunch (backspace doesn’t work) and would find out 3 hours after submitting deck that there was a typo. Punchcards - no wonder I had nightmares in college - my roommates would tell me I was having nightmares about my cards all flying away.


I have to disagree. I think it’s more about using the keyboard efficiently. Most of the time, it’s tabbing, arrow keys, alt+sumting or ctrl+sumting or highlighting with shift+home/end to copypaste/delete. rather than out-and-out paragraph typing. I’ll admit it’ll be an advantage but it’ll only be a problem when it is slower than your train of thought (or you actually have to think about the keyboard when typing).

I think someone mentioned that the best programmers are sometimes also the laziest. They will create/get all the best tools, libraries, templates, shortcuts, frameworks etc. just so that they have easier time programming, and minimize trouble debugging/changing later. Will they learn to type faster so that they can shorten the time needed to express themselves? Perhaps, but I think, as long as they type competently, all the above will take precedence than learning to type faster.


This is one of those little things that can make a big difference and is often overlooked. It’s like losing 10 pounds when you are a race car driver. It will actually make you slightly faster, even though it’s not really your main focus.



Ergonomic keyboards really do help with that. Give it a shot some time. Similar to a good chair, those kind of things make your day much better.

Just a suggestion.


Total bullocks, of course you need decent typing (54 wpm :/) but software dev is not really about typing but thinking what you type and at 84 wpm, i assure you it’s faster to copy paste :wink:

Also, keyboards are not ergonomic, go read about the history of qwerty, azerty. They where made to slow down typing because writing machine couldn’t handle the secretary typing speed!

Well, i just destroyed your post, can’t believe it went to popular dzone section…


Aaron G

Thats not a counter argument :slight_smile:

I saw it in my ergonomic class in uni. It’s also in wikipedia…


So hmm yeah, not a myth.


You might also checkout www.keybr.com. I have used it in the past a bit, trying to learn Dvorak (literally gives me a headache). I really enjoy it’s easy online interface. Where ever I’m at I can practice.


i came late to the party and thus no one actually reads my comment.

I have actually made my own keyboard layout (actually most of it is stolen from a group of people who began to make a really good keyboard layout and then proceeded to change it every 2 weeks so that no one could actually learn it. luckily they had it licensed as gpl have a look:
now as an added bonus people like jeff atwood (see post a couple of years ago by phil haack) can’t look at my keyboard and guess my passwords, or be able to type on my layout … plus a few of the important characters (important for programming, like {} [], etc., can only be accessed by pressing the right alt key and one other key (usually a number, on the right hand side of the keyboard (how stupid is that)) on the german keyboard layout, which are on the home row very easily accessible on my layout.

point is learning to type tho (and not necessarily touch type, as there are people who break 90 wpm by hunt and peck, even without looking at the keyboard), and here i have to say practice is the only thing that helps. typing all day will make you faster, with time. a concentrated effort for a couple of days (definitely not all day, you need to take breaks. one rule always applies … if it starts hurting you need to stop, even if you’re programming in crunch time) will speed up the process.

i definitely suggest spending half an hour a day practicing until you’ve reached a sufficient typing speed. after that practice for half an hour twice a week will still increase your typing speed… and if you’re self employed it pays to keep practicing.


I can’t believe how many people take this stuff seriously! Jeff is just having a lend as usual. (typed in .00003 seconds)


I have used Dvorak for the past 5 years, it has helped keep carpal tunnel issues at bay. I used to go home from programming all day with my wrists on fire, I then changed to Dvorak cold turkey and haven’t looked back. It is also fun to change a coworker’s keyboard layout when they leave their machine unattended, and it is also a bit of a deterrent against people messing with my machine…

Your speed was: 77wpm.

Congratulations! You made no mistakes, practice does make perfect.


My first programming job, one of the first things that was asked in the interview was if I could type. I can’t imagine doing my job without having mad typing skills.

I remember watching a magazine editor at the same company hunt and peck. So much for efficiency in that department.


I think it depends on how you program. If you actually like typing everything out, then i guess being a good typist really helps.

However if you’re a lazy programmer (like you should be), you will more often then not be hitting auto-complete keys. I rarely have to type more then 3 letters before hammering down on the auto complete.


The rainbow keyboard is KeyRight Look Learn Keyboard.


It’s $50 and comes with typing tutor software. The whole point of the colored keys is to show you where your fingers go. I’m not sure how pedagogically useful that is but it certainly does liven up a desk.

The Korean light up keyboard mentioned in another comment is really cool. There’s an article about it here:


The black one is pretty cool. I’d consider purchasing one if they had an ergonomic version.


@jeff, u better come up with some better articles…ur readers don’t seem to be very happy about your work atm…


My text editor (vim) allow me this:

I don’t use keyboard arrow, escape, tab, enter, backspace and delete (they are too far)
I use hjkl, ^k, ^i, ^j, ^h, it saves my wirst instead.

I use 2 text editors (vim + textmate) at the same time, each for what they are best for.