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We Are Typists First, Programmers Second


We’re not really typists much either with intellisense anyway. So who needs typing skills? Not me.


I dedicate all my skill at typing to video games, MMOs specifically. Since in the vast majority of MMOs, the only realistic means of communication is typing, and you need to communicate with so many people so often, it leads to absurd amounts of typing each day.


56wpm sans training after a year on Dvorak. It’s much better than the 30ishwpm I had on QWERTY for approximately forever. Plus my fingers are on the right keys and I don’t hunt-and-peck. I recommend learning to touch-type on Dvorak if you cannot yet do so on QWERTY!

Does Typing of the Dead work with Dvorak?


For typing practice: http://www.typing-lessons.org/


For this article, you sir are truly an idiot and clearly know nothing about programming.

The best programmers are lazy typists and find ways to DRY up their code so that they avoid typing too much. In fact, I think that if you are spending more than 20% typing in ratio to thinking while coding, you are either a bad programmer or using the wrong tools. (Usually the wrong programming language or text editor).


3 Mistakes.

I totally agree; I must admit that if I know how something should be written and can’t use a pre-written template or copy it from somewhere else - being able to quickly type it up from memory is a god send. I’m self tough and my fingers tend to wander around the keyboard a little depending on which area of keys I’m focusing on at the minute rather than keeping them in the home row and moving my fingers up or down like real typists do.

I tried the dvorak (spelling) layout once and after getting used to it (I don’t look at my keyboard so the fact the face of the keys were wrong wasn’t an issue) it was a lot faster and I could write even more!! Only issue was that it was really designed for programmers; I remember the ‘{’ and ‘}’ keys being hidden somewhere making C programming a nightmare.

Ah well. Nice post.


96 WPM with 1 Mistake

That mistake? Typed from as form.

I consider myself to be a pretty good typist :slight_smile:


As a developer, I might be asked to deal with some pre-existing code with a bug. Say something about 1500 words long. In about 30 minutes, I notice it’s a common capability written the long way around. I rewrite into 20 lines, maybe 70 words (is a++; a word?).

Effective typing speed: -47 words per minute (1430 fewer words). You cannot get much slower than that and be proud of it. If I was a faster typist I might have gotten to -48wpm, but nobody would really notice.


Meh, if typing speed is the limiting factor in your porgramming productivity you need to think more and type less. I spend a lot more time thinking about what code to write than I do actually typing it.


When I was about 16 (2 years ago), my PC was unable to run my USB mouse and USB wireless adapter simultaneously. Rather than buy a new mouse, I spent months navigating with just a keyboard, and it improved my typing competency dramatically. I’m only at 50 WPM according to the Type Racer site, but it’s a damn sight better than I was previously, and I recommend it to all those who wish to improve their typing skills.


I thought I was a programmer, all the while I’ve been a typist?


74 wpm, between 0 and 2 mistakes.

I type with 2 fingers and my thumb for the space bar. I’ve taken typing lessons before, but it just wouldn’t stick. The habit is in and I get enough speed for most stuff anyway.


Two words: COPY PASTE

How often do you really have to type long passages when programming anyway?

Two more words: FIND REPLACE

With these 4 words you can make up for any WPM, hunt and peck typing issues.


Your speed was: 95wpm.

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

Woot… first try. Being able to type rocks.


81wpm, on my laptop keyboard, which I never use for much more than surfing the web because it’s terribly slow for me.

Obviously it’s self-serving for me to say that I think typing is important. I believe it is, but I also believe that there are plenty of extremely good programmers out there that can’t type. I think it’s some sort of mental block, as my dad and uncle can’t type at all, but have both used computers almost as long as I’ve been alive. I could type 40-60 wpm with the hunt-n-peck technique (2-finger-typing ftw), until I hit 19 or 20 and bought my own computer, and given that my dad was using computers most of my life, so was I.

What brought me forward to touch typing was a combination of practice and removing the mental block of looking down at the keyboard. The practice came mostly from playing more and more complicated games, especially FPS and RTS games where you don’t really have time to look down. The FPS games especially trained my left hand to get most of the left half of the keyboard by memory. At that point I simply forced myself to look at the screen when I was typing instead of the keyboard, and found that it took very little time to get over the mental issues and get my right hand trained.

Beyond that it was getting all of my fingers involved, something they focused on a great deal in typing classes, but that has been very slow catching on for me. Now, at the age of 30, my typing still remains mostly a 3-finger affair, plus thumbs on the space bar and the final finger mostly delegated to the edge keys (ie shift, tab, ctrl, enter, backspace). Typing games are really good once you get started in speeding up your typing, but may only go so far for people just starting to learn to type. On the other hand, they might help some people realize they can do it if they just stop looking.


Woohoo! Thanks for mentioning Colemak. I’ve been using it for over a year now and I still love it. It was easy to learn, and it’s so very much more comfortable than QWERTY.

The better you can type, the less brain-CPU-time you need to devote to the actual typing. I don’t think you need to be able to type 100 WPM, but being able to type by touch without looking at the screen is very helpful for me.

Typing by touch also tends to go along with being able to spell, I’ve noticed. Touch typists spell partly by muscle memory. People who can’t type quickly tend to spell poorly; could slow typing inhibit muscle-spelling-memory?


Yes. Typing is important, but not secondary to thinking ofcourse.

By the way, I didn’t do too bad either.

Your speed was: 67wpm.

You made 1 mistake, your mistake is shown in bold text:


I got 249wpm, is that bad?


Don’t just type random gibberish as fast as you can on the screen, unless you’re a Perl programmer.

Thanks, Jeff, best laugh I’ve gotten all day! (and I like perl)


Cold struck me hard on the nerves this year and I spent my xmas learning programmer’s DVORAK. Hell, I need more practicing, I’m still at 23WPN, and the amount of attention must be way lower.

But I feel much better and relaxed at the end of the day. You should really try it out. I broken both my wrists in a car accident so I suppose it’s better for me than what you will experience.

But I still think I was dumb using QWERTY so long.