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We Are Typists First, Programmers Second


8 WPM - Beat that fools


it may not make you a better programmer but it will make you a more efficient one - of course, we are now equivocating on better and efficient - the conundrum continues.

(I didn’t look while typing this and hit backspace many times.)


87 wpm and my one mistake was putting a period at the end of that paragraph (apparently that typing test doesn’t value proper grammar).

I’ve been typing pretty much since instant messengers came out, which was primarily how I learned to type quickly. I definitely do not program as fast as I can type. What is the need? Programming takes thought and often pseudo-coding in my head before I can even begin to put code down in an editor. If you’re going to lose a thought, write the main points down (pencil and paper is still effective!), or type the solution in plain English as a comment. Whoa, comments…who comments anymore right? :wink:

I used to judge a programmer’s skills by the way he/she typed, but our trade isn’t to type fast. Perhaps if you were a secretary (which I’ve been one) or a note-taker, it would be more valuable, but good programming goes far beyond keystrokes.


I have a friend who is a wizard SQL programmer, he has been typing for 20 some odd years, uses two index fingers and his right thumb tongue clenched between his teeth and with a profoundly painful expression on his face and still manages to pound out around 35 WPM. If you watch a professional anything you notice the skill with which they use their tools. Any good electrician worth his fee should be able to reach into his tool pouch hanging from his belt and with no fumbling, wasted movement or looking be able bring out the correct tool every time. When done properly it is a joy to behold. Should be the same with a programmer and his most used tool, his keyboard. Yes auto complete is a wonderful tool, and so is cut and paste. But that still leaves you wheezing in the dust behind the touch typist, which I am assuredly not. If you have the skill to think it, and you can stroke the keys like a concert pianist, then you have a better chance, in my very humble opinion, of getting it on the screen and into your code. Plus when you are being interviewed and they sit you in front of a machine and tell you to code fizz buzz in 5 minutes or less do you really want to sit there poking away at the keyboard? If you have spent the time to learn the structure, and have taught your mind to embrace that shouldn’t your fingers be taught to embrace the keyboard with the same level of competency? And be honest, while the pointy haired non technical interviewer who is going to possibly give you a job may not be able to recognise good code from a busted arriea, they will certainly notice if it takes you 15 minutes of fumbling to complete a small module. While if you can smilingly look them in the face and knock out a 10 line module you just look more professional. And has been said many times more than I wish to remember, communication and selling your skills and ideas count for more than your technical skill. If you look professional, act professional, back it up with instantly demonstratable anaccilary skills, like touch typing, then in most folks eyes you are demi god like.


You made no mistakes, practice does make perfect.

I’ve seen a couple good programmers who couldn’t type very well. I’ve seen zero good programmers who couldn’t assemble a valid English sentence. If typing is important to a programmer, then basic syntax is extremely important to a programmer.

My compiler wouldn’t be very pleasant if you gave it 2 complete statements with improper punctuation between them. Why isn’t that an outrage to you in English?


i TOTALLY want to buy a keyboard like that!!
i even went searching once for a keyboard colored like that. Most of the salesmen just looked at me in disbelief.
and problem is, that i cant seem to get any shipped in India!



Your speed was: 108wpm.

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

I guess deconditioning myself from QWERTY into Dvorak was worth all the tears. :slight_smile:


unless you’re a Perl programmer

If you planned to be here all week, don’t bother.


When writing VB.NET code, 1 WPM is sufficient to keep up with the IDE. :frowning:


I type 70 wpm on my desktop, and 90 wpm on my EeePC 701. Yes, that’s weird, but somehow the smaller and closer keys are better suited for me.


This keyboard isn’t ideal, but I came in at 89 wpm.

I took typing in high school on an IBM Selectric in the early 1980s. Probably the most worthwhile class I ever took.


Your speed was: 4646wpm.

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

hehehe :smiley:


Gilbert was right - it’s not that typing well will make you a better programmer. My gramma can type a bazillion words per minute and can’t write code at all. It’s about how much of your brain is being devoted to finding the right letters on the keyboard. If that part is minimal, you’ll be able to concentrate on programming. Remember when you first started driving a car? You probably couldn’t drive and talk at the same time - I couldn’t anyway - but over time I got so driving the car was an instinct and I could pay more attention to other things, like situational awareness, planning my route, watching for shoe sales, etc…

When I’m typing code I don’t have to think about the typing part, and that lets me get the coding done more easily. Works for comment writing too. BTW, I also find that people who type well also seem to write better in general - they make fewer spelling errors.

On the typing test - I think the words and numbers test is more like coding. Got 30wpm on that one with 1 mistake. 50wpm on the text with no mistakes.


Believe it or not, a Microsoft Natural Keyboard was instrumental (pun not intended) in helping me achieve touch typing nirvana; Although I’m definitely curious to find out what my score will be on those lovely typing tutors you’ve posted.


Typing is not very important for you to be a good programmer. I remember some survey where saying that the number of lines typed a programmer per day is just 6. Given that any good programmer does not have a necessity to type more than 100 lines on any given day.

Typing could be useful only for writing emails.


After reading this article I feel a lot ~less lonely~ as a far-going touchtypist (and a developer). Thank you, Jeff.

I have gone so far as to using my own touchtyping keyboard all the way from logging-in through system hebernation everyday. I name it 4T Keyboard.

The four T’s are: Twenty-four-for-104, Twosome, Touchtyping, and Tracking.



Ugh. Anyone that holds their role as a typist higher on their list than as a programmer has to be a pretty shitty programmer. I hate to have to put it so bluntly, but there it is.

Yes, typing speed is of value, but I spend more time programming than typing and am damn proud of it. Typing is just one of those sordid things I have to do between bouts of programming. Shortening that time is valuable but never more important than the programming itself.


Typing alone will not make you a programmer!!! You must actually write the program code, not just type…


IM was the key to my success. Carrying on 3-4 conversations in college, watching tv, and working on my programming homework forced my WPM to increase.

And yes, you can think more to type less, but if you forget that thought halfway through typing it, what did it save you?

Typing fast let me translate my thoughts once I figure out the solution faster and let me try it out faster. It pains me to see co-workers staring down at their keyboard wandering helplessly.


Typing, how quaint.

I’m sorry but I CAN’T type my programs, they must be drawn.