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New Poll: Typing Skills

Published by Chris Coyier

Reader Hendrik Maus wrote in asking me about how I value typing skills and suggested running a poll on it. Good idea, Hendrik! I love polls that unearth some interesting data around developer opinions and skills. There are lots of ways we could ask it, but we're going to try this way:

How much do you value your keyboard typing skills?

Not so much "how good are you?" but "how important do you think your skill is?" It was kinda tough to phrase right, but we'll just go with it.

The poll is in the sidebar of the site, and you can answer between 1 (not valuable) and 10 (extremely valuable).

The data will be interesting, but the conversation we can have here might be even more interesting. When Hendrik wrote in, I was curious what his thinking was. Here's some food for thought:

  • Would you be better at your job if you were a better typist? We do a lot of typing, don't we? Perhaps a new sense of confidence could be found?
  • Do you have an unusual style? Of your own invention? Something established like Dvorak?
  • Do you practice? How? Special software? Personal challenges?
  • Do you think if you did find time to practice, the gains would be worth it? How much time could be saved from not needing to correct as many errors?
  • Do you think you naturally level up over time? Or is there a plateau you can't pass without dedicated practice?
  • Is speed or accuracy more important? Particularly with programming?
  • Is programming much different than other types of typing? There sure are a lot more weird characters. Would you have to train differently to get better at programmer style typing?
  • Are there health concerns? Does better typing skill mean less chance at stuff like RSI?


  1. @maxx0r
    Permalink to comment#

    I think it’s quite important. But I dont specifically train it, wouldn’t know how and why… I think getting to know your IDE is more valuable.

    My work isnt at all limited by my typing.

    • I agree – its much more important to learn your IDE or text editor or whatever tool’s keyboard shortcuts and use them then raw typing speed/accuracy. We are not secretaries typing word documents. A user of 60wpm that uses the keyboard is more productive than a 120wpm user who goes to the mouse every time.

    • John
      Permalink to comment#

      Sometimes, my slow typing skill can be a disaster for me.

  2. Confession: I never learned to type correctly! I’m a quick typist that does not make many errors, but I’d love to learn.

    What’s the latest and greatest in learning to type? Is Mavis Beacon still a thing?

  3. I totally value my typing skills! It is very helpful to have good memory of where all the keys are when you are looking at a book or site as a reference and typing in the code (copying and pasting is bad for memorization).

    I’d probably have to say that accuracy is more important, because as long as you are typing in the correct syntax, I don’t think speed can help but so much, most of the time you have to think about what you are doing as you go.

    Luckily I write for several blogs, so I get to practice my typing skills on a regular basis and I always to to improve my speed.

  4. Pat Hartl
    Permalink to comment#

    Learned to touch type on my own. I put more value on accuracy and knowing how to go from my brain to keys than speed.

  5. Permalink to comment#

    I typed this comment about me typing this comment.
    The skills are valuable, could be better at programming characters though.

  6. It’s interesting; the way you paired the responses made it hard for me to answer accurately. I type pretty well (I average between 110 – 120 wpm on typing tests). I enjoy typing easily, especially when I write – it makes it feel easy to express what I’m thinking. (On the negative side, it makes me very reluctant to type much on my iPhone – if people try to actually converse with me via text it drives me nuts. I only want to do that if I can have a KEYBOARD.)

    But I’m not really convinced it’s terribly valuable for my work as a developer. I’ve known incredibly productive developers who were hunt and peckers. Typing speed just isn’t the limiting factor in code.

    • And where’s the inverse option? E.g.: “I’m a competent hunter/pecker, but I wish I would have learned to type properly.”

  7. One of the perks of my primary school was a piece of touch typing software on an ancient acorn machine, for some reason I found it fascinating and since then I’ve been able to type pretty rapid. However being human this means more than likely errors, especially writing Javascript.

  8. I learned to type in elementary school, and while I certainly don’t think my form sucks, I definitely wriggle into comfortable positions in my office chair and I don’t really use home row. I’m 28 and in relatively good fitness and, from time to time, my hands do hurt. It’s something I’ve begun to notice and respect, and try to build-in breaks.

    Anyway, here’s something I noticed: I rely so much on my ability to write snippets in my editor. Using something like Emmet and macros is so fundamentally important to me, because as things become more touch-friendly, I think I increasingly hate to type. I just want to type a few letters, hit tab, and be done with it. The act of typing gets in the way of my problem solving.

    Additionally, I have a three year old who is pretty savvy with touch screens (I think that speaks to how intuitive tapping and swiping are), that I wonder what he will think when he begins to type. I suspect it will be something like, “Dang, this is really inefficient.”

    • Jeremy
      Permalink to comment#

      “Additionally, I have a three year old who is pretty savvy with touch screens (I think that speaks to how intuitive tapping and swiping are), that I wonder what he will think when he begins to type. I suspect it will be something like, “Dang, this is really inefficient.””

      I think the same thing when I watch my kids (now 7 and 10) on tablets or even just on my home mac and think about when the commands for all my games were text-based and even launching the program (they certainly weren’t called ‘apps’ back then) with a dos prompt.

      I’m sure others trump me on even less-efficient methods, but now just thinking about how great it was when King’s Quest 5 went to 256 vga colors and how I couldn’t have cared less than I had four directional keys and a command line to tell it what to do or say…

  9. I personally can type very well (I had to take typing for school), but it’s not something that I practice beyond the usual programming work that I do.

    For everyone who wants to “practice,” here’s a fun game by Dominic Szablewski.

  10. Pavel Kuts
    Permalink to comment#

    I have never trained to type, but I’ve been chatting on IRC since 1997, os I gues i can type fast, and as I can see I type faster than the other (2) developers I work with.
    For me to type slow would be a nightmare.
    There sure are more typos when I type fast, but I’m always looking at the screen when I type, so I correct the mistakes as I type. I’m master of the backspace! :D

  11. steve
    Permalink to comment#

    After having poor typing skills for over 40 years, I decided to learn the correct way to touch type. I used a free site called and got a lot out of it.

  12. Halley Carleton
    Permalink to comment#

    I type at a decent speed, but I find myself watching my hands a lot when I type. I know where the keys are, but my hands move around a lot when I type. I also never use my little finger.

    I’d really like to learn how to type without taking my eyes off the screen.

  13. Tyler
    Permalink to comment#

    I’m regularly appalled at the poor typing skills of “power users” or other “computer” people I see on a regular basis; Since grade school (years before I knew I wanted to do anything with technology for a living) I’ve understood the importance of familiarity w/ computers and have been able to type ~130wpm. I think accuracy is more important than speed, but the two go hand in hand; typing accuracy is the foundation for typing quickly. If your fingers fly over the keyboard, but you have 30 errors per minute, you’re not really “typing”, you’re just pressing buttons really quickly.

  14. MaxArt
    Permalink to comment#

    Programming is not what it made me develop my typing skills (that primarily developed when I was a kid), since most of the time I spend coding it’s actually thinking.

    Moreover, IDEs and advanced text editors usually “type for me”. On the other hand, of course, when I actually type I need to know how I can get a symbol stat. So typing is indeed valuable for me, but once having learnt how, I don’t really practice => 8.

  15. I don’t think learning typing is necessarily essential, but I do think it’s really super-duper important. The ability to articulate yourself in written form is hard enough without having to work to put words down on a page. And articulating yourself on the internet is required for pretty much any sort of programming work these days.

    I learned the proper form in school years ago, but most of my speed came from writing email, blog posts, and programming. I generally type between 40-80 wpm (faster if I’m just copying something word-for-word).

    As for speed, I tried to switch to Dvorak a while ago. It did help my speed after I got used to it (not to mention less hand fatigue, which was really nice), but I eventually transitioned back. It’s just too much of a hassle to switch back and forth for people who don’t type Dvorak (aka everyone else).

    • Bob
      Permalink to comment#

      If you remember the layout without having to look down at the keyboard, you could set up a key combination on your OS to virtually change the keyboard layout on the fly. Then to switch back and forth for other people would just require pressing that key combination, which is not that much of a hassle.

    • Yup, I actually did that Bob, but I tend to have someone else at my desk a dozen+ times a day, after a couple of weeks I got tired of it. I don’t do a whole lot of writing at work anyway, so it isn’t that big of a deal.

      I still use Dvorak at home sometimes though, when I’m writing a blog post or some other significant chunk of text. Since I can’t switch over to it completely I’m not as fast as I could be, but I think it’s a nice compromise.

  16. Bob
    Permalink to comment#

    I think typing skills are very important. When I first started as a developer, my typing skills were limited. I thought I could type quickly but I had to look down at the keyboard often. Eventually I just decided I wanted to do touch typing and I will sit down and learn it. I used a program, klavaro, to finally learn how to touch type and vastly improved my typing speed, accuracy, and most importantly no longer needed to look down at the keyboard to type, allowing me to focus more on the screen and code.

  17. David Miller
    Permalink to comment#

    This depends on what ‘typing skills’ fully encompasses.

    Typing fast and accurately is useful, absolutely. But valuable? Maybe. In the world of development, many tools (eg: emmet) exist that make productivity more a factor of working smart than fast and as such typing speed is far less important than familiarity with the editor. Knowledge of keyboard shortcuts is where it counts.

  18. Eloise
    Permalink to comment#

    I’m getting old – pushing 50. The health concerns matter to me more than some because I have a bad back, a bad shoulder and so on. So I’ve made the effort and investment to get a good chair, a properly set up desk and monitor arrangement and so on. I take regular breaks and stretch (or just walk around for a bit). It does make a difference.
    OK, that’s somewhat tangential to typing speed and accuracy. But they’re not in the main poll but I think more important.
    There are times, I’m sure for all of us, when we could measure average typing speed usefully in words per hour. When it’s a knotty problem and we’re trying to work out a solution (not even a nice solution, just any **** solution) we might type really slowly. There’s other times when the ability to copytype at over 100wpm is wonderful because it’s all flowing nicely and you just have to blast on through. However much you don’t want to write it all, we still have to type a load of stuff and it just has to be done.
    I don’t think precise form (my sister was taught formally, I taught myself and don’t do it ‘right’ by the book) is vital, but accuracy sure helps. You don’t want to be coming back and correcting that ,my-class to .my_class because it’s a typo too often – it’s bad enough when you misread it! Equally you don’t want new object9foo); that often in your code. Syntax highlighting and completion catches a lot of the egregious errors in other places but not those.
    There probably is a plateau without training – it’s up to you if you think it’s high enough. I actually copytype at a high speed, that’s how I taught myself, transferring a huge amount of handwritten text to computer files back in the 80’s. I’ve not given up the keyboard since and probably ought to teach myself how to write with a pen again. I’ve not seen a ‘programming typing trainer’ but a good typing trainer ought to get you there and you probably type well enough to get there fast anyway if you feel you need the extra time.

  19. philtune
    Permalink to comment#

    There’s certainly a plateau. After high school I never practiced typing to get better, but going from hobbyist to full-time developer has certainly skyrocketed my speed and precision. But as I get older (gosh, I’m only 29), my mind can’t keep up with my fingers and I find it necessary to intentionally slow down to pay attention to my output. The result is that I get a whole heck of a lot less syntax errors. So yes, typing speed (at least for “old” folks like me) necessarily needs to take a back seat to accuracy. (Going back to fix errors, or even fixing readability issues may take more time than necessary and break concentration.)

    While programming, I’ve learned so many shortcuts to navigate my prose that I would never have done just simply writing emails. I use semicolons a lot more in regular letter writing than I used to and I’m not sure if that’s just a byproduct of being a programmer. :-)

  20. Matt
    Permalink to comment#

    Typing skills are extremely important. I was pretty good on qwerty but recognized how important it is and am using master key to get up to speed on workman-dead. 2 months in and I am close to my qwerty speed.

  21. Christian
    Permalink to comment#

    I learned typing the first day I used a computer, and I think it’s very useful to have some typing skills, especially for e-mail and command line. But don’t go for too much speed. After about 15 years of daily typing, I began to suffer from RSI. If you get to this point, you really start to appreciate painless and reasonable fast typing! After the first pain, I switched to Dvorak and ergonomic keyboards, which, beside lots of breaks, helped to get through a day full of typing. After about 8 years, I’m not cured (and never will be I guess), but you get to live with RSI. I would recommend any professional typer to get some ergonomic hardware and to do regular breaks (I do it the tomato style: 25 minutes work, 5 minutes break) . Try to switch your input devices where possible during your work. Dvorak is nice to type, but you will lose your Qwerty skills if you don’t use it often (looks funny if a IT professional types at around one wpm at a client’s Qwerty keyboard). If you can afford it, get a Keyboard that is both ergonomic (split layout!) and has mechanical switches (where ergonomic is more important than mechanical, at least for me).

  22. My typing skill has really helped me get large work done in few minutes. I’m still a 80 wpm typist and as I work harder to get better at all things I do, I still try to be faster

  23. David Hucklesby
    Permalink to comment#

    Learned to type c.1950 on a manual typewriter. My first job was on a computer with a teletypewriter. Then on a Hollerith card punch. Then on an IBM.

    For the rest of my career, I used various computer terminals with US layouts; UK layouts; German; Swiss French; and Arabic.

    My typing skills are now shot to hell. :)

  24. Robert
    Permalink to comment#

    I finally learned to type after ten years of hunt and peck. What made me want to do it the most is how long it was taking me to write correspondence compared to my colleagues. It took so long to write something I would lose my train of thought. My writing has improved now that I type as well. Now that I’ve been made aware of this, I will never hire anyone who cannot type.

    I used the Type to Learn program. I’m not into gaming so I found the game part of it trivial, but I enjoyed the exercises. After you learn half of the finger positions, you are actually able to figure out where the rest of them go.

  25. un-traq-ed
    Permalink to comment#

    I’m going to interpret “typist” as general hitting-the-keys skills, i.e., “ability to use a keyboard.”

    Would you be better at your job if you were a better typist?

    Yeah, absolutely. I have a friend who’s just incredible on the keyboard. Watching him type is somewhere between “awe-inspiring” and “you’re really pissing me off.” It’s like he just smashes the keyboard and after 45 seconds, perfect code comes out.

    Do you have an unusual style?

    Not really. Haven’t tried alt layouts, for example. I do type for many tasks that are traditionally “mouse” tasks: navigating a filesystem, and so forth.
    Since moving to linux, I wonder how I ever lived without the Compose key : )

    Do you practice? How?

    Just type websites.

    Do you think you naturally level up over time?

    Depends on whether you try new stuff or not.

    Is speed or accuracy more important? Particularly with programming?

    Accuracy. Always accuracy. (I practice martial arts also.)

    Is programming much different than other types of typing?

    Superficially. But really, it’s all hitting-the-keys skills.

  26. People often comment how fast I type, though I never learned how to ‘touch type’.

    My typing style is heavily influenced by how much gaming (and programming) I did when I was young, my left hand rests naturally on the AWD keys and both my hands breach the regular touch typing boundary in the middle of the keyboard. One downside of my style is that I’m not super accurate on the numbers ~7-0, luckily you don’t need to use literals much while programming and I’m also proficient with the numpad.

  27. Now that i’ve moved to vim as my primary text editor, I find that accurate and efficient typing will make me much more productive during my workday. I think that anyone in the coding industry can benefit immensely from faster and more accurate typing skills.

    • Rich
      Permalink to comment#

      Ditto for me – Vim with the right packages installed I think makes me noticeably faster than the GUI folks here (like Coda, though I’ve been tempted). Sometimes they watch me editing files as we work out problems and they say, “How did you do that so fast?”.

  28. Gabe
    Permalink to comment#

    I’ve always been pretty bad when it comes to typing. Pretty much hunt and peck, have to look at the keyboard etc. I recently decided I need to level up, because 1) it really wastes a lot of time when typing emails, etc., 2) I’m using the command line a lot more these days, 3) I kind of like writing and there’s no way I’ll have the patience to do that if I can’t type efficiently, etc.

    I found a Mac app called Typist that’s pretty good for teaching touch typing. It’s not the prettiest app, but it’s a good one. I fell off the wagon after a few weeks because it got too busy at work, but even that small amount of actual practicing had a big effect on my typing skills.

    Now it’s time to pick up the practice again. Thanks for reminding me with this post!

  29. Rocketpilot
    Permalink to comment#

    I had a terrifying but effective “keyboarding” teacher in the first year of high school. Typing was easily the most valuable thing I ever learned in that place. I’ve never really tried to improve, per se, since then, though. I’m pretty fast, I don’t need to look at the keyboard, and although I make my share of typos, I haven’t seen the need to get better than I am.

    (incidentally, the poll isn’t working right now for me)

  30. Chris D.
    Permalink to comment#

    Touch-Typing means 2 main things to me in my coding life;
    1. Higher efficiency
    2. Less stress; as the eyes focus on the screen for longer amounts of time. No longer do I constantly need to switch between keyboard and screen. This is a lot of stress, some people may not feel it, however when you learn to touch-type you will feel the difference, that’s for sure.
    Totally agree with other commenters;

    I totally value my typing skills! It is very helpful to have good memory of where all the keys are

    learn your IDE or text editor or whatever tool’s keyboard shortcuts and use them then raw typing speed/accuracy.

    but I’d love to learn

    This is how I did it:
    I started off by saying “there is no way I can do this, I can’t do stuff with both hands at the same time.” And feeling completely crippled, as when trying to type one key with right hand, the left hand would also want to press a key :-/ … this is normal, with small amount of training that will be re-wired in brain, and will pass.
    My suggestion is to find a simple program that has levels from 1 to 30 (any high number) so that you can slowly introduce new keys, incremental learning will be much easier.
    Keep a log of your daily progress, on a piece of paper or evernote is fine. I did it on back cover of my school book.
    Set a goal for yourself. For example, I wanted to be able to type faster that I could with my 4 finger style, so I set my goal to 30 words per minute. My reasoning was that – if I can do it without looking just as fast, I would be happy :)
    Type and test yourself every day for at least 10 minutes. Yes, that’s all you need, 10 minutes. Your brain will remember and improve if you do it everyday.
    It sounds weird, but it’s true, it will work. I was totally amazed at my progress. It felt like magic because the amount of effort was very low. However, these days I understand that repetition and routine is all you need to train yourself in something. So it makes perfect sense.
    Note: it can be boring at beginning because you are only using 4 or 8 keys to start. However, just focus on achieving your target words per minute, that is the motivation, and the reward will be to reach the next level. It wont be long before you are typing 60 words a minute without looking.

  31. Permalink to comment#

    I value accuracy more than speed when typing. Why? Because it helps a lot by saving time and energy when writing code that you don’t forget a semicolon or to close something. Still, I can argue that there are editors that can help prevent this type of behavior. Definitely having a good typing skill is worth it and this post reminds me to improve it.

  32. Permalink to comment#

    I touch type. Ryan singer made a comment about it in his peepcode video. You gotta know your tools – starting from the basics & it don’t get more basic than the keyboard.

    It’s also nice to be able to give ya eyes a break & look out the window when you are finishing off a paragraph.


  33. I think typing skills are very much necessary in any kind of web-based development, typing skills apply to coding and update notes so in a way, typing skills are almost key.

  34. Permalink to comment#

    Interesting poll.

    I never learned how to type “properly”, so when I type I look at my keyboard instead of the screen. Accuracy surely goes up due to that and I have no plans to ever even try to improve my typing skills (or lack thereof).

    Sometimes I look at people typing “blind” (don’t want to offend anyone here, that’s how we say it in Dutch, don’t know the exact English expression) and I get very frustrated with the many mistakes they make and having to go back and forth all the time.

    So for me definitely accuracy over speed, but either way I don’t attach any value to it at all :)

  35. Joan
    Permalink to comment#

    A good typist would have much lower salary than a good programmer would typically have.
    I used to practice my typing skills using some typing practice software when I was in high school.
    The gains were worth it, I think, because I used to type very slowly and I used to need one or two seconds for a letter. But the highest speed I tested using that software was about 120 or a little more characters a minute after several months of training.
    In my opinion, neither speed nor accuracy is important in programming. All in all there’s IntelliSense. However, speed is more important in normal typing, especially when the browser and the word processing software have spell checking built in.
    Yes programming is, indeed, a little different from normal typing. In JavaScript there’re many {s, }s, and ;s, for example. However, usually indenting and brace pairing would be automatically done by the IDE, and I don’t have to worry much.

    • Joan
      Permalink to comment#

      Maybe I didn’t make it clear in the first line.

      I meant that a good typist, when working as a typist instead of a programmer, wouldn’t have a salary as high as a good programmer would have as a programmer, even if the programmer’s typing skills are not as good as the typist’s. And IntelliSense has freed programmers from non-stop typing to do more creative tasks.

  36. I owe my typing skills entirely to MSN Messenger.

    I had no reason to type until suddenly it became a craze in my teens to spend all your free time chatting to your school friends that you had already spent the day with. I went from a two-finger typist to touch-typing in the space of about 2 months, and I think and since then I’ve never really needed to keep myself trained.

  37. DS Master
    Permalink to comment#

    Love the topic….My core job areas -3d visualisation, graphic design, and web design – probably the least important skill is typing speed; most of my time seems to be spent hunched over a scrapbook sketching ideas, flowcharts, concepts. The small amount of time actually spent typing I literally go slower than normal to make sure I’m not having to go back and edit…quality over quantity is my approach I guess. I would never bother coding out CSS or html with touch-typing – all the and \ are different keys than they teach on mavis beacon or sim ::)

  38. I believe that typing with extreme speed AND using shortcuts is the key to my success (front end). I couldn’t imagine loosing time this way. Almost like sitting in traffic for an hour a day.. In 24 days you will have spent one WHOLE day in you car. I had to cut that out by moving right next to work. Dont get me wrong though I just want to spend that time at least playing video games or something.

  39. Rich
    Permalink to comment#

    I’m a (very!) longtime developer and learned touch typing in high school. I find it indispensable. While programming does have a lot of symbol typing, I can hit many by touch, but am annoyed that after all these years I still cannot quite hit all 10 numbers reliably by touch.

    I think Vim for a touch typist (with the right macro packages) makes the ideal editor, and as a result I find I can edit files with arbitrary changes faster than GUI-based developers, some of which can touch type but most are fast two- to four-fingerers.

    I’m still training myself for the special characters, and getting better at them.

  40. Kevin
    Permalink to comment#

    I value my typing skills very much. My skills developed over the course of an year when AIM was popular.

  41. RioBrewster
    Permalink to comment#

    I wasted two summer semesters taking typing, once in junior high and once in high school because my mother insisted that I needed to have a marketable skill. (Did she really think I was going to be a secretary one day?) I hated it, and it was useless because I never used it until much later. Once I started sitting in front of a computer all day, I found that accuracy was more important.
    So I look at the keyboard as I type and it works OK for me. I wish I had better typing skills, but I’d rather spend the time learning new programming techniques than better typing.

    Now if one of those typing programs focused on php and css, that would be helpful. Typing for Techies.

  42. I cut paste as much as possible… Typing is for people that obviously want to spend more time than necessary writing code. Lol

  43. Chris D.
    Permalink to comment#

    Very surprised by comments here.
    Please understand that learning to type does not take long at all when using a simple formula.
    1. 5 to 15 mins per weekday.
    2. Use a simple typing tool with multiple levels, starting from very basic. (see links throughout comments)
    3. Set goals, log your progress on a pad next to your keyboard.

    You’ll be glad you did it.

  44. I agree with a few others on here. I value typing skills – both for coding and outside of it – but I don’t really practice. I don’t ‘touch type’ in so much as I don’t hold my fingers where you’re ‘supposed’ to – but I type quickly and accurately, so that’s cool with me.

    I think certainly higher efficiencies can be gained by learning shortcuts, or using something like Emmet – especially when coding, where some of what we type isn’t exactly ‘standard’. Some things are always funky to type regularly, however good we are.

  45. Greg
    Permalink to comment#

    Wotz tHe bigg deel,; I kan tipe good enugf

  46. Alex
    Permalink to comment#

    Would you be better at your job if you were a better typist?
    Not really. For writing big chunks of text yes I could improve. I need to retrain from scratch though as google autocomplete is making me lazy, but for coding I find you have to slow down a lot to get the mechanics of it working and remember the syntax.

    Do you have an unusual style?
    I type very fast but then make quite a lot of mistakes so backtrack on them. This is not very efficient and I’d like to improve it.

    Do you practice?
    Do you think if you did find time to practice, the gains would be worth it?
    I do practice, occasionally, but not specifically for programming only for writing. Every time I do practice I get noticeably better, so yes it would be worth it.

    Do you think you naturally level up over time?
    I think I naturally level down over time, which I blame mostly on autocorrect – you think “meh google will understand that”, but then your fingers lose accuracy. I’m a researcher so do hundreds of searches.

    Is speed or accuracy more important? Particularly with programming?
    Accuracy. With HTML/CSS it’s even more so than other languages because there’s no compiler errors so you can end up thinking it’s working or searching for the problem in the wrong place.

    _Is programming much different than other types of typing? _
    Absolutely. The weird characters are a big deal actually, and are never covered in the typing tests. I’ve been working in Spain, and now I can’t use other keyboard layouts for coding because many of the special characters are done with the AltGr key and are just totally different from other layouts. I will have to re-learn the UK layout when I go back there. Doing programming typing tests would be a great idea actually. The thing I find most important for typing is good rhythm/pace, but with all the special characters it means typing for programming has a very inconsistent pace. Such a course would have to incorporate a lot of different layouts and programming languages though.

    Are there health concerns?
    I’d never thought about it, but yes probably. Because touch typing training tells you how to hold your hands to avoid RSI I’m quite okay when typing text, but for coding that tends to be forgotten because I don’t think of it as typing. Probably that’s a mistake.

  47. I never really learnt to type “the right way”. I only use 2 fingers for all keys + thumbs for spacebar and little fingers for shift keys. This is because I started using a keyboard when I was very young, so I kept typing “the easy way”.

    That being said, I ran a lot of tests just for fun and I found out I am usually able to type over 90 words per minute, hitting close to 120 when I get focused (and have some appropriate music).

    I am not sure it is so important when coding. Let’s be honest, we barely type more than a couple of characters in a row. But since I write a lot of articles, it certainly helps a lot getting things done in a short amount of time.

  48. …9/10 the importance of how well (in terms of technical ability and speed etc etc) pales in comparison to the quality of what it is you’re typing! P.S. it took me approximately one hour to type this [extremely high quality] comment.

  49. Laura Moser
    Permalink to comment#

    I think typing skills are very important, however as developers/designers it’s hard to compare us to say an average typer.. as we use a lot of short cut keys which disrupt the flow of typing. So I don’t think measuring how fast our typing speed is a great idea. I can type pretty fast if need be, but I think a person should be familiar with a keyboard shortcuts for the program there working in more so, then their WPM’s.

  50. I was expecting a “I can type really well, but I don’t see any value in it.

  51. Chris
    Permalink to comment#

    Coding using a Norwegian keyboard, the ” []}{” and some other keys are displaced, shortcuts in applications that use these keys, like ctrl/cmd + [ need to be remapped (Sublime loses about 1/2 its functionality). But worst of all is the ” . ” on the numbers pad is a comma ” ,”, and that really is annoying, typing IP addresses becomes a chore. So it doesn’t matter how good a typist I am, all the keys are in the wrong place for anything productive to be done. :)

  52. jpeg729
    Permalink to comment#

    I’ve tried training myself, but I find it boring and tedious and I’ve never seen the benefits of said training. Unfortunately that pretty much eliminates any alternative layouts. That is until I found the Tarmak progressive layouts for learning Colemak.

    Basically each layout changes only a small handfull of letters, so your productivity doesn’t take too great a hit while you get used to the difference, and the extra comfort of moving your fingers so much less is quite impressive.

    Plus, many of the most common keyboard shortcuts aren’t affected because A, Q, Z, X, C, and V don’t change places.

  53. Jon Guzman
    Permalink to comment#

    Typing isn’t important.
    Instead of typing more characters or learning to type at blazing fast speeds, you should be focusing on doing more work with less code.

    How does one accomplish this?
    Practice when you should create classes, functions, and variables.
    Learn to use frameworks and libraries to reduce your codebase.
    Learn to create partials and reusable templates.
    Learn when not to reinvent the wheel.
    Master your language, and don’t be afraid to try new things.

    You should be working smarter, not harder (or in this case, faster).

    Jon Guzman

  54. pc
    Permalink to comment#

    1) The best programmer is the one who types the least – has always been my motto. If you can do it in two lines of code, why write ten? Think first, type second.
    2) Short variable names are processed/transmitted faster than long ones.
    3) Accuracy is better than speed because fewer typos means fewer bugs.
    I type using a ‘system’ of mainly index and middle fingers on both hands, then thumbs for the space bar, alt, and control keys and the third and fourth fingers for ‘reaches’ outside the normal keypad (del, ins home, tab, caps lock, and shift, etc.) I get over sixty to seventy wpm when I want, with almost no errors. I do focus on the keyboard, not the screen, while typing fast, but look at the screen when I am just writing a line or two of code.
    It works for me – over thirty years and thousands and thousands of lines of code, mostly error-free!

  55. MichaB
    Permalink to comment#

    A very nice and helpful tool. I learned typing this way.

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