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Does Typing Speed Really Matter For Programmers?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the backspace-speed-is-key dept.

Programming 545

theodp writes "I can't take slow typists seriously as programmers,' wrote Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood last fall. 'When was the last time you saw a hunt-and-peck pianist?' Atwood's rant prompted John Cook to investigate just how important it is to be able to type quickly. 'Learning to type well is a good investment for those who are physically able to do so,' concludes Cook, 'but it's not that important. Once you reach moderate proficiency, improving your speed will not improve your productivity much. If a novelist writing 1000 words per day were able to type infinitely fast, he or she could save maybe an hour per day.' At 150 WPM, notes Cook, the world's fastest typist was still only 10x faster than Stephen Hawking."

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it matters for first post! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34666972)

ps - first post!

lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34666976)

The most important this is to be lazy very very lazy.

Depends on what language you use (0)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#34666980)

Yes, for Java you'd better be able to type 100 WPM.
Me, I prefer C, C++ and Perl. Much more expressive and dense source code. Yes I'm a lousy typist.

Re:Depends on what language you use (3, Interesting)

Shados (741919) | more than 2 years ago | (#34666988)

Except in Java with all the tools you have at your disposal, if you're typing 1/2 or even 1/3 of the code you're writing, you're doing it wrong.

Re:Depends on what language you use (2)

bytesex (112972) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667052)

The problem lies in the mentality 'I'm a java programmer, *therefore* I use an IDE with autocompletion'.

Re:Depends on what language you use (1)

Peganthyrus (713645) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667098)

i wonder if there are java ides that automatically *fold away* all the declarations they autocomplete for you? just how succinct would java be if all of its automatically-generated-by-the-ide verbosity was also auto-hidden from you, until you decided to look under the hood?

is there an elegant language hidden beneath the layers of machine-generated noise in java?

Re:Depends on what language you use (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667212)

well, there's groovy for that.

Re:Depends on what language you use (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667296)

Java likes to use XML a lot. Try typing XML at any reasonable speed without knitting your fingers into a nice warm scarf.

Re:Depends on what language you use (5, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667198)

Most of the work do is maintenance. Finding bugs in 20 year old code. If I change two characters in one line on one day and close one bug, then thats a good day.

Re:Depends on what language you use (1)

SJS (1851) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667260)

You think C++ is more concise than Java?

It is to laugh.

Perl... now Perl isn't always terribly friendly on a touch-typist. But maybe that's just because I haven't mastered the opposite-hand-shift like I should.

text is one thing, symbols quite another (1, Insightful)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 2 years ago | (#34666986)

Writing an essay is entirely different from writing a function in C or Perl. Unless the essay in question is rich in physics or mathematical symbols, the author will be taking his/her fingers off home row a lot less than most modern programmers.

Put another way, watch your error rate jump up when you quit posting on Slashdot and go back to your day job... if you have one, that is.

Re:text is one thing, symbols quite another (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667024)

Enter vim, you rarely need to remove your fingers from the home row. ;)
But I don't think it matters much, maybe if all you're doing is copying someone elses code without thinking about it. In most cases thinking about the problem at hand takes a lot more time than actually typing the code..

Re:text is one thing, symbols quite another (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667228)

...except those of us who have mapped mathematical symbols to Caps Lock/Alt Gr + homerow characters using XModMap.

More important - having a Model M (5, Funny)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 2 years ago | (#34666992)

You'll naturally be a better programmer with a Model M, because you'll be able to kill your programming rivals with one fell swoop.

Re:More important - having a Model M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667000)

Yes, now you come to mention it a Model M does have enough weight to work as an effective blunt instrument...

Re:More important - having a Model M (1)

anti-NAT (709310) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667088)

I own two!

Re:More important - having a Model M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667226)

I own about ten, use 2 at work, 3 at home and the rest is reserve.

Not for sale.

Re:More important - having a Model M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667290)

Do you dual wield or use one as a shield?

Fast Well (2, Interesting)

AmericanInKiev (453362) | more than 2 years ago | (#34666994)

I'm a programmer, and I think I type very well; much better in fact than people who can touch type - but not because I type faster. The way I type does not requires me to bend my wrists; i've gotten pretty fast without stressing my wrists, while people I know have been forced into an early retirement because they can no longer type.

The first rule of typing should be: DO NO HARM,.

after that, suit yourself.

Re:Fast Well (1)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667306)

Fingers on the keyboard [doomtech.net]

Can anyone explain me this stuff? The top layout thingie is the standard one I found on wikipedia, and I find it horribly unnatural to use, therefore I created my own distribution of finger use pictured on the bottom, which feels much more comfortable. The finger names in the picture are in Norwegian, but they correspond from left to right on your left paw. The best example is the C button. Even the thought of using the middle finger for that button makes me shrug, therefore I rather use the index finger.

(As a side note, I do use the Dvorak layout, but this is not a question about layouts.)

Are you kiddig? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34666996)

I can tyep fast, ot see it and still produce Greay cdoe!

How Absurd (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#34666998)

'I can't take slow typists seriously as programmers,' wrote Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood last fall. 'When was the last time you saw a hunt-and-peck pianist?'

When was the last time you ran a program where the WPM of the developer affected the quality of the code? Because the frequency of and careful regularity and emotion seriously affects piano performances whereas the symbols per minute inputted by a developer is independent of the speed, quality or maintainability of software. Sure, you might put forth that they can produce much more code or much more comments but let's face it: I'll take quality over quantity in regards to code any day of the week.

A short simple anecdote was my Greek professor in college. Taught me pattern recognition and I went to his office hours where he was pecking away at the keyboard having just been forced onto English QWERTY. The old man still wrote some pretty badass pattern recognition algorithms in Matlab for the course. Might have taken him all week to peck them out while looking at some recently published papers but the stuff was pretty efficient and easy to read for Matlab. I took him pretty seriously.

At my high school, in order to take advanced placement computer science courses, you had to pass some WPM typing course. Rarely have I felt a course to be such a complete waste of time and genuinely a turnoff to people looking to study programming.

Re:How Absurd (4, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667050)

Indeed. I am a fairly fast typist, but I seldom type at full speed when coding, as I find myself using most of my time figuring out how to implement something rather than actual coding. I tend to agree with Cook's assessment: After attaining medium proficiency in typing, the gain in productivity of faster typing is minimal.

Re:How Absurd (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667222)

Actually, the more you type and the less you pause to think the more likely what you type will have to be scrapped later.
I can do something as 15 loops one under another. Or I can find a pattern in what these loops are similar to each other and write the code as two nested loops. Surely fast typing would make writing the 15 loops easier...

Re:How Absurd (3, Interesting)

Jamu (852752) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667308)

I touchtype and largely agree. However, every now and again it's nice to be able to punch in code fluidly. It means I spend more time thinking about what I'm coding. It probably doesn't matter much professionally: The productivity gains are marginal. But if, like me, you enjoy coding, being able to touchtype makes coding more of a pleasure.

Re:How Absurd (0)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667070)

'I can't take slow typists seriously as programmers,' wrote Coding Horror's Jeff Atwood last fall. 'When was the last time you saw a hunt-and-peck pianist?'

When was the last time you ran a program where the WPM of the developer affected the quality of the code? Because the frequency of and careful regularity and emotion seriously affects piano performances whereas the symbols per minute inputted by a developer is independent of the speed, quality or maintainability of software. Sure, you might put forth that they can produce much more code or much more comments but let's face it: I'll take quality over quantity in regards to code any day of the week.

A short simple anecdote was my Greek professor in college. Taught me pattern recognition and I went to his office hours where he was pecking away at the keyboard having just been forced onto English QWERTY. The old man still wrote some pretty badass pattern recognition algorithms in Matlab for the course. Might have taken him all week to peck them out while looking at some recently published papers but the stuff was pretty efficient and easy to read for Matlab. I took him pretty seriously.

At my high school, in order to take advanced placement computer science courses, you had to pass some WPM typing course. Rarely have I felt a course to be such a complete waste of time and genuinely a turnoff to people looking to study programming.

I find that there is an indirect relationship between code quality and typing speed in junior programmers.

Programmers that type quickly are more prone to write one off disposable programs, and hence are just more practiced. Once you have seven years of coding experience or so, I doubt it matters.

The observation is probably something that was noticed early on and just never really reevaluated.

Re:How Absurd (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667248)

But after several years of coding you probably got enough typing practice to have some decent typing speed anyway.

Re:How Absurd (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667250)

Programmers that type quickly are more prone to write one off disposable programs, and hence are just more practiced.

Sounds more like an issue with dedication than anything else. Being able to type at a reasonable pace should be all you need. I don't know about anyone else (though other people did mention it), but when I'm programming, I tend to stop and think about the most efficient way to implement something. Most of my time isn't wasted on typing, but on that. Being able to type slightly faster likely won't make much of a difference.

Re:How Absurd (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667304)

That's what I was thinking about. Most of what you want in a programmer isn't measured by WPM. You could type a hundred WPM and still be completely useless if what you're typing is junk. Admittedly, I don't do a lot of programming, but much of my time spent programming is designing and contemplating how to solve the problem correctly.

Correctly as in securely, efficiently and in a way which I can read later on. Fast typing is from my point of view somewhat counter productive as short burst of flurry don't really make that much difference when you're trying to write quality code.

But then again, I used to be able to hunt and peck at 30+ WPM when I don't need to touch type.

Re:How Absurd (4, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667082)

Atwood's comparison of programmer to pianist is braindead. Programming is like composing for piano. The quality of the product is almost unrelated to one's proficiency with keyboard. It would matter for a performance, such as coding context.

Re:How Absurd (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667272)

There could be a business opportunity there. In order for your program to work I need to be in my office typing in all those dialogue messages as they are displayed. My rates are...

Re:How Absurd (0)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667118)

most typing classes were for mindless office work or essays, dont include numbers or basic symbols,
and i type those faster one handed then with my weak pinky finger trying to bend at a weird angle holding down a badly placed key, while bending my hand towards another badly placed key in the opposite direction, i dont think keyboards were made for programmers or will be fixed for them either

if u can code faster then u can type w/o errors; u need a a few scribes each taking turns on the lines

WPM isn't important, touch typing is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667200)

I can't imagine WPM as a measure of who is the better programmer. At the same time, I can't imagine anyone typing all day every day who was still a hunt-and-peck typist. I'm not saying that they're no good, I'm saying that if they had any sense, they'd do whatever it took to learn touch typing. You don't have to manage a high WPM: I was at no more than 30 WPM for years, until I had practiced enough that I'm in the 70-80 range now. But if you're using a keyboard all the time, it only makes sense to have learned to use it well.

I had to take "Secretarial Office Procedures" in High School to learn this stuff. In spite of the name, the skills have served me very well. I don't think anyone can complain about having to buy typing tutor or whatever and spending a couple of weeks learning it. I certainly wouldn't take someone seriously as a skilled computer user if they couldn't manage touch typing at any WPM, unless they were somehow physically disabled.

Re:How Absurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667266)

I don't think it's necessarily typing speed for its own sake. I think he sees it more as an indicator of how fast a given person's mental processes are likely working, for better or worse. And that probably includes quality as well. No different really than us stupid Yankees sneering (internally, or if we forget to turn off the external speaker on our internal dialog...) at someone with a serious southern drawl, new yawk or bawstahn accent, etc.

I once worked with someone who was a serious hunt-and-peck typist, but he was a hell of a programmer. 60+ wpm hunt-and-peck, probably.

For the slow typists, if they have the time, they could also be pretty good, because they're probably keenly aware of their impediment and compensate for it in other ways (like, perhaps, really clean, efficient and well-thought out code). Not someone you want working though if you have to fix some code yesterday, though.

There's three options: Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick any two.

Re:How Absurd (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667284)

I think it might be the other way round. Typing isn't important for programming (I spent more time thinking than typing), but I do type at an insanely fast speed (ask anyone around me.. they usually complain about the noise :-)). This is just a bi-product of being sat behind a computer for a very long time. No matter how fast you can type, you still have to hit those curly braces with your right pinky and that grinds you straight to a halt! And don't even get me started on the plus sign.

Re:How Absurd (2)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667322)

When was the last time you ran a program where the WPM of the developer affected the quality of the code?

I don't believe that it was insinuated that there was a linear relation between WPM and code quality. Yet, there is a clear connection between coding experience and the time spent hacking away on a keyboard. Therefore, if someone happens to be unable to type at a reasonable speed then that person certainly hasn't spent enough time in front of a computer, and at best only a fraction of that time developing software.

A short simple anecdote was my Greek professor in college. Taught me pattern recognition and I went to his office hours where he was pecking away at the keyboard having just been forced onto English QWERTY.

Notice the relevant detail here? You are claiming that someone who hasn't yet got used to a particular keyboard layout, but is certainly more proficient in a more familiar keyboard layout, is also capable of churning good code. That is, your anecdotal example boils down to "he was forced to switch to a foreign keyboard but he still writes good code, although slower". The thing is, no one suddenly becomes dumber or forgets his experience and academic knowledge just because he switches keyboards. Yet, those who never bothered to develop their typing skills most certainly never bothered to invest their time gaining any experience or academic knowledge related to software development. Hence, they aren't as good as those who did invested their time. See the difference?

Not really important if somewhat proficient (3, Insightful)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667010)

It does help a little to have some typing speed, but haste makes waste.

The most important factor in programming is not speed, but solid code. If you write lots of code, but the code is buggy, the time to track the bugs will easily eat any time savings gained by speed.

When it comes to debugging, thinking through the problem before trying to trace solve it will save more time then faster typing in the debugger. If by careful analysis, you can rule out 90% of the area of the problem, you have just reduced the time to track the problem by 90%.

Re:Not really important if somewhat proficient (1)

SJS (1851) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667158)

A moderate typing speed suffices. Say, oh, 30wpm, or thereabouts?

If you're not typing at a reasonable speed, you're going to have an incentive to shorten variable and function/method names from something reasonable to something cryptic. You're going to avoid typing documentation, or worse, propose that your cryptic POS code is 'self documenting'. You're going to be an unpleasant partner if you end up pair-programming. All this means you're not only affecting /your/ productivity, but you're now negatively affecting the productivity of others -- all because you're too damn lazy to learn to type.

It's not really about raw speed. Typing should be an unconscious reflex... you want words and symbols to appear on the screen, and they should do so, without you having to think about it. That way you can think about the problem at hand, and not about the act of entering the code to solve the problem.

Re:Not really important if somewhat proficient (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667312)

30 WPM is easily doable without knowing how to touch type. Back before I bothered to learn to touch type, I could easily do that with the old hunt and peck.

And really, if you can't do at least 50 WPM, you really shouldn't be bragging about your typing speed, at least not anywhere that anybody that uses a keyboard on a regular basis might see you doing so.

Practically Immaterial (3, Insightful)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667014)

If you're spending most of your time as a programmer typing, or even dealing directly with source code, then there's a lot more wrong with this picture than typing speed. Keying in code should be one of the most trivial parts of the job.

I'd say being able to type well will probably improve ones enjoyment. It may save a few minutes here and there. It is certainly annoying to watch someone else type slowly when you're waiting on something. Still, it has little or nothing to do with one's ability to program or ability to complete coding tasks quickly and well.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667016)

So the ability to lay out logic, proper code structure, or beautiful code, as fast as possible is the epitome of programming?

I suppose of the millions of programmers on the planet, none should have to reevaluate or rewrite their code at any point as well. We're all pinnacle programmers from the gate, aren't we?!?

Re:Really? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667048)

>So the ability to lay out logic, proper code structure, or beautiful code, as fast as possible is the epitome of programming?

Quality and completeness of documentation might be.

Persuasive and grammatically correct writing might also be part of getting your software project accepted and paid for.

Code monkey or engineer? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667018)

Atwood's opinion is about as intelligent as saying "You can't be a good architect if you don't draw fast." Typing is an essential part of the process of being a software engineer, but typing speed is important only to the most brainless parts of the job -- parts that are likely either done by code monkeys or while the engineer is mentally processing the rest of the design.

Don't measure WPM (5, Insightful)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667020)

String output;
output = "We";
output += " should";
output += " really";
output += " be";
output += " measuring";
output += " lines";
output += " of";
output += " code";
output += " per";
output += " minute.";
System.out.println(output);

Re:Don't measure WPM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667232)

StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder("You");
sb.append("Should");
sb.append("Be");
sb.append("Using");
sb.append("Stringbuilder");
sb.append("and");
sb.append("not);
sb.append("+=");
System.out.println(sb.toString());

It's *thinking* faster that counts (2)

webbiedave (1631473) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667032)

Good programmers spend the vast majority of their time thinking, not typing. A better music analogy than Atwood's hunt-and-peck pianist is composers. Composers reiterate over their ideas for a period of time then write to paper only when they feel the ideas may be worth committing to.

Re:It's *thinking* faster that counts (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667234)

Good programmers spend the vast majority of their time thinking, not typing. A better music analogy than Atwood's hunt-and-peck pianist is composers. Composers reiterate over their ideas for a period of time then write to paper only when they feel the ideas may be worth committing to.

Yes, but that thinking doesn't necessarily happen while constantly staring at the monitor, nor it occurs uninterrupted until you discover the meaning of life. Beyond required phases of analysis and design, or as a response to inevitable interruptions to one's thinking muse, we do a lot of prototyping and experimentation. There is this thinking process that occurs by tinkering and exploring. Barring areas of high criticality, software development is a highly iterative process that involves bout of (sometimes aggressive) coding. I cannot see how someone can translate their streams of thought into code while struggling with the keyboard. Either a person develops decent typing skills or that person never really gets into that *zone* of coding productivity.

Another example is when you are not necessarily doing new design and development, but repetitive maintenance and extension of simple systems that you understand well. Say, adding simple struts actions, or modifying deployment scripts or one-time shell scripts to take care of something. You cannot do those by drawing a design on paper before coding. You code and try as you go.

The only time that you see good programmers spending much more time without actual coding is when working with highly formal processes (.ie. like those required by the DoD or DoE.) But even then, you spend a lot of time typing documenting what is on your head, your vision of what the system will be like and your arguments (and sometimes proofs) of why it should be so.

No matter how you cut it, the majority of time might not be into coding, but a substantial chunk of it will be typing in one manner or another.

Re:It's *thinking* faster that counts (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667254)

To reiterate, thinking and coding are not mutually exclusive activities with respect of time. Yes, good developers spend a lot of time thinking... but it just so happen that such thinking is highly interactive with the activities of coding and documenting and communicating via chat or e-mail. There is simply no way for someone to work in such an environment for long enough without developing some decent typing skills. No way. No how. You show me someone that claims to be a programmer but who struggles with the keyboard at less than 40 words per minute, that will make me go "uh huh."

Programming != Data Entry (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667036)

A pianist is the equivalent of a data entry clerk. They have a sheet in front of them and faithfully reproduce what's on it. The person who composed the sheet music on the other hand may not even play the instrument it's designed for. I highly doubt composers of classical pieces were capable of physically playing every instrument in an entire orchestra, but based on what they wanted to do they could create the notes for it.

Programming is the same. I would much rather a programmer actually put more thought into algorithms and design than churning out code. Ultimately what does it matter how many WPM a programmer can program anyway? Half the time they will spend their team using obscure symbols on the keyboards and actually reading / looking at cross-references and algorithms than actually punching in words. Even if a programmer can't churn out 50WPM does it matter providing he's reasonably fluent and doesn't spend 1 minute looking for the ! symbol?

Re:Programming != Data Entry (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667102)

Programming is the same. I would much rather a programmer actually put more thought into algorithms and design than churning out code.

the thing is, often you do need to write boilerplate-ish code (think unit tests), or code where you know EXACTLY what you want to do already, so maximal coding throughput is still very important: very few people spend their working time writing code where every line requires a lot of thought, most people will write code where maybe 20% of it is non-trivial and requires a lot of investigation, and 80% is "trivial" code to support the 20%. The more experience you have the more likely the ratio skews towards "yadda yadda, I already know what this should look like" vs "never seen this before".

Re:Programming != Data Entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667262)

Hmm, boilerplatish code always makes me think how can I avoid it. So I usually type it even somewhat slower.

Re:Programming != Data Entry (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667120)

> A pianist is the equivalent of a data entry clerk. They have a sheet in front of them and faithfully reproduce what's on it.

You...don't actually know any pianists, do you?

Re:Programming != Data Entry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667140)

If you get 1000 applicants for a job, and 900 of them are applying to every single job advertised just to get out of McD's ? An automated typing test can really thin out the pool without an HR department the size of the company. Of course, it would make more sense to have a coding proficiency test, but the relative ordering of things is quite another matter.

Re:Programming != Data Entry (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667154)

Indeed. where exactly does Stephen Hawkings fall in this typing speed test? Comparing typing and piano is absurd. I know a jazz pianist who has his own fingering technique and is a flamin GENIUS on the bones. I play guitar but not the standard classical fingering style; I use a funky blues style which every wanna be will tell you is wrong. For one thing I use the thumb in some riffs to hit the low E string. Btw: I am a hunt peck typist and do OK. This strikes me as the clip board aproach to productivity. Someone just finish a performace review and have some of the HR metrics left over?

Re:Programming != Data Entry (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667186)

I sort of agree but the analogy used by Jeff Atwood isn't perfectly suited for the situation.

Imagine that the pianist is trying perform a piece of music. That's the "creating a program" part expressed as "creating a musical performance". Now imagine that this pianist can never remember where the different keys are, do you think the performance he is able to put together is anything like the performance put together by a second pianist who "just knows" what key to press while reading the sheet music?

Another analogy would be two photographers, their understanding of what makes a photo bad, good or amazing are equal. They have identical cameras but one photographer knows his camera so well that changing the settings is instinctive, he sees an opportunity for a good shot and without even thinking about it he adjusts the camera's settings. The other photographer also knows what settings the camera should have, it's just that he has to stop and think about how to make those changes (thinking: "Oh, which wheel was for changing the exposure time, was it this one? Oh no, wait. The other one. Oh, wrong direction..."). Which photographer do you think will produce the highest ratio of amazing/good to bad photos?

That's really the problem with programmers who type slowly, when typing takes so much active thought that they get sidetracked by it (and yes, I've met guys like that, they figure out how to do something and halfway through writing the code they lose track of the beautiful solution they came up with because they were busy trying to remember how to make a semicolon...).

I don't type very fast when I'm coding (3, Informative)

IICV (652597) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667038)

I find that I don't type very fast at all when I'm writing code; after all, the limiting factor there is how quickly I can think through what I want to do, not how quickly I can twiddle my fingers. I suppose if you're working from a very detailed design document you would need to be able to type quickly, but if it's that detailed why isn't it already a program?

On the other hand, I do find that I only rarely have to go back and re-write large sections of code; usually the worst that happens is that I need to run a regular expression over it.

Re:I don't type very fast when I'm coding (1)

javakah (932230) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667162)

I'm the same way.

The other day while coding I realized that I was typing waaaay faster than I normally do while typing.

Then I realized that it was because I was writing an IM.

After that I went back to coding and my typing slowed down tremendously.

Thinking about this, it's probably because over time I've learned that it saves a lot of time to slow down and consider the structure that you are creating when coding, and making sure that you have very few typos/switched variable names. Sometimes the tools can help you catch those, but in other cases (such as using the wrong variable), you can far more time looking for a mistake than the time lost by slowing down a bit and not making the mistake in the first place.

Re:I don't type very fast when I'm coding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667252)

I mostly work according to this method:

1. Write a few small pieces of code that work really well.

2. Solve the rest of the problems by copy-pasting the code that already works, changing indexes and variable names where appropriate.

3. Testing, testing, testing. Make minor adjustments where needed.

4. More testing.

5. Did I mention testing?

I bet that less than 10% of my time is spent typing actual code on the keyboard.

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667042)

Speed is something you get by typing more, and programming skill comes from programming more. Luckily, unless you're programming with punched cards, the latter helps the former.

So what's the debate again? (Obviously haven't RTFA)

Correlation:typing speed and coding experience (5, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667054)

There is a reasonable basis to assume that a slow typist is not a decent coding. After all, typing speed is something which is naturally developed as the person keeps hammering away at the keyboard. So, although typing speed does not guarantee coding proficiency, if someone does not pass enough time in front of a keyboard to develop any decent speed then it is expected that that person hasn't spent much time writing software. And if someone hasn't invested all that time writing code then quite certainly that person sucks at coding.

Re:Correlation:typing speed and coding experience (2)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667108)

This actually makes sense, and explains why typing speed doesn't cause good programming, but there might still be a correlation.

Re:Correlation:typing speed and coding experience (4, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667168)

There is a reasonable basis to assume that a slow typist is not a decent coding. After all, typing speed is something which is naturally developed as the person keeps hammering away at the keyboard. So, although typing speed does not guarantee coding proficiency, if someone does not pass enough time in front of a keyboard to develop any decent speed then it is expected that that person hasn't spent much time writing software. And if someone hasn't invested all that time writing code then quite certainly that person sucks at coding.

For my own personal case, I was a typist for about 8 years before I went down the coding path so my views might be a bit skewed and subjective.

With that out of the way...

I would tend to agree that there is a correlation of typing speed and software development experience (or there should be for a proficient programmer with a shitload of coding man-hours.) A person that doesn't spend enough time coding will simply code at sucking. And if that person does not have typing skills a-priori then that person will not have good typing skills. So, it is fair to assume that a person that works as a programmer should have decent typing skills, not because he/she needs them for coding, but as a side-effect of programming exposure, in a manner proportional to the amount of work hours doing coding.

That is, I would see it as suspect to see a programmer that cannot type proficiently, be it with all 10 fingers or simply with their index fingers. And I would not reserve that suspicion only to senior programmers but even to fresh-out-of-school ones. Not just good, but passionate CS/MIS students (either BS or AS degree seekers) will have sufficient coding hours under their belt to inevitably develop some typing dexterity. Passionate art students paint and sculpt a shitload. Passionate electrical engineers spend a shitload of hours building circuits. Passionate CS/MIS students spend a shitload of hours coding. In all cases, it is a shitload of hours beyond the minimum requirement to get a degree.

Will lack of typing dexterity mean with utmost infallibility that someone sucks at coding (or that was a slacker in school)? Obviously not. But it would be hard not to see it as suspect.

Another thing is that yes, typing dexterity helps with coding, with prototyping, with hacking. Yes, we need to plan and design before we code, but when you know exactly what needs to be done, or when you have a sufficiently good idea to start prototyping (or when you are in the middle of a hack that *must happen*), bro, you better be able to get those streams of thought fluently down to your keyboard via your fingers. If you have done coding work for real, getting down to some really nice (or ugly but necessary) code, you know what I mean - that you are in your mojo coding that thing down.

I cannot imagine getting myself into that *zone* of coding while struggling with the keyboard. No way, no how. I cannot see how someone could get into that *zone* without good typing skills. Period.

You don't need typing skills for design. But you certainly need it to crank some code when the muse inspire you. And if the muse doesn't inspire you often, you are either in the wrong career choice, or you suck.

Re:Correlation:typing speed and coding experience (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667230)

Still, at my 4-finger-combo, I can type moderately fast while creating correct code. I've seen kids who could touch-type faster than me, but didn't even know what programming is all about.

Its the Cognitive Load (5, Insightful)

SWestrup (28661) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667068)

Its not the speed of the typing that matters, its the cognitive load. If you're spending all of your time trying to remember where the '}' key is, then you'll find it hard to keep your loop invariants invariant in your head. This leads to bugs.

If you type with two fingers, but can do it without looking or thinking about anything other than your code, then it doesn't much matter how fast you go. On the other hand, if you achieve incredibly coding speed by concentrating on your fingers, your code is sure to suffer.

Re:Its the Cognitive Load (1)

Dilligent (1616247) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667206)

This, absolutely!

I believe thats what the summary suggested, you can go ahead and learn to type as quickly as possible, but there's a limit as for how fast your mind can come up with code that actually solves the problem.

I can type quite fast, even though i only use thumb to ring finger on my right hand and the index finger on my left hand. This is not a limit for me though, because the bottleneck is the mind and not the fingers. Same with language in generel, english is not my native language and i while i don't have to actively think about what I'm expressing, i still not to kind of fill an internal buffer, not unlike a CD-R application writing.

So yeah, go for eliminating bottlenecks. There's this old saying about optimising:
1) Don't do it. 2) Don't do it, yet. -- Meaning, look for bottlenecks first!

Re:Its the Cognitive Load (1)

Dilligent (1616247) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667216)

Oh, and while I'm at it, I should probably go and proof-read sentences I edited before posting :)

Typing speed is very important, however... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667078)

... "editor" typing speed is even more so, I can't believe how many times I have seen coworkers blindly typing everything out where a macro could have made them type 1/10th of the characters, not to mention how much faster they could be with an editor that supports rectangular copy+paste, automatic indenting, justification, alignment, auto-complete etc. etc. etc.

A medium-speed typist that's fully proficient in their editor of choice can output a LOT more lines of code than a super-fast typist that treats their editor as a dummy typewriter. Of course if you have a fast typist fully conversant in their editor (especially emacs ;) ) it can make their productivity quite amazing when they are "in the zone".

Atwood is clueless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667080)

Anyone who thinks typing ability is important to creating useful computer program is probably a clueless programming wannabe.

My most important work in the course of developing a program happens during requirements gathering and algorithm development which is done with a pencil and paper.

Anyone who just sits down and starts typing (for anything more than a couple lines of shell script) is an uneducated and inexperienced novice and anyone who hires someone who designs and writes at the keyboard deserves what they get.

Signed,
                          A retired old fart who began with FORTRAN and COBOL and is still writing personal use stuff in C++ and Python

No (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667084)

Modern IDEs tend to auto-complete so much that it really isn't a problem, even in verbose languages like Java. Then there are of course those languages that are so abstract and dense that it will never matter, like say Haskell.

Re:No (2)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667282)

When I was younger, I did a number of projects in APL. Typing speed was more likely to be characters-per-minute, not WPM. For the most part, touch-typing APL is a null concept; almost everyone spends a fair amount of time hunting for the particular special symbol that they need. APL might be the only programming language where it would be faster to scribble stuff on a touchscreen with a stylus than to use a keyboard :^)

what about mental load of slow typists (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667090)

TFA references masters in their fields and people of higher mental abilities and tried to say that it does not matter how slow you push the keys down, it's what you put down. Well then why did they not even consider what kind of mental load hunting and pecking for keys puts on the typist? I don't know about you but when I type(10 fingers) I do little to no thinking of what keys I'm pushing and spend my mental time on the concepts I'm putting down. I may suck at what I put down but I'm not spending time looking for a key or backspacing because I typed wrong and even looking for the backspace key when I do mistype.

So if coders write their code down on paper and then transpose it into the computer, TFA is good enough but I doubt that's what is happening. If they code using UML diagrams then that would be helpful too but I don't see much of that.

LoB

Yes, and no... (5, Interesting)

MoeDrippins (769977) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667092)

Of course it matters. Sometimes. Your 'rate of creation' is simply the min(rate_of_typing, rate_of_thought). If you can type faster than you are currently thinking/creating/"solutionizing" then no, it doesn't matter, and there are a lot of times during code creation where this is the case; you need time to noodle, try things out, think about a solution, need some time. But, there are times where you know EXACTLY what you want the code to do/be/look like, and those times your typing speed can be the bottleneck, and there are a lot of times during code creation where THIS is the case too.

it. certainly. does. when. you're. waiting. on. (1)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667094)

Speed typing isn't necessary, but when you're trying to debug something thorny and you're waiting for that one guy to stumble through commands.... hunting... pecking... typoing again and again while you have nothing better to do than resist the urge to rip the damn keyboard from his hands...

I've seen bad typing waste as much as 50% of the time of four rather well paid people.

Okay, so that's still better productivity than most meetings manage.

I just finished reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667096)

I just finished raCoders at Work, Reflections on the Craft of Programming.

The book is a series of interviews with influential programmers and several of them admitted to being slow typists, and thought it didn't matter that much.

Of course it does (4, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667112)

to a point. If you're horribly terribly slow at typing on a computer, you won't be able to effectively execute ideas as they happen, sometimes you really just need to pound out that ~150 lines of code you have sitting in your brain queue, if you have a significant lag between the time of inception and the time of completion, you're stuck on the same idea for a long period of time -- you can't quickly type it up, compile/test, debug it, then move on all during that while you had in mind what you needed to do next. Instead you're hopelessly focused on the single task at hand.

However, how many programmers spend so little time working with computers that they don't have a natural typing speed of 60+ WPM? Surely most do, although I don't know anyone that can type as quickly as I do, they aren't slow at all. I'd imagine at around 50 WPM it ceases to matter really except that at 110+ you end up doing a lot of little corrections and formatting changes to your code. I find myself re-editing my code in several iterations at times, doing my thinking in text rather than all abstractly in the mind (it's easier to add up a large column of numbers on paper than it is in your mind btw), write out a quick obvious case implementation, do a quick optimization pass, then debug and write a unit test if needed.

I think the problem with counting in lines of code is that 1 BLOC != 1 GLOC. (bad vs good). 10000 bad lines of code can probably be replaced realistically with 1000 good ones (you may get ratios of up to 100:1 if you see code like on TDWTF). If a programmer consistently pumps out 5000+ lines of code a day with no problem may be far less productive realistically than someone who only makes little more than ten percent of that but has fully debugged it, implemented strong algorithms and well researched data structures and design patterns, and even has a unit test to verify that future modifications work as expected. In the end, it matters, sure, but I do think it's more about the intelligence and skill of the programmer, not how quickly they type.

Quantity vs quality (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667126)

If a novelist writing 1000 words per day were able to type infinitely fast, he or she could save maybe an hour per day.

That is assuming that a novelist already knows on what to type and does not change his story while he is typing.

Perhaps they think of "journalists" or a better name would be "news paper fillers". A novelist will be payed by quality more then by quantity. A newspaper filler will be payed more by quantity.

Just typing this short piece I went back 6 times to change (small) and I already knew what I wanted to say. (and changed 5 to 6, because I added the word small.)

The answer is "No" (4, Interesting)

BitHive (578094) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667130)

Any reasonably intelligent person should be able to find the flaws in Atwood's analogies and synthesize several decent counter-arguments by themselves. The notion is ridiculous on its face and if the quality of this guy's analogies is any indication of his mental acuity then I'm surprised anyone reads his blog at all. I'm not sure why such a laughably flawed statement should prompt anything but derision, but Slashdot being what it is today, I suppose it is the right place for such a discussion to take place.

Documentation and comments (1)

TheBiGW (982686) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667132)

For the code itself, as other people have said, I would far prefer an expert to hunt-and-peck 100 lines of awesome than have some random person bash out 1000 lines of WTF at 150 WPM. Where the real difference comes in IMO is the documentation/commenting of said code. In my experience, if someone has difficulty typing quickly they are far less likely to document and comment their code as frequently as someone who can type well. So it's still worth learning even if you are an expert :)

Yes (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667136)

Because poor typing skills will lead to you writing less readable code with a lot more shorthand. Shorter variable names, shorter function names, if you don't got good typing skills you'll end up coding using lots of do( x ); where parse( record ); would be far better. You can pretend it doesn't happen, or you can pretend it doesn't matter, but you inevitably drop the "fluff" because it's "slowing you down". I've tried it, it actually requires more typing to write code you'd want to come back to later, all that context that's spinning up in your head telling you what all the variables are and the abbriviations mean will be lost. Being able to type it out quickly and effortlessly without losing the flow of the code you are working on is a big advantage. It's not the typing speed itself though, it's getting to the point where your typing doesn't interfere or slow down your thinking. But when you're typing naturally without thinking that is a highly skilled typer..

Yes it does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667138)

http://dep.posterous.com/not-using-scrollwheel [posterous.com]

Typing speed matters especially when you are pairing with someone on some problem.

Typing speed (editor speed) gives freedom. (1)

knubo (615210) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667142)

I think it matters a lot. Here is my thoughts about typing speed:

- Speed is good, but think first, program second.
- If you can get what is in your head down into your editor faster, you will get quicker feedback on your code. You can then try out more stuff in a shorter timespan.
- Not all of your code will be rocket science. A lot of code is and will be boilerplate code and the faster you get to get it down and out of the way the better.
- If you don't have quick editor speed you probably don't know your editor and you end up doing stuff you should not have done. (your editor should)
- You should document your code, maybe on a concept level (on an wiki or something similar). Then you need to write and if you don't type fast you'll use forever on this.

More important: Knowing the English keyboard (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667146)

Frankly, I can deal with programmers who are "slow" typists. Within reason of course, but in general, unless they're coding in Pascal (and even then, they will probably have learned by now how to quickly type those 'begin's and 'end's) or another language more suited to writing novels than code, what big difference will it make provided they know how to code?

What matters to me is their ability to use an English keyboard layout and do not have to insist in their own language. This becomes especially obvious in a multi language team (i.e. where English is the language of choice even if nobody has it as his native language because, well, it's the ONLY language they share), where you might be forced to use someone else's machine for something only to find out that you can't find ANY important characters because they're conveniently tucked away somewhere safe.

But more important, have you ever noticed how all those important brackets and punctuation that you NEED in 99% of the languages are near impossible to type without breaking your fingers on non-English keyboard, especially if that language has to deal with a lot of diacritical characters? On most non-English keyboard the { and } brackets are only reachable with the combination of Alt-GR and 7-0. And let's not even talk about the "Polish writing keyboard layout", which is a nightmare to program with. I still think they did it on purpose, I cannot imagine that anyone could actually code using such a layout.

If you are programming, and you happen to "suffer" from one of those layouts, try switching to an English layout. When I started to code, I was wondering who the FU.. could come up with the idea that { and } would be sensible to use for something you need, like, every other character. Once I switched to English, it started to make sense.

Maintenance (1)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667178)

Once those fast typist have produced all those shitloads of code,  the program goes in maintenance.  And there you are happy to produce five lines of code at the end of the day, thinking that the same amount of thought on ten times less code would have produced better results.

It might be of importance if you are studying... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667180)

...any branch of CS/IT, study of which includes time-limited exams during which you have to churn out large quantities of functional but utterly boring code.

Oh, and also if you happen to be applying for a job of John Travolta's personal coder. [youtube.com]

10 times more tired (1)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667182)

I'd argue that for programming, in which typing is a necessary step while not being the desired product unto itself, typing slower or typing faster is not the point. Effort spent typing is the point. As a distraction, typing becomes problematic for programmers. Being one myself, expressing a complex relationship in code would be hindered by any increase to the distraction of typing that code.

Expending ten times the effort on typing, would quickly reduce the quality and cohesiveness of my code -- which is why I've developed platforms with a huge increase in code density, thus requiring me to type even less -- equating to greater typing speed not unlike a having richer spoken vocabulary.

Yes, it matters. Not to an infinite speed, but to a speed congruent to the complexity of the code being written, or to the speed of the mind conceiving that complexity -- whichever is lesser.

This is reminiscient of the qwerty vs dvorak scenario. While any human sufficiently adept at typing will reach similar rates on either layout, the dvorak results in a reduced amount of finger movement, resulting in greater stamina without increased endurance. My next keyboard will take that further, inspired by the dvorak layout's optimization for English by adjusting some of those optimizations for programming, specifically within my platforms.

K-locks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667184)

What happened to K locks?

Confounding variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667192)

I think what happens is that it takes practice to make a good programmer, and by practicing programming (writing experimental code, etc.) one naturally improves his/her typing speed. But speed, in itself, should not affect programming skills too much as long as it's not slow enough to disrupt one's thought flow.

Does he also measure productivity by LOC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667204)

Because the same flawed logic applies.

Keyboard for blondes (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667210)

This is the most amazingly ridiculous keyboard I've ever seen.

http://www.keyboardforblondes.com/ [keyboardforblondes.com]

Re:Keyboard for blondes (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667238)

Actually, there should only be one key - "Do What I Want" key.

Quality vs. Quantity (1)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667224)

I would definitely put more of an emphasis on typing accuracy than speed... It saves more time/money in the long run. You can be the fastest typist in the world but if every 3rd key is the backspace then you're losing some serious efficiency.

Re:Quality vs. Quantity (1)

SJS (1851) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667278)

I work with someone like that. He hits a lot of keys in a very short period of time... but almost half of them are the backspace key, because he almost never hits the key he wants to hit.

It sounds like he's getting a lot of work done. If you look over his shoulder, you might find out he's spent the past five minutes trying to scp his editor's configuration file from one machine to another.

it matters a lot (4, Insightful)

MonoSynth (323007) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667236)

Touch typists generally use more verbose variable names and more comments, because it's much more natural for them to type a lot of words. This makes their code a lot more readable, which saves money in the end since a *lot* of the cost of software is in maintenance and the only performance factor that really counts is not cpu cycles, memory usage or bandwith utilization, but euros, dollars, rupees, yens or whatever your legal tender is. The programmer's time is (one of) the most costly aspect(s) of software development. A crufty codebase is much easier to read and maintian with comments *really* explaining fixes and variable names explaining what they're used for. I see so much code with comments like '// Issue #24654' or variable names like 'i' or 'j' in functions that span more than 50 lines (or whatever fits in one screen).

Of course there's more than typing speed involved in making maintainable code and I'm sure there are non touch typists who force themselves to make their code readable, but being able to type fast without thinking helps a lot.

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667270)

Atwood's original point is that he personally can't take people seriously if they can't type yet intend to make a career out of programming. I don't know what he means by "slow" but in my mind it's someone who is literally looking down at the keyboard looking for the right buttons. Clearly, if the user is physically unable to type quickly, or is using a new keyboard layout, it's a different matter.

Some brilliant programmers may not be able to type but I wouldn't be able to take them seriously if I was hiring for a position -- unless the guy was good enough that I would be willing to hire a transcriptionist.

On the other hand, for everyone saying "I'd rather have 10 lines of excellent slowly written code than 100 lines of crap", I don't think he ever said that being a fast typist makes you a good programmer. I'm sure if you asked, he'd say "I can't take people who write bad code seriously as programmers."

Case in point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34667274)

I did not become a programmer because even though I could come up with some of the best algorithms for my assignments typos and syntax errors were just unbearable. It was before the proliferation of IDE and syntax highlighting...

WPM Important... But Not For Programming (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667292)

I graduated from HS over 30 years ago, and I still remember touch typing as one of the two most valuable classes I ever took. Touch typing skill are valuable because it does get one away from hunt and peck. But typing speed has absolutely nothing to do with coding, since when I code, 90% of my time is spent looking at the screen and thinking about the code. Half of the rest is spent copying/moving code segments around. The 10% spent entering text are done a line or two at a time. The speed increase made by touch typing is not significant.

indicator of passion (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667310)

I assume that anyone, barring physical handicap, can learn to type and will progressively get faster until they can express their thoughts somewhat directly. It's not a matter of the "think vs type" time ratio, it's not a matter of the logic acumen, it's not a matter of the raw speed. (Obviously the logic acumen is most important of all, but that's another skill that is usually developed over time.) I must say that without other information, I must assume a slow typist is an inexperienced computer user. Reminds me of the scene in Brazil where the co-worker claims he's "a bit of a whiz with these things" while hunting and pecking incompetently.

Learning ANY physical skill is easier if you are not paying 100% attention to the skill itself. Learn to roller skate by chasing a tennis ball around a parking lot. Focus on the ball, and your feet will "figure it out" on their own. Back in the ages of MUDs (that's MMORPGs in all text format, for you kids out there), I found the fastest way to learn to type quickly was to try to hold a conversation real-time. IRC is a sufficient alternative. If you don't want others to get bored with your slow responses, you will naturally speed up your typing.

You're looking at it all wrong... (1)

Zapotek (1032314) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667314)

I'd agree with the guy based on the premise that if someone can't type quickly then he mustn't have spent a lot of time typing ergo hasn't spent a lot of time coding.
That's a reasonable assumption to make, however this is not to say that someone who types quickly is a better coder- - but someone who keeps staring at the keys[1] would be a bad coder.
Does this make any sense to anyone else?

[1] Unless you gave him an unfamiliar or in some way strange, to him, keyboard.

Brilliant coders can be terrible writers (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667318)

I find myself cleaning up the technical documentation of very smart people. I describe it as thus: "They know exactly what they're talking about, and they assume I do as well." But writing a technical manual isn't the same as writing code. I'm a technical writer, not a coder, so I naturally hum along at 60 WPM without even thinking about it. But the coders whose writing I decipher are all hunt and peck typists at best. Does their slow typing affect their work output? No, because it's clean, brilliant code, and because I'm paid to translate it into English for them. (Or more precisely, document the steps that includes their coding.) They can't do what I can do, but then again, I can't do what they can do. They're smarter than me in many respects - I can't think in looping algorithms or batch script processes. But I'm a better writer, and subsequently, a better typist.

Is it a cultural thing? (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 2 years ago | (#34667324)

I've always been a very fast typist; many people I've worked with have noticed and commented on my typing speed. An Indian contractor I was working with wanted to know how I got that fast -- had I taken a class or used some typing training software that he could use so he could become as fast. I told him it was just something that came naturally to me and that I didn't really think typing speed was very important for software developers, because actually typing in code is a very small part of the process. But it seemed to bother him a lot. He said that if he was typing in a "for .. next" loop and I was typing in a "for .. next" loop, I would get mine done faster. I kept telling him I didn't have any special tricks for typing fast and that he shouldn't worry about it. But he just wouldn't buy it; he genuinely seemed to believe I was withholding something from him so I would have what he saw as an edge over him. I've always thought that the importance he attached to typing speed was kind of strange.

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