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Developers key in lots of code, write bogs, write software designs and stuff. Do we need formal typing training? I have seen many developers struggling with keyboard thus slowing down development momentum. At least we can play around with a software typing emulator to begin with.

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Thanks Sri Kumaar. That was a good one :) –  PradeepGB Nov 19 '10 at 14:59
    
Not if you are properly using Haskell or Clojure or even Python. –  Job Nov 26 '10 at 19:10
    
Try out typing.io - which is typing practice for programmers - if you'd like to improve. –  acw Sep 3 '12 at 10:32
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10 Answers 10

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Need? No.

Would benefit from? Yes absolutely.

Developers need to be able to type fast or perhaps "efficiently" (that implies an adequate level of accuracy) - although much of what we type doesn't necessarily lend itself overly well to classic typing skills. I can sort of almost touch type - I don't need to look at the keyboard much... combination of various stalled attempts to learn (initially on a real typewriter!) and 30 years of practice teaching me where all the keys are...

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Can't +1 enough –  Inaimathi Nov 19 '10 at 13:48
    
+1 - Your first two lines were word-for-word what I was getting ready to answer with. –  John Fisher Nov 19 '10 at 16:04
    
@JohnFisher Maybe you and Murph are the next Adam-Josh? (or who was it?) –  Mark C Dec 14 '10 at 5:21
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Do more typing. You get better with practice.

By all means use a typing tutor if you think it will help, but practice does help.

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+1 for practice. –  user2567 Nov 19 '10 at 7:42
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As long as you are not practicing incorrectly. –  JeffO Nov 19 '10 at 12:57
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Typing tutors only work for programmers if you chose advanced tutorials because they include common programming characters such as #,$,<,>,=,+,etc.etc... –  Chris Nov 19 '10 at 13:29
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Considering that on average a developer produces only ~10 LOC per day, I'd say that your typing speed is not that important. Hence, formal training is not needed.

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If all you ever had to type was code, I would agree. –  JeffO Nov 19 '10 at 12:58
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Jeff O is right, I've spent quite a bit of time writing technical documents and reports that are in addition to the code that I write every day. There is much more to developing software than just writing code. –  rjzii Nov 19 '10 at 13:02
    
The reason the average is so low is that most developers do a lot of work other than programming; and much of that work involves typing. –  Jeremy Nov 19 '10 at 18:07
    
Formal training is for people who suck at using keyboards, no matter what kind of job. Developers (should) spend most of our time thinking, not typing. It's not like we are typists. –  Martin Wickman Nov 20 '10 at 16:31
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If it's holding back your productivity, than it would be useful to get some training. I type a tad faster than I can think (30-40wpm), so I don't think I really need to learn to type any faster.

I made myself learn to type properly. Not touch typing, but just using all my fingers. That alone will help speed considerably. If you only use thumb and 2-3 fingers, I'd highly reccommend that you try to learn to use the others as well. It will slow you down at first, but speed you up in the long run. It's like multithreading - more processes mean faster processing!

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I would like to add: You don't need formal training, if you mean having another person tutor you. You can use free or proprietary training software.

I imagine you spend some amount of time typing e-mails, reports, and documentation. The greatest devourer of your typing time besides simply typing too slow is making errors. (For every error, you must stop, reach over and backspace or CTRL+Shift+LeftArrow, and re-type the same thing. The cumulative effect is great.)

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anecdote: About 8 years ago, when I was in school, my programmer friends and I would have programming competitions. We were all eager programmers, so when we got an assignment, we'd hit the keys right away working on that assignment right away.

Mysely and 2 others in the group were 100+ wpm typers. 3 people in this group consistently won these competitions of ours. Two fast typers and one slow typer (I mean, ridiculously slow, he had a physical disability such that he typed 15wpm tops). That slow typer was an awesome programmer.

Moral of the story: If you know what you're doing, typing fast is will let you stomp your programming competition. But first you have to know what you're doing.

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Just make sure that you don't end up being able to type faster than you can think :-D

Thinking-speed is probably the limiting factor for most of us developers!

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I don't think you need formal training, just try and program little personal side projects and in time you will notice an improvement in your typing skills.

Also in time you will notice that most of your programming does not consist in typing the code but thinking of the correct solution.

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IMO you should be really good in typing, i.e. you should not have to think about the keyboard or look for keys. Formal training... well, I had to do that, and it sucked, because it was really unforgiving regarding typos; having something like 5 typos on a whole page of paper was enough to fail a test. The important thing is that I knew I had made those typos, but could not correct them (there was no correction key on the typewriter); it's like having a keyboard without a backspace key. I can only hope that this part has changed since.

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I know, I can uderstand :( –  PradeepGB Nov 19 '10 at 9:30
    
Last time I had a real typing test, it was on a computer, and I was allowed to backspace. I came in at 87 wpm, although I don't think I can sustain that for too long, and I certainly can't form coherent prose at that speed. –  David Thornley Nov 19 '10 at 15:12
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Like anything in programming, if you can't figure it out on your own, get some help. You may spend less time on SO sites ;)

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