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Typing Speed

So, I read one blog by Steve Yegge linked from CodePoject about typing speed (which is a great read if you have the time).  Then Steve Smith tweeted his blog post on the same subject, which was in response to Jeff Atwood’s post.  Apparently all 3 articles are from 2008, but I read them like they were news today.

Was that enough name dropping?

I read those 3 articles, and all 3 have the same premise.  You should be a fast efficient typist if you write code for a living.  They go almost as far as saying it’s the most important skill.  I don’t think that’s true, but being a better typist will most likely make you a better programmer.  If I code type as fast as I thought, I could either put out a bunch more code per day, or I could put out the same amount of code, just better thought out.  Or some combination in the middle – a little more slightly better thought out code.

They also linked to this typing speed test.  Steve Smith and Jeff Atwood were both in the mid 80′s and Steve Yegge claims 120 WPM.  I have no reason to doubt Mr. Yegge, but his measurement may be from typing his own thoughts whereas the rest of us used the typing speed test where you are copying text and I think there’s quite a difference.  I suspect Steve Smith and Jeff Atwood would easily put out 100+ WPM of their own thoughts.

Of course I tested myself and came up ~55 WPM.  I did the test 3 times at 54, 56 and 54 WPM.  Each test had between 1 and 3 errors.  I was not impressed with my performance (partly why I took the test 3 times), so I’ve set a goal to double my speed on that test.

My plan is this:  I’m going to switch to Dvorak layout for ~10-15 minutes a day and practice with some sort of online typing tutor.  Once I have the keyboard memorized and I’m typing >30 WPM, I’m going to add a few hours a day in Dvorak, the rest in Qwerty.  Once I hit >50 WPM, I’ll switch to full-time Dvorak, and continue with the typing tutors for the 10-15 minutes per day until I reach 110 WPM.

Through this I’m going to try to update here every week or two to report progress.