Does Typing Speed Matter For Developers?

Does Typing Speed Matter For Developers?

The typing speed of developers has been a controversial topic since Jeff Atwood (co-founder of the popular site Stack Overflow) published the blog We Are Typists First, Programmers Second.

And everyone has their own point of view regarding this topic.

But does typing speed really matter for developers? What is your opinion?

Well, here is ours.


Do You Need to Type Fast to Be a Programmer?

No, you don't need to type fast to be a programmer. Let's discuss the reasons why typing is not a big deal in programming:

  • Programming is about finding problems and solving them, which requires logical thinking and problem-solving. In contrast, typing fast can't solve your software problems.
  • Text editors and IDEs minimize the need to type while coding. The tab completion assists you with hints and auto-completion, so you don't really have to type a lot of code.
  • Developers are judged by their code quality, not by the quantity. For example, writing 10 lines of code in a day with more accuracy has more value than writing 50 lines of code in an hour with less accuracy.

Moreover, according to the book Clean Code by Robert C. Martin, the ratio of time spent reading the written code versus writing is well over 10 to 1.

In that sense, as a programmer, you need to level up your reading and processing skills rather than your typing skills.

However, it is a good practice to have a standard typing speed, which is around 40-70 words per minute.


How to Improve Your Typing Skills?

You do not need to type fast to be a programmer, but your typing skills are a supporting factor for being a highly productive programmer.

The reason is the closer your typing speed gets to your thinking speed, the more efficiently you can implement the ideas in your head, which preserves your creativity.

You can consider the following guidelines to improve your typing skills:

Learn to Touch Type

Touch Type is a typing practice where you use all of your fingers to type, and each finger is allocated for a specified set of keys.

For example, the standard keys for the right-hand index finger are U, M, Y, H, and N. Similarly, the keys for the left-hand index fingers are F, R, V, T, G, and B.

You can look at the keyboard while practicing, but you will eventually learn to touch-type without looking at the keyboard, thanks to muscle memory.

Maintain Hand Posture

To implement touch typing, it is important to maintain your hand posture. Here is how your initial hand posture should be:

Fingers

Position on Keyword

Right Hand

Position on Keyword

Little Finger

A

Little Finger

;

Ring Finger

S

Ring Finger

L

Middle Finger

D

Middle Finger

K

Index Finger

F

Index Finger

J

Thumb

Space

Thumb

Space


Your hand posture plays a role on how fast you can reach out to the other keys on the keyboard.

Practice Regularly

Once you learn to touch type and can maintain a good typing posture, all you need now is practice.

To build muscle memory, you must practice for 30 minutes daily. Note that practicing 1 hour one day and skipping the other day cannot help your muscle memory.

Track Your Progress

Set your target and note your average typing speed every day. If you are new to touch typing, you can set your one-month goal to 50 wpm.

Tracking your progress will motivate you. Keep practicing and tracking, and you will reach your goal in no time.

Use a Good Keyboard

Keyboard plays an important role in improving your typing skills.

For example, mechanical keyboards offer switches under each key, and the user can feel each key press. This helps users to maintain accurate typing.


How Fast Do Programmers Type?

According to Online Typing Speed, the average typing speed of programmers from age 22 to 53 are:

Words Per Minute

Number of Programmers

Accuracy

10-20

2

94%

20-30

5

93%

30-40

28

93.5%

40-50

39

97.5%

50-60

58

96.3%

60-70

52

95.5%

70-80

16

94.3%

80-90

3

91%


This shows that approximately 73% of programmers have typing speed between 40-70 WPM with accuracy 96.43%.

Also, only 3.4% of coders have typing speed below 30 WPM, and 9.3% have it over 70%.

The survey also shows that the average typing speed of programmers is pretty impressive compared to students and back-office workers.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What should be the typing speed of a developer?

There are no criteria for a developer to have a specific typing speed.

The average speed of a developer is 40-70 WPM with 96% accuracy. But that does not mean every developer needs to have that speed.

Typing skill is something developers gain with years of work experience.

2. Can I be a programmer if I type slowly?

Definitely yes. Your typing speed is not a significant skill for you to become a programmer.

And no company will reject you for having a slow typing speed.

No matter how slow your typing speed is, it will certainly increase once your coding career  begins.

3. Is 70 words per minute a good typing speed?

Yes, 70 words per minute is a good typing speed. According to a survey by Online Typing Speed, only 8.4% of Professional Typists have typing speed that's over 70 WPM.

4. How to increase my typing speed?

To be a faster typer, you have to:

  • Learn to touch type,
  • Maintain hand posture,
  • Practice 30 minutes every day until you reach your goal,
  • Track your progress to keep yourself motivated, and
  • Invest in a good keyboard.

5. Should you improve your typing speed as a programmer?

You should definitely improve your typing skills as a programmer. Even though typing fast is not a required skill, it is certainly necessary to boost your productivity.

However, you don't have to stress about your typing speed because, as a programmer, you have other important skills to master.