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Do Programmers Need to Type Fast?

“Do programmers need to type fast?” Throughout the last ten years or more, this question has become increasingly popular, regularly popping up on forum boards and websites such as Quora and Reddit.

Evidently t is clear to see that many people could be concerned about whether their typing speed might be holding them back, either regarding learning programming skills or in a professional capacity – but is it something they should be worried about?

 

Is typing speed important in programming?

According to professionals, typing speed is not something that the new or practicing programmer should stress about. Instead, they argue that they should focus on mastering more relevant skills, such as proficiency with different programming languages, problem-solving capabilities, and mathematical mastery.

However, a small number of experts do believe typing speed is critical to success as a programmer, with this often muddying the water significantly for newcomers.

At times, these two conflicting opinions can become apparent on forum boards, with users arguing for and against the importance of typing speed.

 

Why typing speed isn’t always that key

First and foremost, coding and typing speeds are two different things entirely. In fact, many programmers use a combination of text editors and Integrated Development Environments to forego most typing entirely.

By combining everyday activities that programmers commonly use, such as debugging and source code editing, IDE’s allow them to skip typing the same strings of code again and again.

For example, experienced programmers will be able to paste multiple lines of code by using several specific characters in their text editor, and this will save them massive amounts of time.

Furthermore, often, most of a programmer’s daily work will involve utilising shortcuts like this. With this in mind, it is easy to see why many people believe typing speed is not important when learning to code.

Similarly, it is not all that uncommon for programmers to spend large amounts of time in between typing out code, brainstorming how they are going to solve their current problem.

For example, they will have to consider a plethora of different things, such as whether their current string of code is functioning correctly and whether it can be understood by fellow programmers. All in all, this can massively decrease the speed at which they type – although this often varies depending on the proficiency and experience of the programmer.

As technology advances, the need for typing in programming is beginning to move towards becoming redundant. Low-code to no-code platforms are becoming ever more prominent in the market, allowing users to drag, drop, and connect application components together to create complicated web and mobile apps.

Although traditionalists who prefer typing will always exist, how long typing remains a crucial part of programming remains to be seen.

 

Why some programmers disagree

Although most programmers agree that fast typing is not overly important, some experts in the industry disagree with this view.

Most famous among these is Jeff Atwood, an American software developer, and entrepreneur, who in 2008, wrote a highly controversial blog post arguing his opinion on this subject. In the post, he wrote how programmers must become fast typists if they wanted to excel at their craft and how those who typed in a hunt and peck fashion (two-finger typing) were not to be taken seriously.

Soon after his post, many in the programming community would argue against Atwood’s views, stating that a programmer’s success was in no way related to his typing speed.

Instead, most agreed that programmers should focus on being able to type without having to think too hard, rather than trying to type at insane speeds. In layman’s terms, programmers should turn their attention to mastering typing without interrupting their train of thought.

Alongside this, other flaws were pointed out, such as his claim that he could type at 150 wpm equalling the current world record at the time.

Even today, the average typing speed is around 36 words per minute, with most professional typists sometimes reaching 75 or 80 (and the best of the best, around 90 or more).

However, that’s not to say that typing skills are not important for coders and programmers. And this is why we offer the FunTech FunTyper course.

Say goodbye to dull, boring and monotonous hours of learning how to touch-type… FunTyper is entertainment and challenge all rolled into one typing course for kids. Alien Rescue, Key Zap, Ninja Attack and The Blob are just some of the games your child could experience while they learn key ergonomic strategies like perfect posture and correct muscle memory. With tutor-led competitions and challenges also in the mix, our challenge is to get these campers to take regular breaks!

Marc