Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Education Programming IT Technology

Touch Typing for a Developer? 137

Posted by Cliff
from the beware-the-tunnel-of-carpal dept.
The Whinger asks: "I've been programming in various forms for about 20 years now, and I still can't type. I keep thinking, "I must learn to touch type". Unfortunately, two finger typing, 'touch typing tutorial' into your search engine of choice throws back a minefield of hits. Of course, picking something to try does not guarantee success. Does touch typing help with programming? Do you know of any tutorials that you would recommend or avoid? I can't spend the next forty years two finger typing ;)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Touch Typing for a Developer?

Comments Filter:
  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @07:59PM (#6864483) Journal
    When I was a little kid I used "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing" on my Commodore 128. You should be able to master the letters in a couple of hours. After that comes the other symbols and finally comes speed. Without putting any special work into it since I was 7, I type at about 60 words per minute now.
    • Yep. This annoying computerized woman will still teach you how to type, and the software has been kept up to date and should work on all modern Wintel PCs. You can get it here [broderbund.com]

      And yes, Mavis is fictional [google.com]

      Anyhow, I learned how to type through this program, and the help of an excellent teacher (the human variety)
      • Fictional?!? Say it ain't so! That strange smiling black lady on the computer box was like a mother to me.

        I checked google for a typing speed test and found this: http://www.typingtest.com/

        I'm getting about 70 words a minute. Pretty neat. I should become a secretary and ditch programming.
        • In the 8th grade (like 1980?) I took typing in school and we had a strange smiling black lady as a teacher. I don't remember her name, but I assure you she wasn't fictional. And she would whack your knuckles with a ruler if you did not maintain proper posture or composure in her class.

          Eight weeks was about all I could take of that business before I got transfered into a different class but I can type like a greased monkey now, and I still keep both feet flat on the floor and my back straight.
      • I used Mavis, and I have to say that it's an okay way to learn. There are, however, many non-Wintel alternatives [freshmeat.net]

        To the original poster -- I also code, and I have to say that it took a good long stint with Mavis and then forcing myself to touch type while programming through a coding class or two (it takes a while to learn to type "again", since the keys you hit when coding in most languages are rarely pressed when typing ordinary English). If you can simply force yourself to touch type, and damn the sho
    • I've used Mavis and it's good, but I really learned on Mario Teaches Typing. There is a little page on it here [mobygames.com], but I can't find a screenshot. I probably still have the disks somewhere.

      That said, I think that learning to type will definatly help you.

    • Fortunately for me I learnt to type as well. Boring class but extremely helpful in my job. Ahhhh... the good old days of competing with girls (they always won). I took french for the same reason, all the jocks (I was a jock too) took spanish because they heard it was easy, so it was me (straight guy) one other straight guy, 3-4 gay guys and 20+ girls (some hot some not). What an excellent 3 years in high school. Did the same in college, and to my surprise I met even hotter girls (and somehow learnt to speak
    • Forget Mavis Beacon, how about either "Mario Teaches Typing [mobygames.com]" (which is how I learned to touch type, and is probably available somewhere for download by now) or the new breed, "Typing of the Dead [empireinteractive.com]" which is basically "House of the Dead" but instead of guns, you use a keyboard weapon. It's true.
    • I tried Mavis Beacon but failed miserably. The interesting thing is that I hunted and pecked for quite a while, but the more I typed, the faster I seemed to type. Eventually I realized that I was typing the way you're supposed to without trying. I now can type over 70 wpm, though I've found that it rarely helps me program faster. It's mainly nice for when I'm writing papers or e-mails.
    • I remember using a space invaders type spelling program, but can't remember what it was called. Once you got to the higher levels, you had to know where every key was. It was simple (on an IBM PC it had to be [yes, the original, complete with 2 5.25" floppies and an Amber monochrome monitor]) but it was damn effective at getting you to learn where keys are.

      I'm sure someone makes something similar to this, as it would be a little difficult to keep up with even the slower levels on modern hardware. Anyway
    • I learned from typing class in high school, something I can't imagine existing in a school today.

      And Typing Derby (A [oasiscomm.net] B [oasiscomm.net]), a type-in (natch) program for the Commodore 64. Compute!'s Gazette, February 1984. Little pi symbols gallop across the screen like horses depending on how fast you can type ASDF ASDF ASDF, etc.

      Mind numbingly repetitive, sure, but I was 12 and had patience for such things. :-)

  • Geez, what a question!

    Touch typing will help with ANY typing.

    The industry's 800lb gorilla for typing software seems to be Mavis Beacon, as another posted has already mentioned.
    • Not so fast (Score:3, Insightful)

      Touch typing will help with ANY typing.

      Yes and no. For normal text, such as you find in comments, of course.

      However, the usual "formal" approach to touch-typing, based on a home row and marked keys, isn't nearly so helpful in the context of a punctuation-heavy programming language. Being able to do 85wpm is little use if you're using Perl, where 98% of the characters you type are '/'. :-)

      On top of that, developers spend almost no time typing code. The vast majority of their coding time is spent thin

      • I disagree... I used to touch type at around 100 wpm, but have slowed down to around 80 wpm nowadays unless I'm really in a groove.

        Touch typing is useful for development -- yeah, most of your time is spent thinking and conceptualizing the code, but at some point you do have to write the damn thing, and then touch typing helps reduce your time doing so. The other thing is that most of the good text editors (vi, emacs, etc) make use of the standard QWERTY layout to improve navigation without forcing you to r
  • irc (Score:2, Funny)

    by m00by (605070)
    dude, get on IRC, and get interested in some conversations, you'll start typing faster out of necessity :) that's how I learned to touch type, all those years ago...(ok, so it was like, yahoo chat, but irc is cooler, gimme a break =D, irc does the same thing anyway)
  • If you can't see the keyboard, you will have to force yourself to touch type. In addition, you can't cheat! Unfortunately, I am serious. I forced myself a few years ago to learn to touch type over the course of a few weeks by being too lazy to change a light bulb.
    • Good idea. But chances are the glow of the monitor will provide enough light to see the keyboard.

      My dad taught himself how to touch type using our atari computer, some typing software and a cardboard box. Find a box big enough to fit over your keyboard, and your hands. Cut out the front and bottom of the box. Sit it over they keyboard so you can't see the keys.

      It worked well for him.

  • by Wonko42 (29194) <ryan+slashdot&wonko,com> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:03PM (#6864519) Homepage
    I never learned to touch type the "correct" way (i.e., homerow keys and all that) but after ten years of programming, I have no trouble pounding out hundreds of words per minute without glancing at the keys. If your hands still haven't gotten the hang of things after twenty years, I seriously doubt you're going to have any luck forcing them to learn.

    It really sounds like there's some kind of spinal disconnect going on here. Your fingers should have learned where all the keys are by now, and you should be able to hit them without even thinking about it.

    • " It really sounds like there's some kind of spinal disconnect going on here. Your fingers should have learned where all the keys are by now, and you should be able to hit them without even thinking about it."

      I Agree, but maybe he just hasn't realised that.
      To the original poster: Try typing without looking some time. just see if you can do it. Your accuracy might be a bit off at first, but you'll get the hang of it. its all about knowing where the keys are, especially relative to the last one.
    • by p4ul13 (560810) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:26PM (#6864682) Homepage
      "I have no trouble pounding out hundreds of words per minute without glancing at the keys"

      This is of course keeping in mind that "I" is in fact a word.
    • I failed to get much benefit out of my 4th grade typing class, but I still managed to learn to type quite well in the 8th grade. If four years of hunt and peck typing isn't too much to overcome, is ten years really so implausible?
      • According to the article, he's been typing for 20 years. Anyway, my point was that I've been typing for ten years without ever having learned the "correct" way to type. When I first started, it was hunt and peck all the way, 5 words per minute, but after a while I got better and better until now I'm typing over 100wpm without even thinking about it, and still without using any of the traditional typing methods.

        Your fingers should naturally learn over time, through repetition. Many people can't play the p


  • When I took programming in high school (mid 80's), I had a teacher who was adamant that we should take a typing course.

    My excuse for not doing so was that I was going to switch to a Dvorak layout for my keyboard, thus rendering my QWERTY touch-typing skills entirely useless.

    Of course, that never happened, but she doesn't know that. ;)

    Seriously, man, I learned to type by entering programs from computer magazine printouts by hand. What other training could a programmer possibly need?
    • I learned to touch type in high school many years ago. I can still remember the frustration of having to do things the "hard way" while my touch typing speed hovered around 5-10 wpm.

      A few years ago I switched to Dvorak by simply printing out the layout and transcribing text from a book. I had that same feeling, but kept with it (about an hour a day for 3 weeks, while continuing to type QWERTY the rest of the day) and eventually switched to Dvorak exclusively. It took me a month or so to get my Dvorak ty
  • How do you go 20 years typing without ever learning anything more than two finger typing?! I've never had any formal typing classes, training, or anything of the sort and I type over 100 WPM. My fingers know the keyboard so well I don't even need to have a keyboard UNDER my fingers to know where they should be moving to type out things.
    • How do you go 20 years typing without ever learning anything more than two finger typing?!

      Quite easily. I type properly now, but I went for years using two 2 fingers and the thumb on each hand (it can be surprisingly quick), but then the first computer keyboards I worked with were the old Burroughs "teletype" machines. I challenge anybody to touch-type on one of those machines without letting themselves in for an industrial-class case of RSI within a week.

  • gtypist, tuxtype (Score:5, Informative)

    by LarryRiedel (141315) <Larry@Riedel.org> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:05PM (#6864535)

    I feel pretty good recommending gtypist [gnu.org] for the tty, and tuxtype [sourceforge.net] for the GUI.

    I think the ability to have words come out as effortlessly via typing as via speaking is invaluable.

    apt-get install tuxtype

    apt-get install gtypist

    Larry

  • by DaveJay (133437) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:10PM (#6864567)
    I learned to type when I was ten years old, on my family's new Atari 800 with a program called MasterType. Unlike everything else I learned on that old machine (BASIC, PILOT, LIFE) I use my touch typing skills on a daily basis, and can hit upwards of 95wpm on a decent day.

    There are five benefits to touch typing that I personally reap as a programmer:

    1. If I am copying code from a book, or a printout, or notes that I took by hand, I don't have to take my eyes off of the printed material. This is quite helpful, as it means I don't have to find my place on the page every time I look away, then back;

    2. I can repeatedly bang out long, descriptive variable names in roughly the same amount of time it would take someone else to hunt-and-peck a short variable name;

    3. My comments and error messages tend to be more descriptive and useful, as I don't feel the need to save time and effort by writing in short words and sentences;

    4. I can easily write documentation on the fly as I code, since little effort is required to whip out a quick paragraph or two about the code I'm working on;

    5. My posts to Slashdot can be made quickly enough to be read by most people, yet still be long enough to warrant an automatic "+1 Informative" from any moderator who doesn't read the whole way through. ;)

    -Dave
  • If you can type at a level you are comfortable with, that's all you need. I certainly never learned the "proper" way of typing, and wouldnt describe what I do as "touch typing"- it's more like position typing- I know where my hands are and where the keys are, I don't do this by feel, I do it just by knowing what key I'm currently at.
    As long as you're not doing "hunt and peck", you're fine. There also happen to be quite a few two-finger typists who are incredibly fast- faster than many "touch typists". Knowi
  • If you don't know what the home keys are, or which finger to use for what key, then sure, grab a typing tutorial and learn what those are. After that it's just a bit of self discipline until you are comfortable with it. As a side note, as a programmer, you end up using a lot of symbols (curly braces, brackets, parens, etc) that are not part of the mainstream "important" keys; if you pick up a tutorial you might want to spend a bit of time on these.

    I didn't learn to touch type until I was in my thirties, it
  • by AdamBa (64128) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:17PM (#6864608) Homepage
    I learned to touch type back in high school, but now I type with three fingers (two on right hand, one on left). Most people are still amazed how fast I can type. But one thing is, because I learned to touch type first, I know where all the keys are. If you are really "hunting and pecking" then you will be slow. But if you know where the keys are, just use fewer fingers, I doubt it will hurt. After all how often in programming are you thinking faster than you can type?

    And for what it's worth, Dave Cutler pounded out most of the NT kernel using two fingers.

    - adam

  • by eyepeepackets (33477) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:19PM (#6864625)
    "I've been programming in various forms for about 20 years now, and I still can't type." You work for Microsoft? They've been selling product for over twenty years, still can't get it working right. Just wondering if there is a coorelation.
  • If you haven't learned to touch type already I highly recommend doing it properly the first time and learn to touch type using Dvorak. I was a Qwerty touch typist but I taught myself Dvorak using
    dvorak7min [linalco.com]
    and haven't looked back. I think gtypist has a dvorak module as well.
    • I concur. This is what worked for me. Switch to Dvorak, but do NOT relabel your keys or get a special keyboard. This will force you to become a touch typist. Looking at the keyboard will not do you any good, since the letters on the keys will not be the letters that appear on screen when you hit them, so you will actually have a good incentive NOT to look at the keyboard. Just keep your eyes on the screen, and you'll be a touch typist within a month.

  • by Sevn (12012) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:29PM (#6864705) Homepage Journal
    For me it was just getting my head around it. It's logical.

    You have ten fingers at your disposal. I used no typing tutors or books or classes.

    First, get your pointer fingers on the home keys. F, and J. You'll notice those keys have raised bumps, nubs, or generally feel different than every other key in some way. Line up the rest of your fingers on the keys next to them. Pinkys on A and ":". Rest of your fingers on the keys in between. You'll have a G and H staring back at you.

    Next, get a piece of paper. Look at the keys around those "home position" keys. Figure out what keys out of the keys that are left are closest to each finger. Obviously, you'll hit G with your left pointer finger and H with your right pointer finger. Y and U with your right pointer finger and so on. There is an optimal finger for each key starting from that home position. Your pinkies end up hitting lots of keys.

    Once you figure out what keys go with what finger,
    Start out slow, cheating by looking and type out:

    The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy red dog.

    Do it again and again and again and again. At some point you'll stop looking.

    After that, concentrate on making a letter appear on the screen at random. Try to hit the A without having to look. If you can't, look. Then do it again without looking. Eventually you'll be able to type like you would on a typewriter without having to look for keys. Slowly work in the rest of the keys.

    Pitfalls to avoid:

    Get used to using the opposite hand to hit the SHIFT key for the other hand.

    Learn to use the number keys above your letters instead of the crutch that is the number pad. You'll be much faster if you don't have to move your hands from the home position to hit numbers.

    Take your time and don't get discouraged. Every little victory in the form of memorizing where a new letter is without having to look keeps you going.

    I'm doing about 90wpm now. A lot of that has to do with spending 10 years on IRC before finally walking away for good. IRC is a great way to get really fast at touch typing.

    This is how I did it.
  • Learn Dvorak. It's far easier to start from scratch than it is to unlearn your bad QWERTY habits. It'll take a little while to get up to speed, but afterwards you'll probably be happy on both types of keyboard and faster on Dvorak than you are on QWERTY (mainly due to your touchtyping than any significant advantage in the keyboard layout, to be honest)
  • hmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by karmavore (618727)

    You are probably better off as you are.

    I have been able to touch type for 25 years.

    Now I type much faster than I can think.

  • by Gothic_Walrus (692125) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:41PM (#6864792) Journal
    One of the best typing tutors I've ever used is "Typing of the Dead," which you can find for both the PC and the Dreamcast. The game began as "House of the Dead 2," and Sega modified the graphics slightly (all of the characters have keyboards strapped onto their torsos...) and the method of attack. Now, you use your keyboard to kill zombies instead of a light gun.

    This program is effective because it's fun. It has a (somewhat pathetic) tutorial mode, and the first level or so in the game is easy. It gets hard very quickly, though. If you want to continue playing, you've got to learn how to touch type, and do it quickly - if you can't type quickly, you're toast. And there's something gratifying about watching the zombies explode into green piles of goo...

    If you can find the game (should be less than $20), get it. You won't regret it.

  • If you're seriously considering retraining your typing, I strongly recommend the Dvorak [ogi.edu] layout. I typed in QWERTY for a long time, but I never really noticed any of its problems until I took the time to learn Dvorak a couple summers ago. It took me about of constant Dvorak to get back to my old speeds, but it was well worth it.

    If speed is your only goal, Dvorak will certainly be worthwhile, as you'll probably be able to type faster than you would with QWERTY, but in my experience the most noticable diffe

  • Slow typing prevents code bloat. You don't want to be like microsoft with all their 80wpm typists do you?
  • Focus on home keys. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fished (574624) * <amphigory@ g m ail.com> on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @08:55PM (#6864883)
    There are two basic elements of touch typing. One is to learn where all the keys are - you already have this. The second is to learn to use all your fingers to type - this you lack. Just spend a few days typing, consciously focusing on keeping your pointer fingers on f & j, and you will pretty soon be touch typing.
  • That's how I learned, when I was about 13. I could see that keyboards were going to be a big part of my future, so I just made myself learn. The first thing that you learn, this way, is where the backspace key is...
    The trouble with learning to touch-type, any way, is that your typing *will* be slower than you were as a skilled two-fingered typist for a couple of months. After that, the raw speed, and the ability to look at the screen, or books, or anything else at the same time, will make you wonder why
  • Community College? I'd look into taking a typing course at your local cc (assuming you've got one).
  • dvorak (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oskillator (670034)
    For what it's worth, I never learned to type properly until I learned Dvorak. When I decided to learn Dvorak, I had to relearn so much of typing anyways, might as well learn the proper style while I'm at it. Dvorak lends itself to touch typing much better than Qwerty does, anyways -- maybe half of the letters you type will be in the home row.

    To this end, I didn't relabel the keys themselves, I just taped a keyboard diagram below my monitor. I never look at the keyboard now, I just rely on the bumps on

  • by lpp (115405) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:32PM (#6865102) Homepage Journal
    When I learned to touch type, I was in 8th grade and doing computer work for our high school yearbook. The instructor in charge suggested that instead of using a computer to learn touch typing I should use a device he had. It was a simple keyboard with a little LCD display that would run through typing tutorials.

    The thinking was that having a separate device avoids distractions, like wanting to check email or the web or play games. It worked for me. Just thought I would bring it up. I have no idea where you would get something like that now (I haven't checked the font of all knowledge...er, Google).

    HTH.
  • On the other hand... (Score:3, Informative)

    by clambake (37702) on Wednesday September 03, 2003 @09:50PM (#6865211) Homepage
    Rapid touch typing like you are thinking can be a cause of carpel tunnel... So, if you have a choice between touch typing or cronic hand pain for the next 40 years, which one is it going to be?
    • Only if he types in a bad posture. Quick movements while in strange crimped positions causes carpel tunnel, not touch typing itself. Maybe the way he does his two-finger typing will cause carpel tunnel and taking a real typing class will save him...

  • Mavis Beacon works (Score:2, Interesting)

    by attaboy (689931)

    However, anyone can type paragraph after paragraph of key combinations, all lowercase, with no numbers or punctuation, and get 100 wpm consistently.

    Being a programmer, though, means you need to learn not only where all of the letters are and how to type them in both upper and lower case, but you need to learn how to make extensive use of the number and symbol keys. These are the least emphasized in many typing programs, which are more geared towards the letter/number/symbol ratios you would see in taking
  • My favorite typing program has been Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor [tenthumbstypingtutor.com]. It seems really effective, and was also somewhat 'fun'. It's available for Mac, Linux and that other OS.
  • I work for a web development firm, and one of the guys here can write HTML and ColdFusion, complete with tags and special characters, as quickly as I've ever seen anyone type plain English...

    It's damned impressive, but I can't guarantee that half the characters he's typing aren't backspaces. He claims 130wpm.

    Apparently he taught himself to type without any specific software.
    • That was how I learned to type. My junior year in college, I decided that I wasn't keeping pace on IRC like I would have preferred. I went to Office Max and bought a little book on typing, made I guess for new secretaries or receptionists or something, just a little plastic-ring-bound book about 25 pages long. I sat with my fingers on the home keys, made a consious effort to type each letter with the "correct" finger, and after about two months I was touch-typing about 80 WPM.

      To the original question-pos
  • I learned to touchtype (not perfectly, but pretty darn well) by playing the Rogue-like game Angband [thangorodrim.net], based (extremely loosely) on the works of Tolkien. It's a lot of fun, and you use every key on the keyboard that has a symbol on it for some action or other (most have at least 2 actions, some have 3: normal keypress, Shift, and Ctrl)

    It's a somewhat unorthodox, but highly addictive, method of learning to touchtype. My current favourite variant is T.O.M.E. [t-o-m-e.net], Tales of Middle-Earth, formerly PernAngband (un
  • Since you're coming at it fresh, you might consider typing on a Dvorak [mwbrooks.com] keyboard. I've typed on one for about seven years. While it's not significantly faster than a QWERTY, it is *far* more comfortable. I was up to about 80 WPM on a QWERTY when I stopped using it seven years ago, and can now do 100 on a Dvorak, which I might be doing on a QWERTY anyway. But, when you look at me typing on a Dvorak, I don't look like I'm typing that fast, because my fingers are barely moving compared to a QWERTY typer at
  • by epine (68316)
    I learned how to type on an Underwood manual typewriter in a grade 7 typing class. I was barely strong enough to lift the carriage with my pinky fingers to get capital letters. I used to do 30 wpm on a manual typewriter when I was still a puppy, now I type faster than most people think (not so hard really).

    There's not much to it. Form the habit of using the right finger for the right key, and try not to look at the keyboard more often than necessary. Use the shift key opposite the hand typing the capit
  • Learning with typing software is the hard and slow way. You need: 1 video camera and a video monitor, or a way to see the output of the monitor on the computer screen. Set things up so that you can see the computer screen and the video monitor at the same time. Place the video camera so that you can see your hands in the home position but you can't see the labels on the keys on the screen, then type away. This gives you enough visual feedback so that a competent two finger typist can get the confidenc
  • apt-get install typespeed. Hooah. :^)

    --Robert
  • The best way to learn to type is to start playing a MUD (multi-user dungeon, text based) Most are at least relatively entertaining, and many are extremely addictive. Thats how I learned to type, and right now I am typing at approximately 100 words per minute, and I have rarely used a typing tutor. Or become an IRC junky.

    www.medievia.com is the game I used to play...get mudmaster.
  • by Crutcher (24607) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @01:12AM (#6866187) Homepage
    I was in the same boat as you. My hands hurt, and I was a professional programmer. I _knew_ I needed to learn to touch type, but I couldn't stop looking at the keyboard.

    So I painted my keyboard black. The first week _sucked_, but by week 3, I was at 80% of where I had been before, and that 80% was touch, no looking at all.

    Over the next month, I crept up to a bit faster than I had been, and that was good. But the real benifit to my speed was that, with my hands always in the correct location, all the control-Key and alt-Key keyboard shortcuts for my editor, my shell, and my web browser became available, and even second nature to me.

    It is worth it.

    There are a number of businesses which sell keyboards with blank keys, for use in typing classes; you can google for them. I reference this only as a means of showing that this has worked for others.

    Try it, it _will_ work. Just take the plunge, accept the reduced short term productivity, and paint the keys black.
    • That's kind of what I did- I was hunting and pecking even though I knew where all the keys were. So I just popped the keycaps off and swapped them around. Worked for me.

      Of course the people that worked with me hated it. "Let me show you..." (grabs keyboard) "aggggghhhh, what have you done to your keyboard?" ;-)

    • I pretty much learned to touch type in high school, and can do it fine for basic text, but got out of the habit as I kept using different keyboards with different special keys in different places - TTY33s, Suns, Selectrics, Macs, PCs with different numbers of Stupid Windows Keys, etc. A friend of mine convinced me that the right way to touch type was to STOP LOOKING AT THE KEYS -- JUST DO IT!. It's much easier on a computer than on a conventional typewriter, because you can still look at the screen, and c
  • In my opinion, anyone working in the IT industry and especially programmers should be able to reach a minimum standard of typing (say 70 wpm).

    When you're getting paid the big bucks and you're still doing hunt-and-peck, you're not worth the money.

    To answer the question, though, try 'TyperShark' from PopCap games. It's good fun.
    • In my opinion, anyone working in the IT industry and especially programmers should be able to reach a minimum standard of typing (say 70 wpm).

      Why ? Being able to type faster than you can think is not a Good Thing when programming ;-) Seriously, my programming speed is more limited by the fact that except for trivial constructs (or when I'm really deep in my "flow") I am actually thinking about what I'm typing, how to write what I mean and if there is a more elegant way to do it.

      Being able to type at mo

      • Being able to type faster than you can think is not a Good Thing when programming

        I disagree. I am typing this whilst looking directly at the screen. I can see and correct errors as I make them, so I don't need to read everything through when I've finished and correct the mistakes.
        When I watch someone else typing and they are looking at the keyboard, it is painful to behold.

        On the other hand, when copying text from notes or a listing, I can keep my eyes on the source material.

        Not-touch-typing is not hun
        • Let me just say that I would strongly recommend touch typing to anyone. I'm sure you'll feel that you've become more efficient and you'll enjoy the whole typing thing a lot more.

          I tried that several times but gave up on it for several reasons:

          • I checked with that Java applet that is linked somewhere here, and I can type at 60 to 70 wpm with my own system "2 to 4 finger system"... while others can surely type more speedy I'm satisfied with that rate :-)
          • I can already type blindly with my system (I only h
      • Being able to type faster than you can think is not a Good Thing when programming

        You can't possibly type faster than you can think. The human brain can think at 250+ words per minute. You can't even talk that fast.
  • I tried and I tried and I tried..... but then I saw the light!! Typing of the Dead is a game (originally for Dreamcast I believe but it's been converted to PC) which teaches you how to type using the game House of the Dead (2, to be exact). When the zombies appear you have to type words to deatroy them. Sounds confusing? Here are some screens [empireinteractive.com]. It also has a tutorial (which finger on which key) and in general it's lots of fun. I know I did!
  • I've found that touch typing has helped me a great great deal but perhaps best of all is that the key bindings for vi and evilwm make perfect sense now. ;-)

    Just be sure not to give up!!! :-)
  • Basically, when I started in computers, I felt it was important to type properly. That being said, I tried out various typing programs, but it all seemed like a pointless waste of time. aaa, bbb, ccc, ddd, fff, ggg, hhh.... etc etc etc. However, one thing stuck out: keep your fingers on home row. And thus, I hit IRC, making DAMNED sure to keep my fingers on home row, and started getting faster and faster. Now, I type properly, and faster than anybody else I know, or at least as fast as (in the case of my ge
  • Start with a split keyboard, like Microsoft's Natural Keyboard. It'll at least make sure you use the correct hands to hit keys.
    • When I started in my current job (maintaining a character based application on unix) I had to do a lot of typing, and after a couple of months my wrists started to hurt. A co-worker left, and I inherited his natural keyboard. The wrist pain went away and never returned.

      Too bad the new versions of that keyboard have a different layout. In one version the left and right arrow keys are raised so the four keys form a + instead of an inverted T. In the other new version the block with Ins, Home, Pgup and such h

  • I never 'learned to type' either, but I can type at a good 60 wpm with what my brain's developed as its best algorithm.

    What's more important, though, is that it's honed its algorithm to code. I'm up in @$%=->() all day typing perl code, so my left hand's home position is
    shift-a-e-r-space and my right hand's home position is space-i---]-return.

    I'm sure it would make many typing instructors gasp, but it's fast and I'm hacking out symbol-laden code, not form letters or medical transcription. I have big
  • by Whatchamacallit (21721) on Thursday September 04, 2003 @10:54AM (#6868866) Homepage
    Everyone who uses a keyboard on a daily basis should be able to type at least 40 WPM without looking at the keys. Otherwise you are really impacting your productivity.

    I took a typing class in High School circa 1987 on IBM electric type writers. It was only a half semester class but I was able to get up to about 60 WPM and over the years, I have increased that amount to about 80 WPM and I am happy with that speed. I can type faster when I transcribe text from a printout, magazine, or handwriting then I do when I type from my head to my fingers.

    Co-workers are constantly looking over my shoulder in complete disbelief when they see me really typing fast. The funny thing is, I've witnessed people who can type 130 WPM and they are more then twice my speed. Typing really should be a required class in schools because most jobs require computer work and the keyboard is still the most important interface on a computer.

    Programmers on this thread have stated that they don't think that learning touch typing is important and that the syntax of programming languages is too cryptic to type easily. While the cryptic nature of code is more difficult you will get better at it if you have a touch typing foundation and you merely practice entering code from magazines, etc.

    Good programming editors have extensive keyboard commands. EMACS, ViM, Visual Studio, etc. These allow for one to quickly select options while actually typing. This keeps your hands on the home row of the keyboard. ViM is a bit better at this then EMACS but I don't want to start a flamewar. Use whatever works for you. Just know that both EMACS and ViM both use keyboard commands extensively and both will improve your productivity if you can touch type without looking.

    I really cannot understand why so many refused to learn to touch type without looking. It's really not that hard, anyone can do it.

    Mavis Beacon teaches typing for Windows works quite nicely, but as others have mentioned there are several Open Source tutors as well.

    It's a whole lot of:

    hjk lfgd lkd las lkj etc, etc, etc, till you get the home row down and then start inserting letters off the home row, then changing case and using symbols.

    It is boring to learn but once you get some speed you will see the advantages. It kills me to watch someone fumble about with a keyboard or two finger it (even rapidly). All the head bobbing and finger hunting is killing your productivity. It's so much smoother when you know how to touch type the right way.
  • How in the hell did you manage...

    Never mind. I don't want to know.


  • I took half a semester of typing in high school.

    First thought? This class blows. I already know how to type. I'm a 15 year old 37337 hax0r!

    It's a pain in the butt at first. With a typing program, you'll cheat. When you've got a instructur that's loony walking around the room, you stick to the program.

    We used electric typewriters. Big solid CHUNK! CHUNK! CHUNK! when you type.

    Don't look at the keys. Hit the right keys with the right fingers.

    At first you work on 100% accuracy. The whole class says the let
  • I learned to type in High School typing class. It was horrible. She yelled and waved around a ruler (it was a public school, so she couldn't actually use it nun-style). After an hour of "h, h, h, g, h, h, g, g, h, g, etc" we were numb with repetition. But I learned to type. I can still do about 40 WPM today.

    The trick to learning typing is repetition. You don't need someone yelling at you, you just need an hour a day for about three months running through incredibly rote typing tasks. It will sink in. Don't
  • If you're fast enough using the two-finger method, then who cares if you can touch type? I really only use my right thumb for space bar, and I never use the home row (never learned how)... I'm a self-taught typist and I'm semi-fast (maybe 60 words a minute if I'm on a roll).

    My tip? Join a MUD or some other text-only game. If you want to learn fast, join one that is PK (player killing) only... you'll learn to type very fast and accurate in an awful hurry.
  • Take a typing class at the local community college.. since you are probably fairly fast at finding the keys with 2 fingers, you probably the location of all of the keys anyway so it shouldn't be too much to learn how to hit them using all of your fingers..

    If you take a class, there is incentive for you to learn it since you dont want to flunk and you do want to get your moneys worth out of it. Touch typing isn't hard.. after a couple of weeks of practice you should be able to be at least as fast as you are

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

Working...