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#1 random Goose   User is offline

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Dear experienced programmer, what is your WPM?

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:11 PM

Can you please share information about you words per minute speed of typing and reading (native and foreign)?
Did you learned touch-typing? Does it helped\worth time investment?
I have a contradictory information about text processing speed (r\w).
Some programmers with 10+ years of experience claimed that they never learned touch-typing(for example search interview with "father of The Elder Scrolls" - Julian Jensen), other (like Ken Thompson for example) claimed that
input speed via keyboard fast enough that they don't use a mouse.
Others claimed that reading speed is relatively slow(even term "dyslexic" was used) despite acute need in keeping up-to date with documentations in IT.

*Please pardon my English, I'm from old Europe-land.

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#2 modi123_1   User is online

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Re: Dear experienced programmer, what is your WPM?

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:35 PM

I'll bite, what's your concern level for this old metric?
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#3 jon.kiparsky   User is online

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Re: Dear experienced programmer, what is your WPM?

Posted 31 October 2020 - 12:29 PM

*
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If you're asking whether you should learn to type, the answer is yes. Totally worthwhile investment. WPM doesn't matter, as long as you can type about as fast as you can think, and you don't have to think about the typing. When you've got that, suddenly the keyboard gets out of the way and you have eliminated a major impediment to Getting Shit Done.

The only down side is that once you do learn to type properly you'll realize why real programmers use mechanical keyboards, and you'll have to spend a few bucks on that - but that's pretty worth it.

As for keyboard vs mouse, a good familiarity with the keyboard and the right choice of tools can mostly eliminate the need for a mouse in most programming and filesystem tasks. This obviously makes your life easier and better, and helps you get things done more accurately and faster, so there's no reason why you wouldn't want this as well, but it's a somewhat different thing.
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#4 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: Dear experienced programmer, what is your WPM?

Posted 31 October 2020 - 03:06 PM

When I started to learn how to program in 1980, I started of with hunt-and-peck on a QWERTY keyboard and developed my own way of doing touch typing on a C-64 by around 1983-4. Why version didn't follow the standard approach of using the shift, alt, and ctrl keys on the opposite side of the keyboard. This is mostly because the early keyboards I was using only had these special keys on the left side. Also, I wasn't a heavy mouse user because I had trained myself to use vi, the various Borland style editors, and WordPerfect

This technique served me pretty well until around 2010 when I switched to touch typing on a Dvorak keyboard. The traditional way to learn Dvorak is to go cold turkey on QWERTY, and learn by touch typing. The reason why I made the change for QWERTY to Dvorak was because I was starting to develop numbness and tingles in my wrists and fingers around 2005 even with using ergonomically shaped keyboards. After trying wrist braces, stretches, exercises, I figured I'd try learning Dvorak first because of it's supposedly more efficient letter placements before looking at other options. It worked!

Anyway, that's the long story to get to the point of my post. I agree with Jon's comment above. You just need to type fast enough so that you are not thinking about the typing and/or editing the code. Just like the ways fighter pilots have the acronym HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) to focus on the fight, you should have the same mindset with regards to writing code. If you don't have to take your hands off the keyboard, and aim that mouse pointer, the more you can focus on the coding. Learn the hotkeys and keyboard shortcuts of your editor of choice. If you need to, add your own keyboard shortcuts or macros that you may learned from other software packages. For example, Ctrl-J to join the line below with the current line is one of the first things I try to add to an editor if it's not built in.

As for reading speed, what really matters is reading comprehension and/or knowing how to search through the documentation that you'll use most often.
If you live in MSDN day in and day out, you better learn how to read that documentation about where sections are at on a given page, and what sections to read first. I used to live off the Unix man pages, I had developed my way of reading through it to see first if it was relevant to what I needed on first scan, and then a second scan to try to glean details if it was relevant.
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#5 xclite   User is online

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Re: Dear experienced programmer, what is your WPM?

Posted 31 October 2020 - 03:55 PM

This is echoing prior comments a lot (in particular kiparsky) - but there is definitely a threshold of competence you should have. I'd argue that you should know where each key is, and after that point, WPM is a wash. I got shoved through typing classes in school and can reliably hit 120 WPM, but it simply doesn't matter when I'm programming (and, frankly, even when I'm just writing), because at probably a third of that the limiting factor is knowing what I want to type.
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#6 Skydiver   User is online

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Re: Dear experienced programmer, what is your WPM?

Posted 31 October 2020 - 06:30 PM

I'll also make note of the mechanical keyboard thing... Until I got my current mechanical keyboard (Logitech K840), my best memories of typing on a keyboard was with the original IBM PC and IBM clone buckling spring keyboards.

But it really comes down to preference, but those preferences are usually guided by having the tactile feedback of knowing that you've hit the key and it will be registered. For some it is just a matter of depth and pressure, for others the clicking sound, and for others, it's the change in pressure. There is a thread here in this forum regarding mechanical keyboards if you are interested.

If you are currently stuck using a laptop keyboard (even if it is a classic Thinkpad), do yourself a service and try a few cheap gaming mechanical keyboards with different kinds of switches to figure out what feels and works best for you before you invest in a full blown professional mechanical keyboard. (Or you could go cheap like I did, because I found the right one for me on the cheap end of the scale.)
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