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ItsASine (Kayla)
ItsASine (Kayla)

Posted on


Is it necessary to learn touch typing?

Like the kind taught in grade schools: no looking at the keys, full home row all the time.

And these things:

A Speedskin - orange keycap hiding thing

Top comments (16)

johnkazer profile image
John Kazer

Great for documentation, email etc. Getting rid of distractions sooner!
For coding not so sure, I find there are too many special characters and the process is too different from writing to have an obvious benefit.

lbonanomi profile image

35 years behind a keyboard and I still peck-away with 4 fingers, I've never thought fast enough or clearly enough for my typing speed to affect my work.

Please do consider the RSI risk that other folks have mentioned; it has never troubled me, but that's easily chalked up to dumb luck.

nestedsoftware profile image
Nested Software • Edited

I would argue that it's quite important. I learned touch-typing later on, and it's definitely made a difference for me. It makes typing a lot less frustrating. Also, I think it improves ergonomics - you can sit (or stand) in a relaxed position with good posture and just look at the screen. If you're constantly moving your head/eyes between the keyboard and the screen, that's probably not great for your neck, shoulders, and back.

dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

It's only necessary if I have to sit and watch you hunt and peck for more than about thirty seconds ever 😱 Past that, no, you can get by without it but it's either at or very very near the top of the list of useful-but-not-strictly-essential skills.

andypiper profile image
Andy Piper

When I started coding ~30 years ago, I never learned to touch type from the perspective of having my fingers resting on the middle row - in my case it was just a case of mentally understanding where the keys were, typing more and more, to the point where I can type fast without having “officially” learned to touch type QWERTY, but I can do it without looking at the keyboard. I’d say as a coder you’ll definitely want to be efficient in your use of the keyboard and in typing, but I never forced myself to learn classical keyboard touch typing.

papaponmx profile image
Jaime Rios

Not all schools have this kind of programs, but I was fortunate enough to be in one.

I think It those make a difference for me, it is a smooth experience both when coding and writing docs. It is hard to appreciate when you don't have that skill.

Just to enrich the conversation and for those of you who are interested, here are a few resources online:

itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla)

I hunt and peck, using 4-ish fingers and looking at the keyboard the whole time. I also have mechanical keyboards and code all day, so it seems like I'm supposed to be all for touch typing. I failed typing class in grades 7 and 8 and didn't have a computer until college, so this is the most efficient method for me.

buphmin profile image

No but I would say you must be able to type at least 30 words per minute and be able to write with few mistakes. Any less than that and you pretty much cannot code around anyone else without exasperation.

jessekphillips profile image
Jesse Phillips

I type in Dvorak and most keyboards are Qwerty so... yes it is necessary.

While I wouldn't claim it is necessary, I do believe there are benefits for it. I learned touch typing long ago so I don't know all the nuances of looking at the keyboard all the time. My use of Vim would likely be hindered since motion and edits are larger operations than traditional editors and that would make looking away from the text area harder to track what I need to type next.

On the other hand, programming isn't really a heavy typing activity and with traditional editors there is a much longer pause getting to the next place of editing. I know I don't do symbols very well when touch typing.

macram profile image
Manu Mateos • Edited

I am a fast typer and that's a useful skill, but not necessarily for coding, when you usually think slower than you type (and you have to use even combinations of three keys). But I consider important not to look at the keyboard to type, but to look at the code you write. I don't care about how many fingers does a coder use.

And touch typing can lead to a better posture.

matthewbdaly profile image
Matthew Daly

It's definitely helpful, and if you don't I strongly suspect you'll be raising your risk of RSI, which can be painful and debilitating.

That said, if the bottleneck is your typing speed, something is probably wrong. Earlier in my career, when I found the bottleneck was my typing speed, with hindsight I was doing too much - writing a lot of repetitive code that I should have refactored, making things too long-winded, and so on. The bottleneck should be your mind.

samwho profile image
Sam Rose

I'd go with no.

Further to that, I'd probably place learning good posture and the importance of getting up and stretching a few times throughout the workday above learning to touch type. :)

jsrn profile image

It'd be nice, but I can rarely think faster than I can type, especially when writing code.

andy profile image
Andy Zhao (he/him)

I don't think it's necessary to learn type touching. I get frustrated when I can't type fast enough for my thoughts though, and am personally glad I can type fairly fast now.