Should I learn to touch type as a programmer?

Have you ever though about how improving your typing proficiency could aid your coding?

The truth is, even if you consider yourself a pretty good typist, if you’ve not learnt to type formally you’ll have picked up at least a few bad habits and your speed will inevitably bottleneck. I only realised how many bad habits I have until I recently started to learn to touch type.

As programmers, what we do is put our ideas onto the page via a keyboard, and every time we have to look at the keyboard, we are, in a sense, breaking the chain of thought and reasoning while we search for that elusive character or repeatedly stretch for backspace. I’ve read from a number of sources that it’s not only speed which suffers, but also the quality of coding that is affected as we continually get distracted by the keyboard. Now I’m not sure how much I concur with this train of thought, however I think we can all agree the ability to type better isn’t a bad thing.

So in answer to the title of the article, yes, you should make an effort to learn to type properly! It will make the process of programming even more fun than it already is, and you’ll save literally millions of hours over the course of your coding career.

I’ve trawled the net in search of the best places to learn and the best site that I’ve found is TypingClub. It’s what I’ve been using for the last couple of weeks and I’d definitely recommend it. You might be thinking, what about the fact that programmers frequently use special characters and symbols? Don’t worry, I thought of that too and there are other sites which help you learn to type computer code, however, I would only start to use these after you’ve gained some proficiency in touch-typing. Because of this, I’ve not done a great deal of research into them, although some of the bigger sites which cater specifically to programmers are typing.io and SpeedCoder, so check them out.

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