CodingHorror writes:

So if you want to become a great programmer, start by becoming a great typist. [...] When you're a fast, efficient typist, you spend less time between thinking that thought and expressing it in code. [...] I believe in practicing the fundamentals, and typing skills are as fundamental as it gets for programmers.

ASNA writes:

Having spent tons of classroom time with lots of students for the last 14 years or so, one of my general observations is that many programmers aren’t as good at typing as they should be. [...] I’ll get arguments here, but for my money, better typists make better programmers!

Dodgy Coder writes:

Learning to touch type is a quick and effective way to give your productivity a boost as a programmer.

Is there empiric evidence that programmers who learn to type faster will tend to be better programmers? Do those programmers perform better on the job that employers pay programmers to do?

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    somewhat related to this [skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/17224/… professional software developers write an average of 10 lines of code per day) showing that the amount of written code lines per day is small and not necessarily requires typing faster.
    – Rsf
    Dec 11, 2017 at 16:37
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    Basic typing skills are necessary, but once one gets beyond hunt and peck, the speed at which they type impacts good development, about as much as the windshield wipers affect the speed of a Ferrari. Doesn't matter how fast you can type... if you can't abstract your thoughts into good code, you won't produce much of anything.
    – tj1000
    Dec 12, 2017 at 1:42
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    I can't address the issue of speed but I do feel touch typing is a very important skill for a programmer--a touch typist doesn't think about what they are typing--less disruption to thinking about the code. I know I find it a hindrance typing on a keyboard where I have to think about anything. Dec 12, 2017 at 2:07
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    @LorenPechtel: I am German, but much prefer US keyboards out of habit. Needless to say, I don't always get them, e.g. when sitting down at a coworker's place. Yes, always stumbling over Y vs. Z and having to think twice over "-{}[]|\" etc. is a bit annoying. But -- as Rsf pointed out -- the number of LOC is not really impacted by this, as you spend most of the time thinking, not typing. I'd be interested in how much not being a good typist impacts the amount of comments and documentation written, but I seldom see people typing down code at speed for any length of time.
    – DevSolar
    Dec 12, 2017 at 8:53
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    I think the first quote could be better expressed, what I think that CodingHorror wanted to say is that if you're typing is too slow, it will disrupt the flow of your thought so you'll be even slower than your current typing rate. Once you are fast enough to follow the flow of your though, you don't need to be more than that. The speed of your flow of though will vary greatly depending on the type of software and your own skill (real time -> slower, simple forms/database -> greater).
    – Walfrat
    Dec 14, 2017 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


According to Cognitive Consequences of Programming: Augmentations to Basic Instruction Journal of Educational Computing Research , volume 2, pages 75-93 (1986):

Teachers we surveyed recommended that we help students become better typists. Lack of typing ability was perceived as one of the largest obstacles to success in programming.

So at least at a very introductory level, yes.

It is a somewhat obsolete truth. Now little kids grow up surrounded by keyboards, but until recent decades it was common for adults to have no typing experience.

In Software Engineering: Proceedings of the Third Symposium on Computer and Information Sciences - 1969 : Jean Sammet of IBM stated:

on-line system requires that the programmer become an adequate (and preferably expert) typist. He spends a great deal of time typing—a task which previously was delegated and relegated to keypunch operators.

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    The quotes demonstrate that belief in this claim was widespread, not that it was true. Jan 3, 2018 at 21:04
  • @BobTheAverage It's an expert opinion reference based answer. Hopefully someone will find a factual, actual study but nobody has so far after 5 years. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_E._Sammet
    – DavePhD
    Jan 5, 2018 at 12:32
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    @DavePhD: The former was a query of junior highschool teachers -- qualified opinion on students perhaps, expert opinion on programmers no. The second is about how programmers now have to type themselves instead of writing down instructions by pencil and handing the paper to the keypunch operator. I don't think either really applies to the question.
    – DevSolar
    Jan 5, 2018 at 13:36
  • @DavePhD : I don't think the "lack of typing ability" that a student in 1986 who never typed anything before his studies had is comparable to what Coding Horror or ASNA mean when they say bad at typing. As a result, I think the information doesn't really help to answer the core question of whether typing improvement is right now beneficial.
    – Christian
    Jan 5, 2018 at 14:17
  • +1. Teachers who observe this seem to be providing qualitative, subjective feedback. It's certainly not conclusive, but it's still useful information.
    – Nat
    Jan 5, 2018 at 14:52

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