Proper Typing Technique

This isn’t a very hardcore developer tip, but it cansignificantly affect productivity and communications: Learnhow to type properly.

A good portion of two-finger typists, when advised todo this, will reply that they can type faster than any”formal” technique already, often referencing dubious onlinetests that affirm their mastery (claiming some ludicrous number togo along with their 170 IQ). It’s highly unlikely – notimpossible, but unlikely. I say this with inside information, as I,too, started as a two-finger typist, teaching myself all thewrong techniques on my Atari 800XL. I becameso confident in my mastery that in my first year ofhigh-school I signed up for a course called “keyboarding”- basically training for a classic prototypical 1970ssecretary (learning margins, various letter layout standards, andof course typing…err “keyboarding”). It satisfied the needfor a business credit, and I figured it’d be an easy period, sothere I was.

This course taught proper form, and it was no time at all beforeI was typing with the best of them. My accuracy and speed increaseddramatically, and I could spin off paragraphs with a minimum offuss and spectacle. So much so that they sent me to the county-widebusiness “Olympics”, where I won the lucrative and heavily soughtafter typing contest. How nerdy is that Yes, very.

Of course the rate of data entry for software development ishardly the limiting factor when you consider that mostdevelopers complete a couple of dozen lines of code a day(averaged over a year, and that’s actually overstating theaverage): Instead good development often entails a lot of research,planning, and thought, and a minimum of actual coding. Nonetheless,once you factor in communications (e.g. emails, IMs, and so on),comments, and documentation, the average developer actually typesan enormous amount of information intotheir PC every day, and the capabilities of their person-machineinterface becomes extraordinarily important: The last thing youwant is negligent documentation, deficient comments, or spartan andpoorly communicated emails, all because one can’t efficientlyand effectively turn their thoughts into digital form.

So if you want to maximize your ability to use this medium, andreduce the amount of shock and awe (and time) required to convey apoint, make sure you’re using proper form when you’re typing. Don’tget bogged into debates over Dvorakvs QWERTY tojustify poor form — just pick one and do it right.