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The most overlooked skill to improve developer productivity

Jelle Smeets
Follow me on my journey to make development teams go from good to great
Originally published at blog.jellesmeets.nl ・2 min read

If you would ask a developer how they can be more productive you would probably get a lot of technical things. Speed up the pipeline, make sure the tests run faster, have fewer meetings. But besides all the technical things that can be improved, there is one on a personal level that is usually overlooked. Do you know some senior developers that have tons of experience but still use the hunt and peck (or the two-finger typing) method? That's right, fast type learning, or learning how to touch type can boost your productivity tremendously!

Benefits of fast type learning

Improving your workspeed

The obvious benefit of fast typing is to increase your work speed. With touch typing, you are no longer limited to your fingers keeping up with your thinking. This helps in writing code, Writing documentation, responding to emails/slack messages, or writing awesome blog posts. Imagine the productivity gains if everything you do with a keyboard happens twice as fast?

Mental capacity

Another great benefit of touch typing is that over time you can type without giving it thought. With the infamous hunt and pecker method, you need to take your concentration away from what you are doing, to look at the keyboard. With touch typing, all your valuable focus can stay on what you are doing!

Accuracy

Besides just faster typing, and less focus drain, the last big benefit is accuracy. With touch typing, you will make fewer mistakes, which also decreases the time you will need to correct those mistakes.

Speed of typing
How fast you can look using touch typing

Tools

There are several tools that can help you in learning how to type fast.

It is good to know your starting point. How many words per minute can you type? The average is around 40 words per minute. You can use 10 Fast Fingers to determine what you score. My score is 98 words per minute. Did you beat me?

There are several great resources on the internet that can teach you touch typing. Surprisingly the one I did when I was in elementary school is still around, but I won't recommend it unless you are twelve, like space, and most importantly want to learn it in Dutch. A great free option is Typing Club. But there are many other options depending on your budget.

Conclusion

Touch typing can give your productivity a big boost! Touch typing results in code being written faster, less focus slipping away because you have to look at your keyboard, and fewer typing mistakes to correct! A win-win!

Do you already know how to touch type, and you are proud of the words you can type per minute? Or are you a master of the hunt and peck method? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in similar posts, I recommend checking the Onboarding with the buddy system page. or following me on Twitter.

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