I Have a Secret

I have a secret.  A horrible, terrible secret.

I can’t type to save my life.  I’ve been writing software for over 20 years and have managed to get by with hunting and pecking with 3-4 fingers.  And that worked fine, working alone in my little cubicle…until pair programming came into my existence.

I love pairing.  The back-and-forth flow of ideas, the continuous discovery and refactoring, the changing roles between driver and navigator. I think it is one of the greatest improvements in how software engineers work that I’ve seen over my career.  But it sure helps to be able to type.

So I am going to do something about it.  Inspired by an old Corey Haines post I am declaring my own personal Learn to Type week.  Corey’s post has some good links to help you improve your typing skills.  This post had a few more.

So for 30 minutes a day for the next week I am going to try and bring my typing skills up to a respectable, pairing-worthy level.  I’ll keep you posted.


Update: After a week, I have to say it is slow going.  I have been doing exercises from this post, and although I like the lessons a lot I am struggling to complete the lessons in 60 seconds.  At times I fly, error-free, then I think about how well I am doing, then I start to think about what keys are where, and then everything goes hay-wire.

This will take more than a week to learn, but I am committed to seeing it through.  Right now I am still much faster with my 3-fingered typing, but if I stick with it I think it will pay off in the end.


3 thoughts on “I Have a Secret

  1. Ryan

    It’s funny, this is exactly how I felt when I decided to learn VIM. It was really slow in the beginning and I was much faster with a mouse and keyboard.However, I stuck with it and it eventually paid off greatly. The amount of effort it took to type things out was greatly reduced, although I don’t think it’s easily realizable at first. Stick with it!

  2. Bill Wilder

    Mike – I wonder what the effect would be if you combined typing skill development with a brand new keyboard style – for example one of those split models, or even the one I use – Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 -which took a bit of adjusting. My thinking is that this would be even more disruptive to your old instincts, requiring your brain to adjust *somehow*, and you can then guide the replacement behavior towards more betterer mad typing skillz.


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