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Greg Low (The Bit Bucket: IDisposable)

Ramblings of Greg Low (SQL Server MVP, MCM and Microsoft RD) - SQL Down Under

Should IT professionals learn to type? – Investing in yourself

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Published Thursday, July 18, 2013 2:34 PM by Greg Low

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Valentino Vranken said:

Totally agree!  And after reading your story I'm glad I learned it in early secondary school!  Not everyone took the class but I knew it would help me use my Commodore 64 faster.  In those days we learned typing the hard way: on those heavy mechanical typewriters.  If you weren't careful your finger would slip off the button and you actually could hurt it quite a bit on the buttons above the one you'd slip off.  And typos were for real, no backspace...

In the second year of typing class I was upgraded to the next group and I was allowed to use the (back then) new modern electric typewriters, what a difference! Those even had a backspace button.  Pushing it would make the machine use some whitener to hide the previously-typed character.  But we weren't supposed to use that... :)

July 18, 2013 3:29 AM

Grant said:

What typing speed do you average now?

Have you considered learning DVORAK?

July 18, 2013 9:20 AM

Greg Low said:

Hi Grant, I'd guess around 90-100 wpm at present. But totally depends upon what I'm typing. Programs that measure that tend to measure typing formal letters, etc. rather than things like code. (And no, no plans for DVORAK)

July 18, 2013 6:46 PM

Grant said:

Thanks Greg. In the formal tests, I'm around 70-80. I must admit that when I watch over other dev's shoulders that are really fast typists, it is quite impressive. You've inspired me to improve my craft.

July 18, 2013 7:18 PM

David Gardiner said:

I knew early on that learning to type would be a handy skill to have if I was going to work with computers, so in year 8 at High School I asked the school librarian if they had a 'learn to type' book. She got one for me from one of the 'Business Studies' teachers (the ones who taught the girls to type as you mentioned).

I then sat down and pounded away on a manual typewriter for a few weeks (to my frustration it would be a few years before I had a computer at home), until I'd got all 10 fingers working well.

It's a skill that I now take for granted every day.


July 18, 2013 7:22 PM

Rod said:

Hi Greg,

Great topic and post.  I started writing a response to this blog, but I got carried away and wrote this

Great points about documentation SQL object names etc.  So true.

Best regards,


July 19, 2013 2:10 AM

a.m. said:

I also took a typing class on manual typewriters -- the last one my high school ever ever offered -- and I'm very happy that my mother forced me to do so! No matter where I work I'm generally the fastest typist around, and I believe that speed contributes to greater productivity. I often feel that devs who can't properly type are in a slightly lower caste :-)

I highly recommend giving Dvorak a try. I've been using it for the last 15 years. I can switch fairly seamlessly back and forth between it and QWERTY when necessary, but I can do 20+ WPM better on a Dvorak. It's a much more comfortable and natural layout. And really not at all difficult to learn. Anyone who can already touch type will have a bit of unlearning to do on the way there, but if you can find a week of semi-downtime and force yourself you'll find that it's not at all difficult.

Bonus: unless you're REALLY hardcore you won't want to get a hardware Dvorak keyboard, so you'll have to learn blind -- on a keyboard marked for QWERTY. This is a good thing. It means that you'll be forced to actually touch type and not use your eyes at all.

July 19, 2013 9:48 AM

Tim Mitchell said:

I sat through a presentation last week in which the presenter typed a great deal of code using the hunt-and-peck approach. It was painful.

July 22, 2013 9:05 AM

David Burnett said:

I agree it's a vital skill but as nice as it is to type fast, I think the real gain is not thinking about the typing and being able to let your brain concentrate on the coding.

July 22, 2013 2:09 PM

John Typer said:

Yes i think so typing is essential skill and it is nice to type fast.I did some typing lessons from and it helped me in improving my typing skills for free.

December 19, 2013 4:25 AM

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