Another Newbie Question: 10-finger Typing

I type with 10 fingers very well, eyes on the screen, but I never really practiced special characters so I’m kind of limited to the letters of the alphabet and a few more symbols. My mastery of the keyboard is maybe 65%.

Do you think this will be a serious hindrance if I want to do some serious coding and scripting? (as opposed to just using an editor with a drag-drop interface).

Should I invest time into total mastery of the keyboard or just forget about it and focus in learning the scripting languages before all else?

Thanks in advance for all replies.

That would be my suggestion. There’s enough work just learning how to program. If you can learn to do that at touch typing speed, then I’ll take my hat off to you! (In fact, I’ll dip my lid if you get your head around programming at all. :lol: )

Sounds like you’re mocking me there. I don’t care if it takes me a decade of practice to produce great quality work. Time doesn’t matter. Only the learning matters. Cheers, mate.

No, not mocking at all. But I think of 10-finger typing as something you’d do when typing long tracts of text. My experience of coding (limited though it be) is that it’s a slow, methodical process that doesn’t require touch typing skills, so I wouldn’t consider this an issue to be worried about. Happy for others to disagree, though, and would be interested to know if anyone can touch type code!

I’m going to disagree with you on this one, Ralph. =p

I think being able to use the various symbols around the keyboard without looking is going to be an important skill. I’ve been programming for over a decade now and I can type code nearly as fast as I can type this paragraph for many things. I probably write 10,000-100,000 lines of code in an average month. Being able to hit any key I want without looking is definitely a big time saver.

However, with that being said, it isn’t something I would explicitly set out time to learn. I never sat down and was like “okay, I’m going to learn to hit every key without looking.” It’s just something that came over time. It is made a bit trickier as well because a few of the special keys may move around on the keyboard (namely the ones around the Enter/Return key), so you have to adapt to your specific keyboard(s). I have two keyboards I usually work on (one at work, one at home). When I work on another, like one of my laptop keyboards, I am slowed down a bit because a few things are rearranged.

So, to some up: it is important, but don’t explicitly spend time trying to learn it… just force yourself to maintain your finger positions when you are coding normally.

I can’t say I actively spent time on learning to touch-type for the symbols used in coding. If you touch-type normally, it won’t take too long to pick up the various symbols. It’s usually just a matter of hitting the shift key and moving your fingers an extra key up or over. You just pick it up as you use it more frequently.

Learning coding and scripting is essential for web design, whether you like it or not. I strongly advise against “just using an editor with a drag-drop interface”

I agree with both ralph and samanime. It’s slow but can improve with practice.

Each type of coding is a language. Think about the first time you used a keyboard just for normal typing, and see how far you have come in speed and keyboard awareness since then. Now add in a few extra characters like {} etc. and you may become a bit slower once again. But just with your first time typing English, it will pick up pace with time. Coding can and most likely will be slow at the start, but don’t get discouraged should this be the case, it will undoubtedly improve.

The important thing is learning the language first. Not on the keyboard, but in your head. Then when you’ve finished your 100th website you’ll be super speedy at coding!
And like Samanime said, try to maintain your finger position when you are coding and it will help immensely.

Well there’s your problem… you should be able to type without looking at either :smiley:

No joke on that, I’m usually reading something else while typing – transcription skills FTW.

define “special characters” – do you mean alt+keypad, or do you just mean non-alpha characters and/or shifted numerics? If the latter, that’s just a matter of practice and time… I’ve actually had a bit of a struggle lately as, well… [url=]Model M Elitist jerk checking in… and I’ve been doing some coding and testing on a Tandy 1000 SX, which has a radically different keyboard layout for anything other than alphanumerics – like the only backslash is on the keypad 7, vertical break is on keypad 4 instead of being a shifted tilde, tilde is on keypad 8, etc, etc… (and print-screen is located in a particularly annoying spot) – so it’s been a bit different… but I’m adapting quickly enough. It’s all about practice and use.

Only at the very start… most of the coders I know can only hunt and peck despite the rather impressive code they come up with – but in a way I think it would depend on what languages you’re going to use.

Anything C syntax like PHP or Javascript is going to be hell due to the needlessly cryptic and obscure formatting and delimiters. Unfortunately around 90% of programming languages right now are just versions of C in drag, apart from minor syntax changes, scope changes, and different object implementations they’re all just C…

Probably why I spend so much time in Object Pascal and Assembly since they tend to use more easily followable code and text – I’d rather hand compile 8k of machine language and enter it on toggle switches one bit at a time on a cosmac elf than deal with 1k of C++ source in a modern environment.

Learning the languages will get you that mastery of the keyboard through practical use. “learning the keyboard” completely doesn’t necessarily develop the proper muscle memory for each programming language – each language tends to have it’s own set of common characters – Pascal for example you’ll be using colon, equals and semicolon a lot, without too many oddball characters apart from operators… C you’ll be using all sorts of oddball characters like curly brackets, asterisk, etc… PHP takes that C syntax and adds a slew of dollar signs along with minus signs, and greater than signs (and not using them for their actual meaning and instead making an arrow with them), ampersands, etc…

You’ll probably spend a week or two dropping out of ‘banging out alpha-text’ and into hunt and peck, but soon enough the muscle memory will build up and you’ll be typing along just fine…

One thing I miss from the old days of computing is source code in the back of magazines – because instead of “I’ll just download it” you had to type it in… It was a GREAT way to learn how to type code. Do that with some tutorials, instead of cutting and pasting spend time actually copying the code by typing it in. Set a plain text editor to half screen width, the code to half screen width, and transcribe.

As the old saying goes, the only real way to learn is by doing.