Typing speed VS Thinking speed

Whats important for an author? Typing speed or thinking speed?

Typing speed is how many words she can type in a minute, while thinking speed is her ability to lay out a plot, word power, build characters, and create a story which can hold the readers. Her typing speed does not matter much, she can even outsource it.

For programmers, its little bit different.

Typing speed : Syntax of the language, configuration options of a product/framework, IDE shortcuts etc etc.

Thinking speed : How to use technology to solve a business problem, programming skills, thinking in given paradigm (object oriented, functional, reactive etc)

Typing speed is important, but not as important as thinking speed. Most of time, we tend to focus a lot on typing speed instead of thinking speed. Generally the struggle with typing speed is visible, and hence gets lots of attention in terms of skill development. While on other hand, thinking speed which is critical to success, and lack of it often leads to solutions/products which works but does not satisfy business or has design issues which are hard to fix and often surfaces during later stages of development or in production.

Many a times, programmers become obsessed with a typing skill, like “I want to learn version 4 of JavaScript framework X”, instead of “I want to learn how to build a complex UI application”. Such obsession can be result of organizations tendency to hire for typing speed (as it can be validated easily) instead of thinking speed.

A typical book like “X Framework/Language in 21 days” will help you improve the typing speed, but its demoware nature of code samples may adversely impact thinking speed. Books like “The Pragmatic Programmer” or “Clean Code” (There is long list of such books) will provide required boost to thinking speed. While books like “C# in Depth” by Jon Skeet will not only improve your typing speed for C#, but also your thinking speed. Such books addresses the gray area’s which covers both thinking and typing speed.

Strong thinking speed often flattens the learning curve for acquiring a new typing speed. For example, once you have thinking speed for complex web applications, you can easily learn a particular framework like Angular or React and have balanced view on their applicability to solve a particular problem.

So some questions to ponder

  • What kind of speed you are developing on your current job? Typing or Thinking?
  • How do you keep your thinking speed ahead of your typing speed?

Leave your comments, and thanks for reading.



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