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Is typing speed important and what speed is acceptable for a dev looking to work at FAANG?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Commodities Trading Company2 years ago

I’m a junior/mid with 1.5 YOE who has learnt to touch type recently with a speed of around 65 wpm.

I’ve read a lot of the q&as on productivity and code velocity and have even watched Rahul’s YT vid on working efficiently in Android (IDE shortcuts etc.)

Will I be able to perform at the velocity needed for an E4 at say meta with only a 65 wpm typing speed?

What do people feel is acceptable for a top-tier tech company?



  • 21

    Your typing speed is almost irrelevant for code velocity especially if you use an IDE with code completion. Although it might be useful for writing documents such as technical design docs, your level of performance would have little to do with your typing speed. This skill would fall into the 20% instead of the 80% of causes that would drive your performance (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle). Exception made if your typing skill is close to 0, which is not the case, focus your attention on more relevant skills.

  • 31
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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago

    Beyond a minimum threshold (which you already hit), typing speed is not important to be an impactful engineer.

    Instead, the way to think about efficiency is to ask the question, how can I best maintain a flow state? I find that knowing various shortcuts for my IDE (especially things like jumping to definition, opening various classes, or using auto-complete) helps me to stay in a flow state for longer.

    There was a principal engineer I worked with at Meta who literally used just his laptop for coding (no external monitor) and mostly typed with 2 fingers on each hand. And yet, he was amazingly effective.

    I would not spend any time optimizing typing speed.

  • 23
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    Staff SWE at Google, ex-Meta, ex-Amazon
    2 years ago

    For writing code, which is most of your job now, 10wpm or something is likely fine.

    For writing long documents touch typing is marginally more important, but I still think that at levels much slower than where you are the typing itself isn’t the limiting factor.

    Even for text chat, if speed is an issue probably switch to audio or video. Quick questions are fine but long conversations that would demand fast back and forth it’s likely a bad medium.

    What was Stephen Hawking’s typing speed? Bill Gates’? Linus Torvalds’? Grace Hopper’s? Ada Lovelace’? Bill Joy’s? Does anyone know or care? Some of them may be at 100wpm, some 1wpm and it’s irrelevant to impact. Don’t learn to type faster until you’ve proven it’s clearing a bottleneck more severe than any other knowledge you could acquire.

  • 10
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    Meta, Robinhood, Baidu
    a year ago

    Typing speed is not your bottleneck. If you are a computer, typing is a slow IO task but the CPU task (thinking) is even slower. There's no point in optimizing IO while it waits for the CPU anyway.

    As you grow, there will be a stronger need for your CPU to better balance between computation speed and quality. Higher quality usually leads to a more clean and concise IO (both writing code and communicating with other human beings), but not every task deserves your greatest attention.