Programmers and typists
The inimitable Jeff Atwood of Coding Horror fame (or is it Stack Overflow fame now?) recently blogged about the importance of typing skills for developers. In typical smackdown style, he posited that "coding is just typing". Jimmy Bogard disagreed, saying that the number of lines of code typed per day is actually quite small, and the productivity difference for typing that much code is quite negligable.
I happen to agree with both of them. What neither discussed is that as a developer, I type a hell of a lot more than just code. I type emails. I type Word documents. I submit questions to Stack Overflow. I type search terms into Google and URLs into the browser. I Twitter. My ability to do all of those things efficiently is affected by how well I type, and all of those things are critically important to doing my job. So while typing fast may not be hugely important for being a coder, it is hugely important for being a developer. I type all damn day, whether or not I'm coding that day.
There's another important point that I think needs to be stressed - good typing technique can help avoid repetitive stress injuries. I'm pretty convinced that my lack of RSI problems is at least in part due to good typing technique imparted by my 7th grade typing teacher. Whenever I feel a glimmer of discomfort in my hands, I can almost always attribute it to either a) too much mousing (know thy keyboard shortcuts) or b) falling back into sloppy typing technique (my great failing is one-handed modifier action - e.g. ctrl-w with one hand instead of two). Over the years I've known people that literally could not work at a computer any more due to RSI problems. Now if THAT isn't a terrifying thought that keeps your hands glued to your home keys...