Get off my lawn.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dirty little secret

I've been a fan of Steve Yegge's blog for awhile now.

A new post from Steve Yegge is like getting a huge erector set for Christmas. It's going to be useful and pleasant, and it's going to take time. The guy's blog posts are long.

Whenever one arrives, I think "okay, I'll set aside some time to read this", because although they're long, they're usually pretty funny, and they make a good point.

So this latest post arrived, with a provocative title: "Programming's Dirtiest Little Secret". Given what I've read from him in the past, I thought it was going to be something nice and deep, like the fact that most bad programmers are socially liberal yet fiscally conservative, or some kind of tie-in between good programming skills and an awareness of a higher power.

But, no. It was about the fact that some people can't type. You know, press keys on a keyboard and make letters and such appear on the screen. I didn't see that coming.

Typing is such a fundamental skill for someone in the tech industry that I haven't even thought about the necessity of having that ability for someone in my line of work. But it's true, now that I think of it. There are plenty of people who can't do it very well. What a joke that is. I don't care how good a programmer/designer/architect you are, showing up to the computer party without typing skills is like a race-car driver waxing all poetic about the "racing line", the "limit of adhesion", "taking them on the outside", etc., and then mentioning "oh, by the way, I don't know how to drive a stick."

As a developer/designer/architect, you're in the business of making a computer do your bidding. I don't know how you could expect to do that effectively at all if you haven't yet discovered an efficient means of talking to the computer to start with. I'm going to make a point of asking about typing skills the next time I interview someone for a programming job.

I see that you have Spring WebFlow, Axis, XFire, Ajax, Flex, and SWT experience. You've impressed me with your opinions about what makes a good architecture. Your thoughts on thread safety, resource contention, and race conditions appear to be well thought-out. So... Can you type?

The reaction should be interesting.

Also, the aforementioned blog post gave me some insight into why Steve Yegge's posts are so long and verbose. The guy can type 120wpm.


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