Thursday, October 20, 2011

Warning signs of an IT jobs ad: Fast typist required

There are many reasons why this is bad.

First, the ability to type in a decent speed may be necessary to program fast (not necessarily to program well, mind you), at least in non-static type languages where IDE can't do autocomplete well. That means languages Java, VB, .NET (with compile time type checking) with extensive autocomplete support, doesn't need much typing speed because the autocomplete will do most of the fast typing for you.

Even then, you don't usually bottleneck your productivity at your typing speed unless you are writing a lot of linear non repeating code. But in any environment where such code is necessary, typing speed will be the least of your concern.

What's important is the ability to type without conscious effort so that your programming effort can be concentrated on actual programming.

Assumes existing programmers in that company are competent:
If typing speed limits the productivity of programmers, any framework the existing programmers works are based on must be bad, that is it doesn't help simplifying work. You may experience the same problem if you work there.

Assumes existing programmers in that company are incompetent:
That means their codes are so grossly inefficient their typing speed (or copy-pasting skill) is the limit to their productivity. You can't expect to grow yourself professionally in that kind of environment.

One thing for sure, any company who relies on typing speed as a criteria of acceptance should be avoided.