I don’t think anyone would object to being able to write code faster, but is text-editing really worth its own blog? I think it is.
Before I talk about why I’m interested in writing a blog about the merits of keyboard shortcuts and typing skills, let me try to convince you that text-editing is something you should care about.
I’m going to assume two things about you: First, I’ll assume that you either are a programmer or want to become one. Second, I’ll assume that you genuinely care about becoming the best programmer you can be.
It’s a matter of pride
My second assumption actually gives away my first point: Sharpening your text-editing skills is a matter of pride! I’m a firm believer that if something is worth doing, then it is worth doing well. Programming involves many skills, including problem solving, critical thinking, and being able to understand complex systems. But it also requires the simple skill of typing. Learning keyboard shortcuts and brushing up on your touch typing are two foundational steps you can take toward becoming a great programmer, and neither of them are very complicated.
It’s a boon to your productivity
This is obvious. If you can make your code appear on the screen faster, you’ll be able to accomplish more work in less time. If you can get more work done in less time, you’ll be a more valuable employee.
But speed isn’t the only benefit available to you. If you neglect the skill of typing code quickly, you risk losing the mental state of “flow” that can be important to solving problems. You don’t want your train of thought to be derailed just because you regularly stumble over typing common letters and symbols. Practicing keyboard shortcuts and touch typing will allow you to think less about typing and more about the solutions you create.
Finally, I think that learning new ways to write code is fun! There’s something satisfying about saving a few keypresses by using delete instead of backspaces or flawlessly typing parentheses and curly brackets without a second thought. Plus, I think that being able to get my thoughts down quickly makes me more confident in my work.
Why write a blog about it?
I’m excited to maintain this blog because it will give me a curated shortlist of my very favorite shortcuts. Blogging about the tips and tricks I learn means that I’ll always know exactly where to find them if I need to review them.
Plus, I want you to learn more quickly than I did.
There are a few shortcuts that I really wish I had known about when I started programming – like the home and end keys. I went a few years writing code before I learned the elegant utility of jumping to the beginning or end of a line. I don’t want you to miss out on nifty tips and tricks simply because no one tells you about them.
Finally, I’m writing this blog because it will make me a better communicator. I like to think that I am a decent writer, but I know I have tons of room for improvement. I tend to be very deliberate when I sit down to write. I brainstorm, then outline, the draft, then revise, then proofread. Usually, this systematic approach works well for me. However, it comes with the trade-off that my writing speed is roughly that of an ant wading through molasses. I’m hoping that the regularity of writing posts will teach me to push through writing projects more quickly.