I was walking home one night recently and thought to myself about all that I’ve learned regarding coding and what I want to truly accomplish.
I’ve talked about my goals and even presented what I had learned in my first 5 weeks. Beyond that, this website is on its way to looking the way I want it to look. Strides have been made.
This, combined with a recent Noah Kagan podcast episode about getting business ideas put me into a deep think.
I’ve wanted a typing tutorial game that will force me to improve my speed and be more consistent. I’ve blogged about it, and I’ve done my best to code something together over the past few weeks, but there’s nothing that’s made me say, “There it is! That’s THE game!”
“Why do I really want this?” I asked myself during my walk. “What’s the point to building this game?”
It didn’t take long for me to come up with the answer: 100.
My initial answer was the want to consistently reach 100 words per minute typing.
Currently on TypeRacer, my rate is 97 words per minute taking into account all of the races run. The “latest” (last 10) average fluctuates regularly between 89 and 104 words per minute, with a high of 106, so I know that the 97 cumulative will go up, but it probably won’t get to 100 without another jolt of improvement.
It would be really cool to get the cumulative average to 100.
I’ve taken plenty of typing exams with the results going from 85 in really strict tests (insane penalties for making errors) to 175 (a lot of I’s and A’s counted as full words).
One of my final SoCal jobs in 2010 before being forced to leave was data entry for a golf company in Irvine. To get the job, I had to do an interview with one of the executives followed by a typing test and then come back the next day and talk with a second executive.
The first executive wasn’t ready when I arrived, so I was given the typing test, to be done on typingtest.com, and I finished with 90 words per minute. The human resources representative was so blown away, he hired me on the spot and sent me to a desk to get started working on 1,000 spreadsheets instead of having me wait for the executives to interview me.
Typing fast has always been fascinating to me, even as a kid.
When I started really trying to type in junior high, I sucked as any newbie would — we did typing tests on a Macintosh LC II (mmmm … pizza) — but even then, I felt there was something there if I got better. Obviously just being around a computer then was fascinating, but typing was what got my attention.
Our family had a computer in the early 90s, but we still used typewriters. My mom had two, one that was traditional and another that backspaced to correct mistakes. I went crazy on the latter because I knew I could go back and fix what was wrong.
When I reached high school, a few friends and I took typing as an extra class, and we had typing races with lunch on the line. Those were intense and it was about a 50-50 split on who came out on top.
The class was go at your own pace, and my friends and I reached the final lesson weeks ahead of everyone else. That final test in the lesson: completing a 60-word paragraph in 60 seconds without a mistake. The test was set up where the wrong key entered ended the test. This was the mid 90s, so I guess 60 words a minute at that time must have been epic. Today, that seems really slow to me.
My first assignment as a reporter was on a Coyote, and those were word-per-minute-average destroyers. But to type on those just had a different feeling than a Macintosh or a Compaq.
And then over the years, I’ve taken random typing tests and played typing games here and there just to see how well I could do.
But in thinking about those memories, none really goes into why I truly want 100 words a minute.
The average person’s typing speed is 40 words a minute according to many sites.
One hundred words per minute isn’t even the fastest average. There are people well into the 200s on TypeRacer. I mean, look at this tournament list and be blown away. That’s a tournament!
Reaching 100 words per minute won’t make me a millionaire on the spot. It won’t bring back the girl of my dreams, and it won’t give me the boost of courage needed to ask any other woman out on a date (note to self: 14 years and counting, it’s time to get some courage and ask a lady out on a date).
Maybe it’s because 100 is triple digits. It’s a solid number.
Or, perhaps it’s because of the speed of it, to type the equivalent of 100 words in 60 seconds. Is it like throwing a 100 mph fastball? I’ve never done that.
I’m not even a speed demon. My family will tell you I’m one of the slowest, wimpiest drivers around (that doesn’t translate well here in SoCal, oops).
My mile time while running is probably somewhere near 13 and 14 minutes, so I won’t be clicking on the 8-minute insurance Google ad that’s everywhere.
The game I once speedran, Super Smash TV, required no character parkour or amazing fast-action reflexes.
Maybe it’s because my body is capable of consistently going 100 words per minute and that is the first hurdle to reach before going for more. Even then, what would be the next? I don’t know.
In all of the coding meetups I go to, people have told me to not worry about improving my typing speed, that 60 words per minute is good enough if I want to get a job as a coder.
I understand speed has nothing to do with understanding the terminology of a language and to get faster at typing won’t make me learn coding faster.
However, coding might be the reason I want to reach 100 words per minute.
That was the end result of the deep think.
Perhaps there’s something in my mind that believes if I can code a typing game that makes me get to 100 words a minute, that I will have accomplished something personally huge.
It’s weird because they shouldn’t be related. Yet, my mind is trying to make them related, as if this is the first true step in my coding journey. If I can make that typing game that I’ve wanted to make, and the game results in me reaching 100 words per minute, then it breaks a mental barrier.
It’s been frustrating trying to code the typing game, but I believe I’m close.
There are only two things left to do to make the game complete in this first stage:
1. find the right place within the code to create an ‘if’ statement: A score of at least 1 means I receive a link to advance to the next round. A score of 0 means the game ends, and I receive a link to start over. Right now, both links show up as an option. It’s scouts honor on continuing or going back.
2. add an ‘if’ statement because the game currently allows only one symbol count to be recognized in addition to the letters. I’m not looking to add the numbered symbols, but adding ; , : ” ‘ – ! would be nice since those are used in regular sentence structure.
Once it’s done, I’ll be one step closer to reaching 100 words per minute typing.
Let’s go back to the Noah Kagan podcast episode. It boils down to solving a problem, which can unlock something potentially big. Me coding a program to reach 100 words per minute is not huge at all. There are dozens of typing games and typing programs out there that can get typists’ speeds up to high word-per-minute rates.
But I’m coding something to solve a problem that I personally have, using a strategy of continuous progression. And even if my game doesn’t make it out into the mass market, I don’t care. I’ve coded and modified a game that solved my own itch, and that’s great.
My hope is that I soon figure out the code that will make the game play the way I want it to, that will lead me to improvement and, eventually, at least 100 words per minute consistently. I’m close.