Most, if not all, careers involve some computer-based work and require strong typing skills. Accuracy is equally as important as speed. Some schools have stopped teaching typing altogether, assuming students already possess the skills necessary to be successful in the modern workplace. However, without proper training and practice, many individuals resort to hunt-and-peck typing, or looking down at the keyboard to select the right keys one-by-one.
The preferred typing method is known as touch-type, or typing without looking at the keyboard. This is much more efficient than hunt-and-peck; the average person types at an average of 40 words per minute, but a person who relies on the touch-type method can exceed 75 words per minute, allowing them to complete their work much more quickly and with minimal errors.
Here are some pointers to improve your own typing skills:
1.) Use the correct starting position
When practicing your typing skills, it’s important to use proper hand placement. To start, keep your fingers positioned over the home row keys (left hand over the A, S, D, and F keys, and the right hand over the J, K, L, and ; keys), with your thumbs hovering over the space bar. From here, you can move your fingers slightly to reach neighboring keys. Your hands should always return this starting position.
2.) Don’t look down your hands
Instead of looking down at your hands, focus on your screen. This can be difficult at first, especially if you have not yet mastered the exact placement of the keys. Looking at the screen will help improve your accuracy because you will be able to catch your typos as they occur. You’ll also begin to memorize the placement of the keys, so you’ll be able to type more quickly as you practice.
3.) Maintain good posture
Sitting in an upright position is going to make it easier to type faster. If you are used to slouching in your chair or working from the couch, try moving to a straight-backed chair or working at your desk.
4.) Find a comfortable position for your hands
The wrong hand placement can make it uncomfortable to type for extended periods of time. The space bar of your keyboard should be centered with your body, so that you are not reading your screen or typing from an angle. As you type, rest your elbows on the table and keep your wrists slightly elevated. You should never bend or angle your wrists dramatically.
Nothing is mastered overnight, and in order to really improve your typing accuracy and speed, you need to practice every day. There are many websites that offer free typing skills tests and practice, such as Typing Academy, TypingClub and How To Type. Trust that your speed will improve naturally as you become more familiar with the keyboard.