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Technological advances over the past 30 years have meant that skills that were once rare for office workers are now commonplace. The most important of these skills is typing: decades ago you could be a typist and make a living just pressing keys on a typewriter. Back then, you might consider putting your best words per minute on a resume to demonstrate your efficiency.

However, it is worth asking this question in 2021: is it necessary expertise in the New Economy, or can you hunt and peck the keys and be fine?

Illustration for article titled Does How Fast You Type Really Matter?

What is “fast” anyway?

If we want to talk about the concept of fast writing, we might as well consider the fastest who ever lived, Stella Pajunas and Barbara Blackburn. Pajunas set the world record in 1946 at a speed of 216 words per minute (WPM) and typed on an IBM electric typewriter. Blackburn is currently the fastest English speaking typist in the world with a speed of 212 WPM which was recorded on one in 2005 Dvorak simplified keyboard.

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In my opinion, Pajunas is the unsung master of the speed typing game because she did it on a typewriter, which today is undeniably an outdated technology. If you were to revive Pajunas and teach her to code, she might be a software developer’s dream. For the rest of us, however, you can “Average” writing speed at about 40 WPM.

Are there still jobs that involve fast typing?

Many programmers in the tech world type fairly quickly because of their calling, which requires them to sit and type fairly non-stop. As a corporate strategist Mario Peshev writes on his website“Most developers I know typically measure at least 70 words per minute.” This could prove to be a huge benefit provided you have a thorough understanding of the programming language you started with.

That said, there are only a few other careers where typing fast is essential Career coach and consultant Judith Gerberg.

She says Lifehacker:

Speed ​​is still important in some industries and professions, especially those that have to deal with transcribing or taking notes, e.g. B. Court stenographers, typists, legal transcriptors and data entry specialists. Most important, however, is accuracy and consistency.

By and large, it doesn’t matter how fast you type, as long as you are able to maintain a speed around the average threshold. If you use two fingers to type – an unorthodox technique known as “chase and peck” – your speed is likely only 27 WPM, a remarkable distance from that average of 40 WPM.

Gerberg notes that typing is no longer the ultimate skill it used to be, but it’s still important, especially when it comes to doing a job well:

In today’s world, it is assumed that everyone has writing skills and that the spell checker catches mistakes. However, attention to detail is a desirable skill. Proofreading and knowing the basics (which includes proofreading a spell-checked document) is essential in the business world to avoid embarrassing mistakes.

Illustration for article titled Does How Fast You Type Really Matter?

How to improve your skills

If you spend all day at a keyboard, chances are your speed will outperform the average WPM. If you want to see where you are between those who hunt and peck and Barbara Blackburn, there are WPM tests like this one offered by Key Hero and Tip testthat are free to try.

Alternatively there is Online programs like Typing Clubthat serve as a kind of tutor for adults. How My colleague Meghan Moravcik Walbert wrote earlier this monthThis is a pretty useful tool that you can use to any extent, whether it’s completely immersive or just out of curiosity:

Users can take a free “placement test” so the website can determine where to start. Depending on what you get on the placement test, the results will open up a variety of lessons for you based on your specific areas that need improvement. The lessons are quick but feature repetition so your fingers can build muscle memory for each key. You will receive a report with each lesson detailing your accuracy and speed.

Either way, muscle memory and exercise are ultimately what helps your skills the most.