When applying for any job where computer skills are a must, your average typing wpm speed is quite possibly the most important piece of information you can have on hand. Why is this the case? Hopefully we can shed some light on this mystery.
The average wpm typing speed of a casual typist is about 41 words per minute, with 92% accuracy. While this doesn’t sound bad, keep in mind that a professional typist will generally type between 60-80 words per minute, with at least 98% accuracy. An average hunt and peck typist will only reach about 20 words per minute, and the accuracy will vary depending on whether the typist is working from memorized material or copying new material. A good thing to keep in mind when learning to touch type is that accuracy can be even more important than speed.
Hold a record
The fastest typist on record, using a QWERTY format keyboard, is a woman named Stella Pajunas. In 1946, using an IBM Electric typewriter, she was recorded typing at speeds of 216 words per minute (via Wikipedia). In 2005, Barbara Blackburn took the Guinness World Record for fastest typist. Using a Dvorak simplified keyboard, she reached top speeds of 212 words per minute and sustained speeds of between 150 and 170 words per minute for over an hour. While this is high above the speed of the average typist, even a casual typist can easily reach speeds of 80-100 words per minute with practice. Find out your WPM result at Ratatype.
How to speed up
That is the most important thing to remember when it comes to touch typing. Practice. There is nothing, no tool or trick, which will help to increase your speed and accuracy. The only thing to improve your skills is practice. Touch typing relies on muscle memory, literally having to train the muscles in your fingers to recognize where the various keys are located on the keyboard. The only way to do this is to spend time practicing. Spend 30 minutes a day doing accuracy drills, or just learning the basics if you’ve spent your life as a hunt and peck typist. You’ll be surprised how quickly your skills improve as you practice.
The younger you start, the easier it is to learn how to touch type properly. It’s no different than learning a new language and studies have shown that it is much easier to learn and retain a new language for children than it is for adults. Typing studies have concluded that, for people age 18 and younger, it is approximately 38% easier to learn proper touch typing techniques. It is one of the most useful skills that anyone can learn, especially in a technologically saturated society such as ours.
It can be easier to teach boys to touch type than girls, as something like 45% of boys enjoy typing, to 55% of girls. Furthermore, boys have higher average WPM speed than girls. This may seem like an odd statistic, but consider the facts. Many of the typing skills that boys obtain are from playing games like World of Warcraft, where quick and accurate typing are essential to keeping yourself and your group alive. Girls, on the other hand, tend to associate typing with stereotypical female jobs such as secretary. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t female gamers or male secretaries, but the stereotype still stands.
Whether you are planning on becoming an administrative assistant, an author, or a professional gamer, typing skills are the best and most useful thing that you can learn.
Adam Fort, education advisor and enthusiast. Adam’s goal is to help kids around the globe to learn touch typing.