Typing speed used to be one of the most sought after skills in the past. Specially the jobs that carried tasks like data entry, customer service etc., the ability to type fast was of utmost importance. In today’s scenario, mostly, there’ll be no mention of typing speed in the job description. But not calling it out explicitly doesn’t mean that no body cares about it. In my opinion, it is now taken for granted. A decent typing speed is least you could offer in the role. So, if you lie on the other side of the spectrum, it is high time that you start thinking of how to improve typing speed.
Typing speed is usually measured in words per minute (wpm). As per Wikipedia, the average professional typist can shunt out 50-80 wpm while hunt and peck typists (the ones who use two fingers only while typing) achieve an average speed of 37 wpm for memorized text and 27 wpm when copying text. In this article, I would highlight how to improve typing speed using an online gamification platform.
My Inspiration (Sort of)
During 90s, when I was a kid, Bollywood used to be far from reality. Most of you must have the idea of the content movies used to carry at that time. We had our own version of Superman (Govinda) and Spiderwoman. And there were almost fixed characteristics used to typecast each kind of role/profession. Doctors used to carry a briefcase, mothers used to be laachar (helpless) etc.
So, one example of such a type casted template was when the scene demanded an engineer/hacker/techy geek to be put on screen. And the simplest way to do so was to show him tapping rigorously on the keyboard with that trademark sound effect of *tuck tap tuck*. And, ever since I saw first such movie (I think the name of the movie was 16th December), I decided that I am going to be a type master. Before you bash me by saying that there is no such profession, please note that I was just 10 years old at that time. And the next obvious question was how to go about it? How to improve typing speed?
How to Improve Typing Speed: Typeracer
It was summer of 2011. A couple of my collegemates were sitting in the computer lab and there was a small crowd around them. There were noises of cheering, hooting and sledging. When I reached there, they were having a typing race. That very moment, I found myself a new hobby for a few next years to come. It was my moment to become the next type master.
Typeracer is an online platform that allows you to practice and improve your typing speed by competing with other participants online. You can race with your friends as well by sharing them the link to the type race. Started in 2008, Typeracer observes a traffic of millions of people who compete for hours on the platform and improve their typing speed in the process. Let’s quickly explore some of the unique features of the platform:
As mentioned, you can race with online participants, go into a practice mode and also set up a private race with your peers. You would ideally get a small excerpt of about 3-4 lines from a text from history, famous literary piece, song lyrics etc. You have to type it identically word by word. The tricky parts are punctuations. Once you type the paragraph, timer stops and the winner is declared along with WPM of each participant.
There are 50 supported languages (Hindi included) so that you can go local as well while looking forward to improve your typing speed.
There is an instant death mode for pro typists which will disqualify you from a race as soon as you make a mistake while typing. Therefore, you target accuracy as well in conjunction with the speed. I personally think I was very far from enabling this mode. I would usually get disqualified in the first line itself.
Typeracer Universe will allow you to pick up a sub-topic. The type competition will have an excerpt from these niches. Some of the famous universes are jokes, star wars, Harry potter etc.
And of course there’s a very elaborate leaderboard. Leaderboard would show you latest high scores and hall of fame. Hall of fame carries some unbroken records of wpm which are truly inspiring.
2. Pit Stop:
Pit stop is a informational area for typeracers. You can edit your profile in this section. Know about other racers and even send them friend requests for connecting. There is an entire community of enthusiasts to connect with. You can leverage this for some secret tricks of the trade and enhance your typing skills.
And of course there is a dedicated section to chat with other racers. There are multiple #discussion channels where you can socialize and talk about random topics which may or may not include Typeracer.
Why is Faster Typing Speed Important?
Before investing time into improving one’s typing speed, it is important to understand why is this skill needed at all? There are some clear but benefits of this addition to your skillset:
This is pretty obvious. For example, if I start typing at a 2x rate some day, I would be able to finish this blog in half the time. So you can definitely give yourself productivity a boost by working on your typing skills.
Just because you won’t have to switch between the keyboard and computer screen, it is a great enhancer for focus at your work. Imagine having to pay attention to your fingers while writing an important piece. That’d be super distracting.
And of course your neck gets some much needed rest once you stop moving it back and forth between your screen and keyboard.
Fast and accurate typing is not only an imperative workplace skill but will also help you interact with newer technologies faster. Once the basic qwerty keyboard remains the same for all the devices, no matter if you are stroking the keys or touching it, you will have a smooth transition by all means.
With the line between our digital and in-person identities fading away sooner than ever, I think we are going to type much more than we write using a piece of pen and paper. Therefore, it is an inevitable need of the hour to learn how to improve typing speed and accuracy.
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Until next time..