- Talha Tahir
- linkedin @thetalhatahir
People, especially programmers, often fail to realise that a significant amount of their time is spent typing on keyboards. The time they spend typing is more than the number of mouse clicks they do and the time they spent in thinking code logic.
On average, a person types around 40 words per minute. However, if you are a seasoned programmer with over five years of experience, your typing speed would likely be between 60 and 70 words per minute.
Ironically, despite being the most time-consuming aspect of our work, keyboard proficiency is often neglected. In my case, I rarely paid attention to my typing speed or accuracy. However, I can assure you that this seemingly minor skill in your arsenal can have a substantial impact, preventing numerous health-related issues that tend to arise as one grows older in this field.
You might be wondering how this relates to your health? Well, statistics indicate that individuals with desk jobs, particularly those in IT, commonly experience wrist and joint problems. Prolonged periods of typing with incorrect posture and poor keyboard choices can lead to conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The discomfort in your wrists arises from years of typing incorrectly, and it can be mitigated by adopting proper posture and selecting the right keyboard.
To help you avoid Ortho doctor visits in future and enhance your typing speed, here are some tips which personally helped me:
Tip 1: Invest in a quality keyboard
Undoubtedly, acquiring a good keyboard is an investment that pays off in the long run. The choice of keyboard depends on your preference for key feedback. Laptop keyboards, also known as touch keyboards, provide minimal feedback when pressing keys. Apple Mac keyboards are some of the best touch keyboards. However, extended use can lead to finger fatigue due to their short key travel.
Another option, which I personally recommend, is a mechanical keyboard. These keyboards offer customisation options once you familiarize yourself with different switch types. For beginners, I suggest Keychron keyboards, which are specifically designed for typists and programmers. If budget allows, the Keychron K8 Pro is an excellent choice, while the Keychron K2 V2 is a more affordable alternative. The tactile feedback and easy-to-press keys of mechanical keyboards help alleviate finger fatigue and reduce typing errors.
Tip 2: Maintain proper posture
Correct posture is crucial; regardless of the keyboard you use, improper posture can lead to faster fatigue. To maintain good posture, sit upright with your elbows positioned almost level with your keyboard. If your keyboard is positioned too high, consider using a palm rest.
Tip 3: Embrace touch typing
For a long time, I was unaware that I had been typing incorrectly, using only four fingers and a thumb. My two index fingers, two side fingers, and thumb were responsible for all the typing. The maximum typing speed I could achieve using this method was 65 words per minute. However, I later realized that this approach was incorrect and discovered touch typing. In touch typing, each finger is assigned specific keys to press, ranging from the pinky to the index finger. Although initially challenging due to muscle memory, daily practice for 30 minutes is essential. I recommend using the following website to learn touch typing: https://www.typingstudy.com
Tip 4: Practice!
As mentioned earlier, practice is key. You need to develop muscle memory in your fingers, allowing you to instinctively know which key is being pressed without looking at the keyboard. After I started practicing touch typing, my speed increased to 75 words per minute within a week. I am currently typing at 80 words per minute on average with the best result to be 90 words per minute, but I believe that with consistent practice. it can take me to 100 words per minute. A recommended website for practicing typing is https://monkeytype.com. This platform allows you to practice missed keys or focus on slow keypresses.
By incorporating these tips into your daily work routine and practicing regularly, you will gradually observe an increase in your typing speed. It took me approximately two weeks to reach 80 words per minute, and I no longer experience hand or finger fatigue.