20% of efforts produce 80% of the results. And the other 80% of efforts produce only 20% of results.
In other words, you have to spend only 20% of the total time to learn something new and the last 80% you spend to become an expert. To learn touch typing you spend only one week of your life to achieve the same speed which was before. It becomes easier to type and you are getting faster and faster every next day. In this post, I will tell you how to start and give you the basic tips and tricks to make your learning process easier. Challenge yourself to become more productive.
Why should you learn touch typing?
Remember your parents forced you to learn multiplication table. Now you don't even think about it and without any trouble can multiply numbers in your head. To teach you touch typing is no longer the responsibility of your parents. It is your task to make your life easier.
Usually, typing some code, your head is on the same wavelength with your hands. You have to type something there and delete something all the way down and ops… what were you thinking about? You lost the idea while you were looking at your keyboard. Of course, you can recall it or just forget, but how often do you feel this way? How much time does it take to type the regular code or text?
Your brain is a kind of computer processor which is idle waiting for text input using its slow components represented by your hands. Furthermore, as any developer you want your computer to work fast. So start from yourself, keep up your hands with your brain.
Touch typing is also about your health and comfort because it requires to maintain a proper sitting poster. Notably, it positively affects your neck by eliminating the constant looking down at your keyboard and up at your screen.
Before you start
Try typing test and remember your current speed which measures in wpm or
cpm. To calculate the velocity it is assumed that one word consists of five letters, so you can easily convert one to another. You will use this value to make conclusions about your development.
What you have to know
The main idea of touch typing is that every finger has its own area on the keyboard. In this way, your brain divides every word into different finger responsibilities to speed up your typing. The default location of your left hand is
asdf and the right is
jkl;. The most important thing is that even if you accidentally looked at the keyboard you should never type a letter with an inappropriate finger.
How to develop this skill?
Ok, you know the basics. Now it's time to make you feel comfortable. Firstly, you have to practice and I advise you to create a training plan. For instance, fifteen minutes in the morning, ten minutes in the afternoon and fifteen minutes in the evening for one or two weeks. Do not chase after speed, it will come by itself if you don't make mistakes. Where to train? TypeRacer or Klava (Klavagonki is an awesome russian analog).
Secondly, try also type whenever is possible (in Skype, Facebook, work emails, in your IDE), because it significantly decreases time to learn touch typing.
You feel comfortable, what is next?
Actually, this is the goal of this post. But there is no end of your development. You may dive deep in this complicated area and you will understand that you really spent almost 20% of your efforts to achieve this giant result (Pareto principle).
Your typing speed is in your hands
If you haven't tried a mechanical keyboard yet, now is the time. It is going to improve almost all your typing indicators except your code. Don't blame your keyboard. The description of the mechanical keyboard deserves a separate post, so here just take a look at Das Keyboard Ultimate 4, WASD Keyboard or Filco Ninja 2 and the legendary Happy Hacking Keyboard. No arguments needed.
Three years ago I decided to learn VIM. However, to gain inside into how it works I faced with trouble: I didn't know touch typing which is required skill in VIM. Yet, I started to learn touch typing. My average speed was
70cpm. Now I managed both VIM and touch typing in two languages. Currently, my average typing speed is
360cpm. I know how it simplified my life and I hope that this post has motivated you to challenge yourself and make your life easier.