Teach your kids to type properly, it is not just for secretaries

I learned to type in college.  It was not required and I taught myself while struggling through term papers.  I did not teach myself the proper method though.  I only use my right thumb for the space bar and when I type a capital letter it is almost always with my right little finger on the shift key, even if the capital is also on the right side of the keyboard.  When I need to type the numbers and symbols at the top I revert to hunt and peck.  Even so, on a simple internet typing test website I was scored at 49 words per minute.  Respectable, but I often wonder how fast I would be if I could type properly.  And more importantly, would I be more productive?

A typical term paper at your daughter's college is about 10 pages and there are 250 words per page.  Typing using the hunt and peck approach averages about 10 words per minute which means that just typing the paper will take about 4 hours (not counting the research).  With a little practice, even a beginner can bang out 30 words per minute using the right fingers and placement on the keyboard. At that speed, the paper will be finished in under 1 and 1/2 hours giving your daughter an additional 2 and 1/2 hours her hunt and peck peers do not have.  That extra time can then be used for additional research to make the paper better, to move on to another project for a different class or study for an upcoming exam.

In most colleges, a student will take 5 classes each semester.  Our kids will probably have to write one paper for each class (some may not require one while others may ask for two) that gives our kids an additional 25 hours per year and 100 hours over the course of their college life (if they graduate in 4 years!).

The above calculations only take into account college.  These days papers are required to be typed for high school and even elementary school for some projects.  At my son's school, a laptop is now required for all high school students.  I would imagine that typing is going to be more common than writing by hand for our kids.

Now, your son has successfully navigated his way through college and is preparing to apply for the job of his dreams.  Along with his excellent GPA, school activities, internships and sports, he also puts down that he types 80 words per minute.  New grads often get the grunt work in an office.  A hiring manager may be happy to see that your son can produce documents at that speed.  Is it required?  Probably not but this is a competitive world and chances are all the other applicants will have an excellent GPA, activities, internships and sports just like your son.  Every little bit helps to make him stand out.

There are jobs that will require typing and like learning a second language, some skill at typing can open doors for our kids.  Here are a few jobs where typing would be a big plus:

  • Court Reporter
  • Secretary
  • Programmer
  • Journalist
  • Paralegal
  • Editor
  • Date Entry

There are many free websites available to practice and learn typing.  My son is using one called Custom Typing and seems to enjoy it.  There are also typing games online which are free and fun.

In today's developed world there are few kids who will grow up without touching a keyboard as Facebook and other sites vie for their attention.  It is important to help them to learn the efficiencies of proper typing form.  It is a basic skill and will be valuable to them long term.


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