You know those resolutions that you set yourself every year, but never get around to completing… this task fits perfectly in that category.
It all started when I was in Junior school. I didn’t get my first games console till I was 10, so until then, I resorted to playing on the big chunky computer at home. Soon, I was a master of Microsoft Paint, Microsoft Word and could browse the internet for the colouring in sheets, that could be located on the CBBC website.
My Mom was a Medical Secretary, and over the years she had learn to touch type. Because I’m a massive mommy’s boy, I thought that was cool, so I wanted to do it. Then came a dinner lady at school, who was learning to be a secretary of some sort, or was taking a computer course in the evenings (I can’t remember which), but she photocopied her ‘cheat sheet’ of shortcuts. It went through the whole alphabet and explained what shortcut did what. It wasn’t long till I memorised all of them.
But still the skill of touch typing alluded me, I remember one time (around 2009), I had my Mom touch type my English coursework at the kitchen table, whilst I dictated it to her. I was amazed by how she could keep up with the pace at which I was talking, whilst not making any (or very few) mistakes.
It was around then that I made it my resolution to “Learn to Touch Type”. I knew then I wanted a career working with computers, so thought it would be a very important skill to have. But like most of us do with our resolutions, we ignore them, forget about them and don’t work towards them.
Every year, “This year would be my year”, but it was like I was on repeat. I’d buy computer programs for the computer at home, at set them up, only for me to fail at the same hurdle I always fell at, which was completing the home row, and stopping there.
There came a point where I wondered whether it was worth me learning to touch type. My Mom looked at me typing (most likely my A Level Coursework), and said that I was quicker at typing than her (even though I was looking at the keyboard).
It wasn’t until I began working full time, in 2017, that I found the formula that worked for me.
I found a website called typingclub.com - which was completely free. (There is a paid version. You don’t need it, but I’ll explain why I did buy it in the end).
In total there are 671 challenges, that walk you from the beginning of the home row, to typing complex paragraphs with symbols and numbers.
It was really fun, and saw it as a challenge; Complete this program and I will learn to touch type. Surely?
Well, it’s taken me two years (ish) and I can safely say that I have COMPLETED IT!
I’ve got 5 stars in every challenge. Also, being the completionist that I am, I subscribed for long enough to complete the challenges that were protected by the pay wall and then cancelled my subscription. (Thus costing me nothing).
I did all of the challenges in 2018, but at the start of 2019, there were 11 challenges I had not got 5 stars in. From the 8th October 2019, I can say I’ve completed it all!
Since completing the challenges, I also took a free online typing test and was thrilled to see that I got a speed of 75wpm - putting me in the ‘Fast’ category.
The other thing I got out of this challenge was a respect for keyboards. I make this statement making parallels with cricket.
Just like in cricket your bat is an extension of your arm. So just like it is worth investing in a good quality cricket bat, it's worth investing in a good quality keyboard.
My keyboard is the Ducky One RGB Mechanical Keyboard with MX Cherry Blue switches! (i.e the super clicky ones). Here is a photo :
There are many different types of switches, some require more force than others to trigger, some are less noisy than others. If in doubt (like I was).
I highly recommend buying a 'Switch Picker. The particular one we had contained 9 different switches, which you could try out before you made an investment into a keyboard.
Morale of the story, I can touch type now!
Thanks for reading :) x