I Learned How to Type

Last updated: 10th May 2023In progress🌿

4 min read

Hi, I'm Paul. I'm 31 years old and this week I learned how to type.

I've been using computers almost daily since I was 7 years old. Back then it was for playing games and chatting with my friends. These days it's for work (and still playing games). There is rarely a week goes by where I don't spent at least 40 hours a week in front of a keyboard. With those numbers you'd expect I'd know how to use one properly, but I don't. I've been a four finger typer for the last 20 odd years, but this week that changed.

Why I Learned to Type

There are a couple of reasons why I decided to learn how to type properly. Firstly, with how I make my living, it's border line embarrassing that I can't type properly. I'm a pretty good developer and I've often joked that my ideal editor would be one that I could control with my mind. They don't exist yet, so I'm stuck with a keyboard and while thats the case, I'd rather my fingers were able to keep up with my brain.

Secondly, with how much time I spend at a keyboard, it's only a matter of time before I develop RSI or something similar. I already get mild pain in my wrists after a long day of typing, so I'd rather nip that in the bud before it becomes a real problem.

How I Learned to Type

The first step to getting better at typing is actully learning where all the keys are and what fingers I should be using to press them. I found a great website called keybr that teaches you how to type. It starts off with the home row keys and then slowly introduces more keys as you get better. It shows you a keyboard on the screen so you can see where the key you're looking for is without actually looking down at the keyboard. This was a fairly brutal process. I went from typing at 60 words per minute to 10 words per minute. It was a real struggle to not look down at the keyboard and I found myself getting frustrated at how slow I was typing. This was especially true when working.

After 3 days of spending an hour or more in the evening on keybr, I'd finally "unlocked" all of the keys. I was still only typing around 25 wpm, but it was getting better. Next I moved over to monkeytype. It is a similar website to keybr, but it focuses on whole words rather than groups of letters. It has lots of different modes, from 30 second sprints to modes where you pick the number of words you want to type.

After around a week of working on these sites, I can now type at 50 wpm. This is nearly as fast as I could type before, but now I'm using all 10 fingers. I'm still not as fast as I'd like to be, but I'm making fewer mistakes and I'm still improving.

The results of a recent test on monkeytype showing 53wpm

Whats Next?

I think this process may have opened an expensive can of worms for me. For the last few years I have used a standard Apple keyboard and never really had any issues, but once I started reading about ergo keyboards, I knew I had to have one. I've not made my mind up on what I want yet, but I have an eye on the Moonlander from ZSA. It's a split keyboard with a ton of customisation options.

While I'm mulling over what to buy, I'm experimenting with remapping my current keyboard to make it more comfortable. I use Karabiner Elements for this. I've moved the Caps Lock is now Esc and when I hold down the Space Bar, it acts as Shift. This does mean more dot files to manage/tinker with. I haven't decided if thats a good thing or not yet.

I'm pretty sure over the next few weeks I'll continue to get faster at typing and I'll probably end up buying a new keyboard. I'll be sure to write about it here when I do.

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