ood typing speeds are relative to job descriptions. For example, data entry positions usually require 60-80 words per minute. Medical transcriptionists, paralegals and executive secretaries should be able to type 70-100 wpm.
What’s considered a good typing speed largely depends on the job you’re doing. Forty words per minute works fine for emailing friends, upward of 80 wpm may be required for some jobs.
Jobs in which you normally spend very little time at the computer may not even have typing speed requirements. For example, sales people don’t need to type particularly fast. Service people like waiters, cosmetologists and security officers may not need to type at all. However, being able to type well can help you get more done, even if it’s just for yourself.
Speed and accuracy can be improved over time, but if you’re applying for a job that specifies a certain typing speed, be prepared to meet that requirement on your first day. In today’s fast-paced business environment employers expect new hires to hit the ground running.
The Fastest Typing Speeds Ever
The fastest recorded typists in history have speeds of over 200 wpm. In 1946, Stella Pajunas, from Chicago, hit 216 wpm on an IBM electric typewriter. Her record is still unbroken.
Barbara Blackburn of Salem, Oregon, came close in 2005 at 212 wpm. But some would argue apples and oranges because she use a modified keyboard.
The Guinness Book of Records lists “fastest typists” in many different categories. There’s the fastest typist using his nose (103 characters in 46.30 seconds) and the fastest typing time on a smartphone (264 characters in 56.57 seconds)
Averages and Accuracy
There is a slight difference in average typing speeds between males and females. Males average approximately 44 words per minute, while females average 37 words per minute. Handwriting is estimated to reach slightly more than 30 words per minute, which shows that even average typing is faster than handwriting.
Mistakes are inevitable. The average typist makes about eight errors per 100 words. While autocorrect can fix some errors, it can also create more problems. Consider this text exchange: “You need to change your autopsy date.” “What!?” “AUTOPAY! … I meant AUTOPAY date!”
If super accurate typing is important in your job, you may want to consider shutting off autocorrect. You can also customize it. Type “customize autocorrect” in your computer’s “Help” search bar for instructions.
Improve Your Typing Skills
Improving typing skills requires working on both speed and accuracy. Programs are available online to help. Many are free and incorporate online competitions with leaderboards to inspire better results.
Tips for improving typing typically focus on touch typing. Touch typing uses muscle memory to find keys quickly instead of glances down at the keyboard. This is same method pianists use so they can read music and play at the same time.
Voice to Text Technology
Developing accurate, easy to use voice to text software is a real challenge for software engineers. For starters, people speak much faster than they read or type. The average English speaker in the U.S. utters about 150 words per minute. Improvements in this field languished for a while but advances are once again being made.
Well designed voice recognition software can improve efficiency considerably. You can dictate a letter about three times faster than typing one. However, even the best programs take time to adapt to you. The software has to calibrate to your voice and, learn the words and phrases you use most often.
These programs work better the more you use them. Once they learn your most frequently used words and phrases, they’ll start predicting and auto-filling text the way your smartphone does. Prices for voice to text software range from several hundred dollars to several thousand. In general, the more you spend, the better the technology.