I’m a pretty fast typist. I’ve always loved games, and when in 5th or 6th grade my class started regularly visiting the computer lab for “Mario Teaches Typing,” I blazed through every level.
Now, being able to type as quickly as I can think or hear, more or less, is an incredible advantage — I don’t know where I would be professionally if I had to think about where my fingers sit on the keys or hunt and peck for that next letter.
In the field of content marketing, typing out words at a nice clip has advantages, but I could probably be just as effective if I typed at 60 WPM rather than 100.
But there is a field where there are so many characters to hammer onto the screen that a faster operating rhythm is a material advantage: programming.
Programmers as Typists
Jeff Atwood (co-founder of Stack Exchange and author of the programming blog Coding Horror) wrote a now-famous post titled “We Are Typists First, Programmers Second” about the importance of typing competency — efficiency, really — in order to keep a train of thought alive while coding. In it’s FAQ, the programmer’s typing tutor typing.io argues “every typo interrupts the thought process not unlike a slow compiler or UI lag.”
It’s a controversial topic (just read the comments on Jeff’s post, for a small taste of the differences in opinion), but there is something to be said for the momentary distraction of shifting from keyboard to mouse when trying to get things done.
How do programmers become more efficient typists? Once you’ve practiced your way to 100 WPM, the best way to speed up further is touse shortcuts.
Efficiency in Digital Marketing
As digital marketers, we all have long to-do lists every day, much of which involves being in a browser and multiple open applications at once. I’ve found being able to dance around with keyboard shortcuts helps me get more done, faster, and break my train of thought less frequently.
I’m assuming we’re all already using basic shortcuts — copy, cut, paste, bold, italics etc. What I want to share with you are my “next level” shortcuts — things you might normally do with your mouse but are so much more efficiently done with the keyboard.
These are all mac shortcuts because that’s what I use, but they should all have fairly similar analogs in the PC world. Here’s what Microsoft has to say about it.