Keyboarding, or typing, is the science of learning to use a computer keyboard correctly. Unsurprisingly, many people take this sort of "education" for granted, and suffer later as a result.
There are four basic areas of keyboarding:
- Memorization - Learning all of the key positions is the most essential part of proper keyboarding. It enables the user to pay attention to the screen while typing, scanning for errors and gleaning information from on-screen instructions.
- Posture - If you're slouching right now, or have the keyboard on your lap, or are practicing yoga whilst surfing the web, think again. Get those feet on the floor and sit up straight, young noder! Good posture will save you from a potential lifetime of arthritis and ache.
- Ergonomics - Ensuring that your hands, wrists, and fingers aren't awkwardly placed while typing is a great way to avoid unnecessary stress and the unwanted effects of carpal tunnel syndrome. It can also greatly improve your typing speed!
- Technique - Yeah, that hunt and peck crap just ain't hacking it anymore. Fingers on the home row! Move! Strike! Return! (Repeat!) Guaranteed to cut typos down in their path.
And a basic rundown of keyboarding lessons for the uninitiated (all of this assumes a QWERTY keyboard - beat it, you Dvorak freaks):
- First, place both of your thumbs on the center of the spacebar.
- Place your left pinky on the A key, your ring finger on S, middle finger on D, and index finger on F.
- Repeat the process with your right hand, using the L, K, J, and H keys. These 8 keys make up the home row.
- To reach any key not on the home row, simply move the finger closest to it, strike, and return to the home row.
- Try very hard not to look down while typing! If you find yourself off of the home row, of course you can look down to reposition. However, you should try to memorize the keys as quickly as possible to help speed up your typing.
- Work hard at improving your words per minute. Your average typist can complete roughly 30-50 wpm. A trained stenographer can produce 150-200 wpm or more, depending on their skills. While this is a lofty goal, having a good typing speed these days can be a great timesaver, both at home and at the office.
A great place to hone your typing skills can be found at http://www.onlineclasses.org/2012/12/03/the-keys-to-typing-effectively/. There are, of course, plenty of programs (both shareware and commercial) which promote good keyboarding techniques through various drills, exercises, and games. Perhaps even more amazingly, there are courses out there on keyboarding you can take that, upon passing, gets you actual on-the-job resume padding certifications! Strange but true.