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Is Typing a Necessary Skill?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the quick-brown-fox-jumps-over-the-lazy-dog dept.

Education 1065

cloudwilliam asks: "The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article on how many schools have stopped teaching touch-typing as a necessary office skill and are now often saying that basic computer skills are more important. I'd agree with the latter, but what about typing? I learned to type on an IBM Selectric II (and still own one, as a matter of fact) in the mid-1980s, and the last time I was tested, touch-typed at around 60 wpm. Is this an obsolete skill? With handwriting and voice recognition technologies, is using a QWERTY keyboard with nine out of ten fingers something worth knowing anymore?"

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No (5, Insightful)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882844)

Better to understand how the computer works, and learn to type as you use it. I don't think that voice and other technologies are going replace the KeyBwa anytime soon though.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882931)

I agree, for me, as my computer skills increased (and irc/chatting), typing came right along. And while I did my fair share of mario and mavis beacon classes, I never learned as much as I did just getting out and using my 386. (although I do type incorrectly, I can hit over 80 WPM)

Re:No (2, Insightful)

doctormetal (62102) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883002)

Better to understand how the computer works, and learn to type as you use it. I don't think that voice and other technologies are going replace the KeyBwa anytime soon though.
Indeed. Handwriting and voice recognition are not developped well enough to replace typing. But being able to type and being able to touch type the 10 finger way are two diffrent things to most people.

I am a designer/developer/programmer and I cannot touch type with all 10 fingers, mostly use 4 or 5.

yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882847)

Sum say its a negessary skill.

No, fo course not (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882848)

Of courdsee typing is not necessary... It's prefectly possible to use a computer without knowing how to type.

tpyyng is for old peopole who doenst knw how to operate a mouse...

Typing IS a necessary computer skill (5, Interesting)

shawnmchorse (442605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882849)

Last time I was tested, I was at around 105 wpm with 99% accuracy. That's just a byproduct of using computers day in and day out for years though, and not a result of any typing class. I gradually developed my own touch typing system, I guess.

Re:Typing IS a necessary computer skill (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882959)

And only typing 3 letter words.

Re:Typing IS a necessary computer skill (4, Insightful)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882973)

Well, in my case it was a 10th grade english class which involved 40 page "journals". I was, however, taught to touch type fairly early on.

I want to know what crackpot thinks that you can be anywhere near good at what schools usually think of as "computer skills" (read: word processing, web design, Excel, Powerpoint, email, internet) without being able to type at a half-decent rate.

Don't think so (5, Funny)

Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882851)

I dont thiunk typiong is a necasary skil ath all!

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882855)

It is. If you work with a computer, you life is much easier if you know how to type. I learned this the hard way.

um... yes. (1)

nystagmus (763605) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882856)

*sighs* people should be able to type.

Nah. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882857)

Typing one-handed, though, there's a skill...

Re:Nah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882935)

There it is. That's the joke I was waitin' for.

YES. End of story. (4, Informative)

GerbilSoft (761537) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882864)

Too many people I know don't know how to type correctly and use the hunt-and-peck method. They're amazed when I'm able to type up a 100-word paragraph in a few minutes, when it takes them up to half an hour. (I'd also classify them as AOLers, i.e. people that say "wut r u doing 2nite?" on IM services.)

Re:YES. End of story. (4, Interesting)

maxbang (598632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882966)

Sure, but if people use computers enough then they sometimes develop their own methods of typing. I guess that could be called some kind of advanced hunt and peck, but it's something. Even if it's just two fingers hunting and pecking at a blistering pace, eventually their muscles will catch up to their brains. Who says touch typing is the ultimate data entry experience?

Touch Typing (3, Funny)

sport_160 (650020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882865)

I thnik that it still inportant to be able to touch type quickli and acuraetly.

typing is absolutely necessary (3, Interesting)

the original m0nk (112529) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882867)

absolutely necessary.

how could you post to slashdot without knowing how to type?

incidentally, how many of you out there are traditional touch-typists?

i took a typing class waay back, but can't force myself to touch-type. but i still get around 80wpm using whichever finger happens to be around the key that i need to hit :)

Re:typing is absolutely necessary (5, Funny)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882927)

It's a pity one of those keys isn't "shift" every once in a while.

Re:typing is absolutely necessary (1)

the original m0nk (112529) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882991)

i actually conscienciously object to the shift key, reserving its use for things like professional business correspondence and coding. (and the occasional smiley and other punctuation unavailable without it :)

capital letters don't really add anything to the message.

Re:typing is absolutely necessary (1)

mrconnors (796653) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883017)

Other than keeping you from looking 12... I hate "proper" typing too, but it does make your message come off more intelligent at first glance than all lower case does. From that point, the intelligence is all up to you...

Re:typing is absolutely necessary (1)

maxbang (598632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883020)

I learned it, but I adjusted it to my style. Numbers still annoy me, so I'm heavily dependent on the ten-key. I also use both thumbs for the space bar, which is why I had to smash that stupid Compaq keyboard to bits. I also don't follow the opposing shift key thing, you know, right shift and left character and vice versa. I'll posit that there are many users out there who do the same thing and are not traditional touch typists, but are touch typists nonetheless.

XXX-recognition isn't here yet (1)

usefool (798755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882868)

Yes! Typing is still a necessary skill, just like writing. There are always situation where you need a certain skill sets to accomplish certain tasks.

And I believe voice and handwriting recognition technology ain't quite there yet.

Re:XXX-recognition isn't here yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882950)

i can certainly recognize XXX when i see it.

Re:XXX-recognition isn't here yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882960)

Funny, I can recognize XXX real well ;)

Re:XXX-recognition isn't here yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882987)

Yes it is. Put a picture of an adult "actress" on here and I bet the majority of the Slashdot crowd would recognize her.

Vastly important (5, Insightful)

PatHMV (701344) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882869)

I had typing in the 8th grade, and it was the single most practical class I ever had in school, period. You can type so much faster when you learn properly. There's a closer connection between your thoughts and getting them down in the computer. If anything, the prevalence of computers is making typing skills MORE crucial, not less. Before e-mail and word processors, bosses had clerical staff to type. Now the boss himself has to be able to type, too. So everybody needs basic keyboarding skills.

Re:Vastly important (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883015)

Agreed - maybe the traditional classes need to be updated to cover computer-related keyboarding skills (as I'm sure some do), but typing is still far-and-away the fastest, most accurate means of recording one's thoughts available.

Re:Vastly important (2, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883027)

Personally I only just barely passed the typing classes I had to take, it was one of the reasons I stopped taking computer courses in high school. If you use a computer day in and day out then you'll eventually fall into a routine that works, it might not be proper home-row touch typing, but it works. I also couldn't stop my self from looking at the keyboard every once and a while for a word or two as I type, I really can't help it I have this need to look at what I'm doing. Basic typing will come to you, its the driving people to 40wpm and more that I find unnesessary.

Tiping? (2, Funny)

fishybell (516991) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882870)

Whye shood we lern tiping wen most of us cant even spel?

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882871)

I definately agree that basic typing skills are needed. The difference today is that the good majority of kids already know how to type, because they spend all day on aol instant messenger with their friends. Maybe schools are not teaching how to type, because they assume kids already know how to? who knows.


Depending on the interface that we use... (2, Insightful)

Vexler (127353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882873)

When I was in high school, I tested at 96 wpm using a manual typewriter. If we continue to use keyboards instead of other HIDs (such as voice recognition, optical, etc.), then other muscles would be more important than fingers.

Perhaps having a background as an auctioneer would finally be useful for something.

I should have taken it in high school. (4, Interesting)

Soko (17987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882875)

*resists teptation to correct typos*

I think taking tpyeing wuold have helpeed me now, since I'm rather poor at it today. No wonder the backspage key on my keyboars is worn out.


Np (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882877)

Ob cousre it snot!

Axvp;utte;y N;oit (1)

etLux (751445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882878)

Whpo ne3243eds toppph tyyyyp3 top usee a PPPPPPPPPPPPPPC?

No. (1)

mrconnors (796653) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882880)

I never took a basic computer, typing skills class when it was offered in high school and I still do more wpm than many other computer users I know. I attribute my learning the keys to Tribes 2 and repetition.

something worth knowing (1)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882883)

is using a QWERTY keyboard with nine out of ten fingers something worth knowing anymore?

It is if you want a first post!!! :)

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882885)

well, i would say that its still necessary, but i feel like it's a thing that is self-taught now. honestly, i learned to touch type in the 8th grade (i am only 21 now ) because i couldnt keep up with people in instant messenger convos on aol. i believe this is pretty common nowadays, at least in homes with computers and the like. my little sister probably does at least 40 or 50 wpm, also because of AIM, and she has since she was about 10 years old.

The short answer... (4, Funny)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882886)

No. I typed this with body parts that you don't want to know about.

Re:The short answer... (1)

romper (47937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882934)

I wouldn't be bragging about that "short" answer.

Re:The short answer... (5, Funny)

RicoX9 (558353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882985)

Somehow referring to your "body parts" as the "short answer" doesn't seem very flattering for you.

They should teach them Dvorak now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882890)

I can type way faster since I switched to Dvorak. Wish I'd learned it as a kid. It also taught me not to look at the keyboard at all (as the keys don't match)

It's not even inconvienient to switch on a modern OS... just press 3 keys (windows) or click an icon (kde) to change the layout.

Can't we teach both? (2, Insightful)

dildatron (611498) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882892)

I think ideally both should be taught. Maybe have an intro course where the first half of the class is working on typing skills, and the second part of the class is on general computer skills. Most younger people I see (junior high or high schoolers) can type, but not properly. Bad technique will never yield high speed and accuracy.

hells yea its important! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882893)

Wha? I dont remember last time i wrote something. If anything, typing is More important than writing nowadays. If only they started teaching the dvorak keyboard...

Yeah, who needs to type? (1)

ParticleMan911 (688473) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882894)

I use Dragon Natural Speaking to do all of my web coding.

Ask someone who can't type (5, Insightful)

JLavezzo (161308) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882896)

Ask adults who use compuers a lot and can't touch type if they wish they could. I hear a lot of, "Yes, I wish I could type."

60 WPM isn't necessary. 25 would be better than hunt-and-peck.

What's the best computer input device? (2, Insightful)

DanielMarkham (765899) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882897)

Last I checked, it was the QWERTY keyboard.

Knowing how to type means knowing how to input computer information faster: whether it is programming, word processing, or slashdotting.

For at least the next decade or so, touch-typing will be a critical skill for all information workers. That's just common sense, right?

Yes! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882898)

Yes, it's important.

If I typed faster, I might have gotten first post! :(

Yes, if for no other reason than (3, Insightful)

Jens_UK (615572) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882899)

it's boring and frustrating to watch someone type slowly, especially if you are helping them.

Faster (2, Insightful)

briguyd (802395) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882901)

I still think typing is much faster than handwriting recognition. With whatever I use (Taablet PC, PDA, etc.) you have to pause and let it enter becauseit won't fit on the screen. Typing is the easiest and fastest way to go right now and should be taught in some level of school for at least a few days a week for a semester.

Learning to type the programmers way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882909)

I learned to type by programming late at night with little or no light. I saw a marked improvement in my typing skills over the course of a few months.

2nd level skill... (1)

char** argv (777388) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882914)

You get to know how to type once you do it enough. I'm typing pretty fast, still I had no formal ryping training, just the usual sit-in-front-of-a-workstation for aboout 12 yrs.

very useful (1)

clmensch (92222) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882915)

I've said it before and I'll say it again...the most useful "elective" course I took in high school was touch typing. (It also included "Word Processing", but that term in 1990 meant something different than what it does today.) A reading-specific class (included speed-reading exercises) is a close second.

It depends on what you mean... (1, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882916)

"Typing", i.e., the act of operating the keyboard effectively, is of course necessary. "Touch typing", as taught, is not. I use 2 fingers (4 if you count the use of keys like shift and return), and can type over 80 words per minute without looking at the keyboard without trouble. There's no need to learn conventional touch typing.

Dvorak keyboards, voice recognition, and future input methods are all another story, however...

Re:It depends on what you mean... (4, Interesting)

clmensch (92222) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882990)

I call shenanigans. I don't see how using two fingers on a standard keyboard could ever be faster and more accurate than using ten. Your 80wpm...is there any kind of accuracy metric to provide along with that?

Re:It depends on what you mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882999)

You type 80 wpm with two fingers??? sorry, the BS detector is going off again... 'it' 80 times does not count as a word! take a real timed typing test sometime, one that accounts for errors. 80 is quite fast indeed.

They have to be kidding!?!?! (1)

Unworthy Advocate (767730) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882920)

In my opinion, typing is more critical today than ever before. In fact I have been advocating typing as a MANDATORY class for High Students in the U.S. for some time now. Voice recognition, handwriting recognition and the like are all fine and dandy, but the Qwerty isn't going anywhere anytime in the forseable future.

keyboard is more efficient than voice in many case (1)

Tanaraus (464965) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882922)

for example: games, you can't say "walk forward, strafe left, fire, fire, switch weapon to pistol". It just wouldn't be efficient. You can do all of those in rapid succession with a keyboard. Voice is better for natural language, which was set up for the human voice and not for the keyboard (the keyboard is unnaturally clumsy at emulating language). Software that was specifically designed around the keyboard input shows the true power of 108 keys (or however many there are). Until direct input from the brain is invented (keyboard without the clumsy fingers interface and an almost infinite number of "keys") the keyboard is here to stay.

Yes (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882923)

I don't think that the keyboard is going to be obsolete any day soon. Besides, an office full of people typing on keyboards is a lot quieter than an office full of people talking into microphones. And unless you want everyone hearing the contents of confidential documents as they are created, you'd have to give everyone a private office if you wanted to abolish qwerty.

Besides, programmers don't just type long screels of text. They jump about from one line to another, cut & paste, moves things around, etc etc etc. That kind of random activity is a lot more common for manys a programmer than the acutal typing of code, and the keyboard is the most efficient way of performing this.

I hope not (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882924)

I never took a course in touch typing, nor have I ever really learned it other than just typing alot. And I'm a 27 year old professional developer!

Typing isn't obsolete... Teaching it is.. (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882926)

Back when, few people had computers at home, or typewriters. The only place to learn typing skills was at school, or some sort of specific training.

Now, everyone has a computer, everyone knows how, or will find out how to type intuitively.

I've never seen typing as something that need be taught, if you spend enough time in front of a keyboard, you pick it up.

I picked it up as a wee lad from my C64, just sort of naturally discovered the "home row" and all that jazz.

For the secretary who wants/needs really mega-typing dictation taking skills, she can always practice with Mavis Beacon.

Similarly, I never needed to take driver's ed, since as a pseudo farm boy I'd been driving all kinds of stuff around the fields since I was about 10. And kids who live in Hawaii probably dont need swimming lessons, etc.. Unless you want to be a NASCAR driver or Olympic relay champion.

10 years on the net (3, Interesting)

geek (5680) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882928)

And I still don't type. I use like 3 fingers and hunt and peck the keyboard still. Everyone is shocked at how fast I can do it. I'm no 60wpm guy but I can hunt and peck as fast as I can speak and/or think with very good accuracy. I spend a little to much time looking at the keys but find that even without looking at them I'm accurate maybe 99% of the time. I just never saw the point in learning to type. My dad started me on computers years ago and since he's missing a couple fingers due to a table saw accident I just sorta followed his lead. It hasn't crippled me in any major way, although I am now an english major and hopeful writer so someday I might actually regret it. So maybe I'll learn, maybe I wont. If someone has a good reason for me to learn I'm all ears.

I have yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882930)

...to see anyone in my office *NOT* use a standard qwerty keyboard as the "UI" to their PC. So, in a word, NO. Typing is not an obsolete skill.
And have you ever used speech recognition software? It's largely crap, IMHO, even after training it's neural networks for days. Great concept, horrible execution.

I can't type (1)

KageMonkey (740043) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882936)

I am a Computer Engineer and I can't type. Although my style of typing is probably inefficient, I learned to type really quickly through years of use. However, I truly wish I was given a course on how to type efficiently. I think it is a really important skill to develope.

Typing IS a basic skill (1)

orion024 (694922) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882941)

have stopped teaching touch-typing as a necessary office skill and are now often saying that basic computer skills are more important.

I consider being able to type IS a basic computer skill. Being proficient in touch typing will accelerate the learning of those other basic skills.

I think it is (1)

ClippyHater (638515) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882942)

When I'm coding, the slowest piece of the process is efficiently getting all of my thoughts into my editor. If I was a two-fingered typist, I'd probably still be working on stuff several projects ago.

Touch typing (1)

rvw14 (733613) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882943)

I am very glad that my high school made the keyboarding class mandatory. The time it saved me in college alone was well worth the semester of "asdf-jkl;" I can not imagine typing all day having to look at the keyboard.

More or less (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882946)

" Is this an obsolete skill? "

I dunno about obsolete. Consider, though, that many people these days are forced to learn to type fast. It's sort of like running.

Text is the main communications medium in business (1)

Engineer Andy (761400) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882949)

Phone calls are used for informal communication, but the ability to type allows you to focus your attention on the content of what you are conveying rather than having to "hunt and peck" and struggle with the mechanism of communicating rather than the content.

The half year course I had on typing early in high school was enough to give me the foundation that I could develop a full touch typing ability when the throughput of work required it.

This ask slashdot is way too ahead of its time. (1)

Xepo (69222) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882951)

Dude, when's the last time you've seen someone *seriously* using a voice recognition system, or anything other than a qwerty keyboard?...'Nuff said, you need to stuff this question away for a few years.

BTW, hand writing recognition? *cough* talk about slow as heck -- there's no way hand-writing recognition would replace typing, like, ever, it takes way too long to write something.

It's still useful (1)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882952)

It still should be taught, but along side computer usage and without strict usage of the "home keys".

For most advanced computer users using the "non-letter" keys and the ability to quickly delete characters is a must. I find my right hand tilted up towards the backspace and []\-= keys. I find myself using my pointer and middle finger to cover the most of the letters on the right side of the keyboard (those two finger typcially hover over the K and L) and my pinky and ring finger covering the other charcters (on the right side). Not the official way of doing things, but I don't know anyone (coworker or friend) who types faster.

Definitely for FP trolls... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882954)

If it'll help them squeeze in some witty one-liners than the same old boring FP posts.

How many fingers? (1)

OneBigWord (692129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882956)

"is using a QWERTY keyboard with nine out of ten fingers something worth knowing anymore?"
Are you saying you don't use alternating thumbs?

Speaking from personal skill... (1)

andreyw (798182) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882961)

I personally never had any typing or "basic computer skills" education. Since I started fiddling around with programming at 7 years of age, I have been a hunt-and-peck typer until probably around 11. At that point I stopped looking at the keyboard, and started paying more attention to the emacs buffer....

Touch typing is a skill that comes naturally... at least for me...

"Basic Computer Skills" (1)

screwedcork (801471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882963)

Does that mean teaching students how to operate Windows? All that does is further support the Microsoft monopoly...

worst ever (1)

Alakaboo (171129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882965)

Worst "Ask /."... EVER.

Acquiring basic computer skills... (1)

scotay (195240) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882967)

...is exactly how I learned to type. I never was officially taught touch typing, but I can program and write without looking at a keyboard and at a rate that has never prevented me from earning my keep.

IRC as skill-builder (1)

Nakito (702386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882968)

I took typing in high school so I learned the traditional way (correct finger on correct key, etc.). And I have always used a computer at work, so my skills have never become rusty. But by far, the single most significant event that affected my typing speed was using IRC in the mid 1990s. I went through a period when I chatted a lot, and it caused my typing to become almost conversational in its speed and fluency. My speed probably improved by 50% in that period. Responding in real time to a spirited conversation is just different than typing a document by yourself or taking a classroom exercise. So I guess my point is that exposure to the online environment is likely to cause natural improvement. But I'm still glad that I had the formal foundation.

Not necessary, but still nice (1)

wigle (676212) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882970)

Anyone who's actually learned how to type should be able to achieve 60 wpm without too much trouble. Stubbornness is the largest reason for not learning how to type (although its quite easy). While for 99% of people fast typing isn't necessary, it is a useful skill that will increase one's productivity. Most experienced computer users type around 100 wpm rather than 60 wpm, which is an enormous increase compared to 15-30 wpm hunt-peckers.

Well I normally dont.. (1)

bdigit (132070) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882971)

but slashdot forces me to type in these comments and they claim to not be able to communicate with me through brainwaves. And I thought they called themselves geeks!

developers (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882972)

Nothing hurts more than watching a developer hunt and peck.

A necessary skill? (5, Insightful)

btsdev (695138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882974)

Is this an obsolete skill? With handwriting and voice recognition technologies, is using a QWERTY keyboard with nine out of ten fingers something worth knowing anymore?

Uhh... Last I checked, it's the year 2004 and we haven't stopped using keyboards. How could typing, in the furthest stretch of the imagination, be an "obsolete skill?" Let's ask this question again in a decade from now when people might actually stop using keyboards. Unless I'm horribly misinformed, voice recognition is nowhere near popular and just about 99% of the population is still using the QWERTY layout.

Typing is helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882975)

When I have to work with clients, they are usually impressed by the fact that I type very quickly, around 60 wpm as well. Then I see them type an email or a document, and they type at the speed of minutes per word instead of words per minute.

If the person needs to type up a Word document, a Functional Spec, emails, etc... They just can't be very productive when they touch-type. Even the best touch-typist can probably only do around 15-20 wpm.

I like the fact that I can type about as fast as the thoughts come out, and I think that it would be very frustrating not to be able to get your thoughts out as fast as you'd like to.

My computer classes taught quite a bit of typing (1)

FusionDragon2099 (799857) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882976)

My school district uses the Mavis Beacon software. From what I remember, we're required to do it starting in Grade 2. I should note that I'm able to do the whole "quick brown fox" sentence blindfolded and type at 50wpm at last count.

You still need to touch type (2, Insightful)

kraksmokr (216277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882981)

What kind of basic computer skills are they referring to? Using a mouse? Ok, so you can click. Can you really create anything substantial by just clicking?

I can't think of many skills more basic than touch typing, especially since people communicate more via email and instant messaging and less in person and on the phone. I don't think voice recognition is there yet.

Next they'll be saying that you don't need to know how to add in order to do calculus! :-) Which is technically true if you do it all with Mathematica, I guess.

The DataHand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9882982)

We should be using this.. the DataHand [ergosci.com]

Wow... (2, Interesting)

jonjohnson (568941) | more than 10 years ago | (#9882998)

This is written in true disbelief: when did touch typing not become a basic computer skill?

I grew up taking typing courses. I can't imagine using a computer without knowing how to touch type.

as a once CS student.. (1)

david_reese (460043) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883005)

I can say that the smartest most prodigious student in our class (he was doing senior projects in his 3rd year) was an incredible typist. The speed at which he both coded, and typed allowed him to do things like a 2-week homework project in 4 hours.

Also, even for non-coders, typing is becomeing incredibly important... in a project chat meeting the other day (our manager permanently telecommutes), my ideas and concerns got more coverage because I could effectively outtype everyone (and fairly accurately, I might say).

Oh God...this is gonna be a Mac vs. PC thing.... (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883007)

I can see all the people who are anal about other people's spelling and grammar online saying how typing is important and that real geeks or power users will learn how to type...

On the flip side you'll have all the people who DON'T care if someone uses "there" instead of "thier" on a forum post saying that typing is not esential because their chicken pecking typing skills go just as fast and are just as good...

Really it comes down to - some people think typing is great and like it and can type really fast; and other people can chicken peck at extremely fast speeds and will not see a need/reason too learn the "proper" way to type.

In a lot of ways I think the "proper typing" skills are a lot like the "proper dining" skills.(you know, knowing which fork is your sald fork) - In all honesty it DOESN'T matter if you use your little or big fork to eat your salad/steak with - no one should care about that IMO. So it would make sense that it shouldn't matter anymore if someone can type 100wpm using the home keys as a starting point or if they can type 100wpm using chicken pecking.

you can have my mouse.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9883008)

..when you prise it from my cold dead fingers !!

Typing? Yes, of course. Touch-typing? No. (1)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883009)

I type very ad-hoc, usually with about 6-8 fingers at a time. I type fairly well (barring typo's made by being tired, or whatever). I type at a decent pace, though not on the level of touch-typists. And I can type blind, with my eyes averted from both the keyboard and the screen, if need be.

I'd say that most people don't *need* to type at 80 words per minute or higher because that would remove any thought from what is being typed. Barring dictation or copying, I can't see any use for typing at such speeds.

Nothing to teach here.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9883010)

I was never taught touch typing and was able to pick it up subconciously and increase speed over the years. Just as long as you use the keyboard you will slowly but surely pick it up. There is nothing to be taught here, its a skill. I'd rather they spend time teaching about drivers, OSes, the Internet and basic netowrking.

FIRST POST! (3, Funny)

underpar (792569) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883012)

Darn.. typed too slow.

I took a one semester typing class in 6th grade.... I think the old BBSes at 2400 baud helped my typing the most.

efficiency (1)

MoOsEb0y (2177) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883013)

Typing (for me) is still far faster than writing. I don't have problems with cramping or messy hands. With common words, when I know exactly what I want to say, it's faster than speech. I know I'll get a +5 Nerd for this, but there are times when I IM someone across the room simply because it's better for reasons of efficiency, organization of thoughts, or attention-getting (i.e. headphones being on). Keyboards will always have their place, IMO. Just as a pen and paper still has its place.

In general, yes, formally, no (2, Insightful)

BakaHoushi (786009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883016)

I type pretty damn fast, I'd say. I haven't had it checked in a good, long time, but I'd say 50-60 wpm sounds about right. However, I haven't actually ever taken a complete touch typing class. In fact, I use the so called "hunt and hit" method. Well, I should say, that's how I STARTED typing. However, I know where all the keys are by now. I don't have to even think about it. I use two fingers to type but there is very little time between any key stroke, and the only thing that is slowing me down is my thinking speed.

Thus, while I don't type the "normal" way, I'd say I type almost as good as most typists, anyway. So, while I do believe it helps to know how to type in some way, shape, or form, I don't think it has to be with the standard model. Whatever way works for you.

Also, just because I type this way doesn't mean that I use poor grammar on IMs, despite the stereotype. I'm a grammar nazi at times and my whole body cringes anytime I hear "words" like "lol" "ic" or "omfgrolflmao!!!!11111111"

absolutly needed (2, Insightful)

sinnfeiner1916 (793749) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883018)

lest we forget that computers are meant to be tools to accomplish work, such as writing stuff. Is it important for people to understand how it works? Sure. Is it MORE important that they can leaverage the machine to produce something useful? Yes. Why? Well, most people in the world do not just want to use computers for the sake of using a computer. They don't want to call someone on the telephone and talk to them about telephones. They want to write their reports, do their research, et cetera. Of course, we all can type rather effectivly anyway (although most of us can't spell and ignore grammar), so our point of view is jaded. But the fact is that there are more secretaries than their are UNIX administrators or C programmers and they needed to know how to type quickly likes longer than 'cd /usr/src/sys/i386/'

Shorthand (1)

squashed (664265) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883022)

I taught myself shorthand from some 3rd or 4th hand Gregg texts I found in used bookstores. I can write at 150-200 WPM, notes that I read at about 1/4 the speed of typewritten notes. Now, would you say that this is an "obsolete" skill? I find that I use it for all sorts of purposes, including writing at what is much closer to the speed of thought than what a typewriter or computer word processor could manage. I suppose dictation offers comparable speed, if you have a personal secretary. Typing is today's broadly taught system of high speed input, with a huge installed base of devices that enable it. Transition to an alternative is more than a decade away. Anyone old enough to learn to type will need the skill during the next ten years. Of course, I'm waiting for a device that will understand a series of hand gestures, like shorthand, that enables input at speeds approaching 150-200WPM.

Good typing skills = less RSI (5, Insightful)

Hacksaw (3678) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883025)

Good typing means wrists raised in order to get the most strength and endurance, needed with the old manual typewriters. This also means better blood flow, which prevents RSI, at least to some degree.

It also means less time waiting for your hands to catch up with your mind, and so gets out of the way of the creative process.

What's the question here? (1)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883028)

Is the question,"Is it a neccesary skill?" Well, for anyone looking for a job outside of manual labor, I think it is a excellent skill to have. Walk around at any major corporation. Count how many QWERTY keyboard you can find. After that wasted few days of counting, try and find a voice recognition anything. You won't find much of anything.

Yes, It is a required skill (1)

DanielJH (247965) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883030)

I went to a small private high school. In 1990, typing was taught on Electric Typewriters and a majority of the class were males. We learned how to center things and format text, etc, knowing that we would never use it. We all saw touch typing as a required skill in the new computer age and only one student was interested in becoming a secretary. It is a decision that I have never regretted, not even once.

Absolutely (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 10 years ago | (#9883031)

I think teaching correct typing is absolutely necessary in school. When I was a kid tinkering with computers, I learned to type using hunt and peck. By the time they tought it in high school, it was difficult because I was used to my own method of using three fingers. I eventually got up to about 60wpm typing "the right way", but I found I could type faster using my own method and eventually switched back out of habit.

If they would have only tought it sooner, I might not have picked up the wrong way of typing. I'll admit, even though I was faster using my method, there is a speed limit I am capable of reaching, whereas I believe the "home row" approach has a higher limit.

My $0.02. Why do they wait so long to teach typing?! Like we didn't use computers until we were in high school??
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