Typing 45 to 50 words per minute (wpm) might help you meet the minimum requirements for an office job, but it won’t help you set any world records for typing speed. People have probably been competing for the title of “world’s fastest typist” ever since the typewriter was invented, but until the machinery of the typewriter was improved to eliminate most of the moving parts, real speed wasn’t possible. The first official speed records were set in the 1940s by Stella Pajunas, who traveled the world showing people how the electric typewriter could help them achieve speed and efficiency. According to the September 16, 1947 issue of The Montreal Gazette, Pajunas showed off her speed by demonstrating the ability to type 163 words in one minute, and then told the audience that “rhythm, posture and touch are the secret of speed and accuracy in typewriting.”
As cited in the Guinness Book of World Records, Pajunas was clocked at 216wpm in 1946 in one of these short sessions, but the current official typing speed record is held by Barbara Blackburn, who was able to type steadily at a rate of 150-160wpm with a top speed over over 200wpm. Blackburn used a Dvorak keyboard, rather than a standard QWERTY keyboard, but although there are strong supporters of the Dvorak layout, it’s never really caught on. That means if you’re looking strictly at making a living by winning speed awards (and there aren’t many, nor do they pay well) you might go for the Dvorak keyboard, but if you need to bring in a paycheck at any other job, you’d better stick with the standard QWERTY when you learn to touch type.
Back in 2010 the “Typesy Championship” was held both online and at the SXSW (South By Southwest) festival in Austin, Texas. The winner was Sean Wrona, who managed to type 256 words per minute on another online site, but at the festival averaged 163wpm. Obviously 163wpm is an achievable goal! If you’re using the Typesy software system, you can program your goal in and let the software help you track your progress towards that number. If you’re really aiming high, put 165wpm as your target goal – but only if you’re already a good typist with a speed of no less than 50wpm. If you’re just starting, it will take time for you to build your skill and accuracy, so set a lower goal and then keep raising it as you improve. But no matter where you’re starting, practice and the application of good typing techniques will get you the typing speed you need.