For those that may not know, QWERTY is a keyboard layout. Its name comes from the order of the top left letter row of the keyboard — Q-W-E-R-T-Y. This layout was created by Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer from Kenosha, WI.
I took typing classes in high school. My guidance counselor recommended it. Although I didn't realize it at the time, it would come in very handy throughout my career.
When I started working as an aircraft mechanic, pretty much everything was paper-based. Who knows how many trees were felled to provide the paper that was used for the bookshelves full of maintenance manuals, wiring diagrams, illustrated parts catalogs and other references that sat on the bookshelves in our shop and on the hangar floor. We would keep up with tasks on printed work instructions — initialing and signing them as required to show work progress. Filing cabinets would house all of our archived documents.
As I moved up the career ladder, I found myself using a computer more and more.
Today, you can't get away from using a keyboard. At work, most maintenance shops use some form of computer-based system. Computers are used for everything from looking up tasks in maintenance manuals, tracking maintenance due items, AD searches, etc. QWERTY has also saturated our personal lives. Are you texting on your smart phone? The letters are arranged in QWERTY. Looking up what movie to watch next on your smart TV? Chances are it's laid out in QWERTY.
40 years ago, employees could get by without needing typing or keyboarding skills. A person could "hunt and peck" keys using his or her index fingers to get by.
These days, keyboarding skills are pretty much essential — especially for those in management or leadership positions.
If you want to ditch your hunt and peck "typing" and learn how to actually type, there are endless free resources available to help you out. As with any skill, it just takes time. You can't expect to master keyboarding overnight.
I recently discovered keybr.com. It's a website that helps teach you how to type. It's free (although you can pay a subscription to remove ads if you wish). It's simple and straightforward — using algorithms in the background to track your progress and tailor future lessons to optimize your learning experience. All you need to do is log in when you have a little spare time and start typing.
Don't feel like sitting in front of your computer at work or at home and honing your typing skills? There are probably in-person classes near you.
Whether it's web-based or in-person, I encourage you to give it a try. Many mechanics working on early dope and fabric airframes learned sheetmetal skills. Many mechanics with sheetmetal skills learned to work with composites. And many hunt and peck people have learned keyboarding. It may seem daunting at first, but a little persistence will result in significant increases in your typing skills. Malcom Gladwell famously said it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials. I guarantee you it will take a lot less time to learn to type! All you need to do is make a commitment and get started.
Thanks for reading!