How to Become a Data Entry Worker

Data entry is essential to many companies and organizations that need to process a large amount of information. Data entry workers are trained employees that help make sure information is handled in a smooth and efficient manner by carrying out a variety of tasks.

What does a data entry worker do?

Data entry workers enter data into computers, key text, and operate many different office machines to help organizations keep up with the constant changes in today’s marketplace. They often prepare letters, reports, labels, envelopes, forms and other printed materials. They also perform editing tasks and input lists of items, numbers, and other data. They manipulate current data, edit existing information, and review new entries to ensure accuracy in the database. Some data entry workers also perform clerical tasks such as filing, answering telephones, sorting mail, and operate fax machines, copy machines, and other office equipment.

What kind of training does a data entry worker need?

Data entry workers typically need at least a high school diploma. Most data entry workers learn their skills through short term on the job training. Some employers seek applicants that have training or experience with data entry or word processing tasks. Some business schools, community colleges, and vocational and technical schools offer data entry training. Data entry programs provide classroom instruction and students learn keyboarding, word-processing, database management, and spreadsheet skills. Data entry workers must stay up to date on current advancements in the field and they often complete continuing education courses or employer provided training throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a data entry worker?

Employment of data entry workers is expected to decline moderately, decreasing 7% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Advancing technologies and other professionals performing their own data entry work contributes to the employment decline.

Job prospects are expected to be fair. Data entry workers with good technical skills and excellent keyboarding speed and accuracy will have the best opportunities. There will be some job openings from the need to replace data entry workers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do data entry workers make?

As of October 2009, data entry workers with less than 1 year experience earn average hourly rates between $9.34 and $11.78. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $9.69 and $12.49 (2).

A career as a data entry worker is a great choice for people interested in performing a variety of data entry tasks. Data entry workers must have excellent grammar, punctuation, and spelling skills. They must have good keyboarding speed and be very accurate when entering information. They must able be able to perform many repetitive tasks and be able to work without being distracted by noisy office machines. Good judgment, excellent communication, and ability to follow directions are desirable characteristics. Data entry workers must also be able to effectively work independently.

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