Employment Trends

How to Get a Career Doing Data Entry

data-entry
Written by Kate Lopaze

Let’s face it: everything is data now. We’re barely even people anymore—we’re walking databases of names, passwords, credit scores, preferences, and Candy Crush scores. Because digital information has become the bedrock of every industry and just about every company, data entry and maintenance jobs have become stronger than ever. Data entry may not be the flashiest career around (more often than not, it’s just you and your computer hunkering down and getting it done), but it’s a dependable one if you have the skills.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you’re looking for opportunities in the data entry arena, these jobs might be your best bet. Let’s review the jobs, and the skills you’ll need to score them.

Data Entry Keyers/Information Processors

The job: Your job is to take information from one place, and transfer it to another, likely a computerized system or database. Other tasks may include verifying data, and preparing materials based on data. This is often an entry-level position that can lead to other administrative jobs. This job may also offer work-from-home flexibility, depending on the company and the position.

The skills: These are qualities that will help get you in the door for a data entry position, and help you look for newer and better opportunities in the field.

  • Organizational skills
  • Time management skills
  • Discretion (especially if you’re working with customer or medical data)
  • Typing skills
  • Customer service skills/interpersonal skills
  • General office/administrative skills
  • Software skills, especially databases and common office programs

The requirements: Because this is a job where employees can typically be trained on the job with little or no background, there’s usually no specific education or certification required. Having strong administrative skills is key, and some employers may require a high school diploma at a minimum.

Where the jobs are: As a service position, data entry jobs are, quite literally, everywhere. Every industry employs data entry clerks, all over the country. Some of the most common industries employing data entry keyers are employment agencies, data processing centers, accounting services, medical facilities, and schools/education-related fields. Basically, wherever there’s information to be processed, there’s a data entry keyer getting the job done.

The pay: The median hourly pay for data entry keyers is $14.16, and the median annual salary is $29,460.

Information Clerks

The job: Information clerks are responsible for performing routine clerical duties that include maintaining records, collecting data, and providing information.

The skills: General administrative skills come in very handy for this position, as well as a number of specific skills:

  • Organizational skills
  • Time management skills
  • Discretion (especially if you’re working with customer or medical data)
  • Typing skills
  • Customer service skills/interpersonal skills
  • Software skills, especially databases and common office programs

The requirements: Information clerks typically have a high school diploma or higher. Employees are usually trained on the job, so prior experience may not be necessary. General office or administrative experience is helpful.

Where the jobs are: As with other types of data entry and maintenance jobs, you’ll find information clerks across most industries. There are high numbers of information clerks working in the government, hospitality industry, and healthcare industries, though.

The pay: The median hourly pay for data entry keyers is $15.41, and the median annual salary is $32,050. The field is only projected to grow by about 2% by 2024, but what it lacks in explosive growth, it makes up for in stability. The need for information clerk jobs should remain steady for the foreseeable future.

The Field

One of the best things about the data entry field is its versatility. Once you have the set of skills and some experience under your belt, you can choose an industry to specialize in, or use the opportunity to build industry-specific skills that you can take to your next job. If you’re looking for a job that pays the bills while you get experience or decide what your next career move is, it can be a productive stop along your path.

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About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.

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