How to Become a Data Entry Operator: Education and Career Roadmap

Jan 02, 2020

Data entry operators use their knowledge of computer software and their attention to detail to make sure information is recorded accurately. Read on for more information about data entry training, data entry skills, and get a description of what the job is like.

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What Is Data Entry?

Data entry is the process of entering important information onto a computer. This task is usually done by using data entry software and manually typing information into a file or document. A data entry operator, or clerk, can work for a number of businesses, from medical offices to accounting firms. Due to the increasing availability of digital communication technology, many data entry operators can also work from home.

How to Become a Data Entry Clerk

The minimum educational requirement for data entry clerks is a high school diploma or equivalent. However, different employers have different requirements, so additional training and work experience may be beneficial. Below is information about how to begin working in data entry, including the education, skills, and experience that are commonly required.

Career Title Data entry operator
Education High school diploma or equivalent
Training Certificate programs available
Experience Related experience sometimes preferred or required
Skills Typing skills, knowledge of computer software, attention to detail, knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and spelling

Step 1. Pursue Data Entry Training

Common skills that are useful for data entry include typing and organizational skills as well as a knowledge of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. A strong attention to detail is also important in order to catch and fix any mistakes. These data entry skills can be gained through independent study data entry courses, but some jobs prefer applicants with formal training.

This training is often provided by community colleges through certificate programs. Certificate programs usually last around 24 to 43 credit hours and teach skills in computer software, such as Microsoft Word and Excel, written and oral communication, and keyboarding, among others. Students learn how to use and maintain records management systems, how to work effectively in an office environment, and general office procedures. Special medical data entry training is also available specifically for medical data entry clerks.

Step 2. Gain Experience

Some data entry positions prefer or require applicants to have previous experience in data entry or a related field that has taught them useful skills. A few examples of these related jobs are word processors, typists, receptionists, and information clerks. These jobs have similar responsibilities that include working with computers, typing, and keeping track of information. Some employers prefer or require experience in customer service or office management as well.

Data Entry Operator Job Description

Data entry operators can work virtually anywhere, even from home. They are commonly employed to keep track of client or customer information. Typically, they will keep this information up to date and enter it into computer software as needed. These data entry clerks usually need to enter information quickly, and they might also be tasked with correcting discrepancies between source documents and data entered into computer systems. Depending on the employer, they may have to generate reports or perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones.

Data entry operators usually work unsupervised and are expected to be self-starters. Due to the nature of the job, they also need to have integrity and keep data confidential, since much of the work involves reading client information.

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