A data typist is typically responsible for entering a wide array of data into computers for a multitude of purposes. The field of work for a data typist is referred to as data entry, where there can be many more duties in addition to typing. The work involved can be rather tedious, and people involved in data entry usually do the work as a starting job out of college or high school, as well as for an additional source of income. The nature of the work also makes data entry popular as a home based career.
There are several different types of data typist that exist, and many people in the field will find themselves crossing into different categories each day. An example of one is a data entry keyer, who must input lines of data, numbers, information, code, and more, into a computer from a variety of sources. A keyer will also analyze existing data for errors and make changes when necessary. It may be necessary, for example, to enter data about new customers into a computer from paper applications and question or alter mistakes so the information is as accurate as possible.
Some data typists, known as word processors, must input and process information that must be passed on and read by others. This may include documents that have been written by others that must be formalized, typed and dispersed. A word processor must ensure that every part of a document is typographically correct. He or she must also be familiar with many more office machines throughout the day. Advancements in technology that allow scanning and word recognition of documents have sped up the duties of word processors, who must often act more as editors of scanned documents since errors are common in the transition from paper to computer.
An entry-level data typist usually requires little more than a high school diploma along with a proficiency in the attributes of typing speed and accuracy. Additional skills and experience that are needed are usually dependent upon the employer. A data typist may need to know how to operate a specific spreadsheet program, for instance, or receive on-the-job training for the inner-workings of a database that only exists at their place of employment. The field of data entry is based highly on technology, so there are new changes and innovations every day that a data typist must keep up with to stay marketable.