Data entry is a large field that comprises many different types of work. A data entry clerk may work primarily as a typist, a transcriptionist, a word processor, or may be involved in entering streams of data/information into various existing programs. Some also input information into programs that are being built or developed. Key skills for this type of work are typing speed, with speed in numbers equivalent to that on letters, accuracy in typing, knowledge of many office and data programs, and good spelling, punctuation and grammar. A person who works as a data entry clerk usually has at least a high school diploma.
As the world increasingly stores most information in computer databanks, the need for data entry clerks with good skills increases. Unfortunately, the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects that US jobs for these clerks are declining and will continue to decline. Part of this drop in available jobs is based on company outsourcing. Foreign workers may be quite capable of performing data entry and often do so at a much lower price than US workers. If you’re considering a career as a data entry clerk, you might want to consider expanding your knowledge and employability by learning essential information about office programs, performing other office duties, or learning how to not only input data but also how to program.
There still will be jobs available for the data entry clerk, with an average pay rate of about $28,000 US Dollars (USD) per year. Most clerks are hired on a full time basis, but some people work from home or part time performing data entry on an as needed basis. What type of information you’ll be typing largely depends on a company’s needs. You might be filling out the same type of forms every day for a credit card company, a government agency, or a hospital. Alternately, you may simply be entering combinations of letters and numbers, which on their own don’t make much sense. Some people find the work repetitive and dull, and others enjoy the act of typing accurately.
Certain data entry fields are growing. All the Internet sites, especially those with extensive catalogs of products may require significant data entry, which may need to be updated on a regular basis. This type of work for the data entry clerk generally involves entering streams of data in HTML code in order to update websites. In the medical field, the switch to maintaining computer records of patients means a significant amount of work to update files. We are currently just at the beginning of the “electronic revolution” in medicine, so it’s expected that work in this field will be needed for a long time.
A data entry clerk might do well to look for the types of jobs that can’t be outsourced. If you work in the government, for any number of government agencies, concerns for security of information may mean the agency is restricted to hiring US citizens and residents only. Some clerks may even need security clearance to work in certain departments of a government. Obtaining this clearance, which usually occurs if you are offered a job creates the likelihood that you will continue to be employable as a data entry clerk in the future.