An individual working in the data entry or information processing field is generally given the responsibility of constantly updating a company’s data base with more current or accurate information. This could involve processing purchase orders, updating a customer’s information, or inputting recent financial data into an advanced investment model. The work flow is typically fairly consistent and can be mundane and repetitive, but is essential to the operations of an organization.
In some situations, a data entry clerk or information processing associate will also be given the responsibility of developing new processes, creating more advanced or functional databases, or training new data entry analysts.
In situations where work flow is inconsistent, or temporarily slow, data entry or information processing analysts are frequently given other administrative level responsibilities to help with the operations of the office or workplace. This could include answering phones, organizing and delivering mail, or helping other corporate employees with special projects.
Training and Education Requirements
Generally speaking, training and education requirements for data entry and information processing specialists are minimal. Many data entry clerks have high school diplomas, but those with bachelor’s degrees or even higher levels of education are limited. For many college students, obtaining a position as a data entry clerk part time, or through a summer internship is ideal because it gives them professional experience as well as connections for potential employment in more advanced positions.
While formal education requirements for a data entry clerk or information processing associate is limited, getting a job and being successful in the field does require some skill with computers. Data entry clerks must be able to prove that they can use databases, such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access effectively. In many situations, a data entry job applicant will be required to take a test where they enter information into a sample database. They are then reviewed based on both their speed and accuracy.
Salary and Wages
Compensation for those in the data entry and information processing industries is small compared to other professions. Many data entry specialists work either part time, or are hired through a temporary placement agency that specializes in placing people with this skill set. Part time or temporary data entry specialists are generally paid by the hour and can expect to earn anywhere from $8 per hour up to $15 per hour. In some situations, a company will find it beneficial to hire a full time data entry clerk. Full time data entry clerks could expect to earn up around $30,000 per year, but they will most likely also qualify for corporate benefits including paid time off, access to medical and dental insurance, and a corporate retirement program.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
In some specialized situations, a data entry clerk or information processing associate could earn quite a bit more. In the financial and investments industry, many information processing associates will earn over $50,000 per year. However, these positions are generally reserved for entry level college graduates, and the employee will also be required to analyze and report the data in a professional manner.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Data entry certification programs are held at a wide variety of locations, most frequently at local community colleges and traditional universities. To obtain certification, a data entry professional will need to master the 10-key entry system with both speed and accuracy. Upon completion of a part-time course, data entry certification will be received.
Data entry specialists will also benefit by becoming Microsoft Office certified. Certification for Microsoft Office proves that a data entry specialist knows how to use the Microsoft Office software including Excel, Access, and Word. Since most professional databases are developed using one of these three software programs, obtaining this certification is critical.
There are not many professional organizations designed for data entry professionals. While data entry professionals may not have access to professional organizations, they may benefit by joining other similar professional organizations. Many people in the data entry profession decide to join organizations designed for administrative assistants or receptionists. These organizations often provide networking opportunities and job placement services for people in both the administrative support and data entry fields.
Another organization that could be beneficial for data entry specialists would be the Virtual Assistant Association for Administrative Support. This organization is designed for people in the administrative field who often work from home much of the time. This organization is an excellent source for job opportunities for either people in the administrative or data entry fields, especially for those looking to work from home.
Possibly the most beneficial way a person in the data entry field could improve their network of professional contacts would be by applying for work through temporary placement firms. These firms work directly with employers to find work for data entry professionals. These firms maintain a job board and frequently hold career fairs where professionals could meet with employers directly.