Every organization creates reams of data pertaining to taxes, client lists, billing information and more. As a data encoder, you'll be primarily charged with entering this information in company databases, necessary for internal use as well as governmental regulatory compliance.
If you're a data encoder, speed and completeness in typing and data entry is a must. You'll also need to have an eye for accuracy, especially in those cases where a misplaced number in a Social Security or payroll entry can result in big headaches. You'll have to be sure that the data you're entering matches the original source, identifying errors in both. You might even need to use or be trained in cryptography in high-security applications. Verbal and written communication skills are paramount, as is the ability to block out distractions that may cause errors.
Data entry specialists are record keepers. You'll probably be the one maintaining the paper or hard copies of receipts, patient forms, applications and host of other documents, in addition to transcribing them into your company's system. In addition to entering the information via keyboard, you'll need to scan in documents and send and receive information to various outside groups that require it. You'll be charged with maintaining backups of the data you enter, either in external servers or on DVDs.
Sometimes the line between data entry technicians and secretaries is blurry. You might need to make copies for employees, answer and route phone calls, send out emails and distribute snail mail as needed. However, despite the mundane nature of these tasks they're all necessary and part of your job description in many office environments.
Education and Background
You'll probably only need a high school education to get a job as a data encoder. However, college degrees are often viewed as the new high school diploma, so some employers may require a degree. Many employers offer training specific to their operating systems and filing methods. You might choose to enroll in a community college to earn a two-year associate's degree in data entry to improve your employment prospects.
David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.