Fast and accurate. Those two attributes and some basic computer skills make you a highly valued employee in many businesses. Data entry clerks fill a critical need managing information at corporations, banks, hospitals and government offices -- any business that employs people working on computers. (And what organization doesn't?) Bring on your super communications and organizational skills to make yourself indispensable to the company you work for.
Data Entry Responsibilities
Data entry clerks enter data into computers, including customers' names and addresses, product orders, amounts and monthly sales information. Much of this information is used by managers and executives to create reports and develop marketing strategies. Good clerks produce work with a high rate of accuracy, because there's nothing worse than an embarrassing typo in the report you hand to your boss. Additional duties may include scanning documents, newspaper articles or industry reports into the computer. Data analysts also create electronic files from old records, making the information available for key executives when they need it.
A data entry clerk may have administrative responsibilities to fill, too. You may maintain your department's project log, updating due dates and completed projects. This helps managers better organize their schedules. You may also be asked to locate sources of information, including promotions run by competitors or new companies entering the industry. And don't be surprised if your manager asks you to train new data entry employees on policies and procedures.
Data entry clerks work typical office hours and days, but some evenings and weekends may be necessary for larger projects with tight deadlines. When deadlines are involved, stress can also be a factor. Cope with work-related stress by managing your time wisely and taking occasional breaks from typing.
Education and Training
Most data entry clerks have high school degrees or GEDs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To further your career, you many consider taking computer courses at a community college or technical school. These courses can help update you on software packages your firm uses -- those in which you may be unfamiliar. Otherwise, most training in this field is done on the job. An experienced data entry clerk or secretary may assist you while you learn your essential duties.
Salary and Outlook
Data entry clerks earned average annual salaries of $29,010 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. You can earn over $41,110 per year if you are among the top 10 percent in earnings. The top-paying districts and states were the District of Columbia, at $41,350 a year; Alaska, at $35,240 a year; and Connecticut, at $34,720 a year. The BLS reported that jobs for data entry clerks are expected to decrease by 7 percent between 2010 and 2020. The ease at which managers can retrieve and transport data with newer software programs may be one reason for the negative growth is this field.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Data Entry Keyers
- CareerPlanner.com: Data Entry Keyer
- StateUniversity.com: Data Entry Keyer Job Description
- Education-Portal.com: Data Entry Clerk: Occupational Outlook and Career Profile