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Data Entry Specialist


Data entry specialists enter data into computers and other data-entry machines. By typing texts, entering data into a computer, operating a variety of office machines, and performing other clerical duties, these workers help organizations keep organized and stay in line with rapid technological changes. They are very knowledegable about computer programs and software formatting. They also have a good knowledge of spelling and grammar, since they are dealing with words all day.

Data entry specialists often use spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel to input lists and numbers. Not only do they enter information into databases but they also manipulate already-existing data and work as editors, scrutinizing and proofreading new and old material for accuracy. Data entry specialists work on various statistical projects such as medical records, business reports, statistical reports and membership lists. Companies usually use this compiled information for research purposes.

In some offices, data entry specialists also operate printers and tape readers, act as tape librarians, and perform other duties. They may also maintain filing systems for computer disks or tapes. Depending on the organization, other related tasks may include researching, collecting and analyzing the data they input, as well as preparing reports for senior managers. Data entry specialists require impeccable concentration and a keen eye for accuracy and detail.
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Purdue University Global

Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Globaldelivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults.

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  Average Earnings  
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  Interests and Skills  
Data entry specialists must be able to handle multiple tasks at once. They are organized and logical, clear thinkers. One of the most important characteristics to have is spelling, punctuation and grammar skills. They are interested in computers and learning new software. At last, fast typing skills are a must coupled with a good memory.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Type information from documents or from a screen into a computer
  • Check information on screen against the original document
  • Edit and correct any errors, and report them to a supervisor
  • May print out new documents
  • May do other general office tasks such as answering phones, sending faxes and reception work
  • Data entry specialists always work sitting at desks in front of computers, either in an office or at home. A typical workweek is standard, approximately 40 hours. Data entry specialists often work on a strict schedule and must meet deadlines. Private companies may require clerks to work evening and weekend shifts.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Data entry specialists work in both the public and private sectors; for government services, business and consulting firms, retail and wholesale trade, health and social services, finance, insurance and real estate and the service industry. Wherever data and information needs to be entered into a computer database, especially in large organizations, a data entry specialist is needed.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Data entry is a stepping stone for many careers. You can move into administrative assistant positions, become customer service representatives or become supervisors of other data entry specialists. Government organizations and larger companies often have training programs to help data entry specialists upgrade their skills and advance to more advanced positions with increased responsibility.

  Educational Paths  
There is no exact academic path for becoming a data entry specialist. Companies tend to hire high school graduates who can type at the company's required keyboarding speed. A data entry specialist position is often a person's first job out of high school therefore, students can learn very much on the job. In many companies, training in specific database software programs is usually provided on the job.

Some employers also require a postsecondary diploma in a business or data entry field, so it is important to check with the company on their employee standards. Diplomas can help develop a specialist's speed and accuracy.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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