The average data entry clerk makes almost $14 per hour. Whether you’re starting out in IT or you’re looking for work to add to your income, data entry could be the right choice.
What does it take to get a job in this field? Our comprehensive guide will walk you through the ins and outs of different kinds of data entry jobs.
We’ll also go over how you can decide if it’s the right job for you and how to get one if it is.
The Wide World of Data Entry
Let’s start with the basics. What is data entry anyway?
Data entry work is just what it sounds like. You enter data into a computer program.
As you might imagine, this kind of work is widespread. Today, almost every business in every industry collects data of some kind. This often means they have a need for someone to enter that information.
Good examples of businesses that need people to fill these jobs include:
- Medical offices and hospitals
- Insurance and benefits companies
- Bank branches and other financial businesses
- Car dealerships
- Any business with a human resources department
- Marketing companies that issue paper surveys or telephone surveys
- Schools that need to track student test scores
- Any business that processes invoices
Any business that collects patient or customer information needs to enter that data. The business can be digital-first or collect the data on paper and then enter it into the system.
Some businesses also need people to transfer data between systems. This is especially common when a business adopts a new system or upgrades an existing one.
Different Types of Employment for Data Entry Jobs
One of the best things about getting a data entry job is how easy it is to find one that fits your needs. You can look for a full-time permanent job, or you can seek out contract work. You can work on a project-by-project basis or you can work hourly.
For some positions, though, you may be asked to come into an office. With advancing technology, many data entry clerks have been freed from the office. You can do this work from anywhere in the world, provided you have a keyboard and an Internet connection.
This is what makes a job in this area so appealing for so many people. It’s easy to set yourself up as a freelancer and find jobs you can work on your own terms and schedule. Since it’s possible to do data entry jobs from home, you can even have another full-time job.
The Skills You Need
A job entering data may sound like a great opportunity. It’s particularly appealing if you’re looking for something you can do from home.
What skills do you need to do these jobs? A good data entry clerk will have the following skills:
- An average typing speed of 65 words-per-minute
- Great typing accuracy
- A good eye for detail
- Proofreading skills
- Knowledge of computer programs like word processors, spreadsheets, and databases
Most employers have their own systems for entering data, which they’ll show you once you’re hired. You may also need to have some customer service skills or a background in IT.
It isn’t always necessary to have educational qualifications to get a data entry job. Some employers prefer to hire people who have a high school diploma or a college degree with a background in IT.
Many employers also hire students, particularly for short-term projects during the summer.
How to Find a Job
You’ve decided working as a data entry clerk could be a great fit for you. Finding a job will depend a bit on what kind of work you’re looking for.
If you’re interested in working from home as a freelancer, you can look for these jobs online. There are many different job boards and freelancing platforms you can use to find jobs.
Some jobs will be short-term, while others may offer ongoing contracts.
If you want to find a contract or full-time permanent placement, you can still search online. Check job boards and social media. You can also look at specific companies and ask if they’re hiring.
The next step will be submitting applications. If you find a job on a freelancing platform, you may need to submit a project bid.
For most other jobs, you’ll need to submit an application. This often consists of your resume and a cover letter. It might also include the employer or recruiter’s application form.
The next step is the interview. During this stage, an employer will ask you about your experience and your interest in the job. They may ask you about your skills and past work experiences as well.
A prospective employer may also give you a test to test your typing skills. They’ll be looking for both speed and accuracy.
Are There Drawbacks?
A data entry job is one that doesn’t actually have too many drawbacks. As you gain experience, you may be able to specialize and grow your reputation. More training may allow you to enter special fields, such as stenography or administrative work.
If you plan to work from home, you should avoid some of the common pitfalls of working from home. For example, it can be easy to become distracted. You need to stay organized and motivated.
You also need to be sure to take breaks and to manage your workload effectively.
If you plan to become a freelancer, you’ll want to be sure the platforms you use to find jobs and projects are reputable. There are some sites out there that take advantage of people hoping to earn some money.
Finally, keep in mind that freelancing is often a great way to add extra income. It’s not always the best way to earn a steady income. It’s also more difficult to secure benefits this way.
Get Your Job Search Started
If you’re looking for a flexible job, data entry could be the right choice for you.
If you’re not sure entering data is right for you, there are many other jobs available in the tech industry.
Our blog has advice on how to start building the skills you need, like coding, to land some of the best jobs. Check it out!