What is a Data Entry Clerk? Skills, Types of Work & More

How do you solve the problem of being utterly penniless at times? With new technologies, the general perception of remote jobs is fast changing as more and more companies realize the value of outsourcing. Employees, on the other hand, have become quite concerned with a work-life balance that choosing a career now rests on much more than just salary, location, and opportunities for growth.

Data entry is a great example of an online job that is very popular in the context of the so-called gig economy. It often requires no experience to get started and can be pursued both as a side hustle or a full-time remote career. To help you assess whether becoming a data entry clerk is right for you, this article has you covered.

What Does a Data Entry Clerk Do?

In essence, a data entry clerk, also called data entry operator, is responsible for entering information into computer system applications and databases to achieve business goals. They get this information from applications, company files, and forms.

In modern business setups, the scope of data entry jobs involve verifying the company data, preparing company files, and compiling and sorting documents in readiness for upcoming projects. As part of their everyday operations, data entry clerks may also review information to detect and eliminate errors and deficiencies that may compromise the output.  

With the recent surge in gig companies and with more and more companies fast realizing the importance of leveraging their clerical jobs, this field has been gathering pace with every passing day.

How Much Can You Make with Data Entry?

According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a typical data entry keyer in the USA earns an hourly wage of approximately $15. This value quickly decreases to just about $10 per hour for individuals who are only getting started in the field. Seasoned data entry operators, on the other hand, are usually guaranteed up to $22 in hourly compensation regardless of the companies they choose to work with.

It should be stated that the actual salary potential varies greatly depending on different factors such as your status in the organization, the skill and experience level, the difficulty of the tasks at hand, and the general working speed.

Qualifications and Requirements

The journey to becoming a competent remote data entry clerk starts with familiarizing yourself with the basic tools and software including computers and keyboards. Data entry operators do not necessarily need college degrees or post-secondary education to qualify for new roles in the field. Thus, a basic high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) will probably fulfill the requirements when applying for a job.

One of the simplest ways to become a data entry operator is through certification training. Even though this path is never obligatory, the certificates you will gain from community colleges and vocational schools add value to your resume and may ultimately put you ahead of the pack.

In summary, here are the skills you should possess to become a competent and highly effective data entry clerk in any organization;

  • A high school diploma
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good command of the English language
  • Exceptional typing skills

Types of Data Entry Work

Data entry job roles are diverse, focusing on detailed skills that are relevant to specific industries. While data entry clerks may have overlapping roles, many employers are keen to add qualified experts who understand the strategic demands of the organization.

Presently, data entry jobs can be classified into five broad categories as explained below.

1. Data Collection

In essence, data collection refers to the process of collecting, verifying, and evaluating information related to specific variables. It is usually used to help validate the possible outcomes of a research project.

Generally, data collection can be done online, in person, or by phone and include the following forms:

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Observation

2. Data Annotation

With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning fast gaining popularity, it was only a matter of time before the employment industry diversified once again to accommodate data annotators/labelers. In its simplest form, data annotation refers to the labeling of data in different forms for easy interpretation by the machine. The most common formats include the annotation of video, audio, speech, text, and images.

One of the simplest ways to prepare for a career as a data annotator is by enhancing your computer skills.

3. Data Cleaning

Data cleaning, sometimes known as cleansing, entails detecting and removing errors from databases and tables. This could be a Word document, an Excel file, and others.

Data cleansing is done for many reasons such as to improve accuracy, the validity of the information, data completeness, and uniformity. Here, you may be tasked with modifying or deleting specific parts of the information to make it more relevant in real-world scenarios.

4. Automated Data Capture

Automated data capturing, on the other hand, involves inputting information into a computer database system without human aid. This process is sometimes called electronic data capture and can be done using a magnetic stripe, barcode, optical recognition (OMR and OCR), and radio frequency identification tools among the rest.

Automated data capturing is not just loved for being cost-efficient; it also reduces errors by a huge margin compared to most other methods used to capture data.   

5. Manual Data Input

You guessed it right. Manual data input is the opposite of the above-mentioned automated data capturing method and allows you to enter data into a software or database system manually. This can be in form of audio input, text input, image input, or video input.

A classic example of this type of data entry is the work of a typist, which involves typing information into word processing software like Microsoft Word. Two other classic examples that fall into this category are the transcriptionist and captioner jobs.

Where to Find Data Entry Courses and Training?

The quickest way to learn data entry is through online courses and training. Such courses provide valuable skills and experience to help candidates establish themselves among the elites in the field. A vast majority of data entry courses require fee payment and that should be the starting point when looking for new openings.

But don’t get it twisted, data entry courses are not just limited to online platforms such as Udemy. Technical institutions and community colleges also offer certifications and training courses in physical setups. While online courses are naturally convenient, physical learning remains a valuable choice if you are fond of classroom training and have a viable program in your community.

Companies that Offer Data Entry Jobs

As an aspiring data entry clerk, one of the biggest challenges you will have to contend with is to sieve through online sources to distinguish reliable companies from scammers. Luckily, we got you covered.

Listed below are some of the best data entry companies offering new opportunities right now.

Crowdsourcing companies

Freelance Marketplaces

Final Thoughts

As more and more companies understand the value of being productive, the employment landscape will continue to experience dramatic changes in the coming years. Remote jobs are fast becoming everybody’s preferred choice, and for aspiring data entry clerks, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon!