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What Does a Data Entry Specialist Do?

Woman entering data into a computer.
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  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A data entry specialist is responsible for using various hardware and software systems to enter data into some sort of storage system, usually a computerized database. This sort of work requires excellent attention to detail and the ability to remain focused on a repetitive mental task over a long period of time. Some of these employees are responsible for the entry of basic information, such as names and addresses. Others work with more complicated or technical information, ranging from engineering diagrams to medical records. In some cases, a data entry specialist may also be responsible for performing other operations on collected sets of data.

Typically, someone in this position will spend his or her day using a computer to enter data into a software application. This data may be in the form of written or printed physical records, in which care must be taken to make sure that handwritten information is keyed correctly. In some cases, a data entry specialist may be responsible for manually transferring data from one electronic device to another.

Work as a data entry specialist requires very good typing speed and accuracy. The ability to remain focused on the task of data entry is also important, as each entry must typically be entered carefully and exactly. Software tools may check for spelling mistakes in data entry but are of no help when entering names or technical specifications, which demand great attention to detail.

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The specific type of data manipulated by data entry workers varies widely from position to position. The simplest sort of data entry work involves simply keying in ordinary information, such as financial records or name and address pairings. This type of data entry work generally requires no specialized skills.

Other varieties of data entry deal with technical information. In some cases, this technical information may need to be coded and entered in very specific ways. A data entry specialist working with medical records, for instance, will generally need to be familiar with the specific billing codes used by a particular insurer or health system. Specialists employed by software or engineering firms may need to be able to accurately enter data that includes complicated terminology or measurements that must be entered precisely.

In some cases, a data entry specialist will need to perform more complicated operations on a data set. This may involve using database software to sort and order information after it has been entered. In other cases, a specialist may need to export data from one application to another or to merge data from several different applications.

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