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What does a Data Typist do?

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  • Written By: Phil Shepley
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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A data typist is typically responsible for entering a wide array of data into computers for a multitude of purposes. The field of work for a data typist is referred to as data entry, where there can be many more duties in addition to typing. The work involved can be rather tedious, and people involved in data entry usually do the work as a starting job out of college or high school, as well as for an additional source of income. The nature of the work also makes data entry popular as a home based career.

There are several different types of data typist that exist, and many people in the field will find themselves crossing into different categories each day. An example of one is a data entry keyer, who must input lines of data, numbers, information, code, and more, into a computer from a variety of sources. A keyer will also analyze existing data for errors and make changes when necessary. It may be necessary, for example, to enter data about new customers into a computer from paper applications and question or alter mistakes so the information is as accurate as possible.

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Some data typists, known as word processors, must input and process information that must be passed on and read by others. This may include documents that have been written by others that must be formalized, typed and dispersed. A word processor must ensure that every part of a document is typographically correct. He or she must also be familiar with many more office machines throughout the day. Advancements in technology that allow scanning and word recognition of documents have sped up the duties of word processors, who must often act more as editors of scanned documents since errors are common in the transition from paper to computer.

An entry-level data typist usually requires little more than a high school diploma along with a proficiency in the attributes of typing speed and accuracy. Additional skills and experience that are needed are usually dependent upon the employer. A data typist may need to know how to operate a specific spreadsheet program, for instance, or receive on-the-job training for the inner-workings of a database that only exists at their place of employment. The field of data entry is based highly on technology, so there are new changes and innovations every day that a data typist must keep up with to stay marketable.

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SarahSon
Post 9

I think the internet has helped make home data entry jobs more popular than ever. Most companies need some kind of data entry work, and these jobs are great for people to work from their home.

It saves the company on overhead cost and many of them are part time, so they don't have to pay benefits either. I know several moms who have home based data entry jobs and are able to work the job around their family activities.

It does pay to keep up to date on the various office programs and spreadsheets. This will make you much more marketable than just being able to type fast.

julies
Post 8

My first summer job while I was in college was working as a data entry typist. I was always a pretty fast typist, so never had any trouble with the job, I just found myself getting tired of doing the same thing every day.

I worked with some women who had been doing that job for many years. I was thankful that this was just a temporary summer job for me and that I didn't have that to look forward to doing that as my career.

It was good for me to have the experience though. It also made me realize how important it was for me to finish my education and work at a job that I had more interest in.

aishia
Post 7

@hanley79 - Hmm...thanks for your post, you've gotten me reconsidering my ideas about what data entry is, exactly.

I've always thought of data entry home typist work as a makeshift career, and the thing people mention often alongside envelope-stuffing as a get rich quick scheme job. It sounds a lot more valid and profitable as an actual career the way you put it!

hanley79
Post 6

As the article says, data entry typist jobs are very technology-based these days. The days of needing just a computer are over -- it's the age of work specialization, and that means you need to pick which kind of data entry you're going to be a specialist in and market yourself that way.

SeHiro's niece is doing it right -- she's marketed herself as a data entry typist who specializes in the Excel software program.

As long as she stays good at Excel, I don't see any reason why she'd have trouble finding work in the future, even if her current job ends. Data entry is a very important aspect of business and bookkeeping, and as long as there are businesses the data entry work career isn't going anywhere.

seHiro
Post 5

@Hawthorne - My niece is a typist in data entry. Her work involves filling out Excel spreadsheets -- and you're right, she gets paid an excellent wage, especially considering that this is her first-ever job. She is 18, and still in college. Her Excel skills got her this job hands-down.

Anybody aiming to be a typist in data entry, definitely take the time to learn the right computer software programs before you look around for work. You'll have an edge!

Hawthorne
Post 4

@Charred - There is most certainly a demand for people to do this kind of work still!

The advent of home computer definitely helped make more people typists, but along with that came this time period where everybody wants their job to pay a lot to possibly to be glamorous. Not only that, but access to the Internet has shown people how many other work at home type jobs there are.

All of this combines into the fact that data entry is considered boring, and people don't often go for it as a career, so there's a lot of demand for workers to take on this job. It actually pays pretty well right now because of this.

I

took a class in colleg eon one of the spreadsheet programs that they use as the professional standard these days. It's complicated and somewhat cryptic stuff, so it's possible that the extra pay for this kind of work nowadays is also partly because you have to be trained in certain software.
Charred
Post 3

@David09 - Years ago the home typist was the easiest job to get started with if you wanted a home based career.

It was simple, and there was demand. You could find lots of postings on college bulletin boards. I honestly don’t know how popular these things are today.

I think computers and the advent of word processors have relegated these things to lower importance; just about everyone I know can type at a decent rate. I am sure there is still a market for it, however. You just have to know where to look.

David09
Post 2

One of my first jobs before embarking on a professional career was as a data entry typist. I worked for a drop shipping company that took orders by mail.

I would get batches of letters everyday with customer orders. Usually there would be fifty letters per batch. My job was to open the letters and process the orders.

I worked onsite with a room full of other data entry operators and we all had quotas to fill, usually between ten to twenty batches per day. It was all about speed – and accuracy. You didn’t want to ship the wrong orders or it would count against you; do that too often and you’d lose your job.

It was an interesting experience, but what I found most useful was what I learned about the mail room and the whole drop shipping operation. The data entry part was rather basic.

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