Data Entry Skills For Entering the Tech Industry
Share this Article
BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
- Data entry jobs commonly require candidates with expertise using spreadsheets, databases, and word-processing programs.
- Aspiring data entry professionals can easily and affordably learn core job skills.
- Employers appreciate workers with soft skills and may offer on-the-job training.
Data entry skills can enhance job qualifications for a variety of tech careers. Students aspiring for administrative positions in tech, healthcare, and finance should master the skills required for data entry. These skills include typing, word-processing, and computer expertise. Data entry technicians also need soft skills like self-motivation, time management, and detail orientation. The following guide explains how to hone your skills for data entry jobs.
What Is Data Entry?
Data entry is the process of inputting and updating information in an electronic system. Data entry technicians often type data into a spreadsheet, database, or digital document from a hard copy. They may perform some or all of the following tasks:
- Compile and sort source (hard-copy) data
- Review source data for incomplete or inconsistent information
- Type data into a spreadsheet, document, or database
- Delete duplicate data
- Merge files to update outdated or incomplete data
The need for skilled data entry technicians extends to nearly every industry. Workers in fields like healthcare, marketing, and transportation need data entry skills to perform tasks, including transcribing, maintaining customer or client records, and preparing mass mailing lists. Data entry is critical to ensuring organized and effective daily operations.
Data Bootcamps for You
Skills Required for Data Entry
Data entry jobs require workers who are detail-oriented, with both technical and soft skills. This vital combination prepares data entry technicians to input and maintain data correctly and efficiently. While the nature of the data depends on the industry, these universal skills still apply.
Technical skills are essential to any data entry job. Workers must master typing, word-processing, and spreadsheet manipulation. They must also show strong research abilities. Data entry careers require the following technical skills:
- Strong understanding of Microsoft Excel or similar database software
- Knowledge of word processors, like Microsoft Word
- Excellent typing and transcription skills, including typing at fast speeds
- Ability to research and collect data
As in any career, soft skills contribute to success in data entry jobs. Career skills including detail orientation, communication, and organization must accompany technical abilities in a data entry position. Employers may prefer candidates with the following expertise:
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Time management and organization
Data Entry Jobs
Data entry is prevalent in broad job sectors, including finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation. The specific skills required for data entry may vary by occupation. However, data entry courses provide core training for entry-level positions, including those listed below.
Data Entry Clerk
Data entry clerks transcribe data from one location to another, such as from a paper document to an electronic database or spreadsheet. They must type fast and accurately and demonstrate expertise in tasks like word-processing and using common office technologies. Most data entry clerks receive on-the-job training specific to their position.
Word processors, also sometimes called typists, create electronic documents using word-processing software. This type of data entry job often requires a typing test. These professionals must possess advanced skills in word-processing software, including Microsoft Word and Google Docs. On-the-job training is common for entry-level positions.
Accounting clerks input and update financial data on spreadsheets and databases. They typically specialize in an accounting area, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, or payroll. Accounting clerks need expertise in using spreadsheets, and financial management and budgeting software programs. Most accounting clerks hold some postsecondary training, but many also learn on the job.
Administrative assistants often perform data entry along with other clerical tasks. They may adapt their data entry skills to specific jobs, including legal, medical, or executive office support services. Administrative assistants need broad skills in typing, correspondence, and data-processing technologies. While education requirements vary, most executive administrative assistant roles require extensive experience.
Data Entry Courses
Aspiring data entry technicians can access data entry courses online, often for free or at a discounted rate. Gaining the skills required for data entry jobs through an accelerated online program can help candidates qualify for many roles and launch their careers quickly. The following resources suit aspiring professionals looking for self-guided data entry training.
Udemy's online data entry course for beginners comprises seven sections and nearly three hours of course content. Udemy stresses various methods of document file conversion, data research and collection techniques, and sample data entry projects. The program explores the job search process specific to data entry professionals.
Students begin to develop a professional portfolio during this course. The program emphasizes hands-on experience through real-life client projects. Udemy's online course trains students to become data entry freelancers through sites like Fiverr and Upwork. The course costs $49.99 as of March 2022 and includes lifetime access and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Alison features multiple data entry courses, each leading to an optional certificate of completion. All courses include basic training in typing, technology, and transcription and impart soft skills in organization, time management, and common clerical duties. Alison's online courses cater to aspiring professionals seeking entry-level jobs.
Alison offers specialized courses in tools like Excel 365, Microsoft Office Access, and SQL Server Core. Completion times range from 1.5-15 hours. Students can access Alison's courses for free, but additional benefits require a subscription of about $9 per month. Students may purchase a certificate for an additional fee, ranging from $23-$41 as of March 2022.
Skillshare offers a beginner-level Excel for the real world course that includes 45 industry-relevant data entry projects. The course introduces students to Excel and its core functions, including structuring workbooks, sorting data, formatting, and writing formulas. Skillshare emphasizes hands-on learning through data entry projects.
Students who complete this course qualify for the next two data entry classes through Skillshare. Users can access some courses on Skillshare for free, though most require students to register and join a paid membership program. Skillshare offers scholarships for up to 50% off of a one-year membership.
Frequently Asked Questions About Skills for Data Entry
Is data entry a hard skill to learn?
No. Aspiring data entry technicians can access a variety of free or low-cost online training programs and courses. Data entry programs provide the technical and soft skills beginner-level professionals need to launch their careers. These skills include typing, organization, time management, communication, and detail orientation.
Students can also easily learn data research and collection methods. In addition, they explore how to perform basic functions in programs commonly used for data entry, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Google Docs.
What qualifications are needed for data entry?
Data entry jobs require fast typists with a working knowledge of word-processing and database technologies. Emerging data entry professionals should be adept at collecting and sorting data efficiently and accurately. They must also have experience using databases and spreadsheets.
Employers do not always require formal education or experience in data entry, as many offer on-the-job training to new hires. However, candidates should be familiar with applications including Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. Employees may need additional skills related to their specialization area, such as healthcare or law.
How can I start a data entry career?
Many aspiring data entry technicians take an online course and/or seek out on-the-job training in their desired industry. Data entry courses can help prepare students not only to qualify for entry-level jobs but also to begin a fruitful job search, particularly in the freelance data entry sector. Many courses feature hands-on projects to build experience and a portfolio that students can post on sites like Fiverr and Upwork for future employment.
Emerging professionals should also practice typing and brush up on soft skills. While most data entry jobs do not require it, some students may choose to pursue an associate or bachelor's degree.
Feature Image: PeopleImages / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images