Career and Job Search Guide

Data Entry and Information Processing

Rapid processing of information is vital for companies. Workers performing data entry and information processing duties are responsible for processing this data necessary for the �information age.� These workers enter data by using computers and other office equipment. These professionals are also known as transcribers, keypunch technicians, data processors, typists, and word processors.

Word processors or typists prepare letters, reports, and other documents. Employees hired in entry level positions are usually assigned simple tasks such as addressing form letters. Once workers are experienced, they are assigned more difficult tasks, requiring them to use their own discretion. Senior word processors usually enter technical or complex data.

The majority of data entry professionals complete their work with computers while some computers are equipped with optical character recognition technology. Certain word processing professionals work in teams, conducting data entry for numerous departments and coordinating transcription.

Word processors usually perform office administrative duties, such as making copies and answering phones. Their position titles usually reflect their responsibilities. Administrative clerks, for example have word processing and administrative responsibilities, and note readers convert transcribed court records into standardized texts.

Data entry professionals known as keyers, enter data lists into computers and edit new and existing data. The type of data they record includes personal medical information and data on customers. The data entered is used internally by companies.

Keyers use equipment that utilizes magnetic impulses to convert data, so it can be entered into computers. Some keyers utilize data composing software while other utilize online terminals. More data entry specialists now use new technology that does not require entering data with a keypad such as scanners. Many use character recognition technology when entering data unrecognizable by traditional data entry equipment. Some keyers have administrative duties and store data in information libraries.

Work environment. Data entry specialists usually work 40 hour weeks in comfortable offices. They sit for extended hours and can experience neck and back pain as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. As a result, many companies allow their employees to take regular breaks and require their employees to use ergonomically engineered keyboards.

Many specialists work from home using computers linked to their companies' offices, permitting them to enter data at home while other employees can print the information at the office.