Learn How To Become a Data Entry Operator

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 13, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

From keeping records, solving complex processes to communication, computerized businesses are faster, easier and more efficient. In this article, we explore the importance of data entry and the working opportunities available in the industry for those who want to learn how to become a data entry operator.

What is a data entry operator?

Data entry operators input data into computers or databases for retrieval, reporting or management. The data comes from records, bills, invoices, surveys, interviews and countless other sources depending on the company or organization. Data entry operators must work with efficiency and precision.

Data entry operators work with numerical, text and coded data in databases, spreadsheets, physical documents and other data storage tools. Some of the records may be confidential, while some may be public information. Data entry operators enable the efficient administration of an organization or business's essential functions, such as planning, budgeting and marketing.

Read more: Learn About Being a Data Entry Clerk

What does a data entry operator do?

Data entry operators can work in public and private organizations. Their roles include:

  • Transferring hard copy data to digital storage systems.

  • Opening and updating client records in company records.

  • Tracking and collecting data for recording

  • Generating basic reports such as system-generated reports on the number of cases to visit in a hospital daily

  • Processing data from business records such as invoices, inventory and quotations

  • Filing physical records and managing archives

  • Trying out new software and finding better solutions to data entry challenges.

  • Creating backups for company data

  • Correcting any errors in collected data

  • Sorting and arranging data for ease of retrieval

Data entry operators mostly work remotely as long as they can access necessary files, databases and systems. They may get paid by the hour or by the completion of a project and often work on a freelance basis. These professionals can earn higher pay rates for completing work quickly and efficiently. Remote workers appreciate the flexibility of this type of role.

However, some data entry operators must work on-site, often because of company policy or because of the sensitivity of the data in question. Most data entry professionals receive an hourly rate, while some work on a salaried basis. Others receive bonuses based on reliability, accuracy and speed. Full-time data entry operators may qualify for health insurance and other benefits unavailable to freelance workers.

Read More: What Does a Data Entry Clerk Do?

How to become a data entry operator

Most data entry operator roles are entry-level positions. Take these steps to prepare yourself for the necessary responsibilities:

1. Have the right education

You will need a high school diploma or GED for most data entry positions. You might also want to pursue a certificate in data entry. Working as a data entry operator is not all about inputting information. It may also involve technical aspects such as annotation, indexing and working with databases. In fact, data entry can also serve as a gateway into analytics and research careers. Most companies take this seriously, preferring to hire only those who have met a certain level of experience and education. For example, to work as a data entry operator in a financial institution, some organizations may demand an associate's or a bachelor's degree.

2. Have basic software skills

Most companies use custom software in their operations. While they may eventually train you on complex programs, learning basic computer skills such as MS Word, Excel or Access is essential. The computer programs simplify and speed up your work, especially if you learn tips and tricks like keyboard shortcuts.

3. Gain meaningful experience

You can get a job as a data entry operator in small companies with limited experience. Companies may prefer a candidate with previous experience in a related field because they require little or no training. One can still work with big companies in an entry-level role like this one if you have impeccable skills.

Read more: 6 Simple Ways To Improve Your Data Entry Skills

Skills required for a data entry operator

Working as a data entry operator remotely requires exceptional skills. This is because the data plays a critical role in the strategic planning and policy-making of the company. Inaccurate data may jeopardize decisions and derail the intended results. It is thus important to have the right candidate with the appropriate skills. Some of these skills include:

Fast typing speed

Fast typing speed is an essential requirement for a data operator. The company can only rely on fast operators if they need the information to run other functions of the company. Having exceptional typing speeds is critical for moving through large amounts of data. This means that the data entry operator has to be comfortable with various devices, e.g., keyboard layouts or typing conventions used by the company. Typically, most employers look for 60 words per minute, but a steady 40 words per minute is a good starting point.

Accuracy in typing and interpreting data

Typing speed alone is not enough. Mistakes can be costly when doing data entry. Therefore, you cannot compromise accuracy with speed. Since each company collects different data types, accuracy makes the data usable. It also saves time that could be spent correcting erroneous submissions.

Reading comprehension

Working as a data entry operator may not need advanced education, but if you are working with technical data, you need to understand the task before undertaking it. For example, a data entry operator working with hospital records has to understand medical codes and medical terminology. If not for the ease of entry, then make sure that you can classify and enter the data appropriately.

Organizational skills

Part of the job as a data entry clerk includes ensuring that data entered is easy to retrieve. This requires that you plan how to enter the data systematically and preserve the physical records for easy reference. This can also help the in-house who may be assigned similar tasks like preparing presentations from data, generating regular reports.


The data entry operator may have access to privileged information. It is important to maintain the confidentiality of the sensitive data provided. The leakage of this information may be detrimental to the company and its clients.

Eye for detail

To be accurate in your data entry, you will need to maintain a high level of concentration. This also helps to spot and correct errors from the task to improve the quality of your finished work.

Outstanding communication

It is crucial to provide feedback, answer questions on the ongoing projects. You should be able to communicate effectively to avoid misinterpretation and to prevent giving misleading information.

Good health

While the role may seem simple, working as a data entry operator involves sitting down for extended periods. To handle these demands on the body, be physically fit and healthy to enhance your productivity.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Data Entry Jobs

Salary for a data entry operator

The average salary for a data entry operator in the United States is $14.66 per hour. Other benefits that come with the role include health benefits and paid leave days if you work in an office. Different employers have their own terms and benefits which a candidate can evaluate and choose from.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Data Entry Jobs

Explore more articles