Data entry is one of the fastest-growing fields of employment all over the world. Due to the rise of the internet and other associated technologies, there’s now more information out there than ever, and information constantly has to be updated to fit in with new technological systems. Some of this work can be automated, but for the most part, data processing involves real people working hard to get all the data into the forms it needs to be in. It’s labor-intensive work, and it’s often quite repetitive, but it needs to be done.
Of course, this is oversimplifying things, as there is much more to data entry than simply moving information from one place to another. If you’re interested in getting involved in data entry as a work-from-home job, here are some of the many types of data entry jobs you may want to consider.
Pure data entry: At the most basic level of data entry work, you may be asked to input data into a database or computer entry system. For example, you may be given a printout of a list of hundreds or thousands of data points organized in some way. For the purposes of the company you work for, it may be essential to organize that data in a more intuitive way. Jobs like this can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of months depending on their size. For this type of work, you need to be able to work long hours at repetitive, boring tasks—but of course, most data entry jobs are like that.
Word processing: Companies sometimes need people to help them create certain types of documents, including letters, reports, mailing labels, and other types of text documents. In this work, your job will be to put the data into an organized form according to the criteria for the document. You will need to have familiarity with word processing programs, especially the Microsoft Office software, and it also helps if you have good familiarity with grammar and spelling. Many jobs in this area go to full-time employees who may have other duties, but these tasks are increasingly being outsourced to contractors.
Research: In the internet age, companies rely on information for many different purposes. As a data entry professional, one of your jobs may be to gather this information and put it into forms that make it easier for companies to use. For example, let’s say a company that sells textbooks is putting together a marketing campaign for a new series of science books it’s planning to release. As part of this effort, they may find it necessary to gather the email addresses of as many science professors as possible. That’s where the data entry processor comes in. You would be the person who would go around to university websites and gather all email addresses of science professors you can find. Of course, the same types of research campaigns are used in many different fields, not just education.
Transcription: One form of data processing that we must not overlook is the need to sometimes transfer information from media to written text. For example, a company may wish to have written accounts of a board meeting, or companies may use transcripts of talks or seminars for marketing purposes. Of course, somebody has to transfer the words in the media to a word processor, which is where the transcriptionist comes in. In order to be a good transcriptionist, you must be able to type very fast, and it also helps to have special software (or even hardware, if you want to be really good) for transcriptionists. It’s also crucial to be able to organize documents in an intuitive manner. Meanwhile, there is also the most old-fashioned type of transcription—transferring handwritten documents into type.
Product descriptions: Due to the growing power of online shopping, more and more companies are putting their products online, and for every product that goes up there needs to be a description. Especially when it comes to companies that sell hundreds or thousands of products, typing out all these descriptions can be a long and laborious process, which is why many companies choose to hire employees or contractors to take care of this work. For most companies, you will be given the basic information pertaining to products, and it will be your job to enter this information into the online database. In some cases, you may even be asked to write an appealing description yourself.
Updating information: Other types of data entry jobs involve going through existing information and checking the details to make sure they are up-to-date. For example, a nonprofit organization may keep a database of contact information for corporations that may donate to them, and they may enlist the aid of a data entry pro to periodically go through this information to make sure that all the contact details are still valid. When it comes to larger databases, this type of maintenance work can even become a full-time job. Some of types of information may be difficult to get ahold of, so part of the data entry pro’s job may be to get in track down the information, which can be a time-consuming task in some cases.
Fact checking: Perhaps the most advanced form of data entry is fact checking. In order to become a fact-checker, you must have a solid foundation of knowledge in the field in which you will be working, and you also have to have good research skills. When a company presents you with a document to fact check, it will be your responsibility to go through that text and make sure that everything is absolutely correct. If anything in the document later proves to be untrue, this will reflect poorly upon you. In comparison to the other types of data entry jobs on this list, fact checking tends to require a greater amount of education and training, and accordingly the pay may be a bit higher.