What is Data Entry?

data entry jobs

Data entry is actually a very broad term that encompasses a number of occupations. These include electronic data processors, typists, word processors, transcribers, coders, and clerks. And, yes, many of these jobs may be done from a remote location, but data entry jobs from home can be quite different from those done in an office.

The way home-based or online data entry jobs are performed may vary considerably from office jobs.

Data entry operators working for micro labor outfits that use crowdsourcing techniques may simply do small bits of work for small fees. This model is growing more common. Or, some data entry workers may still work for more traditional data entry companies, which are often business process outsourcing firms. These people might be paid an hourly or per-word rate for a whole project.

Data Entry Definition

In essence, data entry means to operate equipment (often a keyboard) to input data, which may be alphabetic, numeric, or symbolic, into a company’s system. The data entry operator may be required to verify or edit data as it is entered or this work may be done by another person. The data may come from hand-written forms or be audio files. 

How Data Entry Jobs Work

And while many of the data entry positions mentioned above fall under the data entry umbrella, jobs that are advertised as “data entry jobs” (as opposed to transcription work) usually require the least skills and in turn pay the least.

In general, the method that data entry jobs might pay could be an hourly wage (however this is rare for online data work), per piece, keystrokes per hour or keystrokes per minute, per audio minute or per word. Most of these methods make your rate of pay highly dependent on your speed at data entry.

Read more about what and how data entry jobs pay.

Specialized data entry positions, like medical transcription or medical coding, require more training and/or certification. And even among general transcription jobs, there are many different types of transcription, which may take more experience and speed than the typical data entry job. These kinds of data entry positions could also require special equipment.

Data Entry From Home

Though many companies only allow those who have been trained in-house to work offsite, data entry can often be done from home. Keep in mind, though, that because data entry from home is almost always done by independent contractors--who are not subject to minimum wage laws and who are in competition with a global workforce--the pay is typically even lower for home-based workers. 

Also, many online ads for work-at-home data entry jobs could very well be work-at-home scams.  Any data entry position that promises high pay is most likely not what it seems and should be avoided. For more on scams, see How to Spot a Data Entry Scam.

If you want to find more ways to use your typing skills to make money from home, check out 4 Ways to Make Money Typing from Home, and 5 Things You Should Know About Data Entry Work Before You Try It.