Data Technician: Job Description & Career Info

Data technicians should be detail-oriented, comfortable with computers and swift when typing on the keyboard. Read on to find out more about job duties, potential employers, training and employment outlook for data technicians.

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Career Definition

Data technicians, also known as data-entry keyers, clerks or coders, are responsible for the collection, recording and retrieval of information. They read source documents, verify the accuracy of the information, prepare reports and manage data storage and retrieval systems. They often work for universities, hospitals, laboratories and other organizations that process significant amounts of information. Most of their work takes place on computers, but some jobs also require handling and packaging materials to be tested in laboratories.

How to Become a Data Technician

Required Education

Hiring requirements for entry-level data technicians include a high-school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) equivalent. Applicants should also have good keyboarding skills and a general knowledge of word processing programs and the use of the Internet. Some employers prefer candidates with an associate degree or training in spreadsheet or accounting applications. Useful high-school or college courses include basic office applications, medical terminology and English.

Skills Required

Data technicians are detail-oriented and able to concentrate for long periods of time. They are also able to work according to schedule and communicate efficiently and effectively with supervisors and co-workers.

Employment and Salary Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for data entry keyers are projected to decline by 25% between 2012 and 2022. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of a data entry keyer in May 2012 was $28,010 (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Statistical Assistants

Statistical assistants, such as actuarial clerks, use mathematical formulas to assemble, organize and calculate data or figures, which may involve creating graphs and tables. Entry-level hiring requirements include a bachelor's degree. As reported by the BLS, statistical assistants can expect a 9%, or average, growth in jobs nationwide through 2012-2022. As of May 2012, the median annual salary of a statistical assistant was $39,840 (www.bls.gov).

Word Processors and Typists

Word processors and typists use their keyboarding skills to produce a variety of documents, including correspondence, forms and reports. In addition to a high school diploma, qualified candidates typically receive short-term, on-the-job training. The BLS reports that job openings for word processors and typists are also expected to decrease by 25% nationwide through 2022. Word processors and typists who were employed in the field in May 2012 were paid median annual salaries of $35,270 (www.bls.gov).

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