A data technician is a person who is responsible for data entry. This type of work is quite variable and usually requires a high school diploma at a minimum, along with computer skills including experience with various operating systems, a high typing rate, and excellent typing accuracy scores. Employers can include companies that need data entry, agencies that hire out data entry professionals as needed, and the government.
Data technicians must receive data, often in a variety of forms, organize it in a meaningful way, and input it into a computer system. Sometimes there are standardized systems for organizing the data, as seen with medical data entry, where data needs to be coded in accordance with an existing system. In other cases, the data technician must develop a method of organizing the data. This method must allow the technician to easily retrieve and reference data and it is also important to ensure that the data can be easily accessed, modified, and entered by other people as well.
Data entry requires patience and excellent typing skills. A single mistake on an entry can make it impossible to find later and may also cause snarls in the system. Data technicians need to be alert to issues like double entries, misleading entries, poor data organization, and glitches in the system that may be indicative of a problem like a computer virus or unstable software. The data technician may also check the data as it is entered so that questionable, incomplete, or confusing entries can be flagged for a closer review.
Some jobs may require a data technician to have security clearance, especially when their work involves government materials. Other data technicians must abide by privacy standards as they may handle sensitive information including unique identifying information about individuals that could be compromising if released, such as health care records. Programs that train data technicians may discuss privacy and security issues to provide students with a thorough grounding in these topics so they can assure their employers of their confidentiality and attention to detail when it comes to securing data.
Data entry work may be done in an agency facility, an office, and sometimes at home, depending on the type of data involved. Freelance data technicians may find a variety of work they can perform at home for various rates of pay, and some agencies specifically connect people with at-home work. This job does carry an occupational hazard in the form of repetitive stress injuries and eye strain, and it is important for a data technician to work ergonomically and to remember to stretch and rest the eyes.