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How to Practice Data Entry Skills

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Data entry involves typing information into an electronic format such as word processing, spreadsheet or a specific software program. Jobs are available in almost every industry for individuals skilled at touch-typing and using the numeric keypad.

Getting Started

If your keyboard skills are limited to typing with two fingers or using your thumbs to text, you need to develop proficiency as a touch-typist. "Touch-typing" refers to using all your fingers and finding the correct keys without looking at your hands. Instead, you keep your eyes on the source of information from which you're typing. If you've never done touch-typing, it may sound like an impossible skill to master. With consistent practice, however, most people can learn to touch-type.

Typing, or keyboarding, is routinely taught in schools as part of the curriculum. If you're no longer in school, you can learn to type by taking a class through a community college or an adult education program. Also, free and low-cost typing programs are available on the internet. For people with the discipline for self-study, learning to type can be done at home on a schedule that suits your needs.

10 Key Typing for Data Entry

On the right side of most standard computer keyboards, you'll see a 10 key numeric keypad. For data entry, which often requires the typing of many numbers, it's much more efficient to use the keypad than the numbers that appear in the horizontal row at the top of the keyboard. As with learning to type on the standard alphanumeric keyboard, the keypad can seem daunting at first. However, with consistent practice, it's possible to become proficient in a relatively short amount of time.

How to Practice

So how do you practice typing for data entry? Do an internet search on "10 key typing practice" and you'll find an assortment of free tutorials, tests and games to help you. Find one or more than you like and commit to spending time each day working on your 10 key skills.

Establish a consistent practice routine. Try to practice at the same time every day for at least an hour to develop a habit. Make sure your workspace is well lit and free from distractions. Remember you're trying to develop speed as well as accuracy. Challenge yourself to improve every day.

What Employers Are Looking For

The normal typing speed for data entry, according to most employers, is 60 to 80 words per minute. You may have to take a typing test as part of the interview process, so it's best to state your speed honestly on your application. You may even be required to take a data entry test. It's a good idea to maintain your data entry practice routine while you're looking for a job to demonstrate your degree of skill to a potential employer. Accuracy is extremely important in data entry since numbers are used for important functions such as billing, inventory and payroll.

Salary for Data Entry Workers

Data entry clerks in the United States typically earn between $28,438 to $35,581 per year. Salaries vary due to a number of factors including geographic location, education, years of experience and additional skills you have to offer. Many positions are open for individuals with little or no experience. If you're interested in a career working in an office, data entry is a good place to start.


Denise Dayton is a a freelance writer who specializes in business, education and technology. She has written for, Library Journal, The Searcher, Bureau of Education and Research, and corporate clients.

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