Data entry

One way to start work in the IT industry with the minimum of qualifications is to get a job as a data entry clerk. This involves typing in large amounts of information so it can be stored digitally. In some cases, it also involves retrieving data for customers or other staff members.

It is not the most exciting job in the world, but it can be a useful stepping stone to more interesting work.

Work activities

Data entry involves a lot of typing. You could be asked to update files that are currently held on computer or to input records that are held on paper. You might be typing in customers’ details, confidential patient records, or perhaps the results of a survey. Every organisation will have its own needs for data entry. You will be trained to understand and follow the system a company uses to store its data.

The job can also involve filing, proofreading, preparing mail-outs and retrieving data from the system.

Data entry can be mundane, but it is a job that must be done accurately. Senior managers will be making decisions based on the data you have typed and a mistake in a patient’s record could be disastrous.

Some people who start as data entry clerks go on to a supervisory role after they have had some experience of the job. Others take the opportunity to take courses and move to another area of IT.

Entry requirements

An employer may ask for GCSEs in Maths and English. Any certificates you have to prove that you have basic computer skills will also be useful. Employers will also want to know that you are capable of working quickly and accurately.

Data entry


This is an entry-level job and you are not likely to earn more than the minimum wage when you begin. Some data entry clerks also have to retrieve information for customers, and this can result in a slightly higher salary.

Useful qualifications

Useful skills

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