Data Processing Technician: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a data processing technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and the employment outlook and salary statistics to find out if this is the career for you.

A data processing technician is mainly responsible for organizing and cataloging data. The job requires a technician to be very detail-oriented and to maintain focus while performing repetitive duties. Job candidates usually need a high school diploma for this position, and they often receive on-the-job training.

Essential Information

A data processing technician works with computers and equipment to process large amounts of data. A high school diploma or on-the-job training prepares technicians for this detail-oriented job, which may include repetitive and often technical work.

Required Education A high school diploma or on-the-job training
Projected Job Decline (2014-2024)* -3.7% (for data entry keyers)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $29,460 (for data entry keyers)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Data Processing Technician Job Description

Data processing technicians operate computers and other communications equipment and may perform data entry work as part of a larger data processing system. Being a technician is a very detail-oriented job involving many repetitive duties. In addition to inputting, organizing, and cataloging data, a technician may also be responsible for performing quality control checks, identifying job problems, and ensuring that job orders are completed according to schedule.

The technician's work is often performed at a data center or at another location that supports the running of data center operations. After a certain level of experience, data processing technicians may move on to supervising the work of other technicians.

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Requirements for Data Processing Technicians

Most data processing technician jobs require at most a high school diploma. For those who start work immediately after high school, training is usually provided on the job. For those positions that do not require a high school education, experience in the data processing and entry field is usually cited as a minimum qualification.

A good grasp of basic English skills is important for technician positions. Solid proficiency in math and science may also be useful for jobs where technical material or statistical reports are being processed.

There are a variety of ways to gain the work skills for a data processing job. High schools, vocational schools, and community colleges have classes that teach basic clerical and administrative skills such as word processing and database management, in addition to the traditional English, math, and science courses that are usually offered. There are also at-home tutorials online and in books and tapes that teach similar skills.

Technicians need to possess good communication skills, be able to function in a fast-paced environment and adapt to new technologies quickly. Their work may involve being able to work well with team members as well as independently and serving customer needs.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of data entry keyers, a different title for data processing technicians, is expected to decline by almost 4% during the decade from 2014 to 2024. The BLS published the median annual salary earned by data entry keyers as $29,460 in May 2015.

A high school diploma and on-the-job training is often sufficient for a data processing job. It is important for these technicians to have basic English skills and, in situations where statistical data is being processed, proficiency in math could be beneficial. Jobs in this profession are projected to decline through 2024, and the median salary in 2015 was about $29,000.


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