Is EDP Services a Good Career Path?
The advent of computer technology allowed for faster data input and processing in all aspects of the economy. From handwritten letters and telegrams, we turned to instant messaging and emails; face-to-face meetings and conferences to virtual events and discussions; from handwritten signatures and stamps to digital signatures and watermarks. The involvement of computers in almost all sectors includes data processing, an area that provides good career paths for those in the tech field.
Electronic Data Processing (EDP) refers to the use of technology to manage and process data. Services that fall under this field ensure that all pertinent information and records are properly restored for future reference. This is especially critical for businesses and governments, which process large amounts of data every day and need to store information for future auditing and security.
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What Are the Best Jobs in EDP Services
Within the field of EDP services are many careers that provide job security without the worries of becoming “stale”. These jobs are closely tied to the ever-changing field of technology. Thus, professionals must be able to keep up with the skills required to make sure their services remain in demand. EDP services professionals can also work in almost any field or sector, as long as they are using a data storage system. The following are the best jobs within the EDP services, ranging from data entry to data security:
Data Entry Clerk
A data entry cleark is in charge of transferring data from hard copy or electronic sources and entering them into a specific computer system. Data input varies from old records to other documents as required by the client. Aside from the speed, the accuracy of the data transferred from its source is important.
Typing proficiency is the basic requirement for those aiming to apply for data entry clerk jobs. Many online learning platforms offer free short courses that can help you get started to become an expert in software such as Excel. Even with these course certificationsm, most companies, however, will still put applicants through typing tests to assess their skills, as part of their hiring process.
Once all the data has been input and organized according to instructions, data analysts use software and other methodologies to interpret data, usually in sheet form. They will then generate reports, observations, and maybe even recommendations depending on their job description. It is important that they use the right software in sorting the information, and looking beyond usual methodologies if needed. There are many aspects of data analysis that depend on the field and limits of the raw data.
To be a data analyst, one needs to start with a bachelor’s degree in their specialized field, whether in business, computer science, or marketing. Special certifications such as the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) or the Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Scientist Associate may be required or preferred by employers, depending on the job description.
Technical Support Specialist
In case there are issues with the data storage platform, technical support specialists provide the assistance needed by users. Their presence also reduces possible mistakes that users might commit and prevents employees from unknowingly harming the system.
Technical support specialists must know the systems and software used by their clients inside and out. Most specialists start with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. Then, they add certifications such as the Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate to enhance their skills. Some employers require certifications or expertise in specific programs. These are usually indicate in job listings. The more programs and systems one is skilled in, the higher their compensation opportunities will be. Most technical support specialists also move on to become IT managers or administrators.
On top of the database is an administrator that manages and maintains the systems. They ensure organization and proper recording of who accessed the system. For large databases, it is important that administrators can immediately notice if there are any errors or inconsistencies, so they can be resolved immediately.
Like technical support specialists, database administrators usually start with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology. Some universities offer specialties and courses related to database systems solutions. On top of their degree and experience, certifications such as the IBM Certified Database Administrator or the Microsoft Certified Database Administrator help applicants show potential employers their skills in the field. These courses may not only be preferred but actually required for some companies.
Data Security Specialist
Data security specialists are in charge of ensuring the security of a business’s systems and data. They check systems’ susceptibility to cyberhacking, and provide remedy before something untoward can happen. Data security is critical to every client, especially for those who have specific processes or trade secrets that they want to keep within the company. News of cyberhacking, from banks to governments, around the globe has caused clients to seek highly-skilled cybersecurity teams.
Specializing in information security requires at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, or similar fields. Industry clearances and certifications are also highly encouraged by organizations such as the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). They issue professional certifications, such as Security+ for risk assessment and management and Network+ for networking infrastructure and operations.
Why You Should Get a Job in EDP Services
Aside from the aforementioned careers, there are many other opportunities one can find in EDP services. The continued advancement of technology ensures that new jobs will be created and new skills will be required from professionals in the field. EDP services professionals earn significantly higher than average, and the outlook in the next decade or so is expected to go even higher than most careers.
Opportunities and Compensation
Compensation for jobs in the EDP services industry depends on factors such as job title, experience, and company size. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average computer and IT professionals earn much higher than the annual median wage for other occupations.
Data entry clerks are expected to earn $24,000 to $40,000 a year, depending on the workload, experience, and client. This is followed by technical support specialists, who can expect to earn $39,000 to $68,000.
Data analyst compensation on the other hand ranges from $63,000 to $118,000 a year, while database administrators can earn $73,000 up to $140,000. Finally, cybersecurity specialists can earn anywhere between $92,000 to $158,000 a year. Again, these are approximate ranges for professionals in the field.
The BLS also reports that the overall projection for computer and IT professions up to 2031 is at 15%, which is much faster than other fields. This will result in around 682,000 new jobs in the US. There is a strong demand for EDP services in all fields and sectors, especially with the growing dependency on virtual work.
Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are also some areas that professionals in the field should look out for. These are already providing significant impact on the way businesses operate. While there are certainly fears of new technologies surpassing human skills and, therefore their services, computer and IT professionals will always be needed to ensure the efficiency and continued improvement of these new developments in the field.
A Good Career Awaits
Efficiency and security are the end goal of EDP services professions. Like many jobs in the tech industry, it provides great job security and outlook. It can also be a good stepping stone to other related fields and careers, such as software development and engineering. However, as technology constantly evolves, it requires individuals that are also constantly developing. EDP professionals must be able to adapt to changes, be willing to learn new systems or software, and most of all, are detail-oriented. If you are confident that you have what it takes to get into the field, then there is a good career path waiting for you in the EDP services field.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.