What is an Operations Research Analyst?

Operations Research AnalystAn individual interested in the operations research field often strive to become an operations research analyst. Operations research is an area that involves applying analytical techniques to improve decision-making. It is commonly regarded as a sub-field of mathematics. The field combines principles from various other mathematical sciences, including statistical analysis mathematical modeling, and mathematical optimization. Operations research analysts use these methods to assist organizations with recognizing and solving problems, looking at complex issues, and overall making better decisions to benefit the company.

Operations Research Analyst Duties

Operations research analysts are typically involved in all facets of an organization. They assist managers and other professionals on the recommended plan to solve problems, allocate resources, establish prices, and create production schedules. They identify problems in a variety of areas, including sales and production. They then use complex computer software, like databases and modeling technology to analyze the problems. They also gather information from employees involved in the program to assist with developing solutions. The analysts separate problems into a variety of parts and evaluate each part individually to assess the cause and effect of various changes. Since there are many different ways of solving problems, operations research analysts must look at the benefits and costs of each solution to provide the best recommendation to managers. Due to the complexity of majority of problems, operations research analysts commonly work on teams to increase success of resolving the issue. Operations research analysts also compose reports and other documents that summarize their findings and recommendations.

Required Education to Become an Operations Research Analyst

For majority of positions, individuals seeking to become an operations research analyst need a master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree and extensive work experience may be sufficient for some entry-level positions. Some postsecondary institutions offer programs in operations research, but many analysts have degrees in related areas, including computer science, physics, mathematics, or engineering. Due to the basis of quantitative analysis, prospective operations research analysts must have a strong background in mathematics. Common courses include linear algebra, calculus, and statistics. A solid understanding of computer science is also necessary because analysts depend on advanced database software to evaluate and solve problems.

Job Outlook and Salary for Operations Research Analysts

As stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for operations research analysts is projected to rise much faster than the average for all careers by the year 2022. This is due to advances in technology and more companies looking to decrease the cost of problem solving efforts. The Armed Forces is a major employer of operations research analysts. Job opportunities will likely be the most favorable for those with advanced degrees and extensive experience in the field. The median salary for level one operations research analysts is around $50,000 per year. The top ten percent earn more than $66,000 per year and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $38,000 annually. Salaries vary on an array of factors, including industry, size of organization, location, education, and experience.

Related Resource: Information Assurance

Operations research analysts are valuable assets to many organizations as they help upper-level professionals with solving complicated problems to create better decision-making, increase profit and operations, and have improved control of the entity as a whole. Working as an operations research analyst is an ideal career for individuals who have a keen mathematical sense and enjoy finding solutions to a wide range of complicated problems.