Operations Research Analysts picture    Operations Research Analysts image

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts utilize advanced analytical techniques in order to solve problems and make better decisions. Operations research analysts strive to find more effective and efficient techniques to run a variety of operations such as traffic systems and factories. An operations research analyst solves problems. Operations analysts sometimes participate in top-level planning and forecasting. They often have an area of specialization.

An operation research analyst develops and applies mathematical models, computer modeling, statistical analysis, linear programming and other mathematical techniques to develop and interpret information. The objective of this work is to help managers with making decisions and formulating policies.

Operations analysts determine the most effective way for managing personnel, money, equipment, materials and space. They help improve inefficient operating methods that produce financial losses. An operations analyst utilizes engineering, mathematics, computer programming and scientific techniques.

Operations research analysts are employed by the military, manufacturing industries, telecommunications, insurance, the government and other sectors. Some operations research analysts are employed by consulting firms and research organizations. Some analysts create schedules and routes for trains, planes and buses. A common job title is analytical strategist.


  • Determine data requirements and collect and validate information by using statistical tests and judgement
  • Develop decision support software
  • Determine the most appropriate analytical technique
  • Evaluate information to conceptualize and define operational problems
  • Test models for accuracy and make changes if necessary
  • Consult with managers to identify and solve various problems and to learn management objectives
  • Prepare reports for management that define and evaluate problems and recommend solutions
  • Indicate computational or manipulative techniques to apply to models
  • Break systems into component parts
  • Use analytical methods from science, math and engineering

Job Characteristics

They usually are working at their desks or in computer rooms. Operations analysts often work as part of a team, however a lot of their time is spent on independent calculations and computer work. An operations research analyst typically works 40 hours a week, however due to the need to meet deadlines they may work overtime. They also spend time to stay current with the latest developments in the field.

Employment Outlook

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Typically, employers seek candidates that have earned, at a minimum, a master's degree in operations research or a closely related subject such as engineering, computer science, mathematics, business, management science or information systems. Often, employers prefer the master's degree to be combined with a bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics, statistics or economics. Graduate degrees in both computer science and operations research are very attractive to employers.

Since computers are the most important tools utilized by operations analysts they also need training and experience in computer programming. They also need skills in database collection and management and in developing and utilizing sophisticated software packages. Continuing education is vital for those in the profession. An operations research analyst can move up and become a technical specialist or a supervisor on more complex projects. They may also acquire higher level managerial or administrative jobs. Some operations research analysts open their own consulting business.


Major Employers

The major employment providing industries are management, scientific and technical services; computer systems design and related services; management of companies and enterprises, insurance carriers and the federal government.

Schools for Operations Research Analysts are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Operations Research Analysts Skills

Below are the skills needed to be operations research analysts according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Complex Problem Solving4.124.38
Critical Thinking4.124.38
Active Listening44
Judgment and Decision Making44.25

Operations Research Analysts Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be operations research analysts according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
English Language3.894.47
Computers and Electronics3.75.5
Engineering and Technology3.374.15
Administration and Management3.13.8

Operations Research Analysts Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being operations research analysts according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Interacting With Computers4.95.4
Analyzing Data or Information4.856.47
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.755.65
Getting Information4.65.5
Processing Information4.556.1

Operations Research Analysts Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being operations research analysts according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work StyleImportance
Analytical Thinking5
Attention to Detail4.5

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Operations Research Analysts

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Operations Research Analysts jobs , as of 2018

Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington5,100 $81,790
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim3,850 $92,030
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale3,110 $76,020
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell2,930 $70,010
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward2,570 $110,090
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue2,440 $97,060
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land2,330 $89,550
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson1,970 $98,670
Richmond1,460 $92,660
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara1,290 $91,400

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to operations analysts

Source : 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Operations Research Analysts.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.