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Career profile Operations Research Analyst

Also known as Advanced Analytics Associate, Analytical Strategist, Decision Analyst, Operations Research Analyst, Optimization Analyst

Operations Research Analyst

Also known as Advanced Analytics Associate, Analytical Strategist, Decision Analyst

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$48,050 - $144,330 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Mathematics
  • Critical Thinking
  • Complex Problem Solving
Knowledge Areas
  • Mathematics
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
Core tasks
  • Formulate mathematical or simulation models of problems, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters.
  • Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy and reformulate models as necessary.
  • Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.
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What does an Operations Research Analyst do?

Operations Research Analysts formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decisionmaking, policy formulation, or other managerial functions.

In addition, Operations Research Analysts

  • may collect and analyze data and develop decision support software, services, or products,
  • may develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.

What kind of tasks does an Operations Research Analyst perform regularly?

Operations Research Analysts are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Formulate mathematical or simulation models of problems, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters.
  • Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy and reformulate models as necessary.
  • Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.
  • Present the results of mathematical modeling and data analysis to management or other end users.
  • Collaborate with others in the organization to ensure successful implementation of chosen problem solutions.
  • Analyze information obtained from management to conceptualize and define operational problems.
  • Study and analyze information about alternative courses of action to determine which plan will offer the best outcomes.
  • Prepare management reports defining and evaluating problems and recommending solutions.
  • Define data requirements and gather and validate information, applying judgment and statistical tests.
  • Observe the current system in operation and gather and analyze information about each of the parts of component problems, using a variety of sources.
  • Break systems into their components, assign numerical values to each component, and examine the mathematical relationships between them.
  • Design, conduct, and evaluate experimental operational models in cases where models cannot be developed from existing data.
  • Educate staff in the use of mathematical models.
  • Specify manipulative or computational methods to be applied to models.
  • Develop and apply time and cost networks to plan, control, and review large projects.

The above responsibilities are specific to Operations Research Analysts. More generally, Operations Research Analysts are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

What is an Operations Research Analyst salary?

The median salary for an Operations Research Analyst is $86,200, and the average salary is $92,280. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Operations Research Analyst salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Operations Research Analysts earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Operations Research Analysts earn less than $48,050 per year, 25% earn less than $63,070, 75% earn less than $115,080, and 90% earn less than $144,330.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Operations Research Analysts is expected to change by 24.6%, and there should be roughly 10,200 open positions for Operations Research Analysts every year.

Median annual salary
$86,200
Typical salary range
$48,050 - $144,330
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
24.6%

What personality traits are common among Operations Research Analysts?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Operations Research Analyst are usually higher in their Investigative, Conventional, and Enterprising interests.

Operations Research Analysts typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Operations Research Analysts typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Operations Research Analysts typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Operations Research Analyst tend to value Achievement, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Operations Research Analysts very strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Operations Research Analysts strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Operations Research Analysts strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Operations Research Analysts must consistently demonstrate qualities such as analytical thinking, integrity, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Operations Research Analysts, ranked by importance:

Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Innovation
Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

What education and training do Operations Research Analysts need?

Many Operations Research Analysts have earned a graduate degree. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D..

Operations Research Analysts may need some on-the-job training, but most candidates will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Educational degrees among Operations Research Analysts

  • 0.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 5.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 13.0% completed some college coursework
  • 6.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 40.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 28.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 4.8% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Operations Research Analysts

Operations Research Analysts may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mathematics, computers and electronics, or engineering and technology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Operations Research Analysts might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

Important Abilities needed by Operations Research Analysts

Operations Research Analysts must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Operations Research Analysts need abilities such as mathematical reasoning, written comprehension, and inductive reasoning in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Operations Research Analysts, ranked by their relative importance.

Mathematical Reasoning
The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Number Facility
The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Operations Research Analysts

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Operations Research Analysts frequently use skills like mathematics, critical thinking, and complex problem solving to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Operations Research Analysts, ranked by their relative importance.

Mathematics
Using mathematics to solve problems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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