What is an Operations Research Analyst?

If your career objectives involve using mathematics to solve compelling real-world problems on behalf of your employer, it would be worthwhile for you to consider a career as an operations research analyst. In this role, you’ll use statistics and linear algebra along with sophisticated techniques such as mathematical modeling and data mining to help your employer cut costs and increase operations efficiency.

Typical Job Description of an Operations Research Analyst

Operations research analysts perform the following sorts of work:

  • Interview colleagues to find out what problems and issues are hindering their efficiency at work
  • Prioritize the list of problems in order of highest urgency
  • Gather and collate all the available information and data related to the top priority problems at hand
  • Mine the data and analyze it, looking for useful patterns that could be instrumental in solving the organization’s most compelling problems
  • Brainstorm various solutions for the problems; document these options
  • Advise management of the problems, the various options for solving them and the anticipated pros and cons of each option; make recommendations based on the research that has been performed
  • Assist key stakeholders in implementing the necessary solutions

Industries That Hire Operations Research Analysts

Management companies, insurance carriers and computer systems design firms are the industries that employ the greatest numbers of operations research analysts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Numerous other industries hire operations research analysts including healthcare, transportation, the finance industry and the manufacturing industries.

Operations Research Analyst Salary Ranges

The median salary for an operations research analyst is $81,390 per year, according to the BLS. The best paid analysts earn salaries of more than $134,470 per year, while the lowest paid analysts earn less than $45,270 per year.

The US federal government is the employer that pays operations research analysts the best, with median annual salaries of $111,570. Most of these top-paid analysts live in the Washington, D.C. area. Other locations where analysts are paid well include New Jersey, where analysts earn mean annual salaries of $107,270; Virginia, where analysts earn mean annual salaries of $104,680; and New York, where mean annual earnings amount to $99,880.

Academic Credentials Necessary for Becoming an Operations Research Analyst

If this is a job that sounds interesting to you, you’ll want to be sure to load your college class schedule full of upper-level mathematics classes. Linear algebra and statistics are two essential courses you must take. A mathematics major could be helpful but is not essential. Other relevant major courses of study for operations research analysts include engineering, statistics, computer programming, data science or analytics.

A bachelor’s degree is sufficient for obtaining some operations research analyst jobs. Other positions may require candidates to have earned a master’s degree. There are numerous academic institutions offering master’s degree programs in operations research and the related field of industrial engineering.

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If you’re good at brainstorming ways to solve complex problems, numerous important jobs are waiting for you in a variety of industries. There are many unfilled positions for operations research analysts, and the field is growing. BLS analysts are forecasting a massive 27 percent increase in the numbers of operations analyst jobs that will become available by the year 2026. It’s a fantastic time to acquire the education and skills needed for becoming an operations research analyst.