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Operations Research Analyst Career

Career Description

An Operations Research Analyst uses advanced analytical techniques to make better decisions and to solve problems. In private enterprises, operations research is used in planning business ventures and analyzing options by using statistical analysis, data and computer modeling, linear programming, and other mathematical techniques.

Common Work Tasks

  • Apply analytical methods from mathematics,  science, and engineering to effectively manage money, materials, equipment, and people.
  • Help to allocate resources, measure performance,  schedule, design production facilities and systems, manage the supply chain,  set prices, coordinate transportation and distribution, or analyze large databases
  • Work closely with senior managers to identify and solve a variety of problems
  • Listen to managers describe a problem, then ask questions and formally define the problem
  • Talk with engineers about production levels,  discuss purchasing arrangements with buyers, and examine storage-cost data provided by the accounting department
  • Use Monte Carlo simulation, linear and nonlinear programming, dynamic programming, queuing and other stochastic-process models,  Markov decision processes, econometric methods, data envelopment analysis,  neural networks, expert systems, decision analysis, and the analytic hierarchy process to solve a problem
  • Present recommendations to managers
  • Break systems into their component parts, assign numerical values to each component, and examine the mathematical relationships between them
  • Communicate with vendors to gather information about products, to alert them to future needs, to resolve problems, or to address system maintenance issues

Other Job Titles

Operations Research Analysts are also known by other titles,  including:

  • Management Scientists
  • Network Architects        
  • Computer Scientists
  • Telecommunications Specialists
  • Systems Programmers
  • Internet Developers

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Employers generally prefer applicants with at least a master’s degree in operations research or a closely related field—such as computer science, engineering,  business, mathematics, information systems, or management science—coupled with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a quantitative discipline such as economics, mathematics, or statistics.

  Computers are the most important tools used by operations research analysts, so analysts must have training and experience in programming. Analysts typically also need to be proficient in database collection and management, and the development and use of sophisticated software packages. Operations research analysts must be able to think logically, work well with people, and write and speak well.


The median annual salary for an Operations Research Analyst is $67,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $113,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $40,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of operations research analysts are:

  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services - $76,800
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services - $77,840
  • Insurance Carriers - $65,060
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises - $78,510
  • State Government - $56,430

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  11%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 6,200
  • Employment 2006 : 58,000
  • Employment 2016:  65,000

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