What Operations Research Analysts Do ?
Operations research analysts advise managers and other decision makers on the appropriate course of action to solve a problem. Operations research analysts use advanced methods of analysis to help organizations solve problems and make better decisions. Operations research analysts use sophisticated computer software, such as databases and statistical and modeling packages, to analyze and solve problems. There is no one way to solve a problem, and analysts must weigh the costs and benefits of alternative solutions or approaches in their recommendations to managers. Operations research analysts held about 64,600 jobs in 2010.
The median annual wage of operations research analysts was $70,960 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half of the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,920, and the top 10 percent earned more than $122,750.
Most employers prefer to hire applicants with a master’s degree, but many entry-level positions are available for those with a bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer bachelor’s and advanced degree programs in operations research, management science, or a related field. Many operations research analysts have degrees in other technical fields, such as engineering, computer science, mathematics, and physics.
Because operations research is based on quantitative analysis, students need extensive coursework in mathematics. Courses include statistics, calculus, and linear algebra. Coursework in computer science is important because analysts rely on advanced statistical and database software to analyze and model data. Courses in other areas, such as engineering, economics, and political science, are useful because operations research is a multidisciplinary field with a wide variety of applications.
Continuing education is important for operations research analysts. Keeping up with advances in technology, software tools, and improved analytical methods is vital.