Operations Research Analysts

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Also known as:  Operations Analyst, Operations Research Analyst, Procedure Analyst, Process Analyst


Making a management decision requires hard data, along with wisdom and leadership. That information is supplied by operations research analysts. Operations research is also called management science, and that's what it is - the science of making decisions and solving problems.

It is a field ...
that combines quantitative analysis, mathematical models, with strategic thinking. The goal is improved performance. Many methods used in operations research were actually developed during World War II, to determine where supplies could best be used. In fact, the Armed Forces continue to rely on operations research analysts, as does private industry.

These analysts deal with issues such as strategy, forecasting, inventory control, personnel scheduling, resource allocation, and distribution systems. In the 21st century, analysts will rely on computers as well as their own skills. So if you're interested in pursuing this career, a computer science background will enhance the expected master's degree or doctorate in operations research, engineering, business, mathematics, information systems, or management science.

While there are few openings in this highly specialized field, those who succeed will work among the top management of companies and government agencies, analyzing problems and finding solutions.
Formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decision making, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May collect and analyze data and develop decision support software, service, or products. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
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Break systems into their component parts, assign numerical values to each component, and examine the mathematical relationships between them.
Observe the current system in operation and gather and analyze information about each of the parts of component problems, using a variety of sources.
Study and analyze information about alternative courses of action to determine which plan will offer the best outcomes.
Formulate mathematical or simulation models of problems, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters.
Develop business methods and procedures, including accounting systems, file systems, office systems, logistics systems, and production schedules.
Design, conduct, and evaluate experimental operational models in cases where models cannot be developed from existing data.
Specify manipulative or computational methods to be applied to models.
Define data requirements and gather and validate information, applying judgment and statistical tests.
Prepare management reports defining and evaluating problems and recommending solutions.
Develop and apply time and cost networks to plan, control, and review large projects.
Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy and reformulate models as necessary.
Interacting 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.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
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.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
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.
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.
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Written Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
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.
Systems Evaluation Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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