How do I Become an Operations Research Analyst?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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An operations research analyst reviews huge sets of data and provides valuable insights into possible solutions to complex problems. This type of postilion can be found in research and academic institutions as well as large organizations. The items you will need to become an operations research analyst include a post-secondary education, computer skills, analytical thinking skills and related experience.

The term "operations research" refers to a combination of applied math and science using statistics, algorithms and complex math. The work of an operations research analyst primarily is focused on finding the upper and lower limits of a potential or current operation. For example, in agriculture, the analyst can calculate the maximum and minimum crop yield values as part of a forecasting exercise. He or she uses data from multiple sources to predict the possible outcomes. This information can then be used as a basis for making decisions.

An operations research analyst is dedicated to a very specific discipline that combines science and math. As a result, you must successfully complete a graduate-level education in either of these fields in order to become an operations research analyst. Courses in probability, mathematical modeling and related topics are essential to this position. These programs are available from many accredited universities, with scholarships available to candidates with excellent academic performance.


Advanced computer skills are necessary to become an operations research analyst, because of the reliance on powerful computers to create complex models. These skills are very specific and typically are obtained throughout the course of a post-secondary training program or from employer-provided training. Dedication to continuing education is critical, because these tools are subject to continual change and enhancement.

Analytical thinking skills include the use of a variety of problem-solving models, finding new ways to look at data and evaluating the options. This type of thinking is developed only through formal training in mathematics, computers, statistics and science. Some people are naturally inclined to analytical thinking and find it much easier to learn these concepts. Many people who have trained in computer science make the transition to operations research analysis because of the reliance on a related skill set.

You usually can obtain the experience necessary to become an operations research analyst while you are completing the educational requirements. Research projects, participating in complex analysis and working on class assignments are the most common ways to gain the necessary experience. You also can hone your computer skills through cooperative job placements or internships, which often are arranged by the school.



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