Operations Research Analysts
Formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decisionmaking, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May collect and analyze data and develop decision support software, services, or products. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.
Sample of reported job titles: Advanced Analytics Associate, Analytical Strategist, Decision Analyst, Operations Research Analyst, Optimization Analyst
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Formulate mathematical or simulation models of problems, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters.
- Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy and reformulate models as necessary.
- Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.
- Present the results of mathematical modeling and data analysis to management or other end users.
- Collaborate with others in the organization to ensure successful implementation of chosen problem solutions.
- Analyze information obtained from management to conceptualize and define operational problems.
- Study and analyze information about alternative courses of action to determine which plan will offer the best outcomes.
- Prepare management reports defining and evaluating problems and recommending solutions.
- Define data requirements and gather and validate information, applying judgment and statistical tests.
- Observe the current system in operation and gather and analyze information about each of the parts of component problems, using a variety of sources.
- Break systems into their components, assign numerical values to each component, and examine the mathematical relationships between them.
- Design, conduct, and evaluate experimental operational models in cases where models cannot be developed from existing data.
- Educate staff in the use of mathematical models.
- Specify manipulative or computational methods to be applied to models.
- Develop and apply time and cost networks to plan, control, and review large projects.
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- Access software — Citrix
- Accounting software — Fund accounting software
- Analytical or scientific software — IBM SPSS Statistics ; Minitab ; SAS ; The MathWorks MATLAB (see all 21 examples)
- Application server software — GitHub
- Backup or archival software — Veritas NetBackup
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — IBM Cognos Impromptu ; MicroStrategy ; Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition ; Qlik Tech QlikView (see all 5 examples)
- Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Google Drive ; Microsoft SharePoint
- Cloud-based management software — Splunk Enterprise
- Communications server software — IBM Domino
- Computer aided design CAD software — Dassault Systemes CATIA; Mathsoft Mathcad
- Customer relationship management CRM software — Blackbaud The Raiser’s Edge; Oracle Eloqua; Salesforce software
- Data base management system software — Apache Hadoop ; Apache Hive ; Apache Pig ; Teradata Database
- Data base reporting software — Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services ; SAP Crystal Reports ; Strategic Reporting Systems ReportSmith
- Data base user interface and query software — Amazon Redshift ; Microsoft SQL Server ; MySQL ; Structured query language SQL (see all 7 examples)
- Desktop communications software — Eko
- Development environment software — Microsoft Visual Basic ; Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications VBA ; Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition VBScript ; National Instruments LabVIEW (see all 5 examples)
- Electronic mail software — IBM Notes ; Microsoft Exchange
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — NetSuite ERP ; Oracle Hyperion ; Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ; Oracle PeopleSoft (see all 7 examples)
- Enterprise system management software — IBM Power Systems software
- Financial analysis software — Business Forecast Systems Forecast Pro; Oracle E-Business Suite Financials
- Geographic information system — ESRI ArcExplorer; ESRI ArcGIS software ; Geographic information system GIS software
- Human resources software — Human resource management software HRMS; Oracle Taleo
- Information retrieval or search software — LexisNexis
- Map creation software — Microsoft MapPoint
- Network monitoring software — Wireshark
- Object or component oriented development software — Perl ; R ; Scala ; Swift (see all 9 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Bash ; Oracle Solaris ; Shell script ; UNIX Shell (see all 10 examples)
- Presentation software — Google Slides; Microsoft PowerPoint
- Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio ; ProModel
- Project management software — Microsoft Project
- Risk management data and analysis software — iGrafx
- Sales and marketing software — Marketo Marketing Automation
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Transaction security and virus protection software — McAfee
- Word processing software — Google Docs ; Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- 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.
- 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.
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- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- 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.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- 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.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- 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 that there is a problem.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
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- Working 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.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- 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.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Develop scientific or mathematical models.
- Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
- Present research results to others.
- Analyze data to identify or resolve operational problems.
- Analyze project data to determine specifications or requirements.
- Apply mathematical principles or statistical approaches to solve problems in scientific or applied fields.
- Determine appropriate methods for data analysis.
- Document operational activities.
- Evaluate data quality.
- Analyze data to identify trends or relationships among variables.
- Conduct research to gain information about products or processes.
- Troubleshoot issues with computer applications or systems.
- Design computer modeling or simulation programs.
- Train others on work processes.
- Develop detailed project plans.
- Manage budgets for appropriate resource allocation.
- Apply information technology to solve business or other applied problems.
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- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 75% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 63% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 74% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Telephone — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 45% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 40% responded “Very important results.”
- Contact With Others — 53% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 30% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Time Pressure — 60% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Important.”
- Level of Competition — 50% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Letters and Memos — 37% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
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|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: ICE Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
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- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
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- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$41.44 hourly, $86,200 annual|
|Employment (2020)||104,100 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Much faster than average (15% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||10,200|
|Top industries (2020)||
Finance and Insurance
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Airline Group of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies
- American Statistical Association
- Association for Computing Machinery
- Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
- Decision Sciences Institute
- Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
- Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers
- Mathematical Programming Society
- Military Operations Research Society
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Operations research analysts
- Production and Operations Management Society
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