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An Operations Research Analyst applies mathematics and quantitative reasoning to solve problems and provide solutions for the complex issues that organizations face. They use modeling, mathematical theory and algorithms in business areas such as inventory, logistics, planning, scheduling and forecasting. Organizations employ Operations Research Analysts to improve their business practices and to help them make better decisions. An Operations Research Analyst may be a member of a company’s staff or may work through consulting firms. They generally work as part of a team.

Operations Research Analysts are in demand across many sectors, in all areas of business and government, particularly by the Department of Defense. More and more organizations are seeking cost-savings and efficiency in how they do business and are turning to Operations Research Analysts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment of Operations Research Analysts to increase 30 percent by 2024.

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Operations Research Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

To accomplish their primary goal of using mathematic and analytic methods to help organizations make better decisions, Operation Research Analysts perform a variety of tasks. We analyzed several job listings to identify these core Operations Research Analyst duties and responsibilities.

Collect Data and Conduct Assessments

Operations Research Analysts collect information from a wide variety of sources. They develop and implement surveys and conduct assessments. This information is categorized and entered into databases, which Operation Research Analysts build and maintain.

Analyze Data and Identify Solutions

Operations Research Analysts analyze the data they collect to evaluate for cost, effectiveness, risk, or identify issues. Analysis can be done through statistics, modeling and simulations or other methods.

Develop Software and Models

To assist in their analysis or to present solutions and courses of action, the Operations Research Analyst develops software, mathematical models, models and simulations, analytical programs and other tools.

Report on Findings

Based on the outputs from their analysis, Operations Research Analysts write reports, memos, information papers, and briefings to present their findings and recommendations to management. They advise leadership on possible courses of action to address the identified problem.

Test and Implement Solutions

Based on the decision of leadership, the Operations Research Analyst often participates in the testing and implementation of new systems, to ensure that the plan is successful, gather information and interpret the results.

Operations Research Analyst Skills

An Operations Research Analyst is inquisitive, enjoys applying mathematical solutions to real-world problems, and finds satisfaction in making processes more smooth and efficient. A careful and detail-oriented worker, they can think both analytically and creatively. Along with these general skills and personality traits, employers are seeking Operations Research Analyst candidates with the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Operations Research Analysts with these core skills. If you want to work as an Operations Research Analyst, focus on the following.
  • Professional knowledge of mathematical programming, data mining, statistical, econometric and other scientific methods and techniques
  • Knowledge of business principles
  • Strong oral, written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Java, Matlab, Python, or R programming experience, and proficiency in developing prototype software applications
  • Technically proficient with Excel, SPSS, Qualtrics, and Microsoft Office products

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Operations Research Analyst toolbox and broaden your career options.
  • Experience in operations research, mathematics, and/or statistics in an industrial/applied environment, or with the U.S. military
  • Exposure to SQL packages and interaction with relational database systems
  • Knowledge of machine learning, Markov process and other stochastic processes
  • Ability to obtain U.S. Government security clearance

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Operations Research Analyst Resources

We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as an Operations Research Analyst. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.

On the Web

WORMS WorldWideWeb for Operations Research and Management Science

A grassroots community of Operation Research Analysts, with news, stories, and insights.

Punk Rock OR

A relatable blog by an Operations Research Analyst of the relevant issues that interest them.


A professor provides insights into the many different types of projects that Operations Research Analysts work on.

On LinkedIn

Statistics & Analytics Consultants Group

Network with over 52,000 consultants in the field.

Jeffrey Strickland, Ph.D., CMSP

writes about all aspects of business analytics.

Industry Groups

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences

Has a large library of scholarly journals, and provides certification and training for members.

IFORS International Federation of Operational Research Societies

A global network of likeminded Analysts, with links to many resources.

SIAM Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

Keep up to date on news in the world of Research Operations Analysts, and find out about events happening all over the world.


Guide to Military Operations Research (OR): ORSA Systems Analysis Principles, Techniques, and Applications

By U.S. Government Read the history of Operations Research in U.S. Army .

Production and Operations Analysis

by Steven Nahmias Learn about the analytical methods used to support the functions of production and operations management.

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