Summary Report for:
15-2031.00 - Operations Research Analysts
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.
Sample of reported job titles: Analytical Strategist, Business Analytics Director, Business Insight and Analytics Manager, Decision Analyst, Operations Research Analyst, Operations Research Group Manager, Operations Research Manager, Scientist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | 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.
- Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.
- Collaborate with others in the organization to ensure successful implementation of chosen problem solutions.
- Prepare management reports defining and evaluating problems and recommending solutions.
- Study and analyze information about alternative courses of action to determine which plan will offer the best outcomes.
- Specify manipulative or computational methods to be applied to models.
- Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy and reformulate models as necessary.
- Define data requirements and gather and validate information, applying judgment and statistical tests.
- Analyze information obtained from management to conceptualize and define operational problems.
- Observe the current system in operation and gather and analyze information about each of the parts of component problems, using a variety of sources.
- Design, conduct, and evaluate experimental operational models in cases where models cannot be developed from existing data.
- Break systems into their component parts, assign numerical values to each component, and examine the mathematical relationships between them.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
Technology used in this occupation:
- Accounting software — Fund accounting software
- Analytical or scientific software — LINDO Systems LINGO; Minitab software ; Stanford Business Software SNOPT; Telelogic System Architect (see all 24 examples)
- Backup or archival software — Veritas NetBackup
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — IBM Cognos Impromptu ; MicroStrategy software ; Qlik Tech QlikView ; Tableau software (see all 5 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Dassault Systemes CATIA software ; Mathsoft Mathcad
- Customer relationship management CRM software — Oracle Eloqua software
- Data base management system software — Apache Pig ; Teradata Database
- Data base reporting software — SAP Crystal Reports ; Strategic Reporting Systems ReportSmith
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access ; Microsoft SQL Server software ; MySQL software ; Structured query language SQL (see all 5 examples)
- Development environment software — C ; Microsoft Visual Basic
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Oracle Hyperion software ; Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ; SAP Business Objects software ; SAP software
- Enterprise system management software — IBM Power Systems software ; Splunk Enterprise
- Financial analysis software — Business Forecast Systems Forecast Pro
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Microsoft Visio
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcGIS software ; Microsoft MapPoint
- Network monitoring software — Wireshark
- Object or component oriented development software — C++ ; Practical extraction and reporting language Perl ; Python ; Sybase PowerBuilder (see all 6 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Operating system software — Cisco Systems IOS; Job control language JCL ; Linux ; UNIX
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Microsoft Project ; Microsoft SharePoint software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Transaction security and virus protection software — McAfee software
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- 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.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- 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.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- 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.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- 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.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- 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.
- Communicating with Persons Outside 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.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Detailed Work Activities
- Analyze data to identify trends or relationships among variables.
- Develop detailed project plans.
- Document operational activities.
- Analyze data to identify or resolve operational problems.
- Apply information technology to solve business or other applied problems.
- Evaluate data quality.
- Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
- Develop scientific or mathematical models.
- Apply mathematical principles or statistical approaches to solve problems in scientific or applied fields.
- Determine appropriate methods for data analysis.
- Troubleshoot issues with computer applications or systems.
- Analyze project data to determine specifications or requirements.
- Design computer modeling or simulation programs.
- Conduct research to gain information about products or processes.
- Manage budgets for appropriate resource allocation.
- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 62% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 67% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 44% responded “Some freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 56% responded “Some freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 63% responded “Important results.”
- Contact With Others — 33% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Level of Competition — 44% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Letters and Memos — 48% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Time Pressure — 63% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 37% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 41% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
|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 librarians, lawyers, sports medicine physicians, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:
Interest code: ICE
- 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.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- 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.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- 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.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2015)||$37.80 hourly, $78,630 annual|
|Employment (2014)||91,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Much faster than average (14% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||43,900|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- Operations research analysts . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.