How to Become an Operations Analyst


How to Become an Operations Analyst: Career Path Guide

If you want to become an operations analyst, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an operations analyst:


• You enjoy advising others in an area in which you are skilled

• The idea of helping organizations increase their operational efficiency sounds interesting to you

• You enjoy analyzing raw data for the purpose of solving problems

• You have a good understanding of mathematical and business concepts

• You have the ability to choose the right quantitative analysis methods to solve a complex problem

• You are able to communicate technical information to people who do not have a technical background


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an operations analyst. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Operations Analyst

Many employers, particularly consultancies, prefer to hire candidates for operations analyst jobs that have earned a master’s degree in a field such as management science, mathematics, operations research or that have an undergraduate or graduate degree in industrial engineering.


Some employers however, may hire candidates with only a bachelor’s degree in one of these fields, typically on the condition that they are, or plan on working towards a graduate degree.




Operations Analyst Job Description

Operations analysts develop decision support systems for the decision makers of organizations. They use advanced analytical methods, mathematical modeling techniques and information technology to compare the outcomes of alternative strategies and predict system performance.


Operations analysts use advanced quantitative methods and qualitative problem-structuring techniques and simulation for the overall purpose of increasing the operational effectiveness and efficiency of a specified product development or service provision system. They are also concerned with:


• Examining system assumptions

• Facilitating an in-depth understanding of an organization’s operations

• Helping management decide on practical action

• Supporting systems change

• Reviewing progress



Operational Analyst Career: Sectors of Industry

Operations analysts are employed in virtually every sector of industry. Some examples of work system problems their work is intended to help solve include:


Financial Sector: Manage risk and optimize investment portfolio performance


Forestry Sector: Help decide how to manage large tracts of forestry land


Oils and Gas (Energy) Sector: Evaluate the profitability of prospective oil and gas projects


Airline Sector: Develop pricing strategies for airlines, schedule crews and develop disaster recovery plans


Municipal Services Sector: Devise police officer schedules that minimize response time


Healthcare Sector: Plan the deployment of emergency medical services, such as ambulances


Manufacturing Industry: Design or increase the efficiency of production systems



Operations Analyst Job Duties

• Meet with company decision makers to identify problems and clarify management objectives

• Examine a company's current procedures and systems

• Observe and interview staff

• Observe the current system in operation, if possible

• Analyze the research results using various mathematical, statistical and business theories

• Use computers to develop and run models and investigate the merits of alternate courses of action

• Manage and analyze large amounts of data that describe how systems operate and perform

• Devise and test solutions to identified system problems

• Report findings to client

• Make recommendations as to where changes can be made

• Advise managers how to implement changes



Who Creates Jobs for Operations Analysts?

Operations analysts are typically hired on a full-time or contractual basis by the following types of organizations:


• Large process, manufacturing and service firms

• Management consulting firms

• Colleges and universities

• Logistic firms

• Private research institutions

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments





Skills Needed to Become an Operations Analyst

In order to become effective in a career as an operations analyst, you need to posses a certain set of technical, interpersonal and communications skills. These skills will allow you to perform your job duties with competence, and they include:


• Skills in statistics, calculus, linear algebra, and other advanced mathematical disciplines

• Excellent analytical abilities

• Good spatial perception

• Good modeling skills for solving complex problems

• Good understanding of business fundamentals

• Able to evaluate the costs and benefits of alternative solutions before making a recommendation

• Able to communicate technical information to people who do not have a technical background



Characteristics Needed to Become an Operations Analyst

In order to enjoy performing the duties of an operations analyst, you need to have certain personality traits. Taking enjoyment from your job duties as an operations analyst is important, as it helps you maintain a positive attitude towards your work, which usually leads to having a long and successful career.


• Enjoy intellectually stimulating work

• Enjoy synthesizing information

• Enjoy developing innovative solutions to complex problems

• Enjoy applying statistical theory and mathematical techniques to problems

• Enjoy advising others



Career Advancement for Operations Analysts

Many operational researchers begin their careers in entry-level positions and learn from more experienced analysts. As their level of experience grows, they may take on more responsibilities.


Experienced operations analysts that demonstrate a solid work ethic, aptitude, accountability and initiative may be promoted to project or team leader and then to manager of an OR department. They may also choose to become self-employed as a management consultant.



Operations Analyst Salary

The salary level of operations analysts can vary depending on a multitude of factors, including:


• Their level of education

• Their level of experience and aptitude

• The industry the work within

• The size and type of their employer


Operations Analyst Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the salary level of Canadian workers in the Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group is $63,981 per year.


Operations Analyst Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary level of American workers in the Operations Research Analysts occupational group is $72,100. The lowest 10% of salaries in this group are less than $40,550, and the top 10% are above $129,490 per year.



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Careers Similar to Operations Analyst

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Operations Analyst, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Business Analyst

Industrial Engineer

IT Analyst

Operations Manager

Quantitative Analyst



References: Operations Analyst Career Information

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an operations analyst.


Occupations in Alberta:Operations Research Analyst.” (February 8, 2013). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 6, 2020.

Math:Operations Research Analysts.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 6, 2020.

Explore Careers: Operational Researcher.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved January 6, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming an Operations Analyst

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming an Operations Analyst can be found on our Industrial Engineering Scholarships and Mathematics Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming an Operations Analyst : Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an operations analyst. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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