Learn About Being an Operations Analyst
What does an operations analyst do?
Operations analysts help companies solve internal problems and implement goal-oriented strategies. They use mathematical models and statistical analysis to evaluate problems, calculate risk and forecast outcomes. No matter their industry, operations analysts typically handle the following responsibilities:
- Identify operational problems. Operations analysts usually begin by talking with stakeholders about potential concerns and identifying the source of the issue. These operational problems can range from cost and staffing issues to supply chain and production concerns.
- Use models to research issues. To resolve the issues they identify, operations analysts use a variety of modeling strategies. They collect information from employees and internal tools, and they use software programs for statistical modeling and data analysis. During this research phase, operations analysts often forecast the results of multiple solutions before determining the most effective option.
- Recommend solutions. After researching operational issues, operations analysts prepare reports and presentations to demonstrate their recommended solutions. They often assist with implementing these solutions and monitoring their results, too.
- Collaborate with colleagues. Because they handle such complex problems, operations analysts often work on teams. They usually collaborate with other analysts, researchers and project managers as they research, model and implement solutions.
Operations analysts typically work full-time jobs and receive annual salaries. Their education and experience level, as well as their employers’ location and industry, factors into the average salary for this position.
- Common salary in the U.S.: $57,740 per year
- Some salaries range from $14,000 to $132,000 per year.
Operations analyst requirements
Operations analysts need a bachelor’s degree, on-the-job training and technical skills. Some also pursue a master’s degree and or certification.
All entry-level operations analysts need a bachelor’s degree, and many need a master’s degree for higher-level positions. Most field professionals focus on the following majors or areas of study:
- Business administration. With a business administration degree, you can master the essentials of working in the business world, including the fundamentals of finance and the basics of management. Many business administration degrees also offer an opportunity to specialize in a focus area, such as project management or operations analysis.
- Engineering. An engineering degree can prepare you to work in research and development, teach you how to solve multifaceted problems and use math and science to analyze issues. With an engineering degree, you can also master teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills.
- Operations research and management. With a degree in operations research, you can expect to master quantitative research, statistical analysis and model building. This degree can also help you learn high-level math and computer skills essential for operations analysts.
- Statistics. A degree in statistics can help you learn the basics of probability and data analysis. With this degree, you can also acquire high-level math and science skills that you can apply in an operations analyst role.
Operations analysts typically complete on-the-job training. These training programs are typically company-specific and may last between a week and a month. Analysts who do work for external clients may be required to complete their training or orientation programs as well.
A professional certification is not usually essential for operations analysts, but earning one can demonstrate competence and commitment. Many operations analysts pursue the Certified Analytics Professional credential from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
To get this credential, operations analysts need a bachelor’s degree and five years of professional experience, or a master’s degree and three years of relevant work experience and a passing score on the official exam.
To succeed as an operations analyst, you need the following skills:
- Analytical skills. Excellent analytical and research skills are essential for this career. Most operations analysts master data and statistical analysis while earning a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.
- Communication skills. Since operations analysts collaborate with colleagues and clients frequently, they need strong communication skills. To develop your writing and speaking skills, you can practice breaking your messages down into short, easy-to-understand points.
- Computer skills. Operations analysts use standard office software as well as database and customer relationship management (CRM) applications regularly. To master these programs, you can take online tutorials to master word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database and CRM software.
- Math skills. Since operations analysts regularly do complex calculations, they need advanced math skills. Most aspiring professionals in this field take high-level calculus, statistics and modeling coursework when they pursue their bachelor’s degrees.
- Problem-solving skills. Operations analysts specialize in identifying, researching and recommending methods for addressing business issues. They need strong problem-solving skills to help them determine the right models and software to use as they strive to resolve complex concerns.
Operations analyst work environment
Operations analysts generally work in office settings, where they do their jobs at desks and in conference rooms. Some operations analysts also work in clients’ offices, which may require travel. They usually operate in teams, especially when working for larger clients or handling complex issues.
How to become an operations analyst
Follow these four steps to succeed as an operations analyst:
- Get a bachelor’s degree. To learn the basics of statistical analysis and operations management, earn a bachelor’s degree. Choose from common majors like business administration, statistics or operations research and management to master the fundamentals.
- Consider a master’s degree. To improve your standing as a candidate, consider completing a master’s degree program, too. While this is not an essential step, it can enhance your understanding of the industry and qualify you for more competitive operations analyst jobs.
- Pursue a professional certification. Think about earning a professional certificate in operations analysis to demonstrate your commitment to the industry and help you distinguish yourself as a candidate. Many aspiring operations analysts pursue the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences’ Certified Analytics Professional credential.
- Earn work experience. Many operations analysts learn the basics of the job by getting entry-level positions in the industry. Try seeking out junior analyst or operations roles to gain experience that can help you prepare for an operations analyst role.
Operations analyst job description example
Lee Consulting Firm is seeking an experienced operations analyst to advise clients on improving business processes and increasing efficiency. The ideal candidate will have a comprehensive understanding of operations research, statistical analysis and predictive modeling. The successful candidate will also be able to present recommendations to clients and effectively communicate processes. If you are an organized, results-driven operations analyst, please submit your application. We look forward to discussing this position with you.
If you excel at complex research, statistical analysis and business development, you may also have an interest in one of the following related careers: