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Training, Certifications, Skills, Advancement: Operations Research Analysts




Employers generally prefer applicants with at least a masterís degree in operations research or a closely related field, such as computer science, engineering, business, mathematics, information systems, or management science, coupled with a bachelorís degree in computer science or a quantitative discipline such as economics, mathematics, or statistics. Dual graduate degrees in operations research and computer science are especially attractive to employers. Operations research analysts must be able to think logically, use computers proficiently, work well with people, and demonstrate good oral and written communication skills.

In addition to supporting formal education in one manner or another, employers often sponsor training for experienced workers, helping them keep up with new developments in operations research techniques and computer science. Some analysts attend advanced university classes on these subjects at their employerís expense.

Computers are the most important tools used by operations research analysts for performing in-depth analysis. As a result, training and experience in programming are required. Analysts typically need to be proficient in database collection and management, programming, and the development and use of sophisticated software packages.

Beginning analysts usually perform routine work under the supervision of more experienced analysts. As the novices gain knowledge and experience, they are assigned more complex tasks and are given greater autonomy to design models and solve problems. Operations research analysts can advance by assuming positions as technical specialists or supervisors. Analysts also gain valuable insights into the industry or field in which they specialize and may assume higher level nontechnical managerial or administrative positions. Operations research analysts with significant experience may become consultants, and some may even open their own consulting practices.