How to Get Started
as an Operations Analyst

Refine Your Skills and Remain Relevant

An operations research analyst studies problems at companies and develops strategies to solve them. This professional has a broad skill set in data science as they regularly deal with data management while serving as a member of the operations team.

The skills needed for this career can be obtained through multiple avenues, including online courses, coding bootcamps, community colleges, and even universities. This article will provide all the information you need to know about how to become an operations analyst to get you started.

What Is an Operations Analyst?

An operations analyst uses analytical skills and a range of methods to develop and implement business practices that facilitate optimal performance within an organizational structure. Overall, they are experts at locating and solving problems to help companies function more efficiently.

An operation analyst actually takes many forms, depending on the industry they work in and the responsibilities organizational stakeholders assign to them. In this line of work you will collaborate with other operations research analysts, operations managers, business analysts, IT operations analysts, data analysts, and business intelligence practitioners.

How Does Operations Analysis Relate to Data Science?

One of the key skills most associated with an operations analyst role is some form of data analysis. Data analysis is at the core of any operations research. Business operations specialists are required to evaluate internal tools, procedures, practices, and general operations within a company.

Having consumed, interpreted, and evaluated the data at their disposal, business operations analysts will then be required to draft and implement potential solutions to business problems, with the aim of improving new and existing product lines.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Operations Analyst?

The educational requirement for an operations analyst can range anywhere from four to six years, depending on the education track that they pursue and the industry that they wish to work in. If you attend graduate school, that will require an additional two years. Some potential employers also require you to have a certification, which can take a few weeks or months to earn.

To become an operations analyst, you will need advanced math skills, advanced computer software skills, security operations skills, and a certain level of business acumen. The business component to this can be learned at a traditional school of business, like Columbia University or Northeastern University, where you will likely need to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Where to Study Operations Analysis

The scope of study for somebody who wishes to become an operations research analyst can be quite broad. For some people, there will be greater emphasis on the technical subjects, while others will feel more comfortable focusing on the business components.

To become an operations research analyst you could enroll in a business school or you could enroll at institutions that are more famed for their scientific and technical instruction. For a career in operations analysis, you will need both skills.

Operations Analysis Community Colleges

While at community college, you could earn an associate degree in business or enroll in a degree program in information technology that will take about two years to complete. In some instances, this will be enough to land an entry-level position and forge a successful career in business tech.

Apart from giving you a solid grounding in mathematics, data literacy, and statistics, associate programs in operations research will also prepare you for a bachelor’s if you want to continue your studies. They could also prepare you to earn certifications that will set you off on any career path from database administration to operations management or operations analysis.

Operations Analysis Universities

Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Operations Research or a related field such as data science is one of the most common ways of preparing for an operations analyst role. A bachelor’s degree also prepares you for more advanced degree programs.

If you have a strong technical skillset but lack business savvy, you could also enroll for a graduate degree at a trusted business school. These university options are most suitable for people who need statistical analysis skills to perform managerial or executive tasks. They are usually necessary for those seeking promotion within an organizational structure.

Operations Analysis Coding Bootcamps

There are multiple bootcamps relevant to this line of work that will teach you in-demand skills for technical fields in a matter of weeks or months. You could attend a bootcamp program that specializes in big data, business intelligence, or data analytics.

Many bootcamps also offer career services to help graduates find a stable career. These might include resume review, interview prep, career coaching, and networking assistance. Some bootcamps even offer a job guarantee.

Operations Analysis Online Courses

There are multiple data science and analytics courses available online that will adequately prepare you for an entry-level operations analyst position. Your typical data science or analytics course will cover subjects like statistical analysis, linear algebra, software packages, and other complex issues that will be necessary for this line of work.

While it is true that most companies hiring operations research analysts will require that you complete some form of degree, these courses usually provide the foundation that you need to excel in this field.

Woman sits with a laptop and uses a smartphone. How to Become an Operations Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Become an Operations Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide

Getting started on your path to becoming an operations analyst can be daunting, so we put together the following guide to help you decide where to begin. There are a lot of technical and soft skills required for this role, so you will need to spend the time to develop your abilities to succeed.

Research quantitative analysis

Do some reading on what it means to become an operations analyst and make sure you know the demands of the role. This will also help you narrow down what field you want to work in, which can help you choose an educational path.

Evaluate your skills

Among the key skills associated with operations analysts include strong problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, writing skills, interpersonal skills, and communication skills. Beyond that, you need to be able to navigate your way around database software, sophisticated computer software, and statistical software.

Read up on industry trends

Read about advances in technology relevant to the field. Look at things like employment projection, job postings, and what your annual salary might be. You want to know if it would be worth your while to pursue an operations analysis career.


Once you know this is the field for you, you can start exploring some relevant education tracks. Among other things, you should prepare yourself for extensive coursework in mathematics, programming languages, security operations, technology systems, and creative solutions.

Get some practical experience

In an industry like this, there is no better training than on-the-job training, where you will learn to draft and implement a wide range of practical solutions for the real world. Working in entry-level roles will also help you build up your resume.

Entry-Level Operations Analyst Job Requirements

The skills that you need most to become an operations analyst include management science, process improvement, data analysis, and operations management. In a bid to increase your earning potential, you should try and establish a strong background in some form of business analysis.

Operations Analyst Salary and Job Outlook

According to Glassdoor, the median salary for an operations analyst is about $61,000 per year. If you are employed at the lower end of the industry you can expect to earn about $44,000 per year. If you are employed at the higher end of the industry, you can expect to earn just under $90,000 per year.

The job growth for operations research analysts over the next decade is expected to be 25 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary and employment projection for operations managers provide the perfect recipe for a successful career path in this field.

Example Operational Analyst Job Interview Questions

  • What are the most important skills for a data analyst to improve business operations?
  • Tell us about a project where you were working with a relatively large data set and describe the process you followed to gather and prepare the data for analysis.\
  • Describe to us an analysis project you have worked on where the results surprised you. Explain why you were surprised.
  • Tell us about your knowledge of statistics and how you have used this knowledge in your analytical projects.

What Does an Operations Analyst Do?

The core function of any operations analyst is to address any operational issues that might arise within any organizational structure. There is a wide variety of tasks linked to this because this responsibility affects every department within that firm. Learn more about some of these tasks below.

Spot Problems

A basic task of the operations analyst is to identify structural, technical, and procedural issues that might arise within a company supply chain. The real skill is to spot those problems before they become problems and identify possible solutions.

Formulate Remedial Action

Once potential issues have been identified, the onus will then be on operations analysts to draft and implement practical solutions to the problems and communicate their conclusions to managers. Finding these solutions requires strong business analytics skills.

Adapt To Change

Because the market is constantly evolving, it’s up to the operations analyst to keep up with changes. Operations analysts need to study and understand market needs and recommend the improvements required to help the company not only survive the winds of change but also to thrive in the face of those changes.

Essential Operations Analyst Skills and Certifications

Essential Operations Analyst Skills and Certifications

The skills that you have, along with documentation to prove your level of competence, will have a sizable impact on your earning potential and the trajectory of your career path. Take a look at the following list of skills you will need to succeed, and what certifications you can earn to prove your mastery.

Operation Analyst Skills

Regression Testing

Regression testing is designed to fix bugs, enhance software, configure changes, and substitute electronic components. Incorporated into regression testing is something called change impact analysis, which serves to identify the potential consequences of any changes that might be implemented.

Functional Analysis

This is merely one facet of mathematical analysis, which is partly designed to examine probabilities. As this is an essential part of an operations analyst’s job, having a strong math background can help you succeed in this career.

Requirements Analysis

Requirements analysis involves establishing user expectations and needs, then ensuring that you have the capacity to meet those expectations. It is especially relevant when a company is delivering a new product.

Operations Analyst Certifications

The most relevant certifications for an operations analyst are sanctioned by the International Institute of Business Analysis, which offers up a number of certification programs that should set you on the path to a successful career in the field.

The Entry Certificate In Business Analysis tests your competence in business analysis key concepts techniques and underlying competencies. This credential will display your skills in business administration, life cycle management, and abilities in planning and monitoring alternative solutions to business problems.

The Certification of Capability in Business Analysis tests your competence with analysis and design, solution evaluation, and strategy analysis. This is in addition to business analysis planning and monitoring, and life cycle management. Before you can sit this certification exam, you will need two years of proven practical experience.

The Certified Business Analysis Professional certification is designed for people with extensive business analysis experience. The primary goal for people planning to sit this exam will be to increase earning potential in the long term. Earning this impressive certification will also help you gain higher-level positions.

Reasons to Become an Operations Analyst in 2022

There is a high demand for operations research analysts in a wide array of fields, and that demand is only expected to increase. These professionals can earn above-average salaries and their extensive technical and soft skills provide them with career diversity if they wish to move into a different field.

xxx FAQ

What is operational analytical processing?

Analytical processing is a form of operations research analytics. That in turn is a branch of data analytics. Together, all of those components are tools used to improve the entire operations of a company.

What is operational intelligence?

Operational intelligence (OI) is a form of business analytics designed to help businesses make better decisions. It involves identifying solutions based on the analytical insights produced through manual and automated actions and procedures.

What is IT operations analytics?

IT operations analytics revolves around the extraction, analysis, and reporting of big data. The results of this analysis will be used to improve IT operations within an organization. The whole point of this process is to make more informed decisions on how to reduce the cost of running a business while increasing revenues.

How is descriptive statistics related to data science?

Descriptive statistics is a quantitative analytical method, which involves the use and analysis of statistics to provide simple visual summaries that are easier to consume, especially for those who are not directly involved with the subject matter.

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