Operations analysts play an important role in many different sectors and industries. They use data analysis and stakeholder insights to help organizations improve their operations. Now is a great time to consider becoming an operations analyst, as the field has an extremely high growth rate and impressive salaries.
If you want to become an operations analyst, there are several steps you must take to launch your career. This guide will discuss how to become an operations analyst along with important information about the job including salary, the level of education required, job training, and certifications.
What Is an Operations Analyst?
Operations analysts are professionals that review and improve an organization’s processes and operational issues. They use data and analysis to solve internal problems and implement goal-oriented strategies for organizations.
These experts work closely with the operations team and a range of organizational stakeholders. They are business operations specialists whose main goal is to ensure that the company tasks flow smoothly. Some choose to specialize, for example as a financial operations analyst.
Operations Analyst Job Description
The operations analyst role is responsible for evaluating the operations, policies, and procedures of a company. They develop new projects and implement them while ensuring optimal output and performance.
These experts analyze complex datasets, find opportunities for improvement, and collaborate with employees and stakeholders to implement changes. The operations analyst must find ways to enhance business operations. They advise staff on new processes that improve the workflow.
Operations Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), operations analysts earned a median annual salary of $86,200 in 2020. The salary is often determined by experience so they can earn more as they gather more experience.
Demand for operations research and analysis is also impressive. BLS predicts employment growth of 25 percent between 2019 and 2029. This is a lot higher than the average for all professions, which is just four percent.
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Top Reasons to Become an Operations Analyst in 2021
People generally choose to become an operations analyst because they enjoy handling data and investigative work. Another reason people are attracted to the field is that they are highly compensated for their skills. Below are the top reasons to become an operations analyst.
- Career diversity. You’ll have lots of career options and can find work in many different industries. This includes healthcare, tech, manufacturing, and government agencies.
- Good compensation. Operation analysts earn more than other occupations on average.
- Stable routine. This role doesn’t require a lot of travel and has a more stable routine centered around office work.
- Part of a team. Operations analysis requires a lot of teamwork. These experts work with other professionals to identify problems and solutions to keep the workflow running smoothly.
Operations Analyst Job Requirements
To get a job as an operations analyst, you must meet a few key requirements. The requirements are not static, and they may vary depending on the employer. The educational requirement for an entry-level operations analyst position may be more lenient. While some require bachelor’s degrees, others focus on experience.
- Degree. Most operations analyst positions require a bachelor’s degree in business-related fields.
- Experience. Some employers require candidates to have experience working as an analyst in a similar role.
- Analytical skills. To work as an operations analyst, you need analytical skills to solve complex issues.
- Statistical knowledge. Statistical knowledge is also required because these experts may need to work with data.
Types of Operations Analyst Careers
As an operations analyst, there are many careers you can comfortably pursue. These roles include becoming an analyst, business analyst, or a project or operations manager. These roles are very similar in their core so require minimal extra job training if you choose to change between them.
Analysts are versatile professionals as they work in different industries. They are able to analyze data or businesses. The field is broad, so many of these experts choose to specialize. For example, with some additional training you could become a technical analyst or a financial operations analyst.
A business analyst focuses solely on finding solutions to business problems and increasing revenue. They analyze the market system, processes, and environment of a business to help make better data-driven decisions.
Project managers plan and execute projects. They are responsible for the day-to-day management of projects for an organization.
Operations Analyst Meaning: What Does an Operations Analyst Do?
The day-to-day responsibility of an operations analyst may depend on the particular sector or industry. However, their role generally revolves around identifying problems and working with other colleagues to find and implements solutions.
Operations analysts are responsible for identifying potential concerns and issues. They discuss these concerns with clients and stakeholders. Some of the problems include logistical constraints and staffing concerns.
They also recommend solutions based on their analysis and research through regularly reporting and presenting their conclusions to managers and other organizational stakeholders. These reports set out the problems and potential solutions, costs, and other consequences.
Operation analysts collaborate with other team members such as researchers, analysts, and managers to ensure that the solutions are implemented properly. These experts hardly work alone, regardless of which industry they work in.
Essential Operations Analyst Skills
To thrive as an operations analyst, you’ll need a strong combination of soft skills and technical skills. These include analytical thinking, computer skills, and interpersonal skills. You also need advanced math and statistical skills.
Analytical Thinking Skills
You’ll perform data analysis on large datasets using a range of methods and identify issues within an organization. Analytical skills come in handy when filtering through meaningful data to find what you need. You also need to have strong problem-solving skills as well as critical thinking skills.
As an operations analyst, you need good communications ksills to collaborate with team members to implement practical solutions. The role requires both good writing skills and verbal communication skills to create reports and presentations to encourage organization-wide change.
Operation analysts work with different datasets and software. Most job postings require you to have advanced knowledge of CRM tools, spreadsheets, databases, and PowerPoint presentations.
As a business operations specialist, you need to be able to gain an in-depth understanding of all areas of the business. This will help you be able to identify issues and make recommendations for process improvements.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Operations Analyst?
Typically, it takes around four years to become an operations analyst depending on the route you take. Bachelor’s degrees take four years to complete. However, if you choose to attend a community college it may only take two years.
Coding bootcamps are also a viable option. These programs take an average of 13 weeks and students can choose the learning schedule that works best for them.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become an Operations Analyst?
Coding bootcamps can prepare you for a career in operations research analysis. Some offer programs like software engineering and project management. A coding bootcamp may not offer a comprehensive education as a university does, but they do focus on essential skills you need to get a job.
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The programs also offer practical training to help students build their portfolio before completing the program. They are relatively affordable and offer different ways to manage the financial obligations.
Can I Become an Operations Analyst from Home?
You can become an operations analyst from home if you attend an online coding bootcamp or online courses. Some universities also offer remote training for students. This allows you to learn at your own pace and get a degree.
How to Become an Operations Analyst: A Step-by-Step Guide
There are many different paths to become an operations analyst. However, the most common path is through obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Many employers list a bachelor’s degree as an educational requirement for entry-level jobs, but not all.
Step 1: Education
A degree in operations research, statistics, or a related field can give you the foundation you need to work as an operations analyst. You can also enroll in courses like business administration, data analytics, finance, economics, and accounting.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
After receiving the necessary education, the next step is to gain some experience. Internships are an excellent option. You can also attend a coding bootcamp to receive job-specific practical training.
Step 3: Earn a Graduate Degree
After gaining some work experience, you’re ready to apply for a job. Alternatively, some people choose to go on to complete advanced degree programs, which could lead to higher-level positions and increase your salary potential.
Best Schools and Education for an Operations Analyst Career
There are a few educational paths if you want to pursue a career as an operation analyst. These include bootcamps, community colleges, and universities. We’ve explained some of these paths below so you can choose the option that works best for you.
Operations Analyst Bootcamps
These bootcamps offer short, immersive programs for students who want to transition to technical fields. These programs teach the fundamentals of operations research analysis. They have both online and in-person training.
These schools don’t generally train students to take up roles in tech or as operations analysts. This won’t be the best way to get the required education for a career path in operations analysis.
Community colleges offer associate degrees in relevant subjects like economics, engineering, and data science. Some colleges offer associate degree programs specifically in operations research and analysis.
Associate degrees typically take full-time students two years to complete. In some cases, there are internship opportunities to give students a chance to build their portfolios and experience. You can choose to work after the associate degree program or pursue advanced degree programs.
Operations Analyst Degrees
Most entry-level positions in this field are filled by candidates with bachelor’s degrees. In some cases, applicants with graduate degrees are given higher consideration. Some universities offer degree programs in operations research, but a degree in a relevant subject such as computer science, engineering, mathematics, or analytics can provide enough foundation.
Since this role is based on data analysis, you’ll need to have studied mathematics to some degree. Try to opt for courses that develop your skills in things like statistical analysis, mathematical modeling, statistical modeling, predictive modeling, analytical methods, and linear algebra.
The Most Important Operations Analyst Certifications
Even though certifications are not necessary, they can help you stand out among other applicants. A professional certification shows that you are recognized by an independent body as a skilled expert.
Project Management Professional Certification (PMP)
This project management professional certification issued by the Project Management Institute shows that the professional has the necessary skill set to work as a professional project manager. The world-renowned program includes computer software and academic training, workshops, tools, and culminates in a capstone project.
Six Sigma Green Belt
This certification demonstrates that you have a good understanding of Six Sigma methodology. Six Sigma is a set of techniques used to improve processes and operations. This is a widely respected certification that shows you can lead complex development projects.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
ISACA’S certification program is for experienced professionals who work in information security management and other security management roles. It is also relevant for experts who manage, design, and assess the information security of businesses.
How to Prepare for Your Operations Analyst Job Interview
Operations analyst job interviews may involve both behavioral and technical questions. It is recommended to prepare well before the interview by practicing your answers out loud. Some possible questions to expect in the interview are listed below.
Operations Analyst Job Interview Practice Questions
- What are the different analytical tools you use in evaluation?
- What can you do if your colleagues struggle with implementing the changes you suggested?
- How can you make sure that new processes are practiced correctly?
- What challenges do you expect in this role and how can you fix them?
Should I Become an Operations Analyst in 2021?
Yes. Operations analysts enjoy high salaries, job growth, and multiple career paths to choose from. Demand for operations research and analysis specialists is growing. You should become an operations analyst if you want to have a stable career in a high-demand field.
Operations Analyst FAQ
Can You Become an Operations Analyst Without a Degree?
You can become an operations analyst without a degree. Coding bootcamps can make this possible. Companies have revised their degree requirements to make it easier for people without degrees to qualify for roles.
Is It Hard to Become an Operations Analyst?
Becoming an operations analyst could be hard for some people because it requires knowledge of statistical analysis and mathematics. However, with the right additional training students can learn what it takes to thrive in the field.
Is Operations Analysis a Good Career Choice?
Operations analysis is a solid career option with a high potential for growth. The salary for an operations analyst is also impressive. It is an excellent option if you’re looking for a stable career.
How Much Do Operations Analysts Make?
According to BLS, operations research analysts make a median salary of $86,200. The occupational employment and wage statistics data show that is a lot higher than the average salary of all occupations. The salary of operations research analysts also increases as they gain more experience.
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