Biotech In-Demand Job: Operational Research Analyst
With the biopharma industry booming, it is not surprising to learn that several careers within the industry are in high demand by both companies and non-profit organizations. For the third part of a six-part series examining the six most in-demand biotech careers, we take a detailed look at the rising career of an operations research analyst.
Overview of an Operations Research Analyst Career
Operations research analysts in the biopharma industry work with advanced mathematic models and implement complex analytical methods to help other professionals within the biopharma industry solve multi-layered problems and deliver better decisions.
Here is what an operations research analyst in the biopharma industry can expect in 2019:
Median pay-$83,390 annually
Entry-level education-Bachelor’s degree
Job growth between 2018 and 2028-26%
Operations research analysts gather and organize information that comes from a wide variety of data-driven sources, such as customer feedback and data rich computer databases. The biopharma professionals also acquire input from colleagues that are collaborating on the same project. Professional peer input from different sources allows operations research analysts to acquire specialized knowledge to solve complex problems in a timely manner.
These biopharma professionals thoroughly analyze data to determine which of the data has relevance when solving a complex problem. Some of the mathematic tools used by operations research analysts include data simulations, predictive modeling, and intensive statistical analysis. After conducting comprehensive testing of different mathematic models, operations research analysts consult with managers and other professionals that make decision within the company or non-profit organization. After successfully addressing a problem, these biopharma professionals deliver memos and reports to managers and executives.
The use of advanced mathematic modeling requires operations research analysts to work with advanced computer software that includes databases and statistical analysis programs. Although much of the work performed by these professional is based on simulating current operational conditions, the job description over the past 10 years has added the duty of predicting future events by crunching database information. Operations research analysts separate the many components of complicated problems, and then the professionals examine the effect changes have on each of the components.
The Road to Becoming and Operations Research Analyst
Although some companies and non-profit organizations search for applicants in this field that have earned a master’s degree, most entry-level operations research analyst positions require only a bachelor’s degree. Just a few colleges and universities offer an academic program tailored for operations research analysts. Instead, aspiring professionals in this field have to earn other types of degrees. The focus of any academic program for this career should be on learning about mathematical modeling and statistical analysis. Some of the bachelor’s degrees that are appropriate for an operations research analyst to obtain include engineering and computer science.
Since work experience is an important factor for developing the skills required to thrive in this career, aspiring operations research analysts should concentrate on gaining knowledge and developing work-related skills on the job. Many operations research analysts gain work experience by working for one of the branches of the United States Armed Forces. Because some jobs require working with sensitive data, an applicant can expect to go through a background check to receive a security clearance.
Important Skills for an Operations Research Analyst to Develop
Although education and work experience matter for an operations research analyst to enjoy a successful career, the position also requires the development of a number of skills. At the top of the list are analytical skills, such as forecasting, data mining, and statistical interpretation. You can expect to know how to use the right computer software programs, as well as thoroughly understand several different types of computer programming languages.
Operations research analysts are not just a group of number crunchers. The professionals must also be able to communicate clearly their research finding to managers and executives. Communicating technical information in a manner that non-technical professionals can understand relies on the ability to use commonly appropriate sentences delivered in a concise form.
You cannot expect to thrive in this career by trying to do everything yourself. Since virtually everything an operations research analyst does involves collaboration, a professional in this career must master the capability to work well with other professionals. A high degree of selflessness means you should not expect to receive credit for every successful project. You also should be able to encourage other members of the team, especially when dealing with a particularly complex problem.
Operations research analysts must decide what pieces of information and groups of related data are relevant for solving a problem. This involves conducting frequent cost and benefit studies for a large number of different solutions to a complex problem.
Operational Research Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
The median pay of $83,390 for an operations research analyst translates into a $40.09 per hour wage that is calculated using a 40-hour workweek. A study released by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2018 stated there were nearly 110,000 operations research analyst positions in the United States. With a job growth expected between 2018 and 2028 of more than 26%, an operations research analyst career should grow somewhat faster than the growth rate of other types of careers in the biopharma industry.