Career Definition of an Operations Support Specialist
Operations support specialists combine aspects of the roles of administrative assistants, customer service assistants and operations research analysts in order to perform their duties. Their general role is to help ensure that the operations in place at the business they work for are as effective and as efficient as possible. This can involve reviewing the processes in place and assessing them to determine ways to improve. Whether they work in information technology (IT) or in finance, one of the primary things operations support specialists consider in their work is how to ensure that the business operates in a way that meets the needs of their customers effectively. In order to do this they may conduct surveys or use other methods of information gathering in order to help identify areas in which their business can improve.
As part of their work, operations support specialists will use relevant information to develop an action plan designed to make their business more effective and efficient. They may also be responsible for other tasks, such as answering customer inquiries, installing equipment and producing written reports.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma or GED|
|Job Skills||Computer skills, communication skills, customer service skills, problem-solving skills, organizational skills, analytical skills, mathematical skills|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$45,455|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||27% (operations research analysts)|
Sources: *PayScale; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
There are no consistent postsecondary education requirements for operations support specialists; since they may be employed in a number of industries and the specific training requirements can vary from employer to employer. Those who work in IT may need to have relevant certifications, such as A+ or Security+ and prior experience working with computers. Some employers may prefer applicants who have experience with databases such as Oracle, so those interested in this career field may benefit from taking courses in computer science and learning how to use a range of computer programs. Operations support specialists also need to have strong mathematical and analytical skills, therefore they can benefit from postsecondary studies in fields such as operations research or mathematics.
Operations support specialists perform a lot of duties on computers so they need to have good computer skills in order to conduct surveys, gather data and produce documents. Communication skills are important because their work involves creating surveys and questionnaires that are used to gather information. They also need to have customer service skills because many operations support specialists interact directly with customers and may be responsible for helping customers resolve issues. They need to have good analytical skills to effectively assess the data they collect and they also need to have problem-solving skills in order to come up with effective ways to improve business operations.
Career Outlook and Salary
The work that operations support specialists do is most comparable to the duties of operations research analysts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that from 2016 to 2026, professionals in this job category will see a 27% increase in job opportunities. The 2017 median annual income for operations support specialists was reported to be $45,455 by PayScale.
There are a number of careers that involve using analytical and problem-solving skills regularly or providing help to clients and determining how to improve business services or operations. Those considering a career as an operations support specialist may be interested in these professions because they can utilize the same skills or perform some of the same duties.
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