On board starships, the role of the operations officer evolved from older 23rd century positions, such as involving some functions of the helmsman (although the bulk of duties that the helmsman and navigator were traditionally assigned to were filled by the flight controller). As well as manning the ops station (as such, overseeing internal systems control, communications and sensor system usages), ops personnel also coordinated the scheduling of resources, hardware and system usage for an entire starship, outpost or space station.
The ops position was typically manned by a member of the command staff of a starship, regardless of seniority. On the USS Enterprise-D, Operations Officer Data (who doubled as second officer) was the most senior member of the ship's crew excluding the captain and first officer but, on the USS Voyager, Operations Officer Harry Kim was the most junior bridge officer. As analytical operations relied upon knowledge of science and engineering disciplines, chief operations officers sometimes performed the additional duties of a science officer, as exemplified by both Lieutenant Commander Data and Ensign Harry Kim. (TNG: "Conundrum"; VOY: "Caretaker", etc.)