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  • Writer's pictureKelly Adams

Maven Analytics - Live Show Notes - Level Up: From Analyst to Sr. Analyst 6-13-24

These are my personal notes from the Maven Analytics Mavens of Data Live Show, from the Level Up: From Analyst to Sr. Analyst episode on June 13, 2024.



 

What separates a analyst from a senior analyst?


Technical side

  • Think abstractedly from a technical 

  • Picking the best solution? (e.g. entry level picks just a solution)

    • Include alternative solutions 

  • Flexible and wanting to learn something new 

  • Senior analysts think about the long term:

    • Will it work for the next year?

    • Can someone step in and take it over?

    • Could they create something that applies to their problems


Soft skills

  • Entry level has:

    • Manager gives you what you’re doing

    • Clear expectations

  • Senior level has:

    • Project management 

    • Manager gives a few lines

    • Expects you to figure it out and do it 

    • Become more of a partner to everyone 


How to make leap to senior analyst?


Build strong relationships 

  • Communicate well

  • Take interest in other people’s projects

  • Ask people really good questions 


Let someone influence you (aka be willing to learn)

  • Taking someone’s solution from another team and apply it to your own

  • Be opened minded and learn from anyone 


How to deal with multiple projects and manage it?


  • Get PMP certifications is one way 

  • What are all the different pieces? (learn)

    • Stakeholder communication

    • Timeline

    • Budget considerations 

  • Realize everyone works on projects → we all have ability to work on projects

  • Learn from others 


How do you promote someone as a manager?


  • See someone on the growth path

  • Good stakeholder feedback

  • Trust between you and the stakeholder


How do you go for a promotion?


  • Let manager of your goal 

  • You know if you’re in that position or not (you have a feeling) 


Definitions of Analyst vs. Senior Analyst


Katie:

  • Entry level analyst: 

    • Has a lot of the work defined for them

    • Doing a lot of repeatable tasks

    • Smaller tasks

    • Manager is working daily with you 

  • Senior analyst:

    • Work more independently 

    • Work by themselves a lot 

    • Bigger projects/tasks

    • More experience


Drew

  • Senior analysts have a growth mindset, take ownership, and are proactive. 

  • What’s the scale of your work?

  • You’re bringing projects to your manager and driving projects 

  • Steering the whole company with data


How can I be more proactive?

It’s not just doing what you’re told.


Katie:

  • Examples from her job: 

    • Data quality checks, what have we done that doesn’t happen again

    • Quarterly audit in Excel → Automated task and put it in Tableau  

    • Finding a new ETL tool 

  • Improve a process 

  • Looking at the work you already have and see if you can do it better or faster 

  • “Automate yourself out of your job”


Promotion Process


Katie:

  • If you want a promotion tell your manager you want a promotion 

  • Promotion needs to be approved in annual budget (generally speaking) 


Drew:

  • People don’t want to be surprised about these last minute requests 

  • The manager is probably comparing you against other analysts

  • Manager is looking at what you’re doing to help 


General Thoughts: 

  • Thinking about your weaknesses and finding areas of improvement. Ask “what do you think I need to work on before the next promotion cycle?”

  • It’s not just your manager’s opinion but everyone else. Think about your brand within the organization. Do they know who you are? Will they come to bat for you? 

  • How effective is the team as a whole? 


Education do you need a masters degree? 


Katie:

  • What’s your own learning style? Is formal education for you?

  • Financial investment - large companies typically have some sort of tuition reimbursement 

  • Not sure if a master’s degree differentiates your right now 

  • She personally uses portfolio’s and resumes to hire people (not just masters degree) 


Drew:

  • Advise people not to go for masters degree unless you’ve been in the field for a bit (you might not end up going through it)

  • All programs are not equal 

  • Don’t jump straight from undergrad to masters unless you know you really want it 

  • He did the Georgia Tech online (cost around $10k)


What makes a good project?


Katie:

  • Entry level 

    • Only 3-4 projects

      • Excel - nested IFs, pivot tables, data quality check (e.g. importing dirty data and then clean the data) 

      • SQL - Looking for code comments, legibility, easy to read

      • Tableau / Power BI - dashboards 

    • High quality projects

    • Understand it and communicating impact > heavily technical 

    • Topic: Data that’s relevant to the industry you’re in or make it unique to you 

  • Senior analyst portfolio

    • Getting your own project 

    • Combining tools together (e.g. one project uses Excel AND SQL)

    • More difficult / challenging business questions 


Do you know of any good certificates? 


Drew:

  • There’s no real certificate that he looks for

  • But if he’s looking at two candidates with the same qualifications but one has a certificate he will choose that person because they are focusing on growing

  • He looks for people with growth trajectory 

  • Good way to structure you’re learning 


How to handle the politics of your company?


Katie:

  • It’s less about you than you think it is 

  • Your manager has to want a promotion of you

  • Be aware of if the manager is on your side 

  • If they aren’t move to a different team or company 


How to develop business acumen as a data analyst?


Katie: 

  • Depends on where you sit in a company (business side vs. dev team) 

  • Technical - Understand business knowledge so you can check code for logic and quality 

  • Business - have calls stakeholders / team to sit with them and figure out 


Drew:

  • Shadowing your business partners and try to understand their goals

  • Understand how your data is generated (e.g. website event, factory widget, etc.)

    • What database created it?

    • What does a timestamp actually mean?

  • Learning as much as you can about the business through public reports, newsletters 

  • Informs everything you do as a data analyst 


Misc.

What keeps you moving up is the soft skills / business knowledge. Not just the technical skills.

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