Learn to be independent
Junior analysts tend to ask more questions due to lack of experience. A senior analyst asks less questions because they’re able to make decisions from past experience. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask questions as a junior analyst. You’ll never gain experience without asking questions and making mistakes along the way. However, avoid your first instinct to ask a question right away and think about how you might approach the problem and why. Then ask your manager or a senior analyst for advice and explain why you came up that approach. You may still not be on the right track but this shows you tried to work on the problem independently before asking for help.
Look at the big picture
Junior analysts work on requests in isolation and don’t go beyond the scope of the request to identify how it relates to the big picture. Senior analysts ask more probing questions to get at crux of the problem and provide the best solution. This ability comes from experience but it doesn’t mean a junior analyst can’t get to that stage faster. Learn how the senior analyst approaches problems by asking for a knowledge sharing session on how they tackled a particular project. I worked at company where we had bi-weekly meetings to show interesting analysis the data team had been working on. I learned new approaches I later applied on my own projects that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
Ask for more challenging projects
Junior analysts normally work on easier tasks and a manager tends to assign more complicated analysis to senior analysts. To grow as a analyst ask if you can take on more challenging projects to learn and get outside of your analytic comfort zone. A word of warning is not to ask until you feel ready to take take on these new challenges. If you successfully complete tasks reserved for senior analysts it’s easier for your manager to justify a promotion for you.
Learn how to tell stories with data
I describe “telling a story with data” as the ability to answer a business question and explain why it matters to the audience. A junior analyst simply provides the data requested. A senior analyst goes one step further to learn the company KPIs and how their results relate to KPIs that impact the business. Learn the KPIs your stakeholders are concerned with and try to relate your analysis results to those KPIs. This will demonstrate your ability to understand the business and think like a senior analyst.
Learn to communicate results in a clear manner
Communication skills is an essential soft skill to have as a senior analyst. Learning how to communicate well takes practice but it doesn’t mean you can’t improve quickly as a junior analyst. Every opportunity to present your results is a chance to practice your communication skills. If your team doesn’t have knowledge sharing sessions suggest having one monthly. This will provide an occasion to practice presenting and observe how senior analysts present their results. You can also take the opportunity to ask for feedback to improve your communication for future presentations.
Ask for feedback
This is the most obvious but ask your manager for feedback on what’s needed to get to the next level. Those suggestions can be incorporated into your annual goals and if you can achieve them then it’s easier for your manager to justify a promotion.