How to Learn SQL or Databases

Part 5 of 20 in the Series: Career Paths for Database Professionals

How To Learn SQL or Databases Online

How To Learn SQL or Databases Online

The demand for SQL query writing or database skills is tied to the high demand for web, intranet and internet application development skills

Organizations invest in web projects because they need to automate their business operations as it grows in complexity, expands in size or becomes more profitable.

This post addresses the following questions:

  • Why is SQL query writing skills needed?
  • What do SQL query writers do?
  • How can you become a SQL query writer?
  • What makes SQL query writers different from other developers?

Read the rest of this post to review my answers to the questions.

What Is SQL?

SQL (Structured Query Language) pronounced “sequel”, is a SET based language used to manipulate (add, retrieve, edit, update, delete) data in relational database management systems (RDBMS).

SQL is used for creating data structures (tables, views, stored procedures), writing the queries that retrieves data used in reports, making changes, updating maintaining data and in analysis work for identifying trends or insights.

SQL also describes a family of set-based languages that adhere loosely to the ANSI-SQL standards

Database vendors implement their own version of SQL, so each relational database including Microsoft Access, SQL Server, Oracle or MySQL has a flavor, dialect or syntax of SQL peculiar to it.

Oracle uses a flavor of SQL known as Oracle PL/SQL, SQL Server is Transact SQL (TSQL) and Microsoft Access is Access SQL.

However, if you learn or master any version of SQL, working with other versions will not be hard because they operate according to a set of basic principles or commands.

Why Are SQL Query Writing Skills Needed?

  • Sql skills are now taken as regarded as nice to have for many other careers. In some organizations, business analysts and data analysts are expected to have handson sql query analysis skills.

    Most software development positions now regard database development or sql query skills as mandatory.

  • Learning SQL query writing allows you to transition into high demand careers in computer programming or web development.

    This is a big deal because computer programmers can earn as much as six figures and web developers have the most portable set of skills.

  • Learning SQL transfers a versatile programming skill that is considerably less complex than traditional software development programming languages.

    Computer programming languages take up to a year or even more to learn or master why Sql skills can be mastered in a relatively short time … as little as 4 months.

  • Web or windows applications provide services that require database capabilities for retrieving, saving or manipulating data which in turn creates a demand for database and SQL development skills.

Tips On Learning Sql Query Writing

  1. Learn One SQL Dialect: There are as many dialects of SQL as there are types of relational databases.

    For example the SQL language used in SQL Server differs from that used in Oracle which differs from that used in MySQL.

    However, when starting out, focus on learning and mastering just one SQL dialect like Microsoft’s Transact SQL.

    Then when the need actually presents itself at work, like when you have to learn additional SQL dialects like Oracle’s PL/SQL or Microsoft’s Access, learn that because your job requires that

    In other words, don’t try to learn every version or flavor of skill!

  2. Use SQL for Database Work: SQL programming is SET based and is designed for manipulating (adding, retrieving, editing, deleting) data.

    Unlike other types of programming like Java or C# which are more Object Oriented and are used for creating full blown web and windows applications.

    One of the secrets to success in working with SQL is to use it for SET based operations and traditional programming languages for procedural coding!

    In other words, don’t write SQL queries for problems that will be better solved by traditional programming languages and don’t write code for problems that are better solved with Sql Queries.

  3. Learning SQL Is Easy: Becoming a SQL programmer is easier than most people think because programming with SQL on databases like SQL Server is less complex than programming with languages like Java or C#.

    The reasons are:

    • You can’t create web applications or windows applications in SQL which removes one layer of complexity.
    • You are expected to use a fully fledged application development language like Java or C# to develop complex business rules and not SQL.
  4. Learn both the Theory and Practice of Databases: To become a SQL developer, you must master both the theory and practices of Relational Database Design and Development for real world databases like Microsoft Access, SQL Server or Oracle.

  5. Know This Before You Apply for SQL Positions: There are fewer pure SQL developer jobs than other types of programming jobs like Java or Microsoft .NET Programming.

    This is because traditional SQL development is part of what a professional software developer does.

    So, be ready to apply your Sql Query Writing or Database skills in the context of data analyst, software developer, project manager, report writer or even technical management jobs.

  6. Know How your SQL Skills Will Be Applied:

    If you are interviewing for a new position with a recruiter or hiring manager know the percentage of SQL query writing, database design & development, data analysis or report writing that you will be doing on the job.

  7. SQL Developer’s Responsibility: A SQL developer’s responsibility is to create the stored procedures, views and tables used in the database.

    It is also the Sql Developer’s responsibility to maintain the data contained in the database or extract useful insight, trends or information from it.

SQL Query Writers Or Database Developer Job Satisfaction

Learning SQL or Database Development online is fun and easy.

Sql Query Writing or Database Developer careers do not have the steeper learning curve that comes with software developer careers because the relational database development environment is less complex than that of the traditional computer programming environment.

In addition, SQL Queries and Relational Database skills are useful in software development, business analysis, financial analysis or modeling, data analysis, report writing and several other types of jobs … in other words, SQL is a very portable skill.




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