The creation of the internet, as well as web-based technologies and tools, has changed the way that we engage with information and data. Through various platforms and interfaces, users are not only able to access unprecedented amounts of information, but these same platforms and interfaces are also able to use this engagement to generate their own information and data. This large-scale collection of data from websites and applications has bolstered the growth and interest in data science within the 21st century, as more professionals are learning how to leverage user data to not only sell products and services but also to improve the experience of being online.

The collection and analysis of user data is especially important to individuals who work on the development and design of websites and applications, as this information allows developers and designers to learn more about what users want from the web. Through analyzing user data, developers are also able to construct storage systems that are compatible with the type of data that these websites and applications are collecting. As a programming language that is used for collection and storage of information and data, knowledge of how SQL is used in data science and database design is essential for web developers and designers specializing in back-end and full-stack web development.

What are Web Development and Web Design?

Web development is the process of creating and updating a website or webpage. Many developers choose to focus on one area of this process within their career. The industry is commonly segmented into three types of development: front end, back end, and full stack development.

Front end development is focused on the appearance or aesthetics of a website. The skills of a Front End Developer usually include knowledge of JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and various Adobe design tools. Back end development is all about what users don’t see, such as computer servers and databases. Back End Developers tend to have more advanced skills in coding and programming languages, such as Python and JavaScript frameworks like Node.js and Express.js. For developers that want to design all aspects of a website or mobile application, full stack development combines both of these specialties. Knowledge of databases and database management systems is most important for back end and full stack development because those are the areas where the collection of user data is prioritized.

As a complement to web development, web design is an umbrella term for many aspects of creating the look and feel of a website or platform. Web designers are able to take what they know about how users engage with a website or application and use that information to make changes to the platform. Web design is also closely related to the fields of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. Depending on the type of design that they engage in, Web Designers can have many of the same skills as Web Developers, with more of a focus on design software, such as Adobe Creative Cloud. With both web development and design, there are many uses for the SQL programming language and database design.

SQL vs. NoSQL Databases for Web Development and Design

When it comes to the development and design of websites and applications, database management tools are essential. Knowledge of database management allows developers and designers to have an understanding of how user data will be collected and stored within a website or application. Especially when developing the back-end of a website or platform, it is important to understand the mechanics of database architecture, as SQL and NoSQL databases are commonly used to store user data. Developers and designers should have an in-depth knowledge of different types of databases and their compatibility with various platforms and data science tools.

When developing mobile applications, it is useful to have advanced knowledge in NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB, that specialize in the storage of data within mobile technologies that tend to collect information from one person at a time. In contrast, when updating or designing the website for a social media platform that will collect large stores of data from multiple users, it is more likely that a SQL database will be used. This is because, while SQL databases are useful when working with structured data, NoSQL databases are better suited to unstructured and semi-structured data.

In addition to understanding these differences in data type, web developers and designers must also have an understanding of the storage needs for their application or website. While SQL databases offer the capacity to scale upwards, NoSQL databases can be horizontally scaled through the inclusion of additional machines. When developing and designing a website or application which requires flexibility and change over time, NoSQL databases are the go-to, whereas SQL databases are more commonly used within websites or applications that will continuously collect the same type of information and data.

Using SQL and Database Design in Web Development

Another important area where we commonly see the use of databases in the development of websites and applications is in the display of user data within a website. While websites of the past commonly displayed static text and images, websites of the 21st century focus on engaging users through incorporating and reflecting their unique data and information. For example, when entering many platforms, the content will present personal information, such as your name, location, or whatever information that platform has about you on the display or profile pages. In order to display this type of user information, web developers must work with databases in the back-end of the websites to access the user data which has been collected in order to display that same information on the front end of the website. Especially for Full Stack Developers, an understanding of how to retrieve user data from a website, in order to display it on a webpage, requires some knowledge of SQL or other programming languages that can be used in conjunction with database management systems.

Interested in Web Development and Database Design?

With websites becoming more dynamic and interactive, students and professionals interested in web development and design should also have a knowledge of database design. Pursuing a career in full stack web development should include certification or training in the collection and storage of information and data through database management systems. Offered as one of many courses in web development and design, Noble Desktop’s Full Stack Web Development Certificate includes instruction in programming, database management, as well as responsive web design.

For developers that are interested in mobile applications, Noble Desktop’s NoSQL Databases with MongoDB course gives an overview of everything you need to know in order to become an app developer. Developers interested in working in social media or at a technology company can learn more about relational databases through one of Noble Desktop’s SQL courses. Through exploring different types of databases, such as SQL or NoSQL database management systems, any student will be able to greatly expand their skills within the world of web development and design.