SQL Certifications and Certificates

Interested in boosting your SQL skills and career prospects? Explore the difference between SQL certificates and certifications, how they can benefit your career, and the top providers in the field.

Key Insights

  • SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a standard language used to communicate with relational databases and is a must-have skill for anyone working with data.
  • SQL certification involves passing a third-party-administered exam to demonstrate SQL proficiency. In contrast, SQL certificates are awarded after completion of study programs that provide general or specific SQL instruction.
  • Most database professions do not require SQL certification, but it can be a bonus in job applications. Some specialized roles might require certification, particularly those using specific databases such as Oracle.
  • IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft offer SQL certifications. Institutions like Noble Desktop offer certificate programs with comprehensive SQL training, along with other programming languages.
  • Although SQL certification isn't necessary for all database jobs, earning one can showcase your dedication and proficiency in SQL, which can be advantageous when applying for jobs.
  • SQL skills are in demand across various industries, such as major corporations including Amazon, Google, and Uber, who rely on SQL to store and process their data.

If you’re looking for a way to demonstrate your SQL skills, you may be overwhelmed by the different certificate programs and certifications available. You likely have many questions, such as how difficult it is to earn a certificate in SQL or whether SQL certification can help you get a job working with data. This article aims to answer these questions so you can select the right path toward becoming certified in SQL. Keep reading to learn more.

What is SQL?

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a standard language used to communicate with relational databases. Organizations across industries rely on SQL to access and work with the data contained in their databases. Important business information about products, customers, or orders is just some data an organization may store in a database. Among its many uses, SQL has applications for searching, updating, and maintaining databases. It can also insert or delete records from databases and change the database's actual structure by creating or deleting tables and objects.

SQL operates on local intranet or internet systems and can be used on laptops, PCs, servers, and some mobile devices. Even though SQL is considered to be a relatively simple programming language, it is a powerful tool for helping users retrieve the specific information they need within a large database. Those working with SQL don’t need coding skills and can instead use basic keywords such as “update” or “select” to perform data queries.

Some of the most-used relational database management systems that use SQL are Microsoft SQL Server, Ingres, Access, and Oracle.

Read more about what SQL is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with SQL?

For anyone who works with data, SQL knowledge is a must. Many fields and disciplines use this language to communicate with relational databases. SQL’s flexibility is designed to help you use statements based on English to query a database in multiple ways. Because SQL is the most-used database language, nearly every organization that has to store relational data relies on SQL, including major corporations such as Amazon, Google, and Uber. In addition, websites such as Facebook use SQL to store back-end data and process data.

SQL has a wide range of built-in functions that are useful for data analytics:

  • SQL COUNT can count how many rows are in a table
  • SQL MAX provides a way to select the highest value for a given column
  • SQL MIN lets users choose the minimum value for a column
  • SQL SUM totals the values in a column
  • SQL AVG can calculate the average within table columns

In addition, SQL has other useful applications for handling large volumes of data:

  • It can add, update, or delete records within a database
  • SQL can create new databases
  • SQL users can add new tables to an existing database
  • SQL can create views or stored procedures in a database
  • It can establish permissions on views, tables, and procedures.

Certifications vs. Certificates: What’s the Difference?

If you’re deciding whether to pursue an SQL certification versus an SQL certificate, you may wonder what the difference is. When pursuing SQL certification, you will have to demonstrate your mastery of this topic by sitting for an exam, which a third party administers. On the other hand, certificates tend to be programs of study in which a student receives general or specific SQL instruction. Once completed, they are often provided with a certificate to demonstrate their level of SQL understanding.

Top Certifications & Certificates for SQL

To demonstrate SQL proficiency or mastery, some students elect to pursue a certification or certificate. The following are some of the most popular SQL certifications and certificates:

    • Noble Desktop’s Software Engineering Certificate provides students with hands-on, expert training in both front end and back end web development. In addition to working with SQL, students use HTML, CSS, Python, JavaScript, React, Django, and Node.js to prepare for a career as a Software Engineer or Full Stack Developer.
    • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals is an entry-level certification offered by Microsoft. This certification requires students to demonstrate their knowledge of data-related concepts using Microsoft Azure data services. To earn this certification, you’ll need to know more than just SQL, including both relational and non-relational data and data workloads.
    • IBM Certified Database Associate is one of three Certified Database Associate Certifications offered by IBM. This certification requires an understanding of the Db2 or Informix relational database systems. In addition, the test covers topics such as database creation and security, as well as transaction isolation.
    • Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate Certification is designed to test students’ knowledge of fundamental SQL concepts, particularly how students use them with the Oracle Database server. The exam covers data modeling, table management, and conditional expressions, among other SQL skills.

Should I Get Certified in SQL?

If you’re trying to decide whether to get certified in SQL, the answer may depend on your career. Some data-related jobs, such as Cybersecurity Analysts, may require professional certifications. In addition, more specialized or niche positions like those that work with Oracle databases may expect Oracle certification. However, for the most part, certification isn’t a requirement for most database jobs. Even though some recruiters seek applicants with SQL certification, most employers simply require that the applicant has experience working with SQL and databases. Although certification is a great way to showcase that you have SQL knowledge and can help you land a job working with databases, it is not usually an employment requirement for most jobs.

How to Get Certified in SQL

SQL certification takes many forms. Some SQL certifications require testers to demonstrate a deep understanding of SQL and database systems in general. Most certifications in this programming language are platform or vendor-specific. Students typically sign up for certification in the field where they intend to work so that they can demonstrate their understanding of the database technology used in that field.

Once you pay a fee (generally between $100 and $250), you can study for the SQL certification you have chosen. You will need to research what the exam will test you on and prepare accordingly. Some providers offer students free study guides and sample test questions to help them prepare. Exams are multiple-choice, and if the student passes, they receive written confirmation as proof.

Learn SQL with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

When learning SQL for a career, many people choose instructor-led classes, which provide personalized assistance and in-the-moment feedback on their code. If you’re interested in learning the basics of SQL or receiving more advanced instruction, Noble Desktop has multiple course offerings in SQL. Classes are available in the live online environment as well as in-person in New York City.

Those new to using SQL can enroll in Noble’s SQL Level 1, a beginner-friendly class designed to teach students the basics of working with this language. Throughout this instructor-led, one-day course, students build a foundation in SQL by learning about rows, columns, tables, and basic filtering. By course completion, participants will have a solid understanding of database architecture and will be able to write basic SQL queries for Microsoft SQL Server.

If you’re looking to learn more advanced SQL concepts, Noble also offers an SQL Bootcamp led by expert instructors. Those enrolled in this 18-hour course receive hands-on instruction on core SQL skills, such as how to write queries, filter and group data, and combine information from various tables using join statements. Participants in this small class also gain experience working with PostgreSQL as well as the free DBeaver app. All students have the option of a free retake of the course if they wish to brush up on their SQL skills. Prospective students can also learn more about SQL with Noble’s learning resources.

Key Insights

  • If you are deciding whether to pursue SQL certification, you will be required to pass an exam proctored by a third party. SQL certificates are programs that typically span weeks or months and provide timely SQL training.
  • Although SQL certification isn’t required for most database professions, some employers ask candidates to have database-specific certification, especially those who use specialized databases like Oracle.
  • Even though it isn’t required for all database jobs, certificate study and certification can be valuable to employers because demonstrates that you have taken the time to study and acquire the SQL skills you’ll need to contribute to their organization.
  • For those interested in certificate study or SQL certification, certifications are currently offered by IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft, among others. Top education providers such as Noble Desktop also provide certificate study in Software Engineering, which can provide you with a working knowledge of SQL and other important programming languages as well.

How to Learn SQL

Master SQL with hands-on training. SQL is one of the most in-demand programming languages and is used across a variety of professions.

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