Have you ever explored all the things SQL can do? SQL, or Structured Query Language, allows users to access and manipulate databases. It also able to retrieve data from a database, execute queries against a database, and create content in existing databases, such as tables, records, or views.
SQL is one of the most popular programming languages in existence. It is used in a variety of professions, such as:
- Business analytics
- Data science
- Software engineering
- Database administration
Databases play an integral role in business operations across all fields. SQL, which helps users communicate with these databases, is used by many organizations, such as Netflix, Uber, Amazon, Wells Fargo, and Google. It is considered one of the most user-friendly and robust programming languages. Because of how prevalent SQL is across professional sectors, knowledge of SQL can lead to many job opportunities and upward career mobility.
Here, you’ll learn more about the types of careers that benefit from SQL and how it can enhance your professional life. Regardless of your goals, learning SQL is a valuable and impressive skill to add to your resume.
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.
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.
Common Professional Uses for SQL
SQL is used in a variety of industries and professions. Today, SQL remains a top choice for software applications since many relational database management systems use this language. Because of SQL’s versatility and flexibility, it has a wide range of professional applications. On LinkedIn alone, more than a million SQL jobs are currently listed.
The following are just some of the many professions that use SQL:
- SEO Analysts who study data and revise site content to increase search traffic use SQL to help them navigate huge volumes of data.
- Database Administrators ensure that database software at their organization successfully stores and organizes data so that workers can easily access it. They often manage teams of SQL Developers. Database Administrators also work to optimize SQL queries, monitor audits and backups, and keep SQL databases secure and accessible.
- Software Engineers use a variety of programming languages to create application software and computer systems software. It is common for Software Engineers to work with SQL.
- Data Scientists regularly perform data analytics, making SQL knowledge essential for extracting and analyzing Big Data to solve problems.
- Business Analysts commonly use SQL to help them locate insights stored in the data on relational databases.
- Journalists with SQL knowledge can quickly analyze, organize, and sort through vast stores of information, a process that would take much longer to do manually. Journalistic organizations around the globe, such as the National Union of Journalists, currently use SQL to help retrieve information from databases. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists listed SQL as one of its top-nine essential tools for data journalism.
It’s not just for programming tasks.
Most programming languages are used solely for programming purposes. However, SQL is unique because it has uses that extend beyond traditional programming. Those working on sales teams or in marketing use SQL to execute queries on datasets, which helps them spot sales trends and track the success of various marketing campaigns. In addition, SQL has applications in the financial sector. Financial Analysts use SQL as a time-saving tool to sort through large volumes of financial data.
SQL is useful for handling large volumes of structured data.
Data is very valuable in today’s workplace, and companies generate more data than ever. However, for data to be useful, it must be effectively stored and managed. With this enormous quantity of data comes the subsequent need to effectively manage this information for extracting meaningful insights from it. When working with databases that contain millions of entries, it’s not convenient to analyze data manually. This is where SQL queries come in. SQL programmers efficiently execute different operations like locating rows within large datasets using filter criteria and performing different forms of data manipulation.
It can help structure information.
Even for those who don’t aspire to be Data Analysts, learning SQL can provide a way to have a better understanding of how their company structures its data. It also provides insights into the potential benefits of combining different data sources. Even though SQL’s structure is relatively simple compared to other programming languages, it is a powerful tool for executing complex queries. Those who have the training to write these queries can retrieve a more significant amount of helpful information, which is structured in such a way that is useful for solving business problems.
Employees with SQL training also can save their organization time when corresponding with tech teams and Data Analysts. The greater an understanding they have of the architecture of their organization’s databases and the logic driving SQL queries, the less time it will take for them to locate the needed data extracts.
SQL is an in-demand skill.
Knowledge of SQL is a valuable skill in many industries. Developers, Business Analysts, and Product Managers are just a few of the many professions that rely on SQL for data retrieval. Because this programming language is robust and easy to learn, some job portals consider SQL the most in-demand skill an employee can have. Often, job postings in technical and financial sectors list SQL knowledge as a requirement for all applicants. Regardless of industry, SQL makes managing structure data easier and can help with client-server operations.
How to Start Learning SQL
If you are interested in learning SQL, the good news is that various in-person and online learning options are currently available for learners at all levels. For those who prefer studying in a classroom, Noble Desktop created a class locator tool for students to browse in-person SQL classes close to home. In addition, for those who are more interested in virtual learning options, Noble Desktop’s live online SQL courses are a great option. All courses provide live instruction with an expert in SQL.
For students looking to learn SQL around other life commitments like work or family, enrolling in a live online class may not be feasible. Learning options such as on-demand SQL courses might be a better match. These affordable (or even free) introductory courses provide learners with self-paced instruction on core SQL topics, such as navigating databases, joining tables, writing SQL code, and making queries.
Another helpful learning option for those new to SQL is learning by video demonstrations. Noble Desktop has a YouTube playlist devoted to Python, data science, and SQL video tutorials. In addition to detailed tutorials on Python and data science, an hour-long Intro to SQL video covers SQL fundamentals, this language’s professional applications in various fields, and an overview of how to query databases. You can also learn SQL by taking Noble’s free Intro to SQL course, which covers SQL basics through a live demo of working with a database and performing SQL queries. Noble’s Classes Near Me Tool is also available to help find and compare SQL classes in your area.
Read the full guide on how to learn SQL.
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.
- Since it was invented in the 1970s, SQL has become one of the most popular languages in the world for communicating with databases.
- SQL is currently used by huge international companies like Google, Amazon, and Netflix.
- Because its uses extend beyond programming, SQL has applications in many industries, from business to finance.
- SQL is useful for managing huge stores of structured data. Those who work with this language to perform queries are an asset to their organization because they understand how their company structures its data and therefore can retrieve actionable information relatively quickly.