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SQL is a universal programming language, which means it’s all around us. Think of food-delivery apps, Netflix and social media.
Because of its ubiquity, SQL isn’t some niche programming language, but instead something everyone should learn. It’s a simple language that’s fairly easy to learn for anyone who wants to store large amounts of data.
Essentially, an SQL server acts as a custom search engine to find an answer to your query on a database. It allows users to instantly make data comparisons, analyze patterns and update a website’s database. This makes SQL a powerful tool for businesses of all sizes, and those who have mastered the programming language are highly sought after in the IT industry.
What Is SQL?
Although best known by its acronym, SQL stands for “Structured Query Language.” It’s a programming language used for building and accessing databases, and is specially designed to navigate within a database and categorize its data.
The language was invented by IBM researchers Raymond Boyce and Donald Chamberlin almost 50 years ago after the 1970 publishing of Edgar Frank Todd's paper, “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks.” Boyce and Chamberlain came up with SQL based on Todd’s theory that all data in a database be represented in the form of relations. It wasn’t until several years after SQL’s invention that the language became available to the public.
Some of the most popular SQL databases include:
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Oracle Database
- IBM Db2
How Hard Is It to Learn SQL?
If you enroll in expert-led SQL training, you will be an asset to any company. That’s because SQL-certified employees ensure that otherwise complex back-end coding projects are completed faster. Also, the fact that SQL is a universally accepted language makes a certification essential for building a career in IT.
Learning SQL is as hard as learning any new skill. It depends on the expertise of your instructor, how familiar you are with programming and the quality of the instructional material.
From a business perspective, the consequences of not choosing the right certification can be dire. According to EDSI, ineffective training proves very costly for businesses, with an estimated loss of an astounding $13.5 million per year per 1,000 employees.
The following SQL queries are commonly done in most database projects:
- Schema creation
- Inserting/updating data in databases
- Complex queries
That being said, learning the essentials of SQL can be easy. Starting small and leveling up your knowledge as needed is a good way to begin. Think of it this way: if SQL was exceedingly difficult to learn, then only a select few developers would be qualified to use it, and the language wouldn’t be as prevalent as it is.
What Is a Database?
A database is a virtual storage facility designed to sort large amounts of information in “tables” that can be quickly manipulated. Each table has a unique name and is made up of columns and rows. For example, MySQL supports up to 64 indexes per table. Each index may consist of 1 to 16 columns. Tables can also be interconnected to communicate together, which is why SQL databases are referred to as relational model databases.
In the most basic sense, a database’s structure can be compared to that of an Excel spreadsheet. Through SQL, you can create new tables and edit existing ones for different functions, or delete them entirely.
How Can You Put Your SQL Skills to Use?
Like anything, learning SQL takes practice. One way to keep learning is by researching concepts and keeping up on the latest developments in programming through sites like Wired.com (one of the leading technology news sites) and Developer-Tech.com.
You should also consider what you plan to do with your new skills and which software company’s SQL database you want to specialize in. There are several paths you can take.
Perhaps you run an office and are creating a new IT department and want to integrate their functions into your existing departments as part of a digital transformation.
Or, if you’re a system administrator or web developer, you would want to learn how to manage SQL databases for routine tasks like controlling user permissions. Whatever your reason for skilling up, you’re sure to bring an advantage to any company.
Why is SQL Making a Comeback?
Programmers have found that following the common standards SQL provides is a good thing, especially compared to the overly complex NoSQL tools, each of which come with their own nuanced languages.
If programmers are to work with data that has its own rules, then there should be some degree of basic standards. Having regular input and output standards eases a company’s ability to scale as software systems become smarter and capable of providing even more information to draw insights in excitingly innovative ways.
What Is the Best Way to Learn SQL?
If you want to show an employer that you’re serious about a career working with SQL servers, then a certification is the best way to show it. The types of certifications are also a testament to your skill level. In the corporate world, earning a certification opens doors for you in many industries and will help you climb the ladder and compete for higher-paying roles across the country.
These are the average annual salaries for SQL jobs in the U.S., according to Indeed.com:
- SQL Developer: $88,004
- SQL Database Administrator: $93,255
- Senior SQL Database Administrator: $108,866
Completing an SQL certification is an investment in yourself that will provide you with skills you’ll use for a lifetime. If your company’s database must be scaled and modernized, then teaching your team how to use SQL through group training will transform your office’s digital capabilities.
We are living in a digital world where technology continues to grow in power and complexity. That’s why your success depends on being up to date on the most vital IT skills to keep moving forward.