What is SQL?

SQL (Structured Query Language) is the primary language responsible for managing data held in a relational database management system (RDBMS), or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system (RDSMS).

Simply put, SQL is the language you use to interact with a database.

Why it’s important to learn SQL?

1. SQL is the most universal and common used database language.

We live in an era where data is the most valuable asset and it’s being put at heart of every decision making process. Despite of the explosion of NoSQL in the recent years, SQL is still making its way back to become the universal interface for data analysis once again.

It powers the most commonly used database engines like MySQL, SQL Server, SQLite, and PostgreSQL:

Most popular databases

The most popular databases. Source: StackOverflow Developer Survey Results 2017

It’s not something surprising as SQL is particularly effective at data manipulation. You can be able to see the exact data and the way it works then data testing and manipulating will be done faster. Evenmore, the data stored in a relational database is dynamic, which means it can be queried, modified, and manipulated easily with some basic SQL queries.

If you want to access databases then yes, you need to know SQL.

2. It is not really difficult to learn SQL.

SQL is not a programming language, it’s a query language. The primary objective where SQL was created was to give the possibility to common people get interested data from database. It is also an English like language so anyone who can use English at a basic level can write SQL query easily.

The good news is that most DB engines are compatible with all SQL code. So once you learn SQL it should be similar to work across any relational databases.

3. SQL is one of the most sought-after skills by hiring employers.

Let’s take a look at some actual numbers from the job market:

On Indeed.com:

  • There are 149,124 developer jobs in total (at the moment I did this quick research, Aug 8).
  • Out of that number, there are 105,146 job listings that are either hiring SQL Developers or having SQL as a required skill.
  • There are 35,306 SQL Developer jobs.

On Stackoverflow:

SQL is among the most popular languages across web developers, desktop developers, sysadmins/DevOps, and data scientists:

Most popular languages

It’s easy to understand as all companies no matter which industry they are in, they all rely on data and need to organize and understand the information in a relevant way. Chances are, they are going to encounter SQL databases, a lot. So they are always going to need a database professional.

4. You can earn good money

Again, let the numbers from the job market speak itself. How much does a SQL Developer make in the United States?

SQL Developer Salary

Source: Indeed.com Statistics

Or how much for a Database Admin?

Database Admin Salary

Source: Indeed.com Statistics

Make it rain

Who should learn SQL and for what purpose?

  • Product Managers: Product managers always have to know inside out of the product they own, and the data speaks the truth about a product’s health. It’s good to know SQL and in control of what’s happening.

  • Data Analysts: The word ‘data’ is already on the title, along with the popularity of relational databases, knowing SQL is a must.

  • Data Scientists: The ones who always understand the data better than anyone else on Earth. How can they skip SQL?

  • Data Engineers: Same with Data Scientists and Data Analysts, it’s a must to know SQL when you’re the ones who design the databases and keep it going.

  • Backend Developers: This role is a bit similar to Data Engineers when it comes to database management. It’s hard to find a backend app without a database.

  • Frontend developers: They aren’t going to write much SQL but with the rise of Angular.js, React.js, and other single page application frameworks, it’s likely that you’re going to interact directly with the databases more often. So just learn SQL and it will be much helpful if one day you turn into a full stack developer.

  • Mobile App Developers: If you are a mobile app developer, especially for Android, I would be surprised if you haven’t heard anything about SQLite. SQLite is an embedded database which has been widely used by the majority of Android developers for more than 20 years for the projects where they need to store the data on a device, not on a server. Of course, it’s powered by SQL.

  • Marketers: As a marketer, you need to be data-driven. But you don’t want to rely on someone from the dev team who is always busy with other more important tasks to get the report you need to see. Knowing SQL will allow you to self-serve and empower you to better analyze the business. It’ll give you more insights and help yourself be more valuable.

Another good news is, you don’t need to know programming or be technical to learn SQL.

Where to learn SQL?

Here is a list of useful resources to learn SQL:

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