SQL Language for Beginners

Oct 7, 2021

12 Min Read

There’s a great deal of discussion about data in the computer industry, but raw data isn’t precious on its own. That’s where the SQL (also known as Sequel) language enters the world.

From small online shops to Fortune 500 corporations, almost all organizations nowadays rely on data to manage their operations. Databases are used to collect this information. As a result, the demand for database administrators has skyrocketed, and working as a database developer, mainly a SQL developer, is pretty lucrative. This article focuses on what SQL is and why you might want to learn it.

What Is SQL?

Many web and mobile applications rely heavily on data. An application like Facebook, for example, stores a user’s profile information, including information about their friends and posts. A database system is used to keep this information. SQL is a programming language that allows programmers to access and manipulate data. Structured Query Language (SQL) is a Structured Query Language. It’s essentially a language that enables you to communicate with databases to manage all of the information they hold.  SQL is pronounced similarly to the term “sequel.” Some people speak it in acronym form as all three letters, like “ess-que-el,” while others pronounce it as “ess-que-el.”

Is SQL considered to be a programming language?

SQL is, in fact, a programming language. Looping, logic directives, variables, and other features are available. It is not, however, a language in the same sense as Java or C++. It is a fourth-generation language (fourth-generation language), whereas Java and C++ are third-generation languages (3GLs). SQL is a language for storing, accessing, and manipulating data in databases, rather than a programming language for creating websites, apps, or software.

SQL History

In the early 1970s, IBM researchers Raymond Boyce and Donald Chamberlin created SQL. It was initially known as SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language), and it was made to modify and retrieve data in IBM’s System R database management system.

Relational Software (now Oracle) was inspired to design its version in the late 1970s and released the first commercially accessible SQL implementation. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) had agreed on a standard definition of SQL by 1986.

How to Work with SQL

While an application may be written in a programming language such as Python, PHP, or Ruby, databases are not set up to understand these languages. Historically, only Sequel has been understood by databases (though this has changed significantly in recent years). As a result, mastering SQL is nearly a requirement if you want to work in web development or app development.

SQL has its markup, just like other programming languages. As a result, before a programmer can utilize SQL markup effectively, they must first learn it.

Aside from markup, database programming is distinguished by the concept of tables. A database can be viewed as a collection of tables. Each table represents a set of data and has several columns and rows.

Consider a library. You may develop a database that contains information about the library’s books.

Elements of the SQL Language

Statements in SQL begin with a keyword or command, such as CREATE, and terminate with a semicolon. Other SQL language elements examples include but are not limited to:

Keywords

Keywords are terms used in a database to conduct various operations, such as ADD, VIEW, JOIN, etc.

Identifiers

Identifiers are the names of database objects like tables, views, indexes, and columns.

Expression

A symbol or a series of characters that perform mathematical operations on data is an expression.

Search conditions

These are used to choose a subset of a table’s rows. You may also use IF statements to describe whether a condition is true or false in a specific row or set of rows.

Data types

When building a table, data types refer to the sorts of data recorded in each column. Number, string, date, and time are only a few examples.

Nulls

To specify a value that is unknown or absent, use a Null.

Comments

Sections of SQL statements are explained.

Commands in SQL

For database operations, you need to be familiar with a few commonly used SQL commands. A programmer might use instructions like below while working with databases:

CREATE DATABASE. This command is used to create a database.

CREATE TABLE. A command that allows you to make tables.

SELECT. It is used to locate and extract data from a database.

UPDATE. Make changes to the data and edit it.

DELETE.  A command that is used to remove data from a computer.

DROP. To remove tables and databases, use the DROP command.

INSERT INTO. This command is used to add new data to a database.

These are only a few of the most commonly used commands—the more complex the database, the more commands you’ll need to employ as a programmer.

When writing queries–inquiries that let you manipulate data in databases–these Sequel commands are utilized. In other words, when these commands are entered into a database system, the system interprets and processes them. A new record in the database, for example, or the establishment of a new database could be the consequence.

Here are some short SQL query examples:

CREATE DATABASE using the code, name_of_a_database – creates a database;

CREATE TABLE using, name_of_a_table (

 column1 data_type,

 column2 data_type,

 columnX data_type );

The first query is in charge of setting up a new database. An app like Facebook, for example, might have databases for each of the following:

Users – this database would contain all information regarding user profiles.

Interests – this database would have all of the many interests used to track users’ hobbies.

Geographic locations – this database would contain all of the places around the globe where Facebook users reside.

What Is the Purpose of SQL?

In the technological sphere, databases (and thus SQL) are employed in practically every area where large volumes of data are involved. Take a peek at a few of the industries that use SQL the most.

Payment processors and banking applications such as Stripe store and operate data regarding financial transactions and users in the finance business. A complex database for which SQL is frequently employed lies at the heart of these procedures. Furthermore, bank database systems have additional security requirements that necessitate the strictest risk compliance in the SQL code.

Databases are also created by music apps such as Spotify and Pandora. Sequel databases, for example, assist these apps in storing enormous libraries of music files and albums by numerous artists, operating this data to locate what the user is looking for, and storing data about users and their preferences, among other things.

Data processing is a large part of social media networks. AFor example, pps like Instagram and Snapchat use SQL to store a user’s profile information. SQL is also used to update databases when a user generates a new post, shares a photo, or sends a message to another user.

The SQL language is being utilized to drive the databases in all the apps you use. So many pieces of software, from your phone’s social networks to your computer’s programs, use SQL in some form or another. With such broad applicability, it’s easy to see why this database programming language is a valuable addition to any developer’s toolkit.

In-Demand SQL Jobs and Skills

SQL is one of the most in-demand talents in the data industry, with 42.7 percent of all job postings requiring it. Some positions that typically require SQL abilities, in addition to specialist SQL developer employment, include:

Database Administrator: Ensure that data is appropriately stored, structured, and maintained so that data may be retrieved promptly and accurately.

Database Engineer: A database engineer plans, builds and manages databases for a business.

Data Analyst. One that sorts through large amounts of data to get valuable business insights. SQL is a programming language that data analysts use to access, manipulate, and analyze databases.

Analyst/Engineer in Business Intelligence. Highly professional who analyzes data that is employed to make critical business decisions. Frequently lends a hand to statistical analysis projects.

QA Engineer/Tester. QA engineers and testers locate, investigate, and report software bugs. To ensure that databases are working correctly, they must be familiar with SQL.

Software Engineer.  Many software engineers work with databases, either explicitly or implicitly, therefore mastering SQL can be extremely useful.

You Should Be Knowledgeable Of SQL Database Systems

A database system is a program that uses a user interface to allow a developer to deal with databases. Templates, builders, and constructors are frequently included in database systems.

A database programmer’s life is made a lot easier using these tools. This is because such solutions automate everyday operations like database system cleanup.

Consider a few of the most widely used SQL database systems. The popularity scores of DB-Engines are used to rate these systems. The following variables are considered in the ranking:

  • The number of times the system has been searched on the web;
  • In Google Trends, general interest in the system or the frequency of searches;
  • The frequency with which technical conversations about the system are held;
  • The number of employment offers that reference the system;
  • The number of profiles in professional networks that mention the system; and
  • Social network relevance

Oracle Database

Oracle is the world’s most popular SQL database system. It’s utilized in various industries, but data warehousing and online transaction processing are most prominent.

MySQL

Individuals and corporations can use this open-source database system for free. Because there is no license charge, it is trendy among small enterprises and entrepreneurs. MySQL is utilized in numerous open-source software programs and apps due to its open-source nature.

Are you fascinated to learn more about the differences between SQL and MySQL? When it comes to SQL vs. MySQL, keep in mind that SQL is a programming language, while MySQL is a database system. SQL and MySQL are similar, but they are not the same. To access, edit, and change data in a MySQL database, you use SQL.

Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft’s SQL Server is a proprietary SQL database management solution. This database is compatible with all major Windows operating systems. It’s utilized in consumer software and on Windows-based web servers. Some people often use it.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a free, open-source database system that competes with MySQL. Because of its free license policy, it is commonly employed by technology entrepreneurs. The majority of operating systems, including MacOS, Windows, and Linux, are supported by PostgreSQL. In comparison to other databases, it lays a more significant emphasis on using conventional SQL syntax. Other databases (SQL Server) significantly alter the SQL standard, making them more challenging to master.

NoSQL

NoSQL (short for “not merely SQL”) is a sort of “non-relational” database (it does not require a schema of rows and columns found primarily on traditional database systems).

Unlike SQL databases, which have a predefined schema, NoSQL databases allow you to store data in various ways, depending on the sort of data you’re holding. MongoDB, Apache Cassandra, and Couchbase are examples of NoSQL or non-relational databases. (You can’t access these databases with SQL.)

With so many options, choosing a Sequel database system to learn might be difficult. If you’re unsure, use a free, open-source database like MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Where Can You Get SQL Education?

So, as a newbie, how do you go about learning SQL? Here’s a quick breakdown of everything you’ll need to do:

Master the fundamentals. Begin by understanding the fundamental SQL syntax. W3Schools offers excellent SQL lessons to assist you in learning the language.

Consider taking a SQL course. Take a class to improve your SQL skills.

Participate in real-world initiatives. Use actual data and a database to practice.

Find particular resources for learning SQL, such as books and classes that will take you from beginner to advanced, in the sections below (and ready to hunt for SQL developer jobs).

What Are the Best Books to Learn SQL?

A well-written SQL book will go through SQL and databases in-depth, providing you a solid foundation in the basics. In addition, you’ll learn how to prevent the usual errors that developers make when coding SQL.

The following are some of the top renowned SQL books.

1. SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Techniques for Database Developers

A collection of SQL query solutions and techniques for database developers. Oracle, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL are just a few of the common databases covered.

2. Lynn Beighley’s Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL – A Learner’s Guide

SQL is taught from the ground up in this book.

3. Ben Forta’s Sams Teach Yourself SQL In 10 Minutes

SQL is explained in an understandable, beginner-friendly manner.

4. Getting Started with SQL: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novices

 A brief and easy-to-understand introduction for newcomers.

5. The Simplified Beginner’s Guide To SQL (SQL QuickStart Guide)

It guides you from not knowing SQL or databases to learning the fundamentals of database programming. The book progresses to more sophisticated subjects such as SQL syntax variations between typical database applications.

6. Launch School’s Introduction to SQL

A free booklet that explains how to manage and query data in relational databases today.

SQL Courses Available Online

In addition to reading books, you can get started by pursuing an online SQL course.

  • Complete SQL + Databases Bootcamp from Zero to Mastery
  • The SQL Course from Codecademy
  • Khan Academy’s SQL Introductory Course
  • Introduction to SQL from Pluralsight
  • SQL Server Fundamentals from Pluralsight
  • SQL Essential Training from LinkedIn Learning
  • SQL Basics from Team Treehouse
  • SQL for Data Science on Coursera
  • Introduction to Structured Query Language on Coursera (SQL)
  • The Complete SQL Bootcamp 2021: Go from Zero to Hero is available on Udemy.
  • The SQL Nanodegree Program at Udacity
  • SQL: Master SQL Database Queries in 90 Minutes on Skillshare! (A 14-day free trial is available!)
  • Complete SQL Mastery from Mosh

Developers in the Intermediate and Advanced Stages

  • Stanford’s SQL Course is Available Online (intermediate)
  • The Intro to Relational Databases course on Udacity is a great place to start (intermediate)
  • Querying Relational Databases by Team Treehouse (intermediate)
  • Advanced SQL Lessons on Kaggle (advanced)

What Can You Do If You Need Assistance Learning SQL?

There will be times when you get stuck on a SQL problem or other coding hurdles in your programming career. When it comes to SQL, books, and guidelines can only take you so far. One of the most acceptable ways to receive guidance and enhance your SQL skills is to visit online code discussion forums. Stack Overflow and other programming sites offer free assistance from skilled programmers.

Here are some Q&A sites where you may find SQL examples, conversations, and expert advice:

Stack Overflow. A programming-related discussion forum that covers SQL and a variety of other topics.

Quora. A question-and-answer website where you can ask more conceptual inquiries.

Reddit. It has a strong programming community that hangs out in subreddits like r/SQL.

StackExchange. It has many programming-related discussion forums.

How Long Will It Take You to Learn SQL?

If you’re already familiar with programming ideas and have learned other coding languages, you can learn the foundations of SQL in just a few weeks. Going through a SQL tutorial for beginners may take a little longer if you’re entirely new to programming.

Working on projects is the best approach to learning SQL and accelerating your language development. There’s no need, to begin with, a bang. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, look for a small project that requires SQL and create the code for it.

You could, for example, make a database to organize your music collection. You may also create a simple web application that connects to a database like MySQL or PostgreSQL. As your understanding grows, you’ll be able to take on more significant assignments.

Coding exercises and courses daily will significantly improve your skills. It should suffice to have completed at least one successful project when applying for junior SQL developer positions. This will demonstrate that you know how to create a database, link it to an application, and work with data from the application (input, edit, and output).

Working on real projects and genuine SQL example cases will help you develop your skills and earn valuable experience.

Are you ready to learn SQL for yourself?

It’s a terrific time to learn SQL right now. The most widely used database programming language is SQL, and it is utilized by a wide range of businesses in almost every industry. Sequel language is the way to go if you want to study a skill that is in high demand. Find the materials you need to get started with SQL by using this beginner’s guide.

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