SQL means Structured Query Language. Through SQL you can establish communication with a database. According to the American National Standards Institute, SQL is the language that is used for RDMS. RDMS is the short form of relational database management systems. Structured Query Language is designed to make the management and retrieval of data easier.
SQL statements perform tasks like data update on databases and retrieval of data from databases. It is also used in RDSMS for the task of stream processing. It is extremely useful in the case of structured data where data incorporate relations between entities and variables.
In 1986, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accepted SQL is a standard language. The International Organization for Standardization (IS0) accepted it a year later in 1987.
The relational database management systems that make use of SQL include Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, MySQL, Oracle, Access, Informix, PostGres, etc. The current ISO standard version of SQL is SQL: 2019. As can be understood from the name, it is used when structured data is available in the format of tables.
The databases which are not relational and do not have data structured in the form of fixed tables, do not require SQL. They are known as NoSQL databases. Such examples are Cassandra, MongoDB, DynamoDB, etc.
Though most of the database systems use SQL, many of them have additional individual proprietary extensions that are exclusively used on their systems. The common SQL commands involve �Create’, �Insert’, �Select’, �Drop’, �Delete’ and �Update’. These commands can be used to perform any operation and make changes within a database.
Why should I learn SQL?
Structured Query Language is a computer language that can be used for manipulating, retrieving, and storing data in a relational database. SQL is one of the most used query languages. One should learn SQL so that he can access data in relational database management systems, describe the data, define and manipulate the data in the database, use SQL models, pre-compilers, and libraries to embed with different languages, create databases and tables, view functions in a database and set permissions on procedures, tables, and views.
In the technology-driven world of today, people go through data to introduce changes in their strategy, operations, marketing, and several other categories. Presently many businesses are making use of relational database management systems. Thus, having a basic knowledge and understanding of SQL will contribute greatly towards upskilling yourself.
Thorough knowledge of SQL is required and advantageous for almost everyone and not only for data scientists or software engineers. By learning SQL, you can communicate with relational databases in a better manner. You will gain an idea about how to build queries and manipulate data. Learning about SQL is also beneficial for several fields including marketing and web development.
What are the prerequisites for learning SQL?
Before you start learning SQL, you must have a good understanding of what a database is and especially what is meant by a Relational Database Management System. Apart from this, you should also have proper knowledge of different computer programming languages.
All the SQL languages have a basic structure. The only difference lies in the particular commands and styles. With multiple SQL dialects, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to start with.
While popular dialects are SQL Server, SQLite, and MySQL, it is recommended that you should start with PostgreSQL since it closely resembles the standard SQL syntax and can be adapted to other dialects without any hassle. If your business already owns a database, then you should learn about the dialect that is most compatible with it.
Can I learn SQL in a week?
Learning SQL online or in a classroom environment can be done very quickly. With proper focus and the eagerness to learn, you can start solving the simpler problems of SQL in two to three weeks. If you practice regularly, you will be able to solve complicated concepts in three to five weeks. A few months should be enough for you to write SQL code if you have adequate hands-on experience in the real world.
How do I start learning SQL server?
You can learn SQL online. Once you have an in-depth knowledge of SQL, you can then move on to advanced computer programming languages such as R and Python. SQL offers the flexibility of handling multiple rows of data and it is universal across several industries and disciplines.
Mastering SQL is not difficult as it does not require you to have prior programming skills. For beginners, devoting a few weeks should yield good results. By following these steps, you can begin on your journey towards learning SQL:
Begin with the fundamentals:
It is always beneficial, to begin with, the fundamental concepts first. A plethora of SQL materials and resources are available online. For learning SQL, initially, you will have to read a lot about SQL and practice the basic syntax, queries, and commands and gain a complete understanding of query structure and order. Then, you need to focus on the simple queries and finally move on to the complex ones.
Learn important concepts:
After covering the basics of SQL, try to explore the four principal areas which are, Manipulating Data, Writing Queries, Aggregate Functions, and Connecting Tables.
Manipulating data involves learning how to add, remove, or change data in databases. Firstly, you need to master writing an SQL statement that commands a database to perform a particular action.
SQL lets you write queries that eliminate data based on particular conditions. You should learn about how to write SQL queries by using the various query keywords that SQL offers.
Since SQL finds its common usage in data analytics, it provides several functions that let you carry out mathematical operations on the databases. These functions that let you retrieve insights related to the data are known as �Aggregate Functions’.
Connecting tables are an integral part of maintaining structured databases. It lets you work with different data sources within different tables.
Practice with real data:
You can master SQL in the best way by practicing with real data. Install a free database by following the step-by-step guide on how to install SQL Server. Since you need real data to start working with, you can download a dataset that is tagged as �Public’.
Take up online SQL courses:
There are many SQL courses available online. You can explore these courses and pick up the one suited to your needs. Online courses will introduce you to the core concepts of SQL and help you get acquainted with the SQL code. You can also follow the interactive tutorials that come with engaging exercises. Such online resources will help you build up your knowledge about SQL.
Do SQL projects:
Practicing SQL in a real-world scenario is the best way to gather more knowledge and gain more experience in the topic. Take up SQL projects that seem to be interesting to you and not the ones that are listed on online SQL tutorials.
Apart from making databases on your own, you can use tools to discover data sets. Once you have found out a data set, you can make use of SQL to analyze it. Focus on the project that you have taken and take baby steps, concentrating on one task at a time. As you become comfortable with the simple queries, you can use complex SQL commands to take up more advanced projects.
Keep on practicing:
No learning is ever complete without proper practice. By practicing regularly and constantly, you will be able to remember the things that you have learned and also be able to apply them while dealing with real-life data. Devote some time to practice SQL coding every day. This will sharpen your skills and also help you stand out among your competitors.
Write and share your reports:
As a method of documenting your work, you can start by writing down the reports. When you have finished writing a query, you will have a resourceful report on your analysis and findings. Data analysts, data scientists, and managers like to work with analysis reports. This is because the reports are easily understandable by people who possess adequate and appropriate background knowledge.
You can create a series of blogs and write about whatever SQL knowledge you have acquired. SQL experts as well as beginners can land on your website and contribute to your knowledge and understanding. You can share your SQL knowledge on an SQL specific community or any preferable platform of your choice.
The more you share, the better exposure you will get, and who knows, you might be introduced to an unknown side of SQL, that you are yet to find out more about.
Gaining knowledge and learning about SQL can take some time but it is a valuable skill that you should acquire before deciding to take up any technical career that includes dealing with data sets. SQL is a beginner-friendly language as it does not require any prior knowledge of coding.