If you work in Information Systems, you may be called upon to write a SQL statement to perform some administrative task. Perhaps you are creating a database or table to house someone’s personal information, or perhaps you are just writing a routine to generate statistics for your company’s use. No matter what your SQL skills are used for, you are likely to come across them, and it is likely that you will need to know what they are and how to use them. This article will introduce you to SQL and help you determine if it is the right fit for your business needs.
Key Facts About SQL
The Structured Query Language (SQL) is the most commonly used language for database querying and manipulation. It was first released in 1980 as an extension to the IBM computer language, COBOL. Since its release, SQL has been adopted for numerous database products and is now used by nearly every database on the market. It is particularly popular among professional database programmers and those who need to create larger, more complex databases.
The first release of SQL was called SQL/80. It was essentially a language extension of the IBM computer language, COBOL. Since then, the scope of SQL has expanded to include numerous database functions and operations. It is now a fairly high-level language. This means that it is a useful tool for anyone who needs to access, query, or manipulate a database. Because of its vast array of functions, it is extremely versatile and can be used for a multitude of tasks. This also makes it a bit more complex than simple SQL statements. For example, you might use SQL to pull out a list of the top 10 salespeople in your company, but you would then have to code some additional logic in your software to analyze the data and create a report showing all of this information. A commercial SQL appliance could make this entire process simpler and more efficient.
Knowing SQL is important for anyone who needs to create or modify a database. It is also a good idea to review the data periodically to ensure that it is indeed accurate. The data could be entered manually via a form, imported from another source, or even automatically pushed out to the database without any human intervention. It is a robust language and will serve you well no matter what your career path eventually leads you to.
Why Should You Care About SQL?
SQL can be used to perform a variety of tasks. Just because you are not using SQL directly on the job does not mean that it is not important for your business. You might very well run across it when solving problems related to business operations or when creating dashboards and analysis tools to track and monitor business performance. It is a fairly common language and is likely to be encountered by anyone who works with databases in some capacity.
The role of a SQL programmer is to write SQL queries and create databases. They can help you formulate the perfect query by providing useful suggestions and analyzing complex business problems. They can also create complex databases and dashboards to display important information in an easy-to-understand format. They might write functions that can be called from within your business applications or create reports based on existing data that can help you make better decisions.
The role of a business intelligence (BI) software programmer is to create dashboards, analyze data, and formulate reports from various data sources within an organization. Most BI suites also include a full-featured SQL client that can be used to create databases and SQL queries that can be executed against the corporate database server. Most BI products also include a report writer that can create reports in a variety of formats including Excel, Word, and PDF that can be distributed to stakeholders (e.g., upper management, department heads, board members, etc.).
What Does A SQL Programmer Do?
A SQL programmer starts by familiarizing themselves with the structure of a relational database and the tasks that they will encounter working with the database. A good SQL programmer will know the theory behind SQL and how it applies to real-world situations. Once you are familiar with the basics, you can explore the official SQL documentation that can be found on the Oracle website. There you will find a SQL reference manual that contains various examples and concepts that you can practice and understand.
Your first task as a SQL programmer will be to create the schema or architecture of the database. This is the name given to the table structure, and it refers to how the information is arranged on the hard drive. You will need to consider how you want the database to look versus how the data is structured. There are three types of schemas that you can use:
- An empty schema has no tables or columns and can be used to store data for use in a single program
- A prototypical schema has pre-defined tables and columns that can be used to store and retrieve data
- A fully normalized schema has zero or more tables with identical columns, and each table has a primary key that corresponds to a foreign key in another table
The next step is to populate the schema with data. This is usually done using a tool designed for the purpose, like MySQL Workbench or Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. Once the data is in the database, you can view and edit the information using the provided tools. You can also code directly in these tools using their query builders which can make your job easier. If you are new to SQL, start by testing out queries in a tool like SQL Fiddle to get a feel for how the language works.
Once you are familiar with the theory behind SQL and how it applies to real-world situations, you can explore the official SQL documentation that can be found on the Oracle website. There you will find a SQL reference manual that contains various examples and concepts that you can practice and understand.