Article


How 4 Tech Jobs Use SQL

By Liz Eggleston
Last Updated December 17, 2020

Sabio instructor, Hector Arias, takes us on a deep dive of SQL, a querying language used to interpret data. He offers an inside look at a SQL application and shares the different careers that utilize SQL, from Data Analysts and Web Developers to Project Managers and Database Administrators. Hector also shares what stands out about Sabio and offers resources for beginners looking to get their feet wet in SQL.

Meet your Expert: Hector Arias

  • Hector Arias, Instructor at Sabio, a coding bootcamp in California, was always interested in computers and majored in Physics. After a career as a professional musician, he returned to web development. 
  • He chose to work for Sabio for their skilled training in tried-and-true technologies (such as .NET); their integrated, real-world, project-based curriculum; and for their expansive community of alumni. 

What is SQL?

SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is a programming language to manage data held in a relational database. A relational database stores data in the form of tables. SQL allows you to make a query with data stored in the database. 

SQL has been used for many years to manage data – to take data and apply it in some useful way. At Sabio, SQL is introduced in the basics of the curriculum. It is an easy tool for someone without experience in programming to wrap their head around. 

Who uses SQL?

SQL is a tool to interpret data with countless uses. It is not specific to developers; SQL is a useful tool in the world of business and can be applied by Web Developers, Database Administrators, Data Analysts, Quality Assurance Engineers, Project and Program Managers, Business Analysts, and more. It’s up to the individual to determine how they want to utilize SQL. 

How SQL is used by 4 Tech Roles

Let’s say we have a data set of election data – a table that includes columns and rows of data like Gender, Candidate, County, etc. 

How a Web Developer Would Use SQL:

A web developer would use SQL to draw conclusions about the election results and might use this information to display and monitor progress, show averages or classifications. They could create a simple query, like what the average age of voters is. The developer would take that and build an API to access this information and display it on a website where users could view it.

Do Different Types of Programmers Use SQL Differently?

Nope! At Sabio, we teach Node.JS and .NET; both Node Developers & .NET Developers use SQL in the same way. Using SQL is not dependent on the technology needed to make the query; the way information is managed is the same. Both developers may write an API to use that data, but the language they use to build the API is different. 

Developers choose which database querying language to use based on the programming language or the dev environment they’re using. Generally speaking, they are pretty translatable. Most of the differences are architectural decisions, like deciding where to host the server and what is better for their respective technologies.

How a Database Administrator Would Use SQL:

A Database Administrator’s job is to ensure the database is secure; that it can’t be hacked, that people using it are qualified with the right credentials, that the actual architecture of this database is reusable, and more. A Database Administrator developer would use SQL to ensure that the database is secure.

How a Data Analyst Would Use SQL:

Data Analysts use SQL to assess and analyze the data provided to determine statistics and create projections based on math. In the Election Example, a data analyst working at a news station could determine the percentage of people who already voted to project the winner before all the votes were in. They could then hand those discoveries to their producer or their anchor to read on air!

How a Program Manager Would Use SQL:

A program manager may not want to wait for a report from the analyst team, but as long as they have access to the database, they could query whatever they need and get preliminary information to make decisions and prioritize projects. SQL is not limited to developers; it’s useful in the world of business and at any type of company. 

SQL is easy to write and read. It uses functions like “Select” and simple names for queries – it’s simplicity makes SQL easy to learn. 

Alternatives to SQL

Sabio uses Microsoft’s version of SQL. There are other alternatives; they mainly differ in syntax. The main differences between these SQL databases depend on whether they’re open source or not, what kind of operating system (Windows, Linux etc) they require, etc.

  • MySQL is very popular
  • Postgres is another open source querying language that uses relational databases
  • SQLite (works with C libraries)
  • Oracle
  • Mongo (noSQL database)

For someone already working with relational databases like Microsoft's SQL version, switching to using other relational databases will be easy, because many features translate.

How to Learn SQL

The language is easy to understand and is supportive for novice developers and people not accustomed to seeing code. Anyone who has used Excel to store information in tables will find SQL familiar and easy to initially transition into. 

For beginners getting started with SQL:

  • SQL Authority is one of the most researched resources, packed with helpful information for anyone introduced to SQL
  • The expansive world of YouTube has countless resources
  • Attending a bootcamp like Sabio would offer deeper training and personalized help, especially if considering a career switch

Find out more and read Sabio reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Sabio.

About The Author

Liz is the cofounder of Course Report, the most complete resource for students researching coding bootcamps. Her research has been cited in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, and more. She loves breakfast tacos and spending time getting to know bootcamp alumni and founders all over the world. Check out Liz & Course Report on Twitter, Quora, and YouTube!

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