It’s no secret how important database skills are for modern tech. Skilled engineers are highly sought after and have no problems landing high-profile jobs. Regardless of whether you need database skills to change career or manage personal projects, they are certainly worth exploring.
The foundation of database knowledge starts from familiarizing yourself with SQL. It’s a language that handles all data users share with the website. These records are stored in a database and access by the website when called for.
If you’re clueless on collecting basic SQL knowledge, this post will be your guide through the first steps in learning databases.
Why Should You Learn SQL?
There’s a wide variety of SQL-related learning courses and materials. Why is learning SQL so popular these days? Below are the top reasons so many aspiring database engineers should consider learning the language.
1. It’s universality and popularity
Statistically speaking, SQL takes the lead in popularity. Other database management languages don’t even come close – in StackOverflow’s survey, MySQL and SQL Server take the lead with staggering 55.6% and 38.6% – basically, every second engineer uses these languages as predominant ones.
2. Smooth learning curve
The main difference between SQL and most languages is that it has a query-based structure. In fact, it was created with a purpose to provide regular PC users with tools needed for comfortable database management. By structure and syntax, SQL is highly similar to English.
With a wide variety of SQL learning tools and materials, it is not difficult to get a deeper understanding of the main concept of the language over short time frames.
3. SQL is highly sought after in the job market
On Indeed.com, there are over 150 000 openings in SQL management and engineering. Out of these jobs, 35 thousand are directly connected to SQL development, others require the knowledge of the language as a complementary skill.
As a result, having learned SQL, you will find ways to apply gained skills in no time. There’s a wide variety of projects to join – all it takes is to start exploring openings.
Main Principles of SQL
Like any language, SQL has its own defining qualities. Seeing as without mastering them, you will hardly be able to do efficient database management as well as work in software or web development, let’s go over these concepts.
To start with, SQL has its own markup needed to use the features of the language to the fullest extent. You will be able to benefit from tools like annotation, drawing and many others.
To SQL, as to any language that handles database programming, tables are a defining concept. Here, all datasets are stored. To manage tables, developers usually use commands. The most popular commands are the following ones:
- CREATE DATABASE – to create a clean database;
- CREATE TABLE – to add a new table;
- SELECT – to extract or search for data in a database;
- UPDATE – to edit the contents of the database;
- DELETE – to erase data.
Relation databases are quite powerful as users can connect information from different tables and perform actions. When a relationship between tables is formed, one of them will be considered a ‘parent’ while another will be labeled a ‘child’. In this case, a child table column will be considered the primary key of the parent table.
The principle of ordinality allows SQL managers to determine the parameters of a relationship between a parent and a child table. These relationships could be either optional or mandatory.
Similar to the principle of ordinality, cardinality describes a relationship formed between two child tables. Possible relationship options include:
SQL Databases You Should Learn First
As mentioned before, SQL is mainly applied database system management. While the defining principles and the syntax will be valid for SQL-based database systems, you would still have to get acquainted with each of those individually.
The most popular database systems that should be an SQL learner’s first priority include:
- Oracle. It’s an absolute leader among database systems, used all over the world for various applications. Oracle has the most impressive amount of use cases in warehouse management and online payment processing.
- MySQL – an open-source DMS startups and SMEs swear by. For one thing, it has no entry fee. The interface of MySQL is fully manageable and well laid-out – that’s why it’s not challenging to navigate the DMS. As determined by its nature, MySQL is the number-one choice for open source projects and applications.
- Microsoft SQL Server. The database is used by Windows users to sustain software and websites. It’s a popular choice for web server management. Microsoft SQL is among the three most popular DMS – it has a huge user base and is easier to learn this way.
- PostgreSQL – a free DMS that supports Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. PostgreSQL uses an open-source model.
Top Books for Learning SQL From Scratch
Due to its high demand in the job market and among tech enthusiast, SQL has no lack of learning literature. In-depth books will be helpful both for SQL newcomers and high-level students seeking research paper help.
Keep in mind that entry-level literature on SQL will not provide enough insights to create a solid research paper or a thesis. In order to knock it out to the best extent possible, consider reaching out to professional writers. At PaperOwl, for instance, there are professional experts that cover all aspects of tech, including database management. They will create an in-depth writing assignment for you – it’ll be insightful, well-written, and plagiarisms-free.
For self-taught tech enthusiasts, on the other hands, books on SQL will really be helpful. There is a lot of literature to choose from – here, we’ll only mention the most popular picks:
- Getting Started With SQL – A Hands-On Approach for Beginners – a simple, to-the-point introductory read that’ll touch on the practical implications of SQL. Here, a reader gets introduced concisely to all the basics of the language;
- Head First SQL – Your Brain on SQL – A Learner’s Guide;
- SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Database Techniques for Database Developers – a book is full of hacks and tips that can be applied in day-to-day database management;
- Teach Yourself MS SQL Server – a fairly old book, yet, it covers all the aspects of SQL Server on a high level;
- Effective SQL – an easy-to-read guide book that explores SQL features. Keep in mind that you might need some SQL knowledge to apply the ideas that have been laid out.
This is not a definite list of options – yet, it’s a solid starting terrain that’ll get a complete beginner started with SQL learning in no time.
While learning SQL and database management without assistance might seem challenging, that’s actually not the case. On the contrary, the language is designed in an intuitive way, its range of application is astonishing (it’ll be easy to apply collected skills and knowledge), and there are all kinds of learning materials online – from forums to books, to online courses.
In case you decided to get your hands on database management learning, SQL is a solid starting point. With enough perseverance and determination, grasping the essence of the language will not take much time. Practice regularly and immerse into the field of database management – and the fruits of your work will be visible in no time.
Other learning materials: