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How to Convince Your Boss That You Need to Start Learning SQL

Learning SQL is a great goal. Now, if you could only convince your boss that it’s good for the company as well as for you ...

You’re aware of the benefits of adding SQL to your skill set. You believe that the rewards gained from you learning SQL will also benefit your employer – it’s not just another way for you to develop your professional profile. But how do you articulate this to your boss? After all, you expect them to put their hands in the company pockets to finance your education. Read on for a guide on how to persuade them to put up the funds and discover why learning SQL can benefit everyone.

The Benefits of Learning SQL

Let’s start by talking about the benefits of learning SQL. This info will be pivotal when it comes to selling the idea to your boss. The rewards of SQL are many and can be shared by both yourself and your organization, so you’ll really want to emphasize this point when you’re talking with your manager about your desire to learn SQL.

Remember that you don’t want to overload your boss with information: this can be confusing and could produce a reluctance to make any sort of decision. A good way to pitch the benefits of learning SQL is to provide some business examples, giving your boss some context. Keep your point concise and impactful.

Using examples from different job roles and industries will demonstrate how SQL can help a wide range of business situations, including those within your own organization. Let’s take a look at some examples:

The Marketing Manager

The Marketing Manager

Suppose you are a marketing manager in a large company. One of the company’s clients has spent a lot of money on a marketing campaign. It’s now up to you whether their money is basically wasted or if the campaign succeeds – and the client returns to you, with an even bigger budget for the next campaign.

How would you go about making this campaign a success? You have focused studies, customer behavior statements, and market research. But how do you master all this data? With SQL! By creating SQL reports, you can find trends and tendencies that will help you choose the right marketing campaign.

For a smaller-scale example, consider the marketing budget. With SQL, you can create reports showing expenses at specific intervals or for specific purposes. You can even calculate how much you spent on coffee and cakes in the office ...  Is it that much? Well, everyone deserves something from life.

The Operations Executive

The Operations Executive

Important business decisions and big money are involved here. Shareholders, management, and finance expect thoughtful strategies and good decisions from you. What do you do?

Well, you need to trust the data. Your company certainly gathers a lot of it; you have to figure out how to use it. You can analyze values, data, and indicators using SQL. Writing the appropriate database queries will bring you information you can use to create winning business strategies. In that way, SQL will help you know how to act effectively and become a major market player.

The Accountant

The Operations Executive

If you work on spreadsheets, using a calculator and compiling the lines manually, it's time to change that. You likely currently spend many hours clicking on one table. Start writing SQL queries and see how your work changes for the better.

Say that the company fuel expenditure report is needed for a given quarter. You can choose between summarizing thousands of individual invoices – or writing one short SQL query. Which would you prefer?

Perhaps you’re responsible for online store tax settlement. Each product has a different VAT rate. If you had to deal with several hundred thousand purchases, how would you process the tax? Just use SQL to specify the appropriate conditions and you’re all set. Try it!

As you can see, SQL is a very versatile tool. You should aim to impress this versatility upon your boss. It gives them context and allows them to understand exactly how you see implementing SQL within your organization. It will also help them to understand how paying for employees’ SQL courses benefits their business specifically. For more about how different jobs and industries can benefit from employees with SQL skills, see our post Is SQL Worth Learning?.

Counter-Arguments and How to Address Them

Whenever you want to persuade someone to take a particular course of action, it’s always a good idea to prepare for any counter-arguments they might have. This way, you can address such points quickly and allay any fears. Below are some of the rebuttals you might face and ideas on how to answer them:

“Learning SQL is only relevant for IT experts.”

There has long been a common misconception that only a few jobs use SQL. It’s important to address this misconception straight away. This is where you should use the examples we just discussed. Or, if you’ve already mentioned them, provide new examples that demonstrate the versatility of SQL across a range of sectors and job roles. You may also want to give an example of how learning SQL would help you in your day to day tasks.

If you need to convince your boss, ask them to read this article for a thorough explanation.

“Our CRM system already has a Reports function.”

You may use the reports that are included in your organization’s CRM system, but they are limited in scope and quantity. And there are plenty of occasions where they don’t show you the data you need to see when you need to see it. It’s frustrating and inefficient when you then have to wait days for your IT department to bring you a custom report.

This is where SQL really shines. Learning SQL will equip you with the skills to create nearly any report, letting you see vital data and improving efficiency within the business. Remind your boss of how data-driven your organization is and how important it is to make decisions based on thorough analysis.

LearnSQL.com has a SQL Reporting track for just such a need. It demonstrates how to gain data-based insights with SQL reporting. In this track, you’ll write SQL queries that apply to real-world business situations. And you can try it for free!

SQL Reporting track

Should you need to further reinforce your point, the post How to Start Writing SQL Reports is another valuable resource (which, full disclosure, I also wrote). It explains what SQL reports are and how they could be useful for your company. Warning! In the article I also write about diamonds! Find out why.

“I don’t know any places that provide SQL courses.”

Well, you don’t need to attend a ‘brick and mortar’ educational facility to take an SQL course. Enter LearnSQL.com. This platform provides a remote learning environment – you simply need an internet connection and a browser. There is nothing to download or install.

Plus, e-learning in general continues to gain popularity and is very important when it comes to self-development. Why look elsewhere when you can Learn SQL with the experts?

“It will be very expensive for you to learn SQL. I’m not sure we have the resources.”

Learning SQL doesn’t have to cost the earth. Just look at these subscription plans from LearnSQL.com. Remember what we previously mentioned about e-learning, too. There are no extra overheads, such as travelling to a training venue or purchasing software.

You should also make the point that spending resources on employee development is an investment that pays dividends in the long run. Persuade them to look at the bigger picture and recognize that employees who feel valued and have a sense of development are also more motivated and efficient. If you have the tools to do your job more effectively, the resulting increase in productivity will benefit the business financially.

The SQL Business Platform

So, you’re close to getting your boss to buy in, but you’re not quite done yet. Now it’s time to play your ace: informing your boss that a business platform exists for just such a need. And it has a whole host of features and benefits that would be perfect for your company.

This is where it really gets interesting.

So far, we have focused on how learning SQL is a way for you to increase your personal effectiveness and the contribution you make to the business. While this is valuable in itself, it’s possible that your boss might see a more attractive business case in implementing a solution for the whole company, or at least for a group of employees.

This is when you should draw your boss’s attention to a business-wide solution, like the one offered by LearnSQL.com. If they are interested, they should reach out using the business contact form.

Business contact form

Your boss will naturally want to know why a business solution is worthwhile; highlight the benefits of this approach, such as the ability to tailor the platform to the individual needs of your organization. The ability to add and manage multiple users to the platform, set assignments, and track progress make this a powerful tool for training several employees.

If there are many employees who require SQL training, it can be more cost-effective to create a tool once than to start from scratch with each employee.

In addition to the previously-mentioned features, businesses can customize the learning platform itself. This might include creating courses specific to your industry or including your own data in tables to add further context and enhance the learning experience. By choosing this route, your business will be joining other internationally-recognized companies that already benefit from this arrangement. Encourage your boss to find out more about these success stories – they might be writing one for your company!

Learning SQL Is a Win-Win

The key to all of this is the ability to see the bigger picture – or rather, to get your manager to see it. You’ll need to convince your boss that your request to learn SQL is an investment worth making and the rewards from your new skill will be shared by the company.

Make sure you go to them fully prepared for the conversation. Be ready to demonstrate exactly how learning SQL will be beneficial to the business in the long run. Doing your homework shows you’re passionate about your proposal. And it removes the need for your boss to conduct additional research, which they may not have time to do.

Keep all of this in mind and you’ll go into their office all set to come out with a great result.

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