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How Will Learning SQL Improve My Daily Work?

Whether you want to boost your professional development, learn in-demand skills, or start something new and interesting, learning SQL will make your life easier in many ways.

Are you thinking of learning SQL but aren’t sure if it's a good idea? At first glance, learning SQL may seem completely useless, especially if the industry you are in is not related to IT. But that's not true. Although your position in the company may not imply that you code every day, you can still gain a lot from SQL. If you start learning it, you'll quickly notice that SQL is very present in your life.

The modern world thrives on data; it revolves around information, and information is commonly stored in databases. Therefore, being able to handle data or (at least know how it works) is useful to everyone, regardless of their job description. Moreover, for many companies, understanding data and knowing how to handle it can be the difference between success and failure.

There are many technical professions related to SQL, including database developers, testers, and system administrators. However, there are also many non-technical positions where a knowledge of SQL is needed, including economists, business analysts, and others.

Jobs That Require SQL – And Jobs Where It’s Helpful

Below are several industries where learning SQL allows you to streamline processes and increase your work efficiency.

Programmers

Database applications are at the heart of most websites. Are you a programmer that wants to create a website or internet platform? You probably already know many programming languages and technologies: HTML / CSS for layout, JavaScript for browser scripts, Python and Java for general programming, etc. Good! But none of these languages directly interacts with databases. SQL works best for that.

Almost every website – from a small WordPress blog to giants like Google or Amazon – uses relational databases. Even landing pages created just to collect applications need to store them somewhere. The easiest way to do this is to use a database. To do this (and to access the info later), you need to know SQL. The most popular databases on the market, including SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Oracle, require at least some SQL knowledge. Even if you are just starting out in web development, knowledge of SQL is one of the first skills that you should learn, along with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python.

Databases can be powerful tools. By learning SQL, you'll be able to work with a database, administering gigantic amounts of stored information. Imagine handling a million user accounts or several million email addresses without a database! In Excel or Google Sheets or any other spreadsheet program, this would, at the very least, be difficult and tedious.

Let's take the example of an online store. The store’s database allows us to search for products in various categories and sort customer records by industry or country of origin. It also allows us to choose a specific unit by manufacturer or warehouse location. In all these cases, the search process uses the company's database. Thanks to it, it is easier to manage supplies, revenue, and employees. It saves time and money; you could say that using a database is pure profit.

Now imagine that you own a company selling mobile phones. You have a database in which you collect data. It includes the customer, order, and delivery tables. Knowing SQL will help you group data and plan new purchases and the subsequent deliveries. You will also be able to choose appropriate promotions. You could create SQL reports and easily analyze market trends and customer behavior.

Librarians

Why does a librarian need to know SQL? Librarians deal with information about books and their current status. They’d certainly need a database to track which books have been borrowed, returned, or even lost. Take a look at the sample table below, Library_books, which would manage information related to the library’s books:

IDTITLEAUTHORPUBL_DATEAVAILABILITY
1UlyssesJ. Joyce1922TRUE
2Don QuixoteM.de Cervantes1615TRUE
3The Great GatsbyF. S. Fitzgerald1925FALSE
4Moby DickH. Melville1851FALSE
5War and PeaceL. Tolstoy1869TRUE
6Blood of ElvesA. Sapkowski1994FALSE
7............

Now suppose there are two more tables: Library_members contains the first and last names of library users, and Borrowed_books stores information about the person and the book(s) they’ve borrowed.

Using SQL, we can combine the information in all three tables. For example, the SQL JOIN function lets us combine data from the Library_books and Library_members tables. This gives us the full list of books borrowed by a specific user.

With SQL knowledge, a librarian can use the database faster, making it easier to process queries, update and organize data, and help people find books or information.

Learning SQL frees librarians from the limitations of the standard database interface. They can write queries directly through the console, which increases work efficiency.

Healthcare

Learning SQL is also useful for healthcare professionals. Hospital and clinic employees, administrators, and even the doctors and assistants themselves can benefit from understanding a bit of SQL.

The automation of information work did not bypass the healthcare sector, which uses databases to store, organize, and process data. This facilitates interacting with patients. Plus, each branch and organizational unit has its own databases for everyday work. What's more, these databases contain extremely sensitive data.

Consider the example of a private hospital that wants to create a database to automate the recording of information received during the patient admission process. This database will solve several problems, including:

  • Storing information about clinic doctors, offices, and patients.
  • Managing detailed health records, including diagnoses, treatment, and treatment costs.
  • Updating and adding information.
  • Analyzing information on patients, treatments, doctors, etc.
  • Summarizing the said information.
  • Facilitating the quick creation of useful reports.

Just as with library staff, healthcare staff who know SQL will have an easier time searching for, updating, and grouping data; they will be able to go far beyond the capabilities of the standard interface (such as a simple CMS) usually used in such situations.

Education

Learning SQL is great for anyone who works with school or university databases, such as employees of the dean’s office or the university accounting department. Databases usually contain information about students and their studies, the courses they attend (or have attended), scholarships, exam results, admissions information for future, current, and past students, etc. There’s also the employee side; such a database can contain personal and salary information. As in other cases, knowledge of SQL will greatly facilitate working with all this information.

Knowledge of SQL for the frontend developer? Easy!

When we talk about the front-end developer, we’ll be the last to think about how this developer will need SQL. In large companies, this is exactly the case, SQL applies exclusively to the backend developers. In large companies, the distribution of employee roles is more diverse, since the company can afford to hire narrow-profile employees.

At the same time, things are different in small companies. In small companies, flexibility and wide knowledge of various tools and programming languages are appreciated. The more the front-end developer knows, the higher the chance that they will be hired by a small, cozy company.

Another advantage of SQL knowledge for the frontend developer is that the frontend dev will better understand the logic of the backend. They will ask more clear questions and be able to understand what problems may arise on the backend side. This is surely is a huge plus for the developers to perform projects.

Should Business Analysts Learn SQL?

Studying SQL allows a specialist to develop not only vertically, but also horizontally – expanding to new skills and improving their existing skills in a certain field, such as analytics.

Today’s business world requires a very thorough analysis of market situations; companies need to be able to quickly respond to changes and follow trends. Strategy is paramount, but good strategic decisions require a sound understanding of data. An accurate SQL report and analysis can save a lot of money!

Business analysts with broad knowledge and some technical skill are just about indispensable in these circumstances. SQL would certainly be a useful addition to their skill set; it would also be useful for managers who want to extract more (or specific) insights from company data. Why wait for the IT department to write SQL queries if you can do it yourself? The company CRM is still available, but being able to write SQL queries will give you a speed advantage.

Now, back to business analysts in particular. If you know SQL, you can perform:

  • Segmented market analyses.
  • Data analyses for a given period.
  • Status check on your company’s customer base.
  • Customer behavior analyses.
  • Sales information management.
  • Transaction analysis.
  • Loyalty program effectiveness analyses.

To create such reports, we need special SQL functions, which you can learn in the SQL Reporting track on LearnSQL.com. Completing this track will give you the SQL chops to group data, create multi-level aggregations, prepare statistics, and deliver customized reports.

In short, the more you know SQL, the more efficiently you can analyze and report on data. The above course is great for business analysts, but it could be used by employees across industries. Check it out.

Should You Learn SQL?

Learning SQL will give you some much-sought-after analytics skills and improve your resume. Employers are looking for people who know this language. Are you thinking about changing jobs? Or would you like to be promoted? Demonstrate your value and commitment by learning a marketable new skill. Show your boss what you’ve learned and explain what the company can gain because of your new skills. And then think about a salary increase :)

Even if SQL will not translate into profit, e.g. in the case of university or hospital employees, you can work faster and more efficiently with it. So the answer is yes, learn SQL! Don’t wait; your competition is already learning it, and you don’t want to fall behind.

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