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Why Should Learning SQL be One of Your New Year's Resolutions?

In answering this question, we’ll take a look at the idea behind New Year’s resolutions, explore what SQL is, and see why learning it should be your goal for 2021.

We’ve all heard of New Year’s resolutions, and we all have personal experience of how difficult it can be to see them through to a successful conclusion. We’ll examine the history of New Year’s resolutions, why they often fail, and how to ensure your resolution for learning SQL in 2021 doesn’t meet with the same fate as so many others that never made it past the end of January.

What Are New Year’s Resolutions?

Well, they can mean different things to different people, but the general idea is that an individual resolves to make a positive change in their life for the New Year ahead, or perhaps continue with a positive change that they’ve already established.

It may, for example, be a promise to oneself to lose a certain amount of weight, to cut out a particular unhealthy habit, or to gain a new skill. Learning a language might be a New Years resolution and SQL, as you’ll discover later, is a type of language.

New Years resolution

Psychologically speaking, New Year's resolutions may act as a cure for procrastination. Throughout the year, we often put off making changes and tend to fall back on the classics like ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, or ‘I’ll start next week’ etc. in order to assure ourselves that we’ll get around to it at some point. Invariably, ‘tomorrow’ never comes. The coming of the New Year represents a definite point in time that, in theory, is more difficult to put off indefinitely.

Later on in this article, we will look at why learning SQL is very much a positive change and why it will serve you well in the year, and even years, to come.

A History of New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions aren’t a new thing. They are old, very old in fact.

At the start of the New Year, the Ancient Babylonians would make promises to their gods, in the hope that they would be rewarded during the remainder of the year. They pledged to pay their outstanding debts so that they might benefit in future.

The Romans too, made promises to behave themselves at the coming of each New Year. The Roman god, Janus, actually gives his name to the month of January.

Exit the Romans, and the knights of the Medieval period made their own post-Christmas pledges. Their resolutions involved placing their hands on a roasted peacock(!) in order to renew their vows to chivalry.

When you make your New Year’s resolutions, you are taking part in a kind of ritual that humankind has been performing in various forms for thousands of years. Pretty cool when you think of it like that, huh?

New Years resolution

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Why do so many resolutions never see the light of day? Why are they so hard to maintain, even if they do survive the month of January?

Well, some of us might just lack willpower, but there is a bit more to it than that, and there are tangible ways of giving your resolution a fighting chance for survival well into the future. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for failure so that we can address the solutions later

  • The task you’ve set yourself is simply too overwhelming and seems scary. This is a reason that such changes tend to get consistently put off throughout the rest of the year.
  • The resolution itself is not specific enough. For example, instead of setting a goal of losing weight, it’s preferable to set a goal of losing a certain amount of weight. Instead of generalizing and talking about getting healthy, we should pinpoint exactly which health changes we’d like to see.
  • There is no structure for tracking progress. Without having visibility on progress, we don’t have the incentive to keep on pushing ourselves to achieve the end result.

What is SQL?

So now we’re in the detail when it comes to the resolutions themselves, it’s time to introduce SQL and explain why a pledge to learn SQL should most definitely be one of your promises for the New Year.

First of all, you should realize how important a role data currently plays. It is everywhere. Each of us produces terabytes of data during each day, from logging on to Facebook and doing our Christmas shopping, to what we search for on Google. Multiply this by the number of people carrying out each activity and you will get a set that is difficult to imagine.

You may ask, so what? Many companies have asked themselves this question, and have found that skillful use of collected data translates to profit. For example, harvesting data related to your customer’s shopping habits can enable you to adjust offers and promotions to earn even more. Furthemore, no marketing campaign would exist without proper use of data. How would you know which actions would be effective for a given demographic group, which media to choose to raise campaign awareness? The answer lies in the data. It is enough to know how to reach for it.

This is where SQL comes in. It is a universal language for "talking" to databases. Once you learn SQL, you will be able to create tables, process, and draw conclusions from them. Pretty cool right? But what is SQL? My friend Adrian explains this to you through a nice tutorial on our ‘We Learn SQL’ channel. Remember to subscribe and give it a thumbs up.

Still not convinced that SQL is for you? Maybe you don’t work in the IT industry, but instead are an accountant, banker or broker, and therefore think that it will be of no use to you? Think again, then read this article - Is SQL Worth Learning? It was written by my friend Kasia and it will surely dispel your doubts. You will learn what SQL is useful for, how you could earn more by learning it, and why it is so sought-after by headhunters and employers.

Why Learning SQL Should be One of Your New Year’s Resolutions

Maybe you’ve already made your decision but don't know where to start. If you are a beginner you have two options. You can start with our interactive SQL Basics course. With this option, you will learn everything you need to freely write simple SQL queries and work with databases.

However, due to the fact that this is a New Year's resolution, maybe it’s worth jumping in at the deep end and choosing the SQL From A to Z track. This is a complete SQL learning path that will teach you the basics before progressing to advanced SQL topics. If you plan to develop a career, change jobs, or take up professional data analysis, this track will be perfect for you. It is well thought out. All you have to do is stick to your New Year’s resolution and learn SQL.

SQL From A to Z track

Why should learning SQL really be your New Year's resolution? First of all, it will pay off; having this valuable skill will allow you to apply for a promotion at work or look for a better job. Don't know where to look? Some time ago, I wrote an article to help you in such situations. Read it here: Top 10 Websites That Will Help You Find the Perfect SQL Job.

Second of all, if you have a specific vision of higher earnings and professional development, it will be easier for you to stay on track and achieve your goal. It's a known psychological dependency. Promises in the style of ‘I'll learn more’ won’t really help and often fail. As we previously mentioned, the goal must be defined to ensure the maximum chance of success. Our courses are a closed whole, they have a logical structure, and you’ll know how long it will take you to complete them. Everything can be planned, entered into the calendar and implemented step by step. This greatly increases the chance of achieving your goal.

The third reason is more general; learning a new language broadens your horizons and stimulates your brain. Yes, by learning SQL, your brain will be better able to deal with other tasks and not just database work. Many of us limit ourselves to specific, repetitive activities on a daily basis. We close our minds to matters strictly related to our daily work. Routine is always the enemy of development. When you learn new things, you move forward. Who knows, maybe SQL will take you further in IT and you’ll end up with a desire to learn more programming languages. Or maybe you’ll use SQL while working on the annual report and, subsequently, come up with an idea that will improve the operation of your company. You won't find out until you try. What are you waiting for?

Summary

If you’ve already chalked SQL onto your New Year's resolutions list, along with quitting smoking, signing up for a gym, or making new friends, then we are cheering you on with all our hearts. If you want to persevere and reach your goal, become a professional, and learn from the mistakes of others, then read the advice of my friend Kamila 5 Reasons You Might Fail to Learn SQL.

Along with the whole team at LearnSQL.com, I wish you all the best in the New Year and hope you will succeed!

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