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The Most Popular Databases for 2022

With the number of database products increasing with each passing year, it is important to understand which database best fits your use case. This article lists the top-ranking databases available in the market today.

When something that first became popular in the early 1980s is not slowly fading away but is still evolving and becoming more relevant, you know it had to be an important invention. The database is no exception. Not only are they the most common and efficient way of storing data, but they also form the backbone of most analysis done in the business world today in my opinion. So, what are the most popular databases?

Technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and data engineering all rely on some data source somehow. Countless surveys and blogs have data-related jobs at the top with all the emerging technologies today. Since you need SQL to work with databases, learning SQL is definitely among the first steps towards a career that involves data crunching or use in any way.

With the growth of SQL and relational databases, there has been a natural increase in related offerings and products. Once you learn the basics of writing SQL queries, it is not very difficult to switch between them. That said, I understand how confusing all this is, especially if you are just starting your journey.

Don’t worry. In this article, I discuss the most popular databases for 2022 and which ones you should consider learning. Read on!

Top-Rated Databases Across the Internet

Stack Overflow surveyed a total of about 74,000 people spanning 181 different nationalities to identify the top-rated databases for 2022.

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

Source: Stack Overflow

While the list makes a lot of sense, it misses out on one perspective – the number of jobs that exist today for the relevant database skill. This is only partially inherent in the popularity rating.

The list published by DB-Engines.com made a lot of sense to me upon deep-diving into the research methodologies of various forums. It is not just based on popularity in terms of keywords searched and discussions in tech forums. It also considers the number of jobs available in the market today for the SQL dialect or understanding of the database.

To make things easier for you, I have combined research from these and other websites across the Internet, discussions with my peer group, and my personal experience.

So, without further ado, let me take you through my list of top 5 databases for 2022.

RankDatabase
1MySQL
2PostgreSQL
3Oracle
4Microsoft SQL Server
5MongoDB

1. MySQL

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

MySQL is a database by Oracle Corporation, first released in 1995. It has been at the top of many ranked lists for a long time. You see it right at the top of DB-Engines.com ranking consistently, year after year.

This is because it is one of the first open-source databases, packed with extremely useful and robust features.

I rate it one of the most stable open-source databases available today. Facebook and Uber use it in their applications. YouTube uses MySQL to store all the metadata for the videos.

Oracle, the company that owns MySQL, also offers paid versions of MySQL with additional features and support. Subscriptions vary from 2,000 USD a month to around 10,000 USD a month. If you are a student using MySQL only for personal use or learning, you can download a free version and you are good to go without paying a penny.

The open-source aspect of MySQL and its maturity makes it a popular SQL database for web applications. While it is a good place to start, MySQL is not the best if you want advanced data protection features like throttling and masking. It is also not the best with semi-structured data like JSON.

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

Source: DB-Engines.com

2. PostgreSQL

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

In the graph above, the orange line that seems to have grown consistently represents PostgreSQL. In my opinion, the massive popularity PostgreSQL has garnered in the last few years is well deserved.

Initially released in 1989, PostgreSQL was born at the University of California, Berkeley. It was originally named POSTGRES as a successor to the initial INGRES database. In 1996, its name became PostgreSQL to indicate SQL support.

If innovation and features were the primary ranking criteria for this list, PostgreSQL would undoubtedly be at the top. It will not surprise me at all if it surpasses MySQL as the top database soon. Here is a quick read comparing the two: PostgreSQL and MySQL.

Start with PostgreSQL if you want to not just learn the basic RDBMS constructs but also work with advanced and in-demand features. PostgreSQL handles semi-structured data such as JSON and has great support for distributed SQL. The latter is useful when working with millions of transactions on the web.

I recommend this track from LearnSQL.com. It is a comprehensive and well-structured set of courses that gives you enough content and learning to form a strong base for a solid career using PostgreSQL.

PostgreSQL is open source and works on all major operating systems like Windows, macOS, and versions of Linux and Unix. It has a great community of users who develop plugins and libraries.

Very few databases have great customization features like PostgreSQL. You can even write Python codes and run them in the PostgreSQL database. Impressive, right? Here is a list of companies that use PostgreSQL, which bears testimony to its solid use case.

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

Source: LearnSQL.com

3. Oracle

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

Developed in 1979 by the current CTO of Oracle, Larry Ellison, Oracle remains a popular SQL database especially for enterprise-grade RDBMSs.

In fact, it is one of the most mature and stable databases today. It is used by major fortune 500 companies around the world for their transactions.

It is indeed quite advanced, offers wonderful features for both structured and semi-structured data, supports blockchain tables, facilitates lightning-fast transactions, and helps you create both OLAP and OLTP in a single database instance. However, it does have a major downside compared to the other two databases discussed so far: it is not open source, and it is not pocket-friendly. The cost of running an Oracle database for an enterprise with a few hundred employees may run into thousands of dollars.

Here is a list of some companies that use the Oracle database.

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

Source: stackshare.io

4. Microsoft SQL Server

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

First released in 1989, SQL Server is a popular Microsoft database offering in the market. SQL Server is a paid database; it garners corporate support due to the Microsoft brand name and the compatibility support for other Microsoft applications.

Although MS SQL Server was not the most advanced database when it was initially released, it has gained popularity over the years, especially since it is significantly cheaper in licensing costs compared to Oracle.

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

Source: DB-Engines.com

However, with the advent of the cloud and Microsoft’s release of cloud-based Azure SQL database, users are increasingly switching from the on-premises installation. While Azure SQL is built along the same lines as SQL Server, Azure is a multi-tenant database in which different customers can access a single instance of the database and is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering.

Due to the similarities, you can learn SQL Server then switch to Azure as needed. SQL from A to Z in SQL Server is a great track to get you started if you want to start learning SQL for a Microsoft product.

Read this wonderfully written article for more details on the MS SQL Server database.

5. MongoDB

The Most Popular Databases for 2022

You may have noticed the other databases we discussed so far are all relational DBMS, which are optimized for storing and retrieving structured data. However, in real life, you may need to work with semi-structured data such as JSON or XML that are more like documents.

MongoDB is an object-oriented document-based database that stores data inside a collection of documents rather than in rows and columns like in the other databases. Think of storing an e-commerce product catalog or storing blog and content. Such data may not always be easy to represent in rows and columns. This is where MongoDB is useful. It is based on the NoSQL document store model.

MongoDB has become quite popular in the last few years with the number of users growing at almost the same rate as PostgreSQL. For a very different kind of database application, of course. Wondering how different a MongoDB query looks from other SQL queries? Read this article.

Naturally, the lack of pure structure may come at the cost of some ACID transaction inconsistency. If you primarily deal with structured data in your transactions, it is better to use one of the other options.

Uber, Lyft, Barclays, Forbes, and EA sports are some of the more than 28,000 customers the company claims to have.

Learn SQL to Work With the Most Popular Databases

You now have a basic idea of the most popular databases available in the market today. Choose one of them to learn or implement.

If you are a beginner and not sure where to begin, I suggest PostgreSQL as the starting point. Start with the basics course for PostgreSQL queries offered by LearnSQL.com. Then, go for the complete track if you like it. Here is a good article to guide your online learning journey.

Remember to be completely customer- and application-focused in your learning. When writing a query, think about what problem you are solving for your customer. The customer may be an end consumer or an internal customer in your organization.

The good thing about the courses I recommended in this article is that they offer a great practice platform. With each example, you understand what problems each query solves.

So, start today. Happy learning!