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The SQL Syntax Is Simple: True or False?

Updated on: April 19, 2024

Are you contemplating learning SQL but are concerned about how difficult it may be, especially if you have no prior coding experience? If so, you are not alone. In this article, I show you how simple the syntax of SQL is and that it is worth your time to learn it. You just need to know how to approach it properly.

Many people carry the notion that learning SQL is much like learning other programming languages. They think it requires you to understand a complex syntax of code and a myriad of computer science or IT concepts.

Well, good news! This is not true at all. You have to spend some effort learning the SQL syntax for sure. But learning SQL is a much faster and easier journey compared to learning other programming languages like Java or C++.

Once you grasp the basics well, your learning takes off. The learning resources available online today add fuel to the fire to accelerate your learning. I encourage you to check out the A to Z SQL learning track from Its structured content, abundant practice queries, and comprehensive coverage of basic concepts, all spread over 7 interactive SQL courses and 84 hours of learning time, give you a wonderful foundation in SQL.

Another reason SQL is easy to learn is that it is quite intuitive. If you understand the syntax of a basic query and some simple concepts, you can easily adapt it for the specific results you are looking for. Once you become familiar with the basic SQL statement structure, you will find it even easier to construct more complex queries.

Let me walk you through some practical examples to substantiate my claim.

The SQL Syntax, Compared to Java

Imagine you have a very simple requirement. You want to store the names of four customers and then retrieve these names in alphabetical order.

Here is how a typical Java code would look.

class SortAlphabetical {
    public static void main(String[] args)
        // store number of elements
        int n = 4;
        // array for storing names
        String listofnames[]
            = { "Emily", "Bram", "Francesca", "Bob" };
        String temp;
        for (int i = 0; i < n; i++) {
            for (int j = i + 1; j < n; j++) {
                // linear sorting
                if (listofnames[i].compareTo(listofnames[j]) > 0) {
                    // swapping
                    temp = listofnames[i];
                    listofnames[i] = listofnames[j];
                    listofnames[j] = temp;
        // printing
            “Here is the list of names: ");
        for (int i = 0; i < n; i++) {


Here is the list of names:

Well, this may take some time for someone just starting in programming to understand.

Now, take a look at how you typically handle this in SQL. You create a table called Customers, insert the names, and then write a simple SELECT query. This is how that looks:

(Customer_Name varchar(30));

INSERT INTO Customers VALUES (‘Emily’);
INSERT INTO Customers VALUES (‘Bram’);
INSERT INTO Customers VALUES (‘Bob’);
INSERT INTO Customers VALUES (‘Francesca’);

SELECT Customer_Name
FROM Customers
ORDER BY Customer_Name;



You notice how close the SQL syntax is to your everyday English. You create a table with a certain name (Customers) with a column named Customer_Name of the type character, insert some records, and then retrieve (select) Customer_Name from the table in a particular order (ascending alphabetical order). Seems easy, right?

This is an extremely simple example of how SQL works. SQL really streamlines your interactions with databases. You just tell it what you need and it takes care of the rest. Check out 20 Basic SQL Query Examples for Beginners to understand what I mean.

Let me take you through some more detail to explain why learning SQL is useful.

Why Is It Important to Learn SQL?

Not only is SQL simple to understand compared to other programming languages, but also it has great use cases for making everyday business decisions smarter and data-supported. This is what makes SQL a wonderful tool to have in your arsenal.

Here is a practical example for you to consider. Imagine you work in the marketing department of a guitar manufacturing company that sells guitars online. You have acquired some customers online and are now thinking about opening a physical store. You need to decide in which city. To gauge the demand for your brand by city, you want to use the sales data you have collected so far.

In your database, the data related to customer orders are in a table called Orders. Also, the customer details are stored in a table named Customers. Each table has several rows in the following format:


Customer_IdItem TypeItem_IdOrder_IdLine_Total
123Acoustic GuitarPS-32-1d332$200
122Electric GuitarYA-12-1e332$800


122Jack22332New York


SELECT a.City as City,
 COUNT(DISTINCT a.Customer_Id) as Number_Of_Customers,
 SUM(b.Line_Total) as Total_Order_Value
FROM   Customers a
LEFT JOIN Orders b
ON a.Customer_id = b.Customer_Id
ORDER BY 3 Desc;


New York21,000$90,000

The query works by joining the two tables by the Customer_Id column. The records from both tables are retrieved where this condition matches. Then, the results are grouped or aggregated by City and then finally printed in descending order by Total_Order_Value.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand it in detail at this stage. You can take the course on basic SQL queries from to develop your understanding of these queries.

This example is a very foundational use case of how you use a simple SQL syntax to generate valuable insights for business. You may be in marketing, finance, sales, operations, HR, IT, or some other non-IT function, be it at a well-established firm or a start-up. SQL is amazing for just about anyone who works with data and databases. Imagine what you can do with more data and queries!

Every SQL statement you write helps you better understand how databases organize and retrieve data.

Another great thing about SQL is that the syntax is quite similar across the top databases no matter which database you work with. You don’t need to learn SQL repeatedly to switch between databases. A database may have some specific differences, but the basic concepts remain quite similar, and you pick up just on those differences. For more, check What Is a SQL Dialect, and Which one Should You Learn?

The SQL Syntax Is Simple!

I hope this article has made you feel more comfortable with SQL syntax. With the simple examples and clear explanations I've provided, you should be all set to start learning SQL. If you need more help, is here for you. Our All Forever Package gives you access to all our current and future interactive SQL courses! It can’t be better than this!

If you're still unsure, just give it a go and write your first few queries. You'll see that with a bit of practice, things that seemed complex at first will become much easier. Soon, you'll be putting together advanced queries that can help streamline your operations and improve your decision-making. Here are some resources for you:

The practical skills you'll develop can translate directly into financial benefits for you and your organization. As you get better at SQL, you'll discover powerful ways to analyze data, revealing opportunities that can drive your business forward. Given the huge benefits SQL skills can offer your career and your business, they're definitely worth prioritizing in your data analytics studies.

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So, what are you waiting for? Start turning data into actionable insights. You'll be thanking yourself later for getting a head start on mastering this crucial skill.