Why SQL?

So you may or may not know the DataDriven website took a hit the other month. Which was quite distressing for even the most hardcore technology lover. So while we’re piecing ourselves together we’ll be having a read through the DataDriven Archives and reposting some data gold from when we began!

Here Nidhi asks the very good question – why SQL? 

Data is being created all the time without us even noticing it. Today every industry we talk about is investing in data, data related technologies and (of course) Data Professionals!

But why?

To really answer this, do we need to understand that every day around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created, managed and stored. To put that into perspective, Medium puts that quite succinctly – 2.5 quintillion pennies would, if laid out flat, cover the Earth five times. So basically – A HUGE amount!

And due to this HUGE amount, the demand for someone who can manipulate this data is rather high. Extremely high. But these data skills are hard to come by. But if you can catch a “data professional” and ask them where they started, most probably they will reply with My first language that I learnt was SQL”.

SQL – what on earth is it?

SQL which is mainly abbreviated as “Structured Query Language “or “Simple Query Language” and is the most commonly used language in the data world and the only way to take to Database or to be precise Relational Database (quick heads up: a database where data is stored in rows and columns- Tabular form).

The best part is that SQL is a technical language but also not so techie (wait, what!?!?) when it comes to usage but very powerful when it comes to implementation. It has many flavours but the base structure still remains the same. We have many relational databases available in the market for various reasons and most of them can be accessed by one or another flavour of SQL.

Below is the list of few databases that work well with SQL.

Source Common name Full name
IBM DB2 SQL PL SQL Procedural Language
IBM Informix SPL Stored Procedural Language
Netezza NZPLSQL [1] (based on Postgres PL/pgSQL)
Sybase T-SQL Transact-SQL
Microsoft T-SQL Transact-SQL
MySQL SQL/PSM SQL/Persistent Stored Module (implements SQL/PSM)
Oracle PL/SQL Procedural Language/SQL
PostgreSQL PL/pgSQL Procedural Language/PostgreSQL Structured Query Language
Teradata SPL Stored Procedural Language
Hadoop Big SQL IBM Big SQL

Transactional and Reference Operations – which one will you use?

So you’ve worked out that SQL may be a tiny bit(very big bit) useful for you and your profession – but what type of operations should you start looking into?

Reference Operations – this is the simple stuff, the technical but not techie stuff. This means these operations are a great place to start! SQL is used like this more and more often. This includes the basic SELECT, WHERE, COUNT and AVG statements. Combined together and you have the complex queries used by business analysts and in fields that only touch SQL databases. In other words, these operations extract data out of the database. 

Transactional Operations – this is a little more complex. Start looking at these when you’ve mastered reference operations. Think of the INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE operations available in SQL that help to modify and insert existing and new records in databases. Who uses these commands? Data engineers and database administrators, or anyone who has control of the underlying structure of the database.

So – interested in SQL? 

Come to a DataGirls workshop and hop over to our friends at CodingGirls! Check them out here: CodingGirls

If that’s still not enough check out these handy beginner guides.

Happy SQLing!


Written by Nidhi on behalf of CodingGirls.sg for DataDriven.sg (2017)

Edited by Elysee on behalf of DataDriven.sg (2018)

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