NYC Career Centers Blog | Tutorials, Resources, Tips & Tricks

Beginner’s Guide to SQL

We live in a world where people and companies are storing increasingly large amounts of data online. But what do we do when we need to quickly access specific pieces of the data? Well, one option is to use SQL!

An abbreviation for Structured Query Language, SQL is a computer programming language that can communicate with databases. This communication can also look like editing and adding information to the database to make sure that information is stored in the proper place. 

Nowadays, most businesses have an online presence and need to store their records in a database, which means knowing how to use SQL can make you better at your job even if your job requirements don’t specifically ask you to know how to code. Being able to access and analyze data is useful in all roles. 

Careers That Use SQL

Several lucrative careers work with SQL regularly. If you work as a Business Analyst, you’ll find that SQL is particularly helpful as you work with any amount of data. Even if you work for a smaller company, SQL can still help you to locate information like the highest or lowest selling items in your store, the median age of your customers, or help you predict the spending patterns for future purchases. In short, SQL databases work very well with other tools designed for business intelligence. The typical business analyst makes an average annual salary of nearly $74,000, depending on years of experience and what part of the country they live in.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another area where experts in SQL frequently put their knowledge to use. These careers are becoming more in-demand as datasets increase in complexity and are no longer able to be analyzed efficiently by humans. For example, AI is currently being used in the Department of Defense to identify potential threats for both civilians and in cyberspace; a human simply could not analyze such a large amount of data at once, but AI does not have the same limitations. Artificial Intelligence Engineers are offered a wide range of salaries, but they typically earn over $100,000 annually. 

Machine learning (ML) is a fascinating subspecialty of AI which also requires extensive knowledge of data analysis and SQL. While SQL is one of the more popular languages in data science, it is not always the first computer programming language that people think of when discussing skills needed for machine learning. These professionals design programs for businesses that can make predictions based on large quantities of data. In essence, they build the AI software and monitor it to ensure it is analyzing data appropriately. Becoming a Machine Learning Engineer is not an entry-level career—these careers typically require a Master’s degree or a Ph.D. The average annual salary for a machine learning engineer is about $112,000, but this has the potential to increase over time. Machine Learning Engineers with 20 years of experience can earn over $160,000 per year. 

Pros and Cons of Using SQL

Those who use SQL enjoy working with it for many reasons. For one thing, SQL is relatively easy to understand. It does not require coding skills and the basic syntax (INSERT, SELECT, UPDATE, etc.) is easy to read, making it particularly user-friendly. This syntax also allows SQL to be quite interactive and retrieving requested information from a dataset can be done quickly because the language is so intuitive. SQL is also known for its fast processing speed; large amounts of data can be recalled in very little time. Finally, many users appreciate the portability of SQL. It can be used on computers and laptops regardless of their operating systems, and it can be installed into other applications as needed. 

Of course like any software, SQL does have a handful of disadvantages to bear in mind when using it. Some feel the interface is complicated, which can scare off new users; many feel that it looks more complicated than it truly is. It can also be costly, depending on which version of the program you are using. This may not matter for larger companies, but individual programmers and small business owners or startups may not be able to access it. 

Learn SQL with Career Centers

If you’d like to learn more about SQL, Career Centers has several SQL Training Classes available at its New York City campus or live online which participants can take from the comfort of home. 

For those who want to break up their learning into separate classes, Career Centers offers a Level I, Level II, and a Level III course in SQL. Each course lasts for eight hours and can be taken on weekdays, evenings, or weekends to work with your schedule. Level I is open to beginners while Levels II and III require completion of the previous course before registering. 

If you’re interested in taking all three of these courses in one session, you might want to check out Career Centers’ SQL Bootcamp. This is a three-day class that covers the same material, just at a reduced cost. Regardless of which class you take, Career Centers offers free retakes within one year so students can be sure to solidify their knowledge and feel confident with their new skills. 

Back to Blog
Yelp Facebook LinkedIn YouTube Twitter Instagram