Plan for success with SQL Courses

By Jessica Hetley - Last update

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SQL is a vitally important skill for anyone looking to work in a professional environment with databases, either as a part of programming or in a data management context.

What is SQL?

SQL stands for ‘Structured Query Language and is a language used in programming as a domain specific language. It offers a significant evolution from many older read/write based APIs (application programming interface). The major innovations produced by SQL are the ability to access multiple records using only a single command. This was opposed to the requiring of an individual command to summon each individual record, as had often been the case in older languages such as ISAM and VSAM. It also introduced the ability to instruct the database on exactly how a record should be accessed (normally with reference to indexing).

SQL operates on relational algebra and on tuple relational calculus. It is made up of a series of statements, which form part of a pseudo-sublanguage. These languages, which include aspects of Data Query Language (or DQL), which are the terms that the database uses to set up a search, Data Definition Languages (DDL), which help the database define what data is what, and Data Manipulation Language (DML). These different aspects of SQL combine to form a powerful tool for databases that allow users to deal with potentially millions of entries, quickly and effectively.

SQL was one of the first commercial programming languages, originally described in 1970. While it has evolved considerably over the years, it has mainlined its rank as the primary language for databases across the world.

How can I qualify?

There are a range of different SQL courses available for students who would like to learn how to use it. These all centre on the use of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 – the last major revision to the language. On a course, students will learn:

  • An introduction to databases, and Microsoft Access (the industry standard application for dealing with databases)
  • Creating a new table in Access, and how to get started when creating a new database from scratch
  • Understanding the relationship between tables, and how data flows between them
  • Working with Access, including advanced techniques
  • How to handle queries, and find the data you need
  • Analysing data
  • Transformation of data using queries
  • Fundamentals of Access SQL. This is necessary for students to become proficient with the language.
  • Running statistical functions
  • Using data macros, a vital function of SQL
  • Customising databases

There are also courses that help students to learn the science behind database programming, as SQL courses primarily focus on learning to handle the data within them. This is opposed to learning about the specific processes

What can I do with a qualification in SQL?

If it’s an online business, it probably involves using SQL at some point. This means that if you have the relevant skill set, you can work in a variety of interesting fields, at the cutting edge of technology.

Big data, such as Facebook, Google and Amazon all use SQL in their day-to-day operations as a matter of course. Naturally, if you want to work in a position that requires a higher field of study, a certification in SQL will only prove your proficiency in certain aspects of the job, and you may need to qualify further in order to clinch your dream job.

If you want to work with databases however, in a development context or simply as part of an administrative job, then a course in Microsoft SQL 2012 will make an enormous difference to your chances of getting hired.


Jessica Hetley

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