How To Learn SQL or Become A Database Developer
A recent software skills survey reveals that SQL is the most wanted software skill by employers .
This high demand is partly due to the fact that SQL skills are needed for most jobs including: web design, project management, business analysis, computer programming, business management, data analysis and quality assurance .
In addition, many organizations or companies have huge quantities of data they need stored and manipulated in a myriad of ways. So, if you’re adept at making data accessible or manageable or you can draw the insights you need from it, you can increase the effectiveness and productivity of your organization and be compensated for your expertise.
This post covers what you need to know to Learn SQL / Databases or Become a Relational Database Management (RDBMS) Developer / SQL Query Writer.
Here is what you need to know to become a database developer or SQL Query Developer …
The Database Developer’s Job Description
A Database Developer is a Relational Database Designer and SQL Query Writer who specializes in designing normalized / de-normalized, transactional / analytical databases and writing optimized SQL Queries / Stored Procedures for inserting, updating, retrieving, modifying or maintaining data.
- The first and most important skill that a database developer must have is the “ability to design normalized databases “. This skill, is essential to the success of any database developer and cannot be overemphasized.
- The second and equally important skill for a database developer is the ability to write UPDATE, INSERT, DELETE SQL Queries or complex SQL Queries that utilize INNER JOINS, OUTER JOINS or Subqueries.
- The third skill that a database developer must have / demonstrate is the ability to write optimized SQL Queries using indexes, create stored procedures and other important database objects like tables, views, functions, constraints, primary keys and foreign keys .
What Type of Software Is Used By Database Developers?
Database Developers work with software programs that are also known as Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) .
The most popular database management systems in use today include: MySQL, Microsoft Access. Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle .
Relational database management systems (RDBMS) share a common programming language known as SQL (Structured Query Lanaguage). However, each RDBMS implements its own version of SQL differently.
For example, Microsoft Access SQL is known as Access SQL while Oarcle’s SQL is PL/SQL and SQL Server ’s is known as Transact SQL or T-SQL.SQL may be used to modify database structures as a Data Definition Language (DDL) or to maintain / query the data stored in databases as a Data Manipulation Language (DML).
Which Database Management Software Is Best?
One major difference between RDBMS, from a database developers point of view, is the dialect of SQL used.
Microsoft SQL Server runs very well on the Windows operating system and also integrates very well with Microsoft’s array of Office Productivity / Software Development / Enterprise tools including Microsoft CRM (Customer Relationship Management), MS Office (Productivity), SharePoint (Collaboration / Intranet Portals) and ASP.NET programming framework (building corporate websites).
Oracle. MySQL, Microsoft Access and SQL Server each has a free, personal edition. However, MySQL is used for PHP / Linux based web development. Currently, the most popular Content Management System (CMS) … WordPress runs on PHP and MySQL.
Oracle perhaps has the steepest learning curve out of all these database software platforms, but, keep in mind that Oracle Database Developers / DBAs are also well compensated.While making your decision as to “which database software is best for you “, keep in mind that if you pick any enterprise database software, and then learn and understand SQL DDL, SQL DML and core Relational Database Design concepts like Normalization, Referential Integrity, Data Redundancy, etc. you will be able to write scripts / queries or design databases for any RDBMS.
How Do You Get A Database Job Without Any Hands-on Experience?
When you first start out, you won’t have any experience, so what you must do is incorporate into your learning, the handson experience that qualifies you for a job.
Since you may not be able to get experience from a formal job because formal jobs require experience (“the classic chicken or egg, which came first problem”), you must first get experience
outside a regular, traditional job and then use that experience to qualify for a job.
What I have just said is an age old principle that can turn your career around and get you out of any sticky “lack of experience situation”, if you understand, adopt and practice it regularly.
So, first define what you need to learn to become a database developer. Make sure that your learning curriculum / roadmap is comprehensive and that it really covers what you need to know and leaves out all the fluff / distracting information. Then Learn I T.
Next, incorporate real-world, hands-on practice into your learning so that you can build the experience that qualifies you for a job.How to do that is described in the next section, so, read on
How Do You Get A Database Developer Job?
Keep in mind that database developers may be hired for a wide variety of jobs including report writing, data analysis, data warehousing, web analytics, business intelligence, database design, data modeling, database administration (DBA). here are some tips on how to get a database developer job.
- Build a Database: Learn Relational Database Design and use its principles to build a small but well-normalized database that makes use of one to one, one to many and many to many relationships.
- Build a Bigger Database: Next, tackle building a more complex database. If your first database design project consisted of three (3) tables, tackle building a bigger database project that involves six (6) tables.
- Build A Real-World Database: Take a look at your office / organization and build a database that is robust enough to handle your company / organization’s data needs for a specific problem, e.g. time management.If you don’t have a job, find a non-profit, school or charity and donate some of your time to building databases for their real-world needs.
- Get Some Feedback: Have a database developer review your database design projects and note the feedback you are given, then incorporate that into the next task which involves building a new database.
- Incorporate Stored Procedures / SQL Queries: Think of all the reports or information that is needed from each of the databases you built and write all the stored procedures / sql queries needed to support those reports.Write the INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE SQL Statements / Stored Procedures that will allow you to maintain all the data using a web-based or windows software application.
- Take SQL / Database Practice Tests: Take lots of practice tests / quizzes on all aspects of database design and development. The more practice tests you take, the better.Use a Quiz / Testing Software that randomizes questions to repeat these practice tests until you score consistently above 90%.
- Take Lots of Job Interviews: Rewrite your resume professionally using all the right SQL / Database buzzwords. Incorporate summaries of all the database projects you have been working on.Now, send your resume to as many recruiters and employers as possible. Put the law of numbers to work for you, which means that … “the more resumes send or job interviews you take, the higher your chances of getting a database design, database development or sql query writing job! “.
Repeat all the previous seven (7) steps in this section and keep repeating or improving on them until you get a job:-)
What Type of Educational Credentials Does A Database Developer Need?
The educational credentials required for database developer / sql query writing jobs can be divided into functional (technical) credentials, communication skills and formal educational credentials .
- Communication Skills :Database Developers / SQL Query Writers need to have good written and verbal communication skills because they work or interface with a cross-section of users including business managers, customers and programmers, business analysts, quality assurance personnel, etc.
- Functional Skills :Functional, hands-on database design, database development and SQL query writing skills are the most important credentials for the job.In other words, you must have a sound knowledge of the principles and practice of relational database design and SQL Querying.
- Formal Educational Credentials :Any 2 or 4 year college degree is sufficient for a database / SQl job. Employers care more about your functional skills than they do about your college majors.And, no you don’t need a computer science degree or an advanced degree or an MBA … though it’s OK to pursue any of these as a personal goal.