One of the most powerful tools a data analyst / scientist / engineers or anybody can have is learning the language of SQL. Now this is not a SQL tutorial, but more so an understanding of what SQL can be used for as well as the value that this language has in the real world. First off, let’s define SQL, so let’s look at this definition that I copied straight from Wikipedia:
“Structured Query Language) is a domain-specific language used in programming and designed for managing data held in a relational database management system (RDBMS), or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system (RDSMS). It is particularly useful in handling structured data, i.e. data incorporating relations among entities and variables.”
Now, in my experience as both a data analyst & data scientist, having this language in your arsenal is so important and can really make you stand out to an employer. This language allows you to pretty much programmatically handle large amounts of data, what does this mean? Well let’s imagine for your job you had to handle large amounts of excel files, sometimes you had to download them from one website, or maybe get them from your boss, and maybe some files were different formats, before you know it you have many different files housing similar data that maybe important to the project, now imagine if you had a centralized location of all of your data in any order you choose it to be in, this helps manage your data much better and essentially saves you precious time of having many scattered data sets and improve data accuracy, this in a way is one huge advantage of using SQL in the real world.
Now the core reason to use SQL is to create a database that holds information, imagine a database as a centralized warehouse that holds all of your data, in this warehouse you can put any data you want (as long as theres enough space) and allows you to extract any data at anytime (as long as the database is properly running). Now as mentioned above, SQL’s true gift is relational database development, this essentially means that the data held within the database is related and can be uploaded or essentially downloaded from the database. Imagine opening an Excel file and seeing all of the column & row headers, this is essentially what the data inside of a database looks like.
Now there are many different softwares that allow you to actually run SQL queries in, here are some of the most popular softwares as well as the company images, it honestly helped me alot to match up the name with the images:
Microsoft SQL Server
These softwares essentially do the same thing, but they all have their advantages and disadvatnages. It would be super useful to go through each of these softwares separately and understand their specific syntax, even though they all pretty much use SQL, the specific commands can be a little bit different on each one of these. Now, believe it or not you have a very brief understanding of what SQL is as well as some software that could help you manage your data, as stated before this isn’t a tutorial, but more so a way to get your feet wet with this specific language. I will be making many more articles about SQL as well as projects to build with this language, but for now, enjoy learning more about SQL!