Do you know, the world generates around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day? As people are using high-speed internet and emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), this could go up to 450 exabytes by 2025.
Organizations across the world are hustling to store and manage this colossal amount of data generated via internet-connected hardware. They are also trying to fetch meaningful and actionable insight into this data to drive decision-making to complement their business growth.
However, enterprises are looking for standardized and domain-specific solutions to access, process, and manipulate the information stored in their databases, and this is where SQL comes into play.
SQL is a must-have skill for anyone looking to secure a database-related profession. Let’s dive deep and understand ten real-world applications of SQL, which not only help you expand your acquaintance but also improve your job prospects.
Related Video Course: SQL for Data Science + Data Analytics + Data Visualization
What is SQL?
SQL stands for Structured Query Language, and it is a standard language for RDBMS (relational database management systems). It was developed by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond FF. Boyce in the 1970s at IBM. The initial name was SEQUEL, and it was developed for retrieving and manipulating the data stored in the quasi-RDBMS of IBM.
The first commercial SQL implementation was launched in June 1979 by Relational Software for VAX computers. As we know, a database is indeed a table that consists of rows and columns. SQL is a language that facilitates the retrieval of required information from a database that could be used for further analysis.
SQL is one of the most popular languages for organizing and extracting the data stored in a relational database. Once the data is retrieved, you can use other languages or platforms such as R, Python, or SQL server to perform data analytics operations on massive data sets.
You can perform four fundamental SQL operations (CRUD) using SQL:
- Create – It puts the data into a table.
- Read – It fetches the data out of a table.
- Update – Alter the data in a table.
- Delete – It removes the data from a table.
SQL is used for:
- Data definition: SQL is utilized to define the organization and structure of the stored data and the relationships between the data items.
- Data retrieval: It allows users and administrators to retrieve the intended data from a massive data set.
- Data manipulation: You can add new data, modify the existing data, and even remove the data at your will.
- Data sharing: SQL ensures seamless data sharing by concurrent users without wiping out changes by another user in real-time.
- Access control: It enables the administrator to protect the data from unauthorized access by a user. It can put role-based restrictions on a user and prohibit them to make unauthorized data changes.
Key features of SQL?
- Open-Source – SQL is an open-source solution that enjoys the support of the vibrant community of developers to get regular updates and technical support. It is more cost-effective than proprietary solutions, and it is ideal for small and middle-sized organizations.
- High Performance – SQL offers blazing-fast performance despite high usage and heavy workloads. It is a perfect solution for complex and highly transactional databases, that work as a backbone of scaled businesses.
- Massive Transactional Support – We live in a Data-Intensive environment, where applications process an unimaginable amount of data every day. SQL supports massive records and can handle millions of concurrent transactions without any hassles.
- Compatibility – SQL is compatible with all modern databases, such as Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, SAP HANA, MySQL, Microsoft Access, and SAP Adaptive Server. Most modern RDBMS come with SQL support out of the box.
- Strong Security – SQL offers a strong mechanism to manage security and permissions to provide adequate access controls to the users.
- Highly Scalable – Scalability is one of the biggest problems every modern business faces. Fortunately, the SQL can be easily scaled upwards to match the future needs of your business.
Advantages of SQL
- Faster query processing – SQL can process a massive amount of data in a very short time. It is so efficient that it performs core operations such as insertion and deletion with lightning speed.
- Interactive Language – It uses a structured query language that is used to communicate with complex databases and fetch the intended responses in no time.
- Needs little coding expertise – One doesn’t need to learn coding to perform database operations. You need to learn some syntax and functions to perform all the basic and complex operations.
- Offers multiple data views – SQL enables users to create multiple views of database structure for different users based on their requirements.
- Offers a standardized language – SQL is an open-source solution that comes with a standardized language, which allows a large community of users and developers to contribute to the troubleshooting and documentation requirements.
- SQL is portable – It can be used on servers, desktops, laptops, and even on gaming systems. It could be embedded within any application to cater to a specific business requirement.
10 Practical Applications of SQL
Here we have listed the ten practical applications of SQL in the real world.
- Finance – We all know how important role SQL plays for banking, financial institutes, and online payment processors. It is the SQL-powered DBMS that enables the storage and manipulation of data collected via software and delivers a personalized experience to the customer. It also helps these institutions to analyze the actionable insights to detect and prevent fraudulent transactions.
- Healthcare – Healthcare service providers use SQL to store and analyze information about their patients, their behaviors, medical history, diagnosis, and demographics. This database-powered analysis enables medical practitioners to avail vital insights to offer effective medical services to their customers.
- Marketing – These organizations depend on consumer behavior, as that drives their strategy and policy development to capture market expectations. Both tech and non-tech organizations rely on SQL to learn about consumer demands, and their usage patterns and offer effective insights to conduct effective marketing campaigns.
- Back-end Development– Back-end development is accountable for enabling the integration of front-end applications with a database. It helps us in minimizing bugs, eliminate data corruption, and ensure seamless application delivery to the end users. SQL has been used widely for back-end web development, as it enables the insertion, retrieval, and manipulation of data.
- Data Science – It is an emerging field, where codes and algorithms are used to develop a data model of a wide range of data sets. Data Scientists can utilize SQL codes and algorithms to traverse the data and explore business-specific combinations and trends to deliver meaningful and actionable information to organizations.
- Data Analysis – This is another emerging sector where deep analysis is carried out on massive data sets and then data trends are sorted and analyzed to retrieve vital outputs. SQL plays a pivotal role in data analysis, as data analysts can leverage the features of SQL to gain deep insights into massive data volumes using numerous conditional commands.
- Database Administration – The fundamental responsibility of a database administrator is to manage an organizational database and maintain its integrity as well. SQL is used to capture and process sensitive data about customers, patients, students, and many more. SQL also ensures adequate security to the databases, which allows organizations to offer seamless and hassle-free services to their consumers.
- Structuring the Architecture – To strengthen the server-client architecture, administrators and managers rely on SQL to create a stable connection between the front-end and back-end. SQL queries can be used to provide a logical structure to the overall design architecture of any application or software. SQL is widely used as a component of the 3-tier architecture that includes client, application, and database.
- Entertainment Industry – OTT platforms such as Amazon Prime and online music applications like Spotify and Pandora use SQL to store user and content-specific data. They process the data across vast content libraries to offer personalized recommendations to end users.
- Social Media – Social Media platforms process a colossal amount of data every day. Popular platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat use SQL to store user profile data. SQL enables them to update the app database when any user posts content. It also enables them to keep the recording of interactions and messages, so that users can retrieve them later.
Must-Have Skills for a Career in SQL
If you are planning to jumpstart your career as a SQL professional, then you must learn the following skills:
- Knowledge of Microsoft’s SQL server
- Adequate understanding of DBMS/RDBMS concepts
- Familiarity with database architecture
- Experience in other SQL solutions such as MySQL and PostgreSQL
- Extensive knowledge of PHP
- Practical exposure to Indexing
- Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) skills
- Strong hands-on of SQL Joins
- Knowledge of cloud platforms such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure
- Familiarity with Hadoop, Hive, and Big Data
Future Prospects of SQL Professionals
The demand for SQL professionals has been skyrocketing in recent times. Organizations involved in app development, cloud operations, high-traffic web portals, and data-specific solutions need seasoned database experts to cater to their ever-increasing business demands.
Here we are presenting some facts, which show how this escalating demand has unleashed job prospects and lucrative pay packages for SQL professionals.
- The healthcare industry pays the most to SQL professional
- Currently, we have more than 30,000 SQL developers in the USA
- An SQL developer can avail the average annual salary of $87,973 in the USA
- The average annual salary of an SQL professional in India is ₹4,38,815
- The annual average salary of a SQL professional in the United Kingdom is £47,961.
SQL – Final Words
SQL has gained massive popularity over the years and it has become the most used database language in the world. Since it’s an open-source and inexpensive solution, it has been used by businesses of all sizes to manage their database-specific operations.
Regardless of whether you are a dedicated web developer, database administrator, business analyst, or product manager, learning SQL will not only improve your knowledge but also enhance your chances of getting a high-paying job.
I hope this blog must have helped you understand the nitty-gritty of SQL. Now all you need to learn the fundamental skills and get SQL certification to kick-start the journey of successful SQL professional.
Gourav Sharma is a Digital Marketing Strategist at Arka Softwares, a leading mobile app development company. He has 4 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. He spends his time reading about new trends in Digital Marketing and the latest app development technologies.