This beginner’s guide will help you understand what SQL is, how it works, and why it’s such an essential tool in the world of data management.
What is SQL?
SQL, pronounced “see-quel” or “S-Q-L”, is a programming language specifically designed for managing data in a relational database management system (RDBMS) or stream processing in a relational data stream management system (RDSMS).
It is particularly effective for handling structured data, i.e., data incorporating relations among entities and variables.
The History of SQL
SQL was first developed at IBM by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce in the early 1970s. It was initially called SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language) and was designed to manipulate and retrieve data stored in IBM’s original quasi-relational database management system, System R, which a group at IBM San Jose Research Laboratory had developed.
Over time, SQL became a standard tool for managing data in RDBMS, and it has been maintained and standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) since 1986.
SQL is primarily used to interact with databases. It does so by performing the following key tasks
1. Create databases and database structures: This includes tables, views, indexes, and other elements. This is usually done using statements like CREATE DATABASE, CREATE TABLE, etc.
2. Perform CRUD operations: CRUD stands for Create, Read, Update, Delete. These are the most basic operations you can perform on any database.
3. Manage data security and integrity: SQL also enables you to define authorizations on data and ensures that the data remains consistent throughout the database.
Fundamental SQL commands
let’s have a quick look at some fundamental SQL commands:
SELECT: This command is used to select data from a database. The data returned is stored in a result table, called the result-set.
FROM: Used in conjunction with SELECT to specify the table to retrieve data from.
WHERE: This clause is used to filter records and is added after the FROM clause.
INSERT INTO: This statement is used to insert new data into a database.
UPDATE: This statement is used to modify the existing records in a database.
DELETE: This statement is used to delete existing records in a database.
CREATE DATABASE: This statement is used to create a new database.
ALTER DATABASE: This statement is used to modify a database.
CREATE TABLE: This statement is used to create a new table.
ALTER TABLE: This statement is used to modify a table.
DROP TABLE: This statement is used to delete a table.
Why Learn SQL?
In today’s data-driven world, knowing how to manage and manipulate data is a highly desirable skill.
SQL is universally recognized and used across many tech companies, big and small.
Understanding SQL can open a wide range of opportunities, from data analysis and data science to backend development and database administration.
SQL is relatively straightforward to learn compared to other programming languages, making it a great starting point for those new to coding.
In upcoming posts, we’ll delve deeper into how to use each of these commands in detail, complete with code examples and best practices. Until then, keep exploring and happy learning