5 Great Benefits of Learning SQL

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If you want your business to succeed in 2017, it’s absolutely critical that you understand your data.

If you want your business to succeed in 2017, it’s absolutely critical that you understand your data.

Don’t fall for the common trap—analyzing data isn’t just a concern for those competing at national or corporate levels. In fact, all businesses have plenty of data that they can use to potentially improve their workflow.

Think about all the stats a small family business could measure. Which of their items is bought most frequently? What time of year is ideal for selling that item? What are their utility costs? Are there any trends in sales that they can take advantage of?

The difference between a business struggling to make ends meet and one that thrives in its niche hinges on answering these sorts of questions. Large corporations hire droves of data analysts for that very reason. Data analysts are not only able to thoroughly record, analyze, and dissect data, but they can also tidy up the data to present their findings in a way that is easy to understand.

However, data analysts need a thorough understanding of the objectives and direction of the company that hired them if they want to make good use of its data. Equipped with valuable and insightful data, they can even act as directional advisors when needed.

So, how do data analysts work their magic, and how can the average person utilize that information? For starters, you need a database that stores the information you’d like to access. Once that’s set, all you really need is SQL.

SQL stands for Structured Query Language, a programming language that is used to manage information and data structures stored in databases. With SQL, you can order and sort your data in any manner you’d like.

If you’re trying to learn more about your business or add more value to your company, learning SQL is a great place to start. Let’s take a look at the top 6 reasons why you should learn SQL.

1) No need for research—you already have all the info you need

Research is expensive. If you’re looking to do surveys or other methods of gathering qualitative data, you can expect to lose precious time and money.

SQL allows you to cut needless spending and get right to the point. If you’re already tracking and storing important data in your database, someone well versed in SQL can input queries to frame that data in a useable way. You can also save and reuse data in the future, making SQL an extremely efficient solution!

Moreover, traditional spreadsheet software such as Excel can only track one thing at a time. SQL makes all your data available in one place. For example, SQL allows programming commands to immediately update information when needed. It’s this kind of streamlining in data analysis that simply wasn’t possible in the good old days of pen and paper.

Companies will sometimes fund research campaigns, but these can take years to produce meaningful findings. With SQL, the right question can lead to answers that you didn’t even know were right in front of you.

2) You’ll make money

Who doesn’t like money? According to research by Payscale.com, the average data analyst earns an annual salary of over $55,000. Glassdoor.com values the average data analyst at over $76,000. And that doesn’t even take into account the pay increase that comes with additional training and years of experience. Data analysis is also a gateway to high-earning jobs in areas such as financial advising.

As a business owner, you can use SQL to become more efficient with your costs and to maximize on your strengths to boost profits.

3) SQL and data analysis are skills sought after by many employers

SQL, like any other coding language, makes the average person scratch their head in confusion. There aren’t many people in today’s workforce who have a working knowledge of SQL. Many employers recognize the value of such a skill in today’s market—but even if they don’t, it’s an easy sell to make.

Larger companies have tons of data and compete in marketplaces with high stakes. As such, they’re desperate to get their hands on anyone who can help them step up their game. If you can demonstrate proficiency in a language like SQL, you’ll certainly improve your chances of being hired.

4) It’s a universal language

SQL is one of those skills that bleeds over into many other disciplines. When you work with SQL, you’re using the language of computers. This ultimately helps you transition into coding with other languages, such as Javascript, C++, Python, and plenty more. These languages are all extremely valuable and in demand, so learning one of them helps lay the foundation for learning the others.

All it takes to succeed with a programming language is a vision of where you want to go. In the process of learning SQL, you can adapt your skills to specialize as a developer, programmer, manager, and more. It sounds cheesy, but there really are no limits to what you can do with SQL.

5) It’s not going anywhere

The origins of SQL can be traced back to the 1970s. It’s a skill that’s become synonymous with the way the internet works. Sure, SQL may adapt and evolve as new challenges arise in the future, but it’s certainly not going anywhere.

Learning SQL also allows you to stay abreast of changes in technology. And that’s precisely what companies are looking for: someone who is knowledgeable and is willing to lead them into the future.

Whether you’d like to casually pick up another language, kickstart your career in data analysis, or enhance your professional profile, there’s really never been a better time to start learning SQL.

Alex Briggs is a contributing author for Datasparc. He regularly writes articles for various data security and programming blogs.

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