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The Best SQL Jobs in 2022: Unlock new career paths with SQL

Discover the best SQL jobs available in 2022 and why SQL skills are in such high demand. Plus, discover some of the top courses for learning SQL.
Jul 2022  · 12 min read

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If you have studied or worked in any data-driven industry, you’ll definitely have heard of SQL. This tutorial will help you understand what SQL is, and will go over the reasons that make SQL a must-have skill for many professions. At the end of this tutorial, you will have enough pointers to appreciate the best SQL jobs and get started with your own career!  

What is SQL?

SQL pronounced as “S-Q-L” or as “sequel” stands for Structured Query Language. It is a domain-specific language (DSL), a computer language specialized to a particular application domain; for example, HTML for web pages. DSL is in contrast to a general-purpose language (GPL), which is broadly applicable across domains; for example - Python, C, C#, etc.

SQL is used in programming and is designed for managing data stored in a relational database management system (RDBMS). It is particularly useful in handling structured data, i.e., data incorporating relations among entities and variables. These entities and variables are organized as a set of tables with columns and rows. 

The structure can feel very similar to Excel. However, databases in general (and not just RDBMS) are more powerful than Excel spreadsheets for three reasons: 

  1. Databases can interact with many other programming languages, especially GPLs - giving a programmer more power to manage and retrieve information from data.
  2. Databases can process more data than spreadsheets in Excel. Excel can handle up to 1 million rows of data, whereas a database can handle over a billion rows. However, along with the data size also comes the question of speed.  Thankfully, matured databases have developed highly sophisticated ways of optimizing the query keeping the underlying systems fast and almost real-time.
  3. Databases can more easily be connected to the internet, allowing hundreds of users and applications to access them simultaneously.

Common SQL terminologies

We earlier touched upon relational databases. RDBMS is the building ground for SQL. The data in RDBMS is stored in a database object called table. A database often contains several tables. Each table is identified by a unique name and contains a collection of related data entries structured as rows and columns. The columns in a table are known as fields and hold values for a specific property of a table. Each row in a table is known as a record

Table: Customers

CustomerID

CustomerName

Country

PostalCode

101

John Doe

Germany

12209

102

Jane Doe

UK

WA1 1DP

The table above is called ‘Customers’ with four fields: CustomerId, CustomerName, Country, and the PostalCode. The table holds only two records - one for each customer.

SQL queries are used to work with the data stored in a RDBMS. A query is nothing but a statement consisting of various SQL commands that together perform a specific task. 

Some of these tasks can be updating data on a database, retrieving data from a database, making a new table, deleting a table, etc.  Some common RDBMS that use SQL are Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Sybase, and Ingres. 

Some of the most commonly used and important SQL commands are: 

  • SELECT - To extract data from a database. 
  • INSERT INTO - To insert new data into a database. 
  • UPDATE - To update data in a database. 
  • DELETE - To delete data from a database. 
  • CREATE TABLE - To create a new table. 
  • ALTER TABLE - To modify a table. 
  • DROP TABLE - To delete a table (use this one with absolute caution!). 

To see all the data stored within the above-defined ‘Customers’ table, you simply have to execute a SQL query, e.g. SELECT * FROM Customers;

SQL commands use keywords - which means they are predefined, reserved words that hold a special meaning. SQL keywords are NOT case sensitive: so SELECT is the same as select but it is considered a good practice to write these in uppercase to make them stand out from the arguments. 

Some database systems require a semicolon at the end of each SQL statement. This semicolon is the standard way to separate SQL statements in database systems. This allows more than one SQL statement to be executed in the same call to the database.

Datacamp’s Introduction to SQL is a great course to help you get started with SQL. And what’s great is that it is a completely free interactive course! We encourage you to follow it up with other courses in the SQL Fundamentals track.

Why develop your SQL skills?

SQL has a simple and intuitive syntax making it easy to learn. SQL is incredibly versatile, and used by everyone from data scientists and engineers to anyone who simply wants to be more data-literate.

SQL was initially developed at IBM in the early 1970s and although it's been around for quite some time now - it is still an essential and even an indispensable skill for many professions. Before we dive deeper into some of the best SQL jobs, let's discover what makes SQL a must-have skill and why we encourage you to develop your SQL skills.

1. Widespread use in different industries

SQL is everywhere! All the big names in the tech industry use it: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Airbnb, Uber, etc. And it's not just used in tech industries or only in big companies but rather multiple industries of all sizes - directly or indirectly use it. SQL is heavily used in the finance and healthcare industry - given the large amount of data they produce. A quick LinkedIn search can perhaps give you an idea of this wide spread. 

2. It is highly in demand

This is not surprising! Data is the new gold, and SQL is a very powerful tool to have when it comes to handling and working with big data. 

If you start a job search, you can find over a million SQL jobs on LinkedIn. Professionals with advanced SQL skills such as database administrators and database architects receive an average annual pay of $98,860 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a job growth outlook of eight percent in the coming years.

3. Top 5 “most commonly used” programming language

If you are a programmer, SQL is a great skill to add to your tool kit. In the StackOverflow’s 2021 developer survey that collected responses from 83,052 developers, SQL holds strong grounds.

And as you read above - while discussing databases VS excel, SQL provides multiple benefits for any data-related job in terms of ease and speed for data handling and manipulation. So if you are looking for a data-heavy profession, SQL is crucial!

The top 5 most commonly used programming language

Unlock new career paths with the best SQL jobs

If you’re hoping to work with SQL, there are many opportunities available. Below, we’ve picked out some of the best SQL jobs out there to give you some inspiration.  If you’re looking for jobs in the data industry, check out DataCamp Jobs, which can help you find roles tailored to your skills. 

1. Data Scientist/Data Analyst

Data scientists and data analysts are very flexible in terms of the industries they cover. For example, you could be a data scientist in the oil or gas industry or a data analyst working for marine life conservation. Similarly, there are SQL roles as a data scientist in the pharmaceuticals industry and even a data journalist focused on fact-based reporting. 

But no matter the industry, the first step in any data science or data analysis task is to gather your data. This could mean getting data from various database tables. And then sorting through this large amount of data, producing insights, and generating results to support or reject your hypothesis. SQL is a very crucial skill to have for this data manipulation. 

You need to be able to write complex SQL queries to get exactly the data you need for your study. This could mean using joins, writing subqueries, using SQL window functions, and similar while keeping an eye out for query performance tuning. 

The average salary for a data scientist in the United States according to Indeed, is $102,422 with 3-5 years of experience. 

2. Business Analysts/Business Intelligence Developer

Whether you’re in marketing, finance, or product, knowing how to make data-driven decisions is the key to success. The more fluently you can retrieve and analyze your data, the quicker you’ll uncover actionable insights and grow your business.

As a business analyst with SQL skills, you could easily link tables together to get the data you need. For example, the table ‘Customers’ described earlier can be linked to another table in the database, such as ‘Orders’ described below. This link is based on the common field in both tables: ‘CustomerID’. 

This link could give you better insights into customer segmentation. Equipped with this knowledge, you can target the two customer segments differently.

Table: Orders

CustomerID

OrderNo

TotalOrderValue

101

10134343

54

101

34324242

29

102

56757657

355

101

12468790

10

102

12346832

700

According to Indeed, the average annual salary for a Business Analyst in the United States with 6-9 years of experience is $82,327.

Check out DataCamp’s dedicated SQL training for Business Analysts Track where you’ll learn everything you need to excel and overcome real-world business challenges through hands-on practice.

3. Software Developer/Engineer

Software developers create computer software and applications. They are the ones who program software, including new programs and features.

SQL might not always appear in the job listing as an absolute requirement for a software developer. However, this is often because SQL is assumed to be one of the basic skills every developer has. So, knowing SQL is a fundamental skill required to be a good Software Engineer! 

Furthermore, developers with SQL knowledge are more likely to get higher pay than their peers who have not mastered SQL. Indeed lists the average annual salary for a Software Engineer as $93,972 with 3-5years of experience.

DataCamp’s SQL Server Developer is an excellent track to take your SQL skills from a beginner to an intermediate level. 

4. Database Architect

A database architect is responsible for designing the database to meet an employer’s needs. A database architect develops modeling strategies to ensure that the database is secure, scalable, and performs reliably. 

After the design is ready, a database architect works with other IT professionals such as software engineers, system administrators, analysts, and database administrators to implement the database.

Databases can take different forms: relational, NoSQL database, graph-based, distributed database, etc. A database architect must be fluent in all the different kinds of databases and have the expertise to identify what kind of situation needs what form of database. 

Additionally, SQL is the basis for many popular modern database systems such as MS SQL Server, IBM DB2, Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft Access. And hence a strong knowledge of SQL is a must for any database architect. 

Indeed highlights the average annual salary for a database architect as $121,957.

5. Database Administrator

A database administrator’s primary job is to ensure that a database runs efficiently and securely. They are responsible for maintaining users' information, assigning them the proper access rights, and monitoring usage. 

Database administrators use scripting languages to program databases to meet the needs of their users, referred to as performance tuning. They also fix issues if the database isn’t working properly. Database administrators also do the task of backing stored data on a routine basis.

The average annual salary for this profession, according to Indeed, is $121,957, making it one of the best SQL jobs in 2022.

DataCamp has two Database Administrator specialized tracks: one focusing on SQL Server for Database Administrators and the other, a more focused track on PostgreSQL called SQL for Database Administrators.

SQL and beyond

Job location and your experience level can play a huge part in determining your salary. And like with every job, no single skill helps you in your role. It is a mixture of skills and expertise that bring the prize home! SQL developers require problem-solving, attention to detail, troubleshooting, soft skills, and technical skills to make the most out of the data and the databases that hold them. 

We only scratched the surface of the different SQL career paths you can choose when equipped with SQL knowledge. As you’ll have realized, many of these professions overlap in their roles and responsibility. 

You might also find yourselves wearing different database expertise hats in your career, so irrespective of the path you might choose we encourage you to make the first move and get started with learning SQL

Whether you’re a complete SQL beginner or you're looking to develop an existing set of skills, DataCamp will help you study at your own pace, put your new skills to practical use, and build your SQL portfolio.

Happy querying!

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