What Non-Programmers Should Know About SQL

By Eric Rosenberg

StockSnap / Pixabay

SQL stands for structured query language, a popular method to query databases of all sizes. While professional database administrators and SQL programmers are in high demand, you don’t need a computer science degree to understand basic SQL. If you are a financial analyst, business owner, or online entrepreneur, these basic SQL tips will help you navigate the data behind your website, customers, and more.

What is SQL?

You can use SQL to get data from a database. Whether the database has one record or one million, SQL is likely the best tool to quickly gather and summarize information from the database. Often pronounced “sequel,” the first version goes all the way back to 1974. The most recent update to the language released in December 2016.

There are two popular versions of SQL that most non-programmers who care about databases should be aware of. The first is the main version of SQL, which is commercially available to use with large database programs. Oracle is one of the largest corporate database providers in the world, and you can hunt for data in Oracle databases using SQL. A lightly modified version of SQL, Access SQL, is the query language in Microsoft Access, the most popular database app for small businesses and a common tool on computers at Fortune 500 companies alike.

The second version of SQL that you should know about is MySQL. MySQL is an open source version that works very similarly to the core version of SQL for our purposes. MySQL is most popular on the web. If you have a WordPress site with CPanel hosting, you can login to an app called phpMyAdmin to access your databases and run SQL queries.

SQL and MySQL are flexible, and there are many options and interfaces to run queries. You can build SQL queries in a command line text based editor or you can use a query builder with a graphical interface. Either way, it gets you to the same result. Now let’s look at some of the basic SQL queries you may need to use for your work or business.


The most basic and common method to get data from a table is a SELECT query. As the name implies, this query is used to select data from a database. You can create a select query with many variables and permutations. To better understand how it works, here is an example of where you may want to use a SELECT query.

Let’s say you have a database with one table called Customers, and that table contains fields with the customer name, address, city, state, zip code, and phone number. The fields are named in all capital letters, because that’s how it was built in the beginning. You want to send a mailing to all customers, so you want to generate a list of all customers with their address information. Select query to the rescue!

To run a select query, we need to tell the computer what we want and where to find Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

Be Sociable, Share!