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spO0q 🦄
spO0q 🦄

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Don't underestimate SQL

You may read that cheat sheet to get started:

While SQL (Structured Query Language) is not the only programming language to master as a back-end developer, it's a critical one!

Pretty much everything we do allows users to fill a relational database with various entries. Of course, SQL is not the only approach (e.g., NoSQL), but it's a fundamental step in your journey.


MySQL is a product that implements SQL. In other words, it's a relational database management system.

It's still widely used in dev teams, so you should definitely learn it, whether you want to get a job as a back-end dev, a database administrator, a system admin, or a data analyst (or many other jobs).

The key points they don't tell you

By "they," I mean the Illuminati, of course 🤣🤪.

More seriously, you will find everything about the technique on Internet, but the "why" is often skipped.

So, why SQL anyway?

5 reasons in short:

  • SQL is everywhere in the IT business
  • a well-crafted SQL query can spare significant time and resources (e.g., vs far-fetched PHP operations with big arrays), whereas a slow query can literally ruin your app
  • SQL is easy to learn and powerful to extract relevant data in a large dataset
  • mastering SQL will help you secure your queries, whereas ignorance will put your app and your users in danger
  • very good introduction to programming that will be still valuable over the course of your career

Bottom line: start with SQL

While it might seem opinionated, I would likely recommend starting your journey in programming with SQL.

You won't waste your time at all, and it may even make learning other languages easier.

Top comments (4)

rickdelpo1 profile image
Rick Delpo • Edited

Hi, I definately agree that SQL is a mainstay. I did it for 20 years on the job. But after I retired I looked into NoSQL in a big way and in our Javascripted world of Today with many wanting to be in a Serverless environment, I finally ditched MySQL in favor of a JSON text database. (only for small use cases like dashboards)

I wrote a Dev article about this here...entitled To SQL or To NoSQL

also I write more about this topic at my website

spo0q profile image
spO0q 🦄

hum, I Don't think "SQL vs. NoSQL" makes sense. These are different usages that can even be complementary in some projects.

rickdelpo1 profile image
Rick Delpo • Edited

hey great point, my article, above, does point out all the usage stuff you mention and does favor SQL but I always wanted to try NoSQL anyway because I am an ad hoc kind of guy still interested in the coding business. PS, don't tell the Hadoop guys that we think SQL is superior. There is a big debate about this out in the Big Data world. On my job, generally 95% of use cases required SQL but there are a handful of use cases that are ideal for NoSQL which btw means 'not only SQL' instead of implication 'don't use SQL'. Also PostgreSQL db uses both in a big way. My use cases for NoSQL include mostly small dashboards connected to a javascript frontend. We only use a few metrics in this case and there are no relationships present.

andrewrgarcia profile image
Andrew Garcia

Couldn't agree with you more.