Why learning SQL is so relevant to Developers

wendisha profile image Wendy Calderon ・2 min read

A few weeks ago, whenever I heard the word SQL, my hands started to sweat. I knew it had to do with the fact that I had not been introduced to it the proper way, but at the same time, I was not aware of how important this skill is to further my career. I did some research on the matter, while adamantly sharpening up said skill, and thought it is worth sharing.

SQL imageCredits: csc.barnard.edu

What is SQL? In simple words, it is the language used to interact with relational databases. It stands for Structured Query Language and it has been around for over 40 years. This interaction is possible through a Database Management System, a software that handles the storage, retrieval, and updating of data in a computer system.

As our applications and/or companies grow, more and more data needs to be managed, and this applies to basically any scenario. Imagine a company growing in size, that is keeping track of it’s employees information in a spreadsheet, storing personal data in one table, clock-in/clock-out times in another table, vacation schedules in a different table, etc. A simple task like getting the emergency contact information of the employee who took a break at 3:15pm today could take double, triple, you name it, the time a SQL query would take to retrieve this data from a relational database. This spreadsheet is an example of a flat database.

SQL is the most popular database query language, and since we have covered why storing large sets of data in a relational database is convenient, it’s clear to see why adding it to one’s skill set is important. It’s learning curve is also slight once you find the right resources.

Another important reason to consider learning SQL is the revenue; not only is this skill in high demand, it also pays well. According to Glassdoor, the average pay for a SQL Developer is approximately $84k.

SQL Developer SalariesCredits: glassdoor.com

In Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey results, SQL ranks as the third most popular technology among professional Developers, and it’s been in the top 5 since this breakdown started back in 2015.

Stack Overflow's 2019 Developer SurveyCredits: Stack Overflow

When it comes to Database Management Systems, the 5 most popular in 2019 according to the same survey are MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, SQLite and MongoDB, in that same order.

To sum up, just like any other technical skill in the Development field, SQL helps solve important problems in any organization that deals with large amounts of data. It is also an intuitive query language, in high demand and with great profit.

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wendisha profile

Wendy Calderon


#WomanInTech with a passion for exploring, learning and utilizing technology for the common good. Software Engineer at @followLantern


Editor guide

Cool article ! I must admit not being a big fan of SQL (I'm more of a no SQL type) but I indeed used SQL a lot and it deserves the place it's got on the ranks. Good point in saying any good Developer should know this language.


It sure is useful. I wasn't a big fan either, but thanks to a course I'm taking, I'm actually enjoying it nowdays!


Wendy, such a lovely article! You should start a series “Why learning <% DATA_PROCESSING_LANGUAGE %> is so relevant to Developer”. I suggest as a next language Cobol – its syntax is so easy, very close to English, the pay is near SQL and last but not least — it was invented by a woman <3


Thank you for the suggestion Sava! Taking notes!!


I got into my first software developer job (JS developer) without knowing anything about sql. I had to learn it on the workplace and it has proved to be such a useful skill that i now use everyday.


👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 good job!


I live in SQL.


I hear it's fun there! 😁


Great post! I have been getting into SQL lately and can definitely see the power of it and working with relational databases.


That's awesome!
Also, I'm glad you liked the read! :)