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How to Become a SQL Programmer

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Database creation and management has come a very long way since 1970 when IBM's Edgar F. Codd used SQL (Structured Query Language) programming in his paper titled A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks. Today, SQL is so intertwined in the technology environment that it is often expected that not only database administrators but also general system administrators must have a basic grasp of SQL. It is no longer just SQL jobs that require an understanding of SQL. When it comes to database management systems (DBMS) programming language, SQL is the de facto standard. No wonder SQL jobs are in growing demand in the job market, which has in turn translated into more people enrolling for SQL programming courses.

However, it is always important that one understand what would be expected of them if they are to work as an SQL programmer. Other than the fundamental ability on SQL programming, the following are the other salient responsibilities of an SQL programmer:

Understand the different proprietary DBMS platforms - SQL is the de facto standard for enterprise database management today. However, there are a number of different companies that provide DBMS platforms. The SQL programmer and anyone interested in landing an SQL job, even though probably an expert in one platform, must a basic understanding of the top 4 or 5 DBMS platforms in the market.



Security - The SQL programmer must ensure that they do not introduce new security loopholes through their programming code. In addition, they will be required to develop code that will seal any security gaps identified. It must of course be said that database security is an area that spans a much larger domain than just the position of the SQL programmer. Oversight of database security will often rest with the database administrator working closely with the organization's technology security expert.

Database efficiency - A DBMS can be quite demanding in system resources more so as an organization grows and the volume of data it has to retain and work with increases. In such circumstances, the structure of the database and the code used to execute the different requests for information from the core database is of utmost importance. This is because not all code is efficient. Two SQL programmers can develop code to perform the exact type of action but one can very well have a higher demand on system resources than the other. More resources means higher cost. The SQL Programmer will be expected to contribute to cost control by ensuring their code makes best use of existing resources.

Testing and Troubleshooting - All SQL server jobs including the SQL programmer are expected to participate in the testing of new DBMS implementations and changes as well as help identify and fix logical problems on the existing SQL servers.

To qualify as an SQL programmer or any of the other SQL server jobs, persons with at least a bachelor's degree in Computer Sciences or a similar field would normally have an advantage. However, one need not worry if they do not have a technology degree. After all, programming is a technical skill and the ability to program well is often even more important than just academic qualification. There are professional certifications in SQL programming that one can enroll and develop their programming skills.
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