10 jobs with SQL (plus duties and salary information)
SQL is a domain-specific language widely used to query data in databases and can open up a broad career path for coders. There are many job roles that require SQL knowledge and can upskill your career if you wish to progress in areas such as product management, business analytics or as a developer. SQL is a niche area and is not always obvious to job seekers, despite many big companies worldwide advertising jobs with SQL. In this article, we share 10 different jobs with SQL for experienced and entry-level candidates of various coding abilities.
Related: 10 essential web developer skills
What do jobs with SQL entail?
Jobs with SQL (Structured Query Language) entail the use of coding in programming designed to manage data held in a database. It's often used among programmers as it eliminates the need to specify reaching a record, with or without an index. Data administrators, analysts and developers may regularly use SQL to write data integration scripts and run analytical queries. For example, the typical use of SQL is for modifying databases and index structures by adding, deleting or updating rows of data and creating subsets of information for transaction processing and analytics applications.
Similar to a spreadsheet, SQL databases contain various tables with rows and columns of data that correspond to a specific category. An SQL intersect operator combines like rows from two queries, returning rows with common results and the same number of columns with compatible data types. It's a success if the SQL returns corresponding data in rows and columns. For example, marketers may use SQL to directly connect to their organisation's database, enabling them to analyse and create a data-driven marketing strategy, improve campaign performance and learn more about their audience.
10 different jobs for varying SQL coding abilities
Some of the job roles open to applicants with SQL skills of varying levels are:
National average salary: £25,411 per year
Primary duties: Journalists are sometimes required to sort through masses of text or data to bring together accurate publications at sometimes short notice. SQL experience is useful for journalists to enhance their ability to rapidly organise and filter through information to inform their writing and distribute accurate news to the public and relevant audiences. Data journalism is quickly becoming a beneficial skill to have.
Primary duties: Generally, researchers work in governmental organisations, educational institutions, thinktanks or the private sector. Their duties of analysing and collecting qualitative, quantitative, primary, secondary and various other types of data to solve problems, spot trends and analyse issues mean SQL skills can be beneficial. SQL databases can support researchers in handling various forms of data that often need quantifying to support the dissemination and access of the data.
National average salary: £34,055 per year
Primary duties: Quality Assurance testers are responsible for testing new software to spot any issues before the new mobile application, web application or gaming system is free from glitches and defects. They do this by analysing and reviewing system specifications, running reports and creating documentation while reviewing the results. They then test the programs or applications on a smaller scale. If they pass the quality assurance criteria, developers implement it on a larger scale. This role is beneficial in saving an organisations time, resources and lowering security risks or data breaches when rolling out new software.
National average salary: £37,416 per year
Primary duties: Database marketing managers are responsible for ensuring an organisation's branding and communications output is consistent and reaches relevant audiences. Organised SQL databases allow marketing professionals to analyse the effectiveness of campaigns, develop ROI calculations, analyse marketing and sales data and present KPIs for various marketing acclivities. SQL experience may allow database marketing managers to lead improvements on campaigns and marketing techniques and the generation of reports to inform long-term marketing strategies.
National average salary: £39,663 per year
Primary duties: Database administrators are integral to supporting SQL developers as they organise data in meaningful ways. Responsibilities include overseeing teams of SQL developers and generally have programming, data architecture and software engineering skills. This enables the database administrator to develop processes that support the storage and access of the information in a secure way within SQL server databases. Though they may not have to write the code itself, they are essential in overseeing backups, audits and data replication to ensure the database is running accurately and securely.
National average salary: £42,357 per year
Primary duties: Business analysts sometimes use SQL to manage data in databases to run and analyse reports. This can enable them to make business decisions and is a prerequisite for most business analyst jobs. Since business analysts are the bridge between understanding business ideas and reporting capabilities, they use data to report, analyse and inform business decisions. SQL knowledge is integral in their role as they decipher the future of businesses by identifying and leading valuable changes to business processes.
National average salary: £42,747 per year
Primary duties: SQL project management is a highly sought after role and requires the main principles of project management with more technical and SQL expertise. Some of the duties SQL project managers can expect to partake in are the setting up and administering of SQL database environments using profiles, roles and database privileges, configuring upgrades, managing database administration, installation and more.
National average salary: £43,942 per year
Primary duties: Similar to the duties of software developers, software engineers are highly technical and collaborate with technology, operations and development departments to maintain and create programmes, architecture and large-scale data stores. The main difference between software developers and software engineers is that the latter tends to take a bigger picture approach, focussing on structural design and where compromise is necessary for other systems or architecture to build data pipelines. Since software engineers generally maintain and develop systems to organise and store data, computer programming and data architecture and management skills are necessary.
National average salary: £50,051 per year
Primary duties: Data scientists design programmes and scripts to perform specific database functions to maintain and analyse data sets. Businesses rely on data scientists on a full-time basis in tech departments under the supervision of tech department managers. They also work closely with business stakeholders to make sense of data and determine business goals through the creation of algorithms and models to extract relevant data.
10. SQL developer
National average salary: £42,265 per year
Primary duties: SQL developers' specialist skills make them responsible for developing and maintaining SQL based systems for organisations to store their data. Developers are highly technical and are skilled at using their software engineering, computer programming and data architecture skills to develop bespoke systems to suit the specific needs of the end user. SQL developers also manage the UX, writing queries to enable integration with other applications, and managing data quality.
Related: How to become a data analyst
What are some typically recognised SQL qualifications?
Expertise in SQL can lead to many different job roles for all abilities and skill sets. If you're interested in gaining qualifications and experience in SQL, some of the following certifications may be beneficial:
Cloudera Certified Associate Data Analyst: This qualification is useful to those interested in becoming a SQL developer, business intelligence specialist, architect or database administrator
Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): This qualification hones in on business intelligence skills and building enterprise-scale data solutions and SQL administration. Prerequisites for this course are machine learning and data engineering certification.
MapR Certified Data Analyst: This certification equips students with the skills to manipulate and analyse large datasets using SQL, Apache and various other programmes. Prior knowledge of SQL is beneficial for this qualification, with experience in areas such as queries and troubleshooting in particular.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidates experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with indeed.
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