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How Can I Become an SQL Developer?

Explore the career requirements for becoming a SQL developer. Get the facts about job responsibilities, salary, career outlook, and educational requirements to determine if this is the right career for you.

What Is an SQL Developer?

SQL developers build and manage databases that support the use of Structured Query Language (SQL) to retrieve data. They are familiar with a wide range of database software, including Oracle and Microsoft products. Successful developers also have a strong attention to detail and the logical thinking skills needed to solve the problems they encounter when working with databases, whether it entails restoring data, modifying the database structure or updating user permissions. These professionals must also be well-versed in programming to the degree that they could train others in SQL coding if necessary.

Read the table below for a summary of what you need to know about becoming a SQL developer.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Computer science, management information systems, information science
Key Skills Logical thinking, detail oriented, computer programming, problem-solving
Job Growth (2018-2028) 9% (all database administrators)*
Average Salary (2018) $92,030 (all database administrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

SQL Developer Job Responsibilities

As a SQL developer, you'll create and maintain databases to organize and track various pieces of data. Commonly used database products include those created by Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft. SQL is the acronym for Structured Query Language; this is the language used to request, or query, data from a database, as well as make modifications to that data. Some developers control database access, format query language, and create database schema.

What Education and Skills Do I Need?

An understanding of computer technology and an eye for detail are key skills for aspiring SQL developers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), database administrators usually have a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). You might enroll in a computer science, management information systems or information science bachelor's program. These programs typically require four years of study and include courses in computer programming as well as computer engineering.

Get Certified

While not required, SQL certification may improve job prospects and lead to more job opportunities. Certifications are commonly offered through third-party software vendors. For example, you could earn a Microsoft Certified IT Professional or Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist credential. In both of these credentialing programs, you can specialize in database development or database administration. You'll need to take an exam in order to earn Microsoft certification.

What's the Career Outlook?

According to the BLS, the total number of employed database administrators, including SQL developers, was expected to increase by 9% from 2018-2028, which is faster than average. Job growth during this time was attributed to an increase in data storage and maintenance among U.S. companies. The BLS also reported in 2018 that 116,900 database administrators were employed nationally; they earned an average salary of $92,030 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Computer systems analysts investigate the status and usage of computer systems within an organization and implement technological changes to improve their efficiency. Information security analysts organize and direct the digital security measures an organization uses to keep its online files and information safe from cyberattacks. Computer programmers write and edit code in order to control how applications and software interact with commands designed to control their functioning. All of these professionals typically need a bachelor's degree.