What Is SQL?

Structured Query Language (SQL) is the fundamental programming language for databases and is the foundation of nearly every commercial and proprietary database program. Read on to learn more about this computer programming language. Schools offering Database Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How SQL Works

SQL looks at data as a set of tables. Queries generated by the database manager define relationships between the data elements in the tables. Executing these queries allows the database manager to retrieve data from the database that fits the desired criteria. Query syntax is similar to natural English, making SQL an easy programming language to learn. The nuances of SQL variants may be more difficult.

Important Facts About SQL

DegreesComputer Information Technology, Computer Science, Information Systems
Common CoursesData warehousing in SQL, Data Table Creation in SQL, SQL Server Configuration
Possible CareersDatabase Administrator, SQL Developer, Integration Architect, Data Systems Analyst
Work EnvironmentStandard office setting

Two Types of Language in SQL

SQL is divided into Data Definition Language (DDL) and Data Manipulation Language (DML). DDL allows database managers to create the database. DML is the part of SQL that works with the data. Transaction controls are an advanced component of SQL that is not used in every SQL application. Transactions refine DML actions.

Applications Based on SQL

Most database programs are different graphical user interfaces for SQL variants. SQL was first developed at IBM in the 1970's under the title SEQUEL. In 1986, the American National Standards Institute began to standardize SQL, creating ANSI SQL. Software companies and developers use their own modification of SQL based on the industry standard ANSI SQL. Oracle uses PL/SQL, and Microsoft uses Transact-SQL. SQL forms the backbone of database programs like Filemaker and Access. The variations of SQL use parts of the ANSI standard language and add some unique commands to give the resulting application unique features. Basic ANSI SQL commands will work in any version of SQL.

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