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1. Understanding the Value of SQL
This lesson introduces SQL as a useful tool for anyone who regularly works with data.
To explore more Kubicle data literacy subjects, please refer to our full library.
Data and the role of SQL (00:16)
The role of data in the world is becoming increasingly important. Leveraging data grants people and businesses the ability to perform analyses that empower decision makers.
SQL plays a critical role in this process because it allows organizations to store vast quantities of data in an efficient manner. The task of using SQL to store this data is given to database managers, but understanding SQL can be immensely useful for regular business users.
If you’re someone who regularly works with data and who works in an organization that uses a SQL database, then you’re sitting on a potentially untapped resource of data.
With SQL, you can write queries that allow you to quickly pull data from the database. In that sense, it’s a key that unlocks a vast treasure trove of useful data.
Course structure (02:07)
This course has 3 main components.
In the first component we explore what SQL is and how it’s a valuable tool for anyone who works with data.
In the second component, we learn how databases are assembled. This is an important prerequisite to learning about SQL code because it teaches you the structure of your data. Understanding SQL code is not very useful if you don’t understand the structure of the data you’re working with.
In the final component, we get started with some basic SQL code that will allow us to extract specific columns of data from our database.
The importance of leveraging data is a rapidly growing priority for businesses of all sizes. Modern technology enables these businesses to gather and analyze massive databases of information.
This data can then be used for meaningful analysis with tools ranging from Excel to Ultrix and even coding languages, such as Python and R.
If data is the new oil, then these analytical tools empower citizen data analysts to process that oil into a wide variety of useful products. In order to access that data in its rawest form, there's no substitute for learning SQL.
SQL stands for structured query language and is sometimes referred to as Sequel. Both terms are acceptable and we'll use them interchangeably throughout this course. It's a language used to add structure to your data in the form of databases. These databases can be vast but you can use data queries to access specific segments of the data based on certain criteria. If you regularly conduct data analysis, but don't know SQL, you may have faced data bottlenecks. This is especially true when the data originates from a database.
Without the ability to use SQL to extract data directly from the database, you'll likely have to rely on colleagues to source that data instead. Perhaps you'll get a regular data dump from the database managers.
You'll likely have little control over the data in this dump and it will quickly go out of date, especially if the dumps are not regular or maybe you'll have to put in a ticket to request data that matches your specific requirements. This is problematic because it puts added strain on database managers and there can be a delay between making your request and receiving the data.
Additionally, you may not be making use of the vast, yet untapped well of data stored in your company's database and don't even know it. In any case, a basic knowledge of SQL empowers you to go out and acquire this data yourself.
Our goal in this course is to get you started on your journey with SQL. We'll start by continuing to explore the value of SQL for anyone who uses data and not just people in highly technical or analytical roles.
We'll then spend the majority of the course learning how databases are assembled.
Your ability to write an SQL query is significantly limited if you do not thoroughly understand the nature of how databases are structured.
It can be difficult for beginners to understand the uses and value of the many SQL tools they'll be interacting with if they are jumping straight into learning SQL code without any familiarity with database structure.
This is critical prerequisite knowledge, which will allow for a smoother SQL learning experience.
Finally, we'll get started with basic SQL and learn how it can be used to create data queries that extract specific information from a database.
In the next lesson, we'll demonstrate how knowledge of SQL can be used to independently access data from a database and provide valuable insights.