Good old SQL. Simply put if you want to retrieve data from any relational database these days your go-to language would be SQL. While this statement sounds obvious you would still need to learn how to craft your queries and translate your data needs into a programing launguage. Luckily SQL is quite simple.
The motivation to start
Of course we can come up with multiple tricky situations where the simple “select” syntax and joining tables are not enough. Nevertheless I believe that on a daily level SQL is simple to learn and use. This is why I encourage you to start learning it as despite it being simple, this skill will still set you apart from most marketers.
Imagine the independence from IT or your analysts when you have really simple questions? No waiting anymore, no more fighting over which team have the resources to write a script for you! With a read only access to your database 80% of your questions can be answered by yourself!
SQL as simple?
Well, of course more advanced topics (like building and managing a big database) takes time and much more effort to learn. But the parts which are interesting for us: how to query a database with SQL to get our datasets to analyze can be approache very simply.
I found the best explanation to be thinking in terms of english sentences and with slight modifications translating them into SQL. The basis of the syntex for a simple select can be described like:
Please select date, order id, product name, product price for me, from the table orders where you find that price > 10 and order it by date in an ascending order.
While not the most natural sentence ever, it still makes a lot of sense.
But what’s up with having multiple tables?
Yes, joining tables is a less natural logic, still not something very complicated if you look back into basic mathematics. Set theory can be applied for all types of joins what SQL can carry out. Union, left, right or full joins can be all explained through set theory. I have found an explanation which is better than if I write it myself, so here you go with a link.
So what is still stopping you? Oh, maybe I can help you with listing a few more much better and more comprehensive learning reasources!
Learn SQL here:
- Khan Academy – a multi step and very well designed SQL course from simple to more advanced topics
- W3 Schools SQL track
- SQL School by Mode Analytics
- Guru 99 – SQL tutorial for beginners
Just to see some fun aspects which are becoming more popular these days when it comes to learning any programing language, here are some playful resources as well:
Do not let people frigthen you with how complicated programing can be. The SQL learning curve is not very steep and you can get to the level where you can answer most of your needs very fast. I encourage you to try one or more of the resources above and start to amaze your boss and make your life easier!