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Why learning SQL is a major career boost

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As technology companies have grown increasingly data-driven over the years, SQL has become a critical skill for business professionals to master in order to navigate and add impact to their organization. While SQL used to be isolated to the realm of data and software engineers, SQL workflows are quickly becoming a key part of business processes for analysts and operators alike across sales, marketing customer success, product, risk management and more. A significant percentage of job postings for analysts now specify SQL as either a requirement or recommended skill set. Even companies that are not traditionally considered tech such as retail now have a strong need for data-driven analysis and operations.

If you're a non-technical business professional looking for ways to up-level your career quickly, learning SQL can give you a powerful tool to lead insights and workflows for your company. SQL is the universal data language, and in the future, SQL skills will become just as critical as Excel, Word, or PowerPoint. Folks who are able to master it will be in high demand.

What can I do with SQL? 

SQL is the most popular language used to query databases. If you're used to the Excel model, you can think of a database as a collection of many different spreadsheets with information on your business' customers, items, products, etc. You can then use SQL to retrieve the data you want from those spreadsheets. For example you can write a SQL query to "retrieve a list of all customers who signed up for your service within the last 30 days".

Data Analysis - SQL's first major use case for business analysts was mainly for analyzing data. Most companies have massive collections of data and SQL is an extremely convenient way to retrieve the data you want in order to derive business insights. With SQL you can be very specific about which data you want to retrieve, use mathematical functions like sum, count, and aggregate to perform analysis, and apply if-then logic and filters to further narrow down your hypothesis. Some popular uses: 

  • You can generate dashboards that show key business health metrics - you can drill in on areas where business performance is lacking and double down on areas where things are working well
  • You can derive insights from product usage statistics to better service your customers
  • You can pull data for informational or debugging purposes

Once you know how to work with data, going back to making decisions without being data informed can feel like you're flying blind.

Data-Driven Operations & Automations - The next major use case for SQL is for not only analyzing data, but subsequently automating alerts and taking action based on the data returned. After you've completed the first step of analyzing your data, the next step is to inform the right stakeholders and actually action on that data. With tools like LogicLoop, your SQL queries can automatically trigger actions and workflows based on certain pre-set conditions. Some popular uses: 

  • Product growth e.g. query for all new users who have not activated on your platform within 3 days of sign up and send them an automated reminder text message
  • Customer success e.g. calculate core statistics for customers on your platform and send out a weekly email report of the results
  • Risk & fraud monitoring e.g. query for all suspicious payments > $10,000 on your platform and create a case for an analyst to review
  • Growth e.g query for all the super-users of your service and send them a special promotion
  • Systems operability e.g. query if a third-party API service is down for more than 5 minutes and raise an alert on PagerDuty

With LogicLoop & SQL you can now build sophisticated business workflows to monitor systems, stay on top of business operations, and increase revenue-generating touch points, all without needing to wait on engineers to retrieve the data or build the tooling for you. With SQL, you now have superpowers! This will allow your org to move a lot quicker and gain an operational competitive advantage as it grows and scales.

How does it accelerate my career?

With SQL in your tool belt, you can apply more informed strategic decision making and automate business workflows that previously only engineers had the power to do. With engineers in such high demand, picking up these high-leverage skills will help you add significant value to your org, helping you accelerate your career.

At LogicLoop, we work with a number of business analysts who are learning SQL for the first time. We've seen analysts who did not know any SQL learn SQL in just a few weeks in order to take advantage of the full capabilities of LogicLoop. Once they're up to speed, they're able to build critical data workflows needed to hit their operational goals, and are later promoted for the increased impact they're able to have on their organization.

In addition, a report from Payscale shows that job openings for the same position but with SQL skills pay more. Because SQL is such a value-add skill, employers are willing to pay a higher salary and offer quicker promotion pathways for those who can wield its power.

How can I learn SQL? 

If you'd like to learn SQL, we run training cohorts to teach you the fundamentals and more. Click here to sign up if interested. You can learn the very basics to get started in just a few hours. Many savvy non-technical folks actually find it easy to grasp since the language is intuitive in English with commands like select, insert, update, and delete. Most SQL editors will also point out any syntax errors to help you debug errors. SQL is generally much easier to get started on than other programming languages like Python or Java. Developing an advanced repertoire however, will take time and practice. Ultimately though, many have found the rewards to be worth it.

If you don't want to wait any longer and would like to get started playing around with SQL hands-on, you can use LogicLoop's editor to experiment and learn.

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