A Novice’s Guide to SQL

A Novice’s Guide to SQL

Structured Query Language, popularly known as SQL, is a standard language used to manipulate and retrieve data stored in databases. A basic understanding of SQL can hugely help with structuring and managing your data more effectively and efficiently. In this guide, we will cover the basics of SQL.

Understanding SQL

SQL is a domain-specific language used in database management and data manipulation. It is essential for managing data held in a relational database management systems (RDBMS), or any databases which supports SQL. SQL contains a series of commands, which includes ‘Insert’, ‘Update’, ‘Delete’, ‘Create’, and ‘Drop’. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

SQL Commands

  • Insert: This command is used to insert data into a database.
  • Update: This command is used to modify the existing data within a database.
  • Delete: This command is used to delete all records from a database table.
  • Create: This command is used to create a new table in a database.
  • Drop: This command is used to delete a table in a database.

Sql Query Structure

An SQL query includes a command followed by a clause. Clauses are the constituents of SQL commands, helping to further refine them. The primary clauses of SQL include ‘From’, ‘Select’, ‘Where’, ‘Group By’, ‘Having’, and ‘Order By’. The structure of a basic SQL query is:

Select column from table where condition group by column having condition order by column;

Types of SQL Statements

SQL is mainly divided into four types of statements. ‘Data Manipulation Language (DML)’, ‘Data Definition Language (DDL)’, ‘Data Control Language (DCL)’, and ‘Transaction Control Language (TCL)’. Let’s look at them in detail.

  • Data Manipulation Language (DML): These statements are used for managing data within schema objects. Examples include ‘SELECT’, ‘INSERT’, ‘UPDATE’, ‘DELETE’ etc.
  • Data Definition Language (DDL): These statements are used for managing tables and index structures. Examples include ‘CREATE’, ‘ALTER’, ‘DROP’ etc.
  • Data Control Language(DCL): These are used to control the visibility of data. Examples include ‘GRANT’, ‘REVOKE’ etc.
  • Transaction Control Language(TCL): These are used to manage different transactions occurring within a database. Examples include ‘COMMIT’, ‘ROLLBACK’ etc.


Knowledge of SQL is crucial for anyone stepping into the field of databases, data analysis, or programming in general. Getting familiar with commands, query structure, and different types of SQL statements puts you at a significant advantage. Learning SQL might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but practice and patience are the keys. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes; it’s all part of the learning process. Happy learning!

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