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Is SQL A Programming Language | What is SQL | How to Learn SQL



Is SQL A Programming Language? | What is SQL | How to Learn SQL

Is SQL A Programming Language?
Is SQL A Programming Language?

Are you looking to start a career as a programmer but you’re wondering whether SQL is a programming language?

If so, then you need to pay attention to this post…

… because you’re going to need to choose a computer language that’s going to benefit your career in the future.

First of all, you need to know that in your career, you’re going to apply your knowledge of databases, programming languages, and algorithms.

Besides, there are so many computer languages out there so it’s easy to get confused about which one to choose.

You’re on the right page.

In this blog post, we’re going to answer the question “is SQL a programming language?”

We’ll first define the term SQL and programming language.

We’ll also talk about what SQL is used for and describe the common types of programming languages…

…and we’ll also talk about some of the most popular programming languages.

We’re also going to share with you some of the best ways to learn SQL.

By the time you reach the end of this article, you’ll have gotten the answer to your question.

So without much ado, let’s get rolling.

What Is SQL?

In today’s digital world, data is crucial for many businesses. Companies of all sizes and types mine data to understand customer needs and wants.

Before the data is analyzed, it is stored in a database system.

To manage the database system effectively, programmers need a specific computer language.

This is where SQL comes in.

SQL stands for Structured Querry Language and is used by programmers to add, search, update, remove, or modify database records in relational database systems.

According to Hubert Adolf, the author of the article “how to choose the best essay writer for you,” you can do a lot of things with SQL but you cannot use it to create applications or build webpages.


So, is SQL considered a programming language?

To answer this controversial question,  we’re going to find out what is a programming language first.

We’ll then understand the differences between the different types of programming languages.

What is a Programming Language?

Simply put, a programming language is a tool used by programmers to write complex instructions through coding for computers to execute certain tasks.

Unlike us humans who can understand written text, computers understand binary strings of 0s and 1s.

A programming language, therefore, helps computers to translate the binary strings into something humans can interpret and write.

Most of the popular programming languages share some similarities but they have their own syntax.

To be able to use a programming language, programmers need to learn the syntax, rules, and structure then write the source code in a text editor.

Take a look at some of the popular programming languages of today.

Most Popular Programming Languages

From creating video games to developing web-based applications, there are many programming languages you can use for all your programming needs.

Below are some of the most commonly used languages today as shared in the assignment help UK blog.


JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages currently. It’s a genera-specific computer language used in front-end and back-end web development.

Most of the latest browser-based and mobile applications are developed with JavaScript.


C# is Microsoft’s programming language used in a range of applications from video games, to mobile apps and game development.


Python is an easy-to-learn general-purpose programming language it follows a simple syntax and can be integrated with other programming languages like C++, C, etc.

The language can be used in a range of fields such as machine learning, data science, web development, etc.


C++ is a powerful computer language that can be applied in a wide range of domains such as robotics, VR, game development, and scientific computing.

This programming language was introduced as an extension of C and can work effectively for multi-platform systems and multi-devices.

C++ is a complicated language hence not friendly for new learners.


Java is the best computer language for new programmers. This language can be used in software development, mobile applications, and large systems development.


C is also a suitable language for programmers learning how to program. Debugging, testing, and maintaining this language is also easy.

Being the first programming language, C has provided an incredible foundation for writing other popular programming languages such as PHP, Python, and Ruby.

C is not suitable for use in most modern applications though. Besides, the language has a complex syntax, unlike modern computer languages.


PHP is a server-side web development language. It’s one of the best computer languages for programmers looking to build dynamic web applications.

Besides, it works well with databases and HTML.

Applications developed using PHP are said to be prone to security vulnerabilities though.

Other popular programming languages include Dart, Kotlin, Swift, Rust, and many others.

Having said that, let’s see where programming languages can be used.

Applications of Programming Languages

Programming languages can be useful in the following areas:

Web development.

Generally, website development can be sub-divided into two intertwining parts: back-end development and front-end development.

Back-end development involves the server where the software is hosted before it’s made available to users on request.

When users enter a certain URL in their web browsers, the server sends a request to the database that stores information related to the entered URL then delivers the information to users.

Back-end development is where cooking happens and there are many programming languages to use such as Python, Javascript, C#, PHP, Erlang, Elixir, Ruby, etc.

Front-end development involves the creation of the software that runs on browsers.

In a nutshell, front-end development is concerned with what users see on the screen after searching a URL on their browsers.

This blog post you’re reading is displayed to you by front-end code.

JavaScript, HTLM, and CSS are the most common languages used for front-end coding.

Game development

Game development involves the use of a game engine, software that acts as the infrastructure for developing games and defines what the game can do.

C++ and C# are the dominant programming languages used in game development.

Note that depending on the game engine you’re using, you can use other languages apart from these two.

For instance, some developers prefer Java while others use Lua.

Mobile application development

Today, many mobile platforms require different languages for creating applications. For instance, to create iOS applications, developers can use Objective-C or Swift. For Android development, you’d need Java or Kotlin.

You can also create applications for the two popular platforms (iOS and Android) using Dart and Javascript.

That said, let’s take a look at the two classifications of programming language.

Types Of Programming Languages

The two broad categorize of programming languages include general-purpose programming languages and domain-specific programming languages.

General-purpose programming languages, like the name suggests, are those that can be used to create a wide variety of programs.

Examples of general-purpose programming languages include Python, Visual Basic, C#, Java, Ruby, C++, JavaScript, Elixir, etc.

Domain-specific programming languages, on the other hand, are less complex computer languages used for a specific purpose. They are specialized to a particular application domain, unlike general-purpose programming languages that are broadly used across domains.

DSLs can be used by programmers and non-programmers alike.

Examples of domain-specific programming languages include XML, HTML, SQL, Latex, UML, CSS, etc.

This answers your question: Is SQL a programming language?

Up to this end, it’s safe to say that SQL is a programming language used in domain-specific applications, particularly database management systems.

SQL can also be broken down into sublanguages as below:

Transaction Control Language

Transaction Control Language otherwise abbreviated as TCL is a SQL sub-domain used in the management of transactions in a database system.

Data Definition Language

As the name suggests, Data definition language helps to define data when creating or destroying tables.

Data Control Language

This is where all privileges and access permissions are managed. DCL uses “Grant” and “Revoke” commands.

Data Manipulation Language

The Data Manipulation Language, as the name suggests allows programmers to manipulate the data saved in the database. Select, insert, update, and update are the commands used in the data manipulation language.

In a nutshell, SQL is a domain-specific programming language used for:

  • Creating tables in a database system.
  • Inserting, updating, and deleting rows of data.
  • Modifying database tables.
  • Retrieving data from a database for transaction processing and analytics.

And that’s answers the controversial question.

Let’s take a look at areas of application of SQL.  

Areas of Application of SQL

Because SQL is used to help in the management of database systems, it’s safe to say that this computer language can be used in areas that involve the use of significant amounts of data.

Below are some of the areas where SQL is used a lot.

Social media platforms

If there is one area where massive amounts of data are used then it’s on social media platforms. When you create your account on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, SQL is used to store your data in huge database systems.

When you publish a new post, share a photo or send a message, SQL is used to update the app’s databases so you can retrieve the information at any time.

In the finance industry

Most applications used in banks and payment processors like Stripe store a ton of data and transactions of users.

The data is stored in super-protected databases.

Music applications

Digital music stores such as iTunes & Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, and many others have large databases that store huge music files and albums categorized by artists.

When a user searches for their favorite song on any of these music platforms, SQL helps in the retrieval of the song based on the information entered by a user.

Now that we’ve answered your question “is SQL a programming language?” you must be wondering how you can learn SQL.  

Developing and maintaining complex data and information systems is one of the in-demand skills in today’s data world- that can be gained through learning SQL.

The good news is that it’s not difficult to learn SQL.

Below are some of the best ways to learn SQL.

The Best Way To Learn SQL

SQL is perhaps one of the simplest computer languages to learn. Besides, you don’t need prior programming knowledge. That’s makes it great for beginners looking to start a career in database management.

Follow the steps below to learn SQL.

Start with the basics

First things first, to learn SQL, you need to understand the basic syntax which includes the functions like Order By, Group By, Select, Where, Having, Limit, etc.

Often, different SQL dialects use the same syntax albeit with a few exceptions.

Also, the order in which you write your code differs from the SQL order of operations.

Familiarize yourself with the correct query structure and the order in which you write your code.

Learn SQL Online

Another way to learn SQL is by taking an online course. Often, most SQL online courses are hands-on and can introduce you to the core concepts of the language as well as the code.

Some of the benefits of taking an SQL online course include:

They are flexible: This is perhaps self-explanatory but to explain a little bit- learning SQL online offers flexibility in that you’re not restricted to a course outline. That means you can learn SQL at any time from anywhere.

This makes it a great method for people with a busy lifestyle, those with disabilities, or mothers with young kids.

They are affordable: Today, there are tens of thousands of free SQL training courses on the internet. This has made course creators lower the prices of their courses.

The good news is that you can also get scholarships.

They are straight-forward: Most online courses are clear and concise. The creators of online courses understand that internet users have short attention spans these days so they only include the most important concepts and information in the courses.

This helps to save time.

How to choose an online course

There are tens of thousands of free and paid SQL online courses out there but not all are accurate and current.

Yes, not all are clear and straightforward.

Some are even poor quality or incomplete.

You want to choose a course that will help you learn SQL effectively.

Here are a few tips to help you choose a reliable SQL online course:

Consider the reputation of the course creator

The first thing you want to check when choosing an SQL online course is the reputation of the course provider.

A good rule of thumb is to take a course created by an institution or provider who has several other successful courses on the internet.

Choosing a course from a reputable provider ensures that you learn to get something of value.

Check reviews

What are other students who have taken the course saying about it?

Past reviews can help you understand the quality of the course.

As a rule, we recommend choosing a course with at least 90% positive ratings.

Get hands-on

They say practice makes perfect. When it comes to how to learn SQL, then you’re going to need to practice a lot. You’ll need to write and execute simple queries using your data so install a free open source database on your computer.

You can install MySQL as it is a compatible free database with most operating systems.

If you’re working with a company that has a database, talk with the database administrators of your company so they can help you install it in your system.

Once you have installed the database, find real data from your company to start practicing.

Ensure you practice every day until you become fluent in SQL.

Seek help when necessary

Often, SQL beginners shy away from asking for help, but you shouldn’t be afraid to seek help where you don’t understand.

When you seek help from expert programmers, you speed up the learning process and you can become a pro fast.

Take a look at your favorite SQL forums and post your questions there.

The most popular forums have active members who are ready to answer your questions.

Time to get certified!

Remember that learning SQL isn’t the end of everything. You need to go a step further and compliment your SQL skills and get certified. 

This will help you stand out in the job market.

So before you get SQL certified, learn other languages such ass C#, JavaScript, or PHP.

Well, of course, you can choose what suits you- either get certified and complement your SQL skills with other languages or learn other languages first after completing your SQL course.

When getting certified, you differentiate yourself from other candidates seeking jobs in database development, analysis, and administration.

Besides, earning professional certifications demonstrates your technical knowledge in the language and can help boost your salary.

Remember that you’re going to take rigorous tests before you get certified.

Take it slow!

When learning SQL, you might be tempted to do speed up the learning process and test your new skillset.

Don’t allow yourself to fall for this temptation.

Take time to learn one concept at a time. Start with simple queries until you master them then move to complex ones.

Final Word

Is SQL a programming language?

As stated, you can do a lot of things with SQL in the database management system domain but you cannot use it to create applications or webpages.

So, yes, it’s a programming language, but a domain-specific one.


Author Bio:

Susanna Balashova is a professional database administrator who works with professional essay writing service providers in the UK.  If you’re looking for an essay review service at an affordable price then you should get in touch with Susanna on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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