How to Learn Database Programming
Databases are essential to programming. This is where all the data related to your application is stored. If you’ve built any kind of app, you’ve interacted with a database.
You as a full-stack developer, back-end, or front-end, have had to create, update, and delete data through the use of frameworks. Full-stack frameworks such as Ruby on Rails have conventions in place to persist data to a database for you, while front-end frameworks, such as React, use fetch requests and actions to persist or delete data.
Knowing directly about database programming is useful, regardless of how you build. As programmers, we know there is no magic in code. Gaining a full understanding of what we are building makes for more robust code, and more stable applications.
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What is Database Programming?
Database programming involves designing and maintaining a database for an application. Best practices include establishing relationships between different data sets and testing for errors and duplicate records. Retrieving instances of data from the database is another key responsibility in database programming.
Retrieving, also known as querying, specific data from a database is done through the SQL programming language. SQL (pronounced “sequel”) is short for Structured Query Language and is how data is created, updated, retrieved and deleted from the database.
To learn more about SQL in depth, refer to this guide.
What is Database Programming Used For?
Database programming is used in creating and maintaining an app’s database. This means, storing and updating data to avoid duplicate entries of records. In larger programs with multiple tables of data, drawing relationships between these tables is also involved.
All developers interact with a database to some degree. Learning database programming can be effective in organizing your app’s data and keeping the app running efficiently.
Database programming has a number of use cases including:
Building a database from scratch. This includes creating all necessary tables and relationships between tables. Doing so ensures the organization of the entire database into smaller pieces.
Creating new records without duplicating. By using SQL to query the database, we can search for existing instances of data, thus updating it rather than creating a new instance.
An example would be a database for your app’s users. A field for a user may be their address. If that user moves, it will make sense to simply update the entry with the new address rather than creating a new record altogether. This keeps the database organized and reflective of the state of the app.
Retrieving and deleting records. We’ve talked about how to appropriately create and update entries. We can also retrieve specific data points and display them to the user by using SQL. We can also use SQL to delete records in the case of a user deleting an account or no longer offering a certain product.
Learning Database Programming
Learning about database programming is beneficial to your career development. Database programming is essential to learning full-stack or back-end development. Front-end programmers could also benefit from understanding how the data they are trying to access is stored.
Learning database programming deepens your understanding of the app building process. Knowing what goes into creating and maintaining a database strengthens your programming skills and builds stable, scalable apps.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Database Programming
Learning the basics of database programming can be done in a couple of days. But if you want to go deeper and become a master at database programming, it could take weeks. Database programming is multi-faceted, but most developers find mastering the basics deeply enhances their programming.
How to Learn Database Programming: Step-By-Step
The first thing to do before beginning to program a database is learn about database conventions. Knowing what a database is, how it can be organized, and its role in storing data helps you. Consider the steps below before embarking on your database programming journey.
- Know what a database is and how it’s used. Having some familiarity of databases and their role in manipulating data is useful when beginning to learn about programming. This database schema guide covers the organization of databases in depth.
- Be familiar with SQL. This query language is the standard for querying databases. Knowing how SQL queries a database is essential to debugging back-end related errors in your app.
- Build an app with a database. This is a full-stack approach in creating a database and using the frameworks conventions to query the database. Knowing and being able to read SQL is a big help in debugging apps.
- Learn your frameworks query methods. After familiarizing yourself with SQL, learn the methods included in a framework like Ruby on Rails. These methods provide quick and efficient ways to query the database from your back-end.
The Best Data Programming Courses and Trainings
Database programming is a broad topic, but we’ve identified the essential ones for you. There is some overlap in what to start learning first. Below is a list aimed at learning the fundamentals of database programming.
Online Database Programming Courses
- Provider: Udemy
- Cost: $22.99
- Audience: Beginner
As the title of the course suggests, no previous experience with SQL is required. Here, you’ll learn how to use SQL to query a database managed by the open source framework PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is a popular database management tool meant for scalable production.
Learning SQL with PostgreSQL can open more possibilities in a career search.
- Provider: Codecademy
- Cost: Plans from $39.99 per month
- Audience: Beginner
PostgreSQL has become the industry standard for database management. Hosting sites such as Heroku require a higher level database, so learning PostgreSQL and SQL make sense. You’ll have created a production level relational database by the end of this course.
- Provider: Coursera
- Cost: Free
- Audience: Beginner
Powered by IBM, this beginner’s course teaches the basics of databases and SQL. It is intended as an introductory course and is part of a few other data science courses offered by IBM. Learn how to design and query databases using SQL and Python.
Database Programming e-books
In this in-depth look at programming a database, author Chris Fehily covers the basics and complex queries. This e-book also covers many database management tools such as Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. Once the basics are covered, Fehily shares tips to avoid common SQL pitfalls and some time savers.
Praised as one of 2020s best beginners’ SQL e-books, this guide is meant to be a simplified approach to database management and query. Walter Shields has written this book with the beginner in mind, but indicates anyone wanting to deepen their database knowledge will benefit.
As the title explains, this e-book is meant to get a MySQL database up and running in one day. Written for complete beginners and experienced programmers alike, Jamie Chan takes a hands-on approach to learning about database programming in one day!
Online Database Programming Resources
Here, tutorial provider Tutlane offers a collection of options to learn database management tools. Choose from SQL Server, MySQL, or MongoDB to name a few popular ones. These tutorials allow you to choose the framework that fits your programming needs once you have the SQL basics mastered.
W3schools has put together this tutorial to cover using SQL with a variety of databases. These include Oracle, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL. This tutorial is complete with interactive questions so you can practice along the way.
Learn database management basics and SQL with freeCodeCamp. You’ll have created a database and performed basic queries using the MySQL database in four hours. This course was created with the beginner in mind and even covers how to install MySQL for both Mac and Windows.
Should You Learn Database Programming?
Database programming is an inevitable reality in modern web applications. Every programmer would walk away a stronger developer with deeper database knowledge. With so many database management tools available, you’ll be able to find one that compliments your programming style.
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