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How SQL Skills Can Boost Your Resume

You may wonder: does having SQL skills matter? In what areas could I use my SQL skills? In this article, I will explain how having SQL skills can boost your resume and add momentum to your professional career.

We are living in the Big Data era. Every time we go online, we provide the websites we visit with a lot of information. If we voluntarily give our data by creating an account, filling out a form, or making a purchase, we give them even more information. All this data is recompiled and centralized in companies’ huge databases. And then what happens to it?

Every department in the company needs this data! If the e-commerce manager wants to monitor the website’s daily conversion, she needs the data. If the company’s country manager needs to create a detailed report of the quarter's activity, he needs the data. If the marketing team wants to build a remarketing campaign to reengage old clients, they need the data. If the executive board wants to establish strategies for the next years, their decisions will be based on data.

This leads us to the trendy term “data-driven”; it’s used to describe an approach where decisions and actions are based on the objective analysis and interpretation of data.

The Importance of Having SQL Skills in the Job Market

Nowadays, companies develop data-driven strategies that reduce human biases and lead to more accurate results. Data has become a very important asset for any digital company and has an intrinsic value. I recommend you read Deloitte’s excellent paper on data valuation, which explains it in detail.

If you wonder which kind of data a company can handle and why data is a valuable asset, read Why Is Data a Valuable Resource for Your Business?.

Everything is about data! And here is why having SQL skills is essential: data needs to be extracted from databases, analyzed, and cleaned to be used in an efficient way. This is when SQL comes into play. SQL (Structured Query Language) is the language of databases: with it, you can store, update and delete data from a database. You can even modify the structure of the database itself by adding more tables or columns.

If you want to know more about SQL databases, I recommend reading What Is an SQL Database?.

SQL Skills Can Boost Your Resume

Even if you use data analytics tools like Metabase or Elastic, you will need SQL skills to master them. You can use the visual interface to build queries, but if you want to perform complex queries, you will face the tool’s limitations – and you’ll need SQL to build such queries. Developers have a similar problem: some queries are impossible to build with an ORM and need to be performed as raw SQL queries. That is when having SQL skills make the difference in your resume.

Having SQL Skills in Your Resume Is Sexy

Having SQL skills in your resume can clearly make the difference: SQL skills are not only relevant for database administrators and data analysts, they’re also useful for roles in marketing, finance, project management, operations, sales, etc. In addition to your role’s core skills, adding SQL makes your resume more attractive: the ability to manipulate and interpret data using SQL can be a valuable addition to any professional profile.

Python developers like myself can experience the benefits of SQL in many opportunities. Product managers and marketing leaders have often asked for my help in building dashboards with SQL queries because they simply did not know how to do it. In a few months, I became the SQL go-to only because of my SQL skills. Companies know those skills are essential nowadays; that’s why having SQL skills on a resume can enhance a job seeker's appeal to potential employers.

SQL Skills Can Boost Your Resume

In most companies, the first filter of a hiring process is the recruiting staff. Therefore, your resume should be quickly understandable and not overly technical – or you could lose a job opportunity. Here are some tips to effectively highlight your SQL skills on your resume.

  • First, mention the SQL-related projects you’ve worked on. No matter the field of expertise, explain why your SQL skills were required and how they helped conclude the project successfully.
  • Then, mention the databases (like MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, etc.) or the tools you know (Google Data Studio, Metabase, Elastic, etc.). This will demonstrate your ability to work with different database environments.
  • Finally, Indicate your level of expertise. Give recruiters a clear understanding of your SQL skills: basic, intermediate, or advanced. If you have relevant SQL-related certifications, highlight them. These certifications validate your SQL skills and can enhance your credibility.

Speaking of the recruiting process, you’ll need to be prepared for a technical interview if you apply for a SQL-related job! The article Top 27 Advanced SQL Interview Questions with Answers will help you get ready.

Different Levels of SQL Skills

Let's delve into SQL proficiency levels. Depending on where you are in your SQL journey, you will have a different level of skills:

Beginner level: You understand basic queries at a beginner level. You can perform simple SELECT queries with filtering (GROUP, ORDER BY), JOIN, UPDATE, INSERT, and DELETE quite easily.

Intermediate level: You can perform SQL queries with advanced functions like COALESCE, CAST, CONVERT, etc., and string handling functions like NULL, LIKE, etc. You also can perform database management functions like CREATE, ALTER, ADD, etc., and you have a strong knowledge of indexes.

Expert level: You can perform advanced analytics queries, including creating multiple grouping levels using ROLLUP, ranking data using window functions, or computing a moving average.

As we mentioned earlier, you can get a SQL-related certification. This can serve as proof of SQL knowledge and expertise, potentially giving you an edge in the hiring process. Here are some popular SQL-related certifications:

  • Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate Certification
  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
  • AWS Certified Database - Specialty
  • Google Professional Data Engineer

To learn more about SQL-related certifications, read Top SQL Certificates in 2023.

Most certifications have a direct integration with LinkedIn and are shown in the “Licenses & Certifications” section of your profile. Modern recruiters look for candidates on professional social networks, and having a well-known certification can help you to stand out from the crowd.

SQL Skills Can Boost Your Resume

Example of LinkedIn’s Licenses & Certifications section

Sharpen Your SQL Skills With

There are plenty of resources to sharpen your SQL skills: YouTube videos, books, online courses, and blogs. If you want to do so, please refer to The Best YouTube Channels for Learning SQL and The Best Database Books You Should Read Now. You can even check the documentation (for example, PostgreSQL) of your preferred SQL dialect to learn SQL.

However, I strongly recommend you learn SQL using interactive online courses like those at; it will teach you all the skills you need to become an SQL expert. Our courses are constantly updated; you can enjoy the benefits of continuous learning and stay current with SQL advancements.

I hope this article has convinced you about the importance of learning SQL, even for non-tech people. It can be a huge booster for your professional career!