SQL Certifications in 2023
Do you need to learn SQL?
Before we dive into the certification question, it’s worth asking: Do you even need to learn SQL to get a job in data?
The short answer? Yes! SQL is a critical skill for working with data. It may be a decades-old language, but don’t be fooled. It’s as relevant as ever.
In fact, we recently did some number-crunching and discovered that SQL is still the most commonly used programming language in data science. It’s even ahead of Python or R!
Do you need SQL certification for a job? It depends.
We’ve established that knowledge of SQL is a must. But do you need an actual certificate that proves this knowledge? It depends on your desired role in data science.
When You Don’t Need a Certificate
Are you planning to work as a data analyst, data engineer, statistician, or data scientist?
Then, the answer is: No, you do not need a SQL certificate. You most certainly need SQL skills for these jobs, but certification won’t be required. In fact, it probably won’t even help.
Here’s why. . .
What Hiring Managers Have to Say About SQL Certificates
I recently interviewed data science hiring managers, recruiters, and other professionals for a data science career guide. I asked them about the skills and qualifications they wanted to see in good job candidates for data science roles.
Throughout my 200 pages of interview transcripts, the term “SQL” is mentioned a lot. It’s clearly a skill that most hiring managers want to see. But the terms “certification” and “certificate”? Those words don’t appear in the transcripts at all.
Not a single person I spoke to thought certificates were important enough to even mention.
In other words, the people who hire data analysts and data scientists typically don’t care about certifications. Having a SQL certificate on your resume isn’t likely to impact their decision one way or the other.
Why Aren’t Data Science Recruiters Interested in Certificates?
Certificates in the industry are widely available and heavily promoted. But most data science employers aren’t impressed with them. Why not?
The short answer is that there’s no “standard” certification for SQL. Plus, there are so many different online and offline SQL certification options that employers struggle to determine whether these credentials actually mean anything.
Rather than relying on a single piece of paper that may or may not equate to actual skills, it’s easier for employers to simply look at an applicant’s project portfolio. Tangible proof of real-world experience in the industry is a more reliable representation of SQL skills compared to certification.
That’s why ONLEI Technologies has students complete comprehensive projects after each interactive SQL course. This creates a skills showcase you can present to employers during the job hunt.
For most roles in data science, a SQL certificate isn’t necessary. But there are exceptions to this rule.
For example, if you want to work in database administration as opposed to data science, a certificate might be required. Likewise, if you’re looking at a very specific company or industry, SQL certification could be helpful.
There are many “flavors” of SQL tied to different database systems and tools. So, there may be official certifications associated with the specific type of SQL a company uses that are valuable, or even mandatory.
For example, if you’re applying for a database job at a company that uses Microsoft’s SQL Server, earning one of Microsoft’s Azure Database Administrator certificates could be helpful. If you’re applying for a job at a company that uses Oracle, getting an Oracle Database SQL certification may be required.
Most Data Science Jobs Don’t Require Certification
Let’s be clear, though. For the vast majority of data science roles, specific certifications are not usually required. The different variations of SQL rarely differ too much from “base” SQL. Thus, most employers won’t be concerned about whether you’ve mastered a particular brand’s proprietary tweaks.
As a general rule, recruiters just want to see proof that you’ve got the fundamental SQL skills to access and filter the data you need. Certifications don’t really prove that you have a particular skill, so the best way to demonstrate your SQL knowledge on a job application is to include projects that show off your SQL mastery.
Is a SQL Certification Worth it for Data Science?
It depends. Ask yourself: Is the certification program teaching you valuable skills or just giving you a bullet point for your LinkedIn? The former can be worth it. The latter? Not so much.
The price of certification is also an important consideration. Not many people have thousands to spend on a SQL certification.
What SQL Certificate Is Best?
As mentioned above, there’s a good chance you don’t need a SQL certificate. But if you do feel you need one, or you’d just like to have one, here are some of the best SQL certifications available:
ONLEI Technologies SQL Courses
These are great options for learning SQL for data science and data analysis. They’ll take you hands-on with real SQL databases and show you how to write queries to pull, filter, and analyze the data you need.
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