How to Become a Database Developer

A database developer is responsible for developing the code to interact between applications and a database. Learn how to become a database developer with these tips.

Where Do I Start?

So you’ve decided you’d like to get into database development? Great! I’ve had some experience in this role and I really enjoyed it. Let’s find out how you can get started in this role.

First of all, you’ll need to have some knowledge of SQL, which is the main language used by databases. This allows inserting, updating and deleting of data in the database. You’ll also probably need to learn the procedural language that goes along with the SQL distribution, which I’ll discuss later.

How Can I Learn SQL?

Learning SQL is a lot like learning any other programming language. There are many ways to learn SQL, and the way you choose will depend on how you like to learn.

  • Take a short course
  • Buy a book
  • Take a tutorial on the Internet

However, if you’re looking to get employed as a database developer, you’ll probably need a degree as well. A Bachelor’s degree is quite often the minimum requirement for a development job. If you’re able to get a degree, I would recommend getting one, as you learn many more things than just SQL. Of course, choosing a degree and structure than includes SQL is a good idea.

If you’ve already got a degree, but don’t know SQL, using one of the above methods is a good way to get started using SQL. The next step is to decide which SQL distribution you want to learn.

Which SQL Distribution Should I Learn?

There are a few major distributions of SQL that database developers use, which are Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL (Microsoft Access doesn’t count). These distributions are different in many ways, but the difference you need to know about is the changes in the SQL language.

SQL follows a standard, which these companies then add to in their release. Oracle’s SQL is different to Microsoft’s SQL, but if you know the SQL standard, you can use both.

Should I Learn A Procedural SQL Language?

Both Oracle and Microsoft have a procedural SQL language built in to their databases. It allows database developers to create code on the database to perform tasks, which has more features than standard SQL. Oracle’s language is called PL/SQL (Procedural Language SQL) and Microsoft’s is called T-SQL (Transactional SQL). They allow you to create stored procedures, custom functions, triggers and other pieces of code.

I Know SQL, Now Can I Be A Database Developer?

So now you’ve learnt the theory behind SQL, either by learning it yourself or getting a degree that includes it.  What’s next?

Well, with the knowledge and a degree, you can apply for jobs as a database developer. You’ll most likely be looking for jobs that don’t require any experience. The job searching process is just like any other job search. Start looking for a job, prepare your résumé and cover letter, and hopefully get some interviews for it.

If you haven’t had any luck getting a job, or don’t think you’re ready, you can do something which will help your chances at getting a job and improve your experience. You can start a side project. Create your own database, start playing around with tables and data, and keep practising. If you know other programming languages, you can even develop an application that uses the database. This can give you great practise, as well as being something to show to potential employers when looking for a database developer job.