Joshua Lande    About    Archive    Feed

What Every Data Scientist Needs to Know about SQL

One of the most important tools required to be a successful data scientist is relational databases like SQL. The majority of data stored by businesses is in these relational databases. And in addition, they are exceptionally good at storing complicated business data sets as well as allowing for efficient information retrieval. So having a strong understanding of relational databases is essential to being an effective data scientist.

In this series of posts, I will provide a broad overview of the key topics required to successfully work with databases to do effective data science. My hope is to take a breath-first search approach to teaching by introducing the most important topics first. Whenever possible, I will attempt to avoid theory in favor of practicality with the goal of getting you up to speed as quickly as possible.

In these posts, I will focus on the MySQL database because it is popular, free, open source, and easy to get started with. But the concepts and most of the commands are easily transferable to other databases.

The posts in this series are:

  1. Design a Better Database With Database Normalization

    In this post, we will go over the design decisions behind databases, how they are different from other programming languages and data formats, and how to lay out our data so that it will fit into a SQL database. By way of a simple example, we will go over the basics of database normalization, the best-practice for correctly storing complex data in a database. Despite being a bit abstract and theoretical, these topics are absolutely essential to understanding how databases work and why they are so good at what they do. So this is a must read.

  2. How to Install MySQL On Your Local Machine

    In this post, we will describe how to install MySQL on our local machine. This will allow you to test out SQL by running SQL queries against a test database. By the end of this post, you will have MySQL running on your local machine.

  3. How to Create Tables and Insert Data into SQL Databases

    In this post, we will go over the SQL commands required to create tables in MySQL and insert data into them. I will go over the specific commands required to create the example database from the first post of the series. By the end of this post, you will have an example database on you computer to run SQL queries against.

  4. “Filters, Joins, Aggregations, and All That: A Guide to Querying in SQL”

    In this post, we will go over the basics of querying data from a database. Using the example from above, I will work through successively harder queries show how the simple operations can be combined write complicated queries.

Further SQL Reading

If you have any questions or comments, please post them below. If you liked this post, you can share it with your followers or follow me on Twitter!

comments powered by Disqus