Become a SQL Developer: Education and Career Roadmap

Explore the requirements to become an SQL developer. Learn about the job description and duties, and review the step-by-step process that can help you start a career in SQL development.

Should I Become an SQL Developer?

SQL developers specialize in the design, implementation and maintenance of structured query language databases. They may work as database or web developers, depending on the specific position. These developers often spend many work hours seated at desks in front of computers.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Computer science, computer information systems (CIS) or related
Experience Typically 2-5 years of related experience, but some entry-level jobs are available
Key Skills Strong analytical, communication and problem-solving skills; knowledge of SQL Server, SSIS and SSRS is commonly required
Salary $106,050 per year (Mean salary for all systems software developers)

Sources: 2012 job listing; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program

Prospective SQL developers may begin their careers by completing a bachelor's degree program in computer science, computer information systems (CIS) or a related major. Students in these types of programs typically learn networking, database management and programming skills. Coursework in algebra, calculus and algorithms is often mandatory, as well.

Success Tip:

  • Participate in an internship. Some computer science and CIS degree programs offer students the opportunity to intern within the IT industry. By doing so, they may fulfill some of the experience requirements for SQL development positions.

Step 2: Get Work Experience

Hands-on experience working with database systems is an important element in launching a successful career as an SQL developer. Many employers require several years of related experience working with SQL database applications. Recent graduates may find entry-level positions as programmers or developers.

Step 3: Earn Certification

In some cases, employers may require application-specific certifications or prefer candidates who have them. Some relevant certifications include Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) and Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate. Typically, one must pass an exam in order to obtain certification.

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