SQL developers analyze, design and support applications that interface with the database computer language SQL (sometimes pronounced as “sequel”). Individuals pursuing SQL developer careers typically obtain advanced education in computer information systems through an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program.

Job Outlook for SQL Developers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the computer systems design industry is projected to be one of the top ten growth occupations in the coming years. SQL developer careers – like all computer programming jobs – are expected to grow especially rapidly. The increasing number of websites tied to complex data warehouses will fuel growth for SQL developer jobs.

While the employment outlook is strong for jobs in the computer industry, the best SQL developer career opportunities will go to specialists with high-demand skills and advanced education.

Job Duties

SQL developers’ job duties include developing SQL databases and writing applications to interface with SQL databases, as well as writing and testing code. Development often consists of designing tables, storing procedures, views and functions.

SQL developers work with project managers, businesses owners, analyst teams and clients, building database prototypes to validate system requirements. They also document code, provide progress reports, and perform code review and peer feedback.

Most SQL developers spend their careers working in clean, quiet offices. Some work remotely, either from home or other locations, using email and the Internet. Injuries in this occupation are rare, but as with other computer-related jobs, workers may experience eye strain, repetitive motion injuries, and neck or back strain.

Salary Potential for SQL Developer Careers

The BLS reports that the average salary for all computer programmers was $80,930 in May 2013. Developers with only an associate’s degree will often start out in entry-level roles at a lower salary. As they gain experience or pursue further education, their salaries will increase accordingly. For managerial and specialist positions, the upper 90% in the field earn $123,490. Earning a master’s degree in information technology with a specialization in database administration can help professionals garner top-notch positions.

Education and Training

Requirements vary by employer and workers enter the field with different levels of formal education. However, all SQL developer positions require relevant computer skills. Some employers prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems. However, an associate’s degree can help graduates land an entry-level SQL developer job that will enable them to gain valuable work experience.

The first step to pursuing a SQL developer career can be an associate’s degree in computer information systems. Coursework typically includes electronic commerce, systems analysis and design, general sciences and instruction in a variety of programming languages.

A computer information systems education prepares graduates to:

  • Think logically when solving complex business challenges.
  • Design and develop successful database applications.
  • Gain understanding of security systems for web-based programs.
  • Compare and recommend software for specific tasks.
  • Transition into a bachelor’s in computer information systems program.

Many firms offer opportunities for continuing education. It’s possible to gain an entry-level job with an associate’s degree and use an employer’s tuition assistance program to pay for a bachelor’s degree. To advance to a position such as analyst, administrator or manager, a master’s degree in information technology with a specialization in database administration can help programmers advance.

Is a SQL Developer Career the Right Choice for You?

For people with strong communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, employment in an entry-level database development role can pave the way to a successful SQL developer career. Because the information technology industry is always changing, it requires continual skill upgrades – so a commitment to lifelong learning is another great attribute to possess if you’re interested in this exciting career field.

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