In the context of this exercise, does the order we select the columns affect anything?
No, the order that columns are selected does not affect anything other than what order the columns are shown in the result set.
So, whether you selected the columns as
SELECT col1, col2
SELECT col2, col1,
if the rest of the SQL statement is the same, then the only difference is the column order.
Usually, columns are selected based on a logical and meaningful order. For instance, when selecting user information, the first column is usually some identifier, like
name, followed by the rest of the information.