SQL in the workplace - how is it used?

I am doing the data analysis pathway and so currently learning SQL.

I enjoy using the format you provide where I type the code in the middle panel to query the tables.

What I want to understand is, if this was translated to a workplace environment, what format does SQL usually take?

Does the SQL sit behind websites and programs or does it exist within its own program, somehow then linked to the websites and programs it is used to query?

If it does exist within the programs themselves, how would a data analyst access it, so that they can type sql queries and find information?

This may be in the course and I still haven’t got that far yet, but I would just like to have that information so I am able to translate the things I’m learning to a possible workplace scenario.

Thanks for your help.

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Hi, welcome to the forums.

It might be helpful to read up a bit more on RDMS:

Companies track and store all kinds of information on users. For example, let’s say you subscribe to the NYT and they send you a daily email of article abstracts. You start to read an article and then click on the link to go to the entire article online. Look at the URL. It might look something like this:


That campaign_id, instance_id, segment_id, regi_id and user_id are pulled into a table or tables along with thousands of other user clicks. All that id info is unique to each user that is sent the email. That data is then explored and analyzed and then based on the findings a number of things could happen—they know more about what stories you read, how much time you spend on each story, etc. etc. The NYT uses Google’s Big Query (a cloud-based data warehouse) to compile all this info and data analysts and scientists explore, analyze, run A/B tests, draw conclusions & make predictions from it in order to inform various departments so they can make whatever business decision(s) they need to make. For ex: what was the most popular story in Queens, or, how many users who live in Queens clicked on what stories? What did users who are in this age group gravitate towards? What was the most popular time for traffic on the website? Etc.

This is just one way data is collected and used in a business environment.

I hope that makes sense(?) :slight_smile:


Hi Lisa,

Thank you very much, that makes a lot more sense now!

So just to clarify, if using your example below I was working as a Data Analyst for the NYT (one can dream) then using my SQL skills I’m learning right now I would type queries into Google Big Query and establish data trends to advise the business. Correct?

Also reading that article you linked to, say in another example a financial company (let’s say HSBC) was using Oracle, I assume a Data Analyst would open the Oracle system from their desktop in the morning and again query through that to understand data going through their websites?



Sure, np! :slight_smile:
Yep, like the subscriptions department at the NYT. (working there was also my dream job).

These might help:


To supplement your learning, I suggest looking beyond what’s taught on the CC LE too. There’s tons of info out there–books, sites like Medium or dev.to are also good resources.

Happy coding! :partying_face:


Hey Alex,

Thanks for asking the questions.

Yes, if a company was using Oracle RDBMS to store their data you would use SQL query information usually thru a GUI tool for ad hoc reporting. Oracle also has their propriety toolset that works with their database. You can also have stored procedures and triggers in the database that use SQL as well.


Thanks very much for the reply and great advice!



Thanks this has been really helpful, I really appreciate it!



For part 2 of your question, you would use a database querying tool to connect to the Oracle Database. Then from within the querying tool (dbvisualizer,PL/SQL, Even MS Access… to name a few) you will use the knowledge you gained from Code Academy to meet the reporting requirements. Oracle SQL is Similar to the SQL lite you learn in code academy with some slight differences but that’s nothing major since you learn the big chunks (google and a few good books can help to learn Oracle SQL) !! Also, at hsbc you will be querying huge amounts of data trying to find precise answers for stake holders. Joins are very important to understand and get used to join many many tables. Query tuning (writing efficient queries) would also come in handy.

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