Working with your own data


I have recently completed the SQL course and am now looking for ways to put my new skills to work in my company. My question is: how do I get third party or my own data into SQL to begin with?

I understand that for many firms, this starts in SW engineering and data analysts simply work with the existing data. That aside, what are good ways to create data bases in SQL / convert data to it to work with?

I have read the Medium article ‘Congrats you just finished Codeacademy’s SQL course… now what?’ which however seems to be concerned more with finding more ways to practice vs. actually putting the skills to work with my own data.

Thanks in advance!

I think this depends on several things. For starters:

  1. Do you already have access to data (in any form) from your company?
  2. If not, are you looking to:
    a. Start your own database from scratch (i.e., manually input it); or
    b. Find data elsewhere to use for your company?
  3. Do you have experience coding in any other language?

Option 1: use your company’s existing data

Starting with number 1, if you already have access to data then you are halfway done. Many companies already collect and store data in databases. If the database your company uses is a relational database, chances are you can use the SQL skills from these courses to query that database. Even if that database is a different flavor of SQL (MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc…) most of the syntax you know will work, and you can look up the rest on the fly.

If your company’s data is in Excel sheets or CSV files, you can easily import those into a SQL database as different tables. There are many ways to do this, including using the command line interface (CLI) (see docs here) or a GUI program such as DB Browser.

Option 2: Build your own database from scratch

If you don’t have data and you are thinking of starting a database from scratch by manually building one, you can again do this using either CLI or GUI options. You may also want to review the very beginning lessons of the Learn SQL course, so you can refresh yourself on how to create a table.

Option 3.1: Find external data

If you are looking to find data elsewhere that may benefit your company, you can first look if there are any database (.db) files or CSVs out there with the data you want. If there are, you can import those as tables like I mentioned above. If you can’t find any, but you’re looking to extract other data from the web, you are only limited by your knowledge of other programming languages and your own creativity, because…

Option 3.2: Leverage your coding prowess to extract data from the web

If you have experience with another language (Python, Javascript…even VBA in Excel!) you can scrape your own data from the internet and store it all in your own SQLite database.

Hope this helps you get started!

Thanks a lot @el_cocodrilo! Super helpful, in particular the piece on CSV --> SQL. Will also get going on the scraping!