SQL: Structured Query Language, or queries for short that are used to pull info from a database. Imagine a big spreadsheet with every piece of data you need on your product, customer, or supply chain.
I love asking questions. As a way to get the best answers, I recently enrolled in a SQL course at Rover which had an effervescence of its own inquiries: when will I use this? What if I suck at it? Isn’t that someone else’s job?
The truth is, I felt scared to fail even if I knew it could be an absolute marketing superpower.
So why fear it? Well, I’d tried my hand at HTML coding before and barely stumbled through, charged through a Udemy SQL course only to stop 5 hours through (some studies show that a mere 15% of people complete online courses), and failed 3x on the Google AdWords exam before finally scraping by.
Technical skills have never been my strong suit.
And my money bets that this is reason why most people haven’t learned SQL or coding, although they’ve been told dozens of times how it’s the most valuable skill all humans should know.
So I’d like to make a guarantee: by the end of this article you will have no doubt of the immense value SQL could have for your professional career and take action to add it to your tool bet.
Whether you’re a startup founder, old hat marketer, or sales wiz, you’ll find out very quickly that SQL can save you 100’s of hours of work and dozens of “help me!” conversations with analysts. Let’s begin with the 1st indisputable benefit…
#1: It’s a Massive Differentiator
Let’s be real: it’s increasingly hard to stand out as a individual, professional, and company. As much as we love to be unique, we often find ourselves doing something just a little different, yet still find massive amounts of competition.
You don’t need a compelling statistic to know that the world is increasingly becoming more ruthless in all spheres.
Thus, SQL is your BIG chance to stand out. Without a doubt, coding and analytics is intimidating for right brains or extroverted personalities, yet creates the very opportunity to set you apart from dozens to thousands of others in the same space.
Do you know that 71% of all STEM jobs in 2018 will be in computer science BUT only 8% of STEM graduates are in computer science?
This creates the perfect storm: low inertia by other’s slothy nature paired with high market demand creates an ideal window of opportunity.
#2: Applicable Across Industries
Marketing isn’t the only industry that finds massive value in SQL, but every industry can garner unique insights from data by asking tactical questions.
Do you work in sales? What if I told you that instead of riddling through hundreds of contacts you could slice and dice them into cohorts where you discover insights and the best in-market prospects, all with a few lines of code and 5 minutes?
Or do you work in Supply Chain? Do you ever need to find unique data points about stores in a certain geographical regions or check the inventory status of a certain product across store fronts? SQL’s your sidekick once again.
Screw the old fashion way; there’s a reason why over 138,000 companies use Microsoft SQL Server alone to answer questions & test assumptions.
#3: SQL Makes You Double Take Data
Stick with me here: we use one almost every day, but have you ever wondered how a car works? How the key ignites the engine? How gasoline flows throughout the engine to allow you to travel 8-12 laps around the entire Earth?
SQL works in similar ways in helping you understand the “why” of marketing campaigns that crush it or how you’ve made 75% of your sales in the last 7 days of every month.
SQL helps you understand the biggest secret about data: it’s multi-dimensional. It’s not just numbers, keywords, or percentages but it unveils the patterns hidden behind surface level metrics.
And because you can see these very patterns, you can avoid being misdirected by false signals and in turn amplify the opportunities that have resulted in slam dunks.
Bonus: Builds Better Relations with Developers
Developers speak a common language that looks like squiggles, symbols, and The Matrix to the rest of us.
Albeit being a 4th generation language, if you’re able to learn SQL you open up a whole channel of understanding and communication with coders.
Not only that, but by learning SQL, you could exponentially become a better collaborator AND speed up projects. So why NOT speak the same language?
That said, what are you waiting for? Do you feel compelled to learn the “code of the gods?” If so, I recommend completing a course at Udemy (this one by Colt Steele is excellent) or this free course at Code Academy.
As they say about all languages, “There’s no such thing as dead languages, only dormant minds.” If you want to level up and get ahead of the crowd, SQL will undoubtedly be your low hanging fruit.