What is SQL and when business analysts have to use it?
June 15, 2020

What is SQL and when business analysts have to use it?

By Lau

“It is essential to have good tools, but it is also essential that the tools should be used in the right way.”

– Wallace D. Wattles —
It is essential to have good tools, but it is also essential that the tools should be used in the right way. - Wallace D. Wattles Click To Tweet

One of the tools that many companies want business analysts to know is SQL (Structured Query Language). SQL is a data query language and it’s used to carry out data analysis through an interface that allows business analysts to interact with a specific database.

To query a database we have to use SENTENCES, a series of words that the database engine, (the service that processes the queries that we make a database), knows how to interpret. Each sentence has a different purpose and when combined they can achieve better results. but there are two statements that should always be in a query for it to work, these are:

SELECT. It is used to indicate which are the attributes of a table we are interested in seeing.

FROM. It is used to indicate the table we want to see.

Now that we know what SQL is and what it is used for, the question that comes after is:

When business analysts have to use it?

To answer this question we will review what are the first three responsibilities of a business analyst, these ones are, Gathering requirements, Analysis and Modeling solutions. SQL is useful in the Analysis stage and for a specific type of project.

SQL is useful in the Analysis stage and for a specific type of project.

And the reason why business analysts would be interested in querying the database is that they want to see what data this one has and what tables they are in.

To understand it better let’s see it in an example:

If what a business analyst is trying to design is a new functionality to show the points earned by a consumer, it will be useful to know in which tables of the database this information is and what these tables contain. This will help them to know what information can be displayed, what data they will need to ask and show to the consumer.

This is not going to happen in every project, it will depends on the project’s type and seeing it from the point of view of the project’s developed progress we could say that there are two types of projects:

  • New projects: corresponding to projects starting from scratch,
  • and projects that already have a published version: which are the projects that were once new projects but that already have a published version and are now looking to add new functionalities.

In the case of new projects, SQL would not be of much use unless the business analyst had access to the database of a similar system that we are trying to copy.

Although, for projects that already have a published version, this tool will be more useful and the reason is that, as in the example of consumer points, by having data stored, the business analyst will be able to determine if it has the necessary data to display the information that they have been required for at the gathering requirement stage or if they need to request to be added some missing information.

To sup up, SQL is the way that business analysts can access to data that can help them to analyse better, thus propose a better solution to the user’s need.

I hope that now it has become clearer that it is SQL and when you should use it. You might also like to read about the knowledge that a BA must-have.

And don’t forget to download this FREE Digital Book: The Master Strategy for BA Beginners where you will learn how to get your first BA job by following 3 strategic steps.

See you soon. 😉