10 Jobs That Require SQL Skills and What You Need to Get Hired

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about the different careers you can pursue with SQL skills, including the average annual salary of each and education requirements.

[Featured Image] A happy job hunter celebrates after finding a role that lets her use her SQL skills.

Professionals who can handle data are in high demand as organizations look to capitalize on the massive amounts of data they have access to. A valued skill in this area is a structured query language (SQL), the go-to tool for querying, storing, and managing data within relational databases. Developing SQL proficiency can open you up to several career opportunities, as knowledge of databases is critical for programming-related positions.

In this article, explore SQL more, along with the jobs you may consider and how their salaries compare.

What is SQL?

SQL is a programming language that enables you to perform several tasks within a relational database, such as managing, storing, retrieving, optimizing, and processing data. Relational databases store related data points, where the data has predefined relationships within a table composed of columns and rows. SQL allows you to navigate and retrieve relational databases without writing a surplus of code.

An example of a relational database would be a database containing customer information, such as their name and address, along with a table featuring details of customer orders, such as shipping information and the order date.

10 jobs you can get with SQL skills

SQL knowledge and the ability to work with relational databases are essential components of several careers, especially coding positions. The following offers a look at 10 jobs you can get with SQL skills, details about what it takes to get into the jobs, and the potential salaries of each position, according to Glassdoor’s March 2024 data.

1. Business analyst 

Average annual base salary: $82,980 [1]

Requirements: Business analysts typically need a bachelor’s degree in business management, finance, data analytics, or accounting.

As a business analyst, you would analyze data to help your company improve its business processes and make informed decisions. This role requires numerous skills and knowledge encompassing information technology and business. You may not only collect data and build models to analyze it, but you would also need a strong understanding of how your business functions to make recommendations.

2. Business intelligence analyst

Average annual base salary: $84,932 [2]

Requirements: This position may generally require a bachelor’s degree in economics, computer science, statistics, or business.

As a business intelligence analyst, you may analyze data to develop strategies to improve areas such as consumer experience, operational efficiency, and market trends. Your work can, in turn, aid your organization in making informed decisions through collaboration with management. Business intelligence varies slightly from business analytics, with more of a focus on improving daily operations rather than predicting outcomes.

3. Data analyst

Average annual base salary: $75,136 [3]

Requirements: Data analysts usually obtain a bachelor’s degree in statistics, data analytics, or computer science. However, a bachelor’s degree in business and the right technical skills to match can also qualify you.

As a data analyst, you can collect data from various sources, such as surveys, focus groups, social media monitoring, reports, and more, to analyze the data and make recommendations for your organization. Your work in this role includes designing and maintaining data collection systems and databases.

4. Data scientist

Average annual base salary: $120,406 [4]

Requirements: Data science positions often require a bachelor’s degree in an area such as computer science, analytics, engineering, or statistics.

As a data scientist, you can develop programs and algorithms capable of handling large amounts of data to provide insights that you can then use to influence organizational decisions and develop strategies. What differentiates data scientists from data analysts is that as a data scientist, you’ll build complex predictive models using machine learning and other techniques analysts can use to perform analytics.

5. Database architect

Average annual US salary: $128,571 [5]

Requirements: To work as a database architect, you may need a relevant bachelor’s degree in an area such as data analytics, computer science, or information systems.

As a database architect, you can build specific data systems to provide your organization with access to data and ensure the data within the database is secure and accurate. To create a database that meets your employer's needs, you may need to communicate with technical and business staff members to devise a specific plan for the organization’s goals.

6. Quality assurance engineer

Average annual base salary: $83,037 [6]

Requirements: Quality assurance engineering positions may require a bachelor’s degree in an area such as computer science or software engineering. However, alternative options, such as bootcamps, can also qualify you.

As a quality assurance engineer or tester, you will ensure that software has been adequately tested before going to market, providing the release of a quality program without any errors. In addition to testing for quality, you can contribute to the entire development process to ensure the end product meets all software standards.

7. Server administrator

Average annual base salary: $75,321 [7]

Requirements: Server administrators are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in information technology, engineering, or computer science.

As a server administrator, you can work to make sure your organization's computer systems perform correctly and are secure. The job includes performing regular maintenance and troubleshooting any problems, helping inform other employees about how to use systems correctly, and communicating with them to better understand their needs.

8. Software engineer

Average annual base salary: $114,354 [8]

Requirements: Employers generally require software engineers to have a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or computer science.

You can use your programming skills to build computer applications and systems as a software engineer. Your job may likely include building software systems and applications, testing and maintaining them, and implementing software upgrades. Because of the widespread use and need for software, you can find software engineering opportunities in almost all industries.

9. Data engineer

Average annual base salary: $119,888 [9]

Requirements: Data engineering positions typically require a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as computer science, information technology, or software engineering.

As a data engineer, you are responsible for assembling the systems that enable your organization to have efficient and consistent access to data. This means you may need to work with a team of people, such as data scientists and upper management, to assess their needs and construct a plan. You may also gather and organize data for others to access in a single location.

10. Web developer

Average annual base salary: $82,686 [10]

Requirements: While some employers require their web developers to have a bachelor’s degree in an area such as information technology or computer science, this career is accessible without a degree if you have the necessary technical skills.

As a web developer, you can work in either a front-end, back-end, or full-stack role. Front-end developers build websites' user-facing components, while back-end developers are responsible for the server side found behind the scenes. However, full-stack web developers perform the duties of both front-end and back-end developers.

Getting started with Coursera

Careers that deal with data in any capacity typically require some SQL skills. As you can see from the jobs listed above, you’ll find many options and opportunities. But first, it’s helpful to sharpen your SQL skills.

Explore SQL further with the Databases and SQL for Data Science with Python, a course offered by IBM on Coursera that can help you learn more about analyzing data with SQL and constructing queries. You can also earn a Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate to take the first step towards a data analytics career. Here, you can learn valuable skills like SQL, creating data visualizations, and building relational databases.

Article sources


Glassdoor. “How much does a Business Analyst make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/business-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,16.htm.” Accessed March 11, 2024. 

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