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Interview Questions for a SQL Data Analyst

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It doesn't matter if you're brand new to the professional world or a seasoned expert in your field: job interviews can be nerve racking experiences. If you don't communicate your own expertise you might not get the job. Being prepared for such interviews, such as for a SQL data analyst, can help you feel more confident going into the interview room.


SQL is a querying language for retrieving specific data from a relational database. These are databases with a hierarchical and centralized structure, as opposed to newer "NoSQL" databases. While NoSQL may be the cutting edge of database programming, it is mainly for high traffic systems distributed across several nodes. For databases that are not handling high traffic transactions, the older relational model still serves the needs for data storage and data analysis.

SQL Commands

Part of the interview for a SQL data analyst job will be a few basic questions about SQL commands to assess your knowledge of this query language and ensure that it is commensurate with the demands of the position. Introductory level jobs, in which the employer already expects to have to spend significant amounts of time training you, will only need you to show that the company won't have to start from square one with your training. For more advanced positions, they will likely make sure that you weren't padding your resume to bluff your way into the position with more detailed questions and higher expectations.


An encyclopedic knowledge of SQL commands is great, but what the company will need from you is to be able to use that knowledge to mine the data relevant to your current analysis from the database. Because of this, a few questions from your interviewer will involve him describing a relational database's structure to you, giving you an analysis to perform, then asking you to speak in general terms of the data queries you would perform along with the commands that would make that possible.

Previous Experience

As with any job, one way the interviewer will get a feel for your qualifications will be to ask you about your previous experience in the field. This could include strictly data analysis work, as well as jobs which would inform your work as a SQL data analyst. These could include positions designing or maintaining relational database systems, or programming work that made use of databases in the application's function. These questions will give you a chance to talk about tangible experience you have that would make you an ideal candidate for the job.


About the Author

Micah McDunnigan has been writing on politics and technology since 2007. He has written technology pieces and political op-eds for a variety of student organizations and blogs. McDunnigan earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.

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