SQL: Common Data Types in SQL Server

Here is a table of the most commonly used data types in SQL Server

Data TypeDescription
Char()Fixed length string, unused spaces get padded and eat up memory: size 0-255
Varchar()Variable length string, unused spaces don’t use memory: 8000 chars
Nvarchar()Designed to handle Uni Code data (UFT-8): 4000 chars
nvarchar(max)536-870-912 characters
TextUp to 2GB of text data
Identity(x,y)Auto incrementing number with x being starting point and y = steps, so Identity(1,1) starts and1 and counts by 1
INTinteger (whole number, no decimals)
Decimal(x,d)floating point decimal number, x is size, d is number of places after the decimal
float(n)floating precision number, Float(24) = 4-bytes, Float(53) = 8-bytes — float(53) is default
Bool or BooleanBinary choice, 0 = False and 1 = True
DateDate data type “YYYY-MM-DD” (if set to US settings)
DATETIMEdatetime data type “YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS” (if set to US settings)
TIMETime “HH:MM:SS”
YEARyear in for digit representation (ex 1908,1965,2011)

SQL: Intro to SQL Server – Create Database and Tables

We will be using SQL Server Management Studio in the following lessons. If you have SQL Server installed on your machine, search for MS SQL Server Management Studio in programs or search for SSMS. If you need to install MS Sql Server: click here

Once it opens, enter the server you are looking to connect to and pick your authentication method (I’m using Windows Authentication, but you could set up a SA account and use Server Authentication)

If you properly connect to the server, you should get an object explore like the one seen below

Create a database

If you are working on work or school SQL Server, you may not have rights to create a database, you will most likely have a database assigned to you that you can build tables in. You can skip to the table creation part of the lesson.

Method 1: Using the Gui

Right click on database in the object explore, click New Database

Next name your new database, leave all other settings as is. Click Ok

Your new database’s name will appear in the list of databases now

Method 2: Use SQL

This is my preferred method. And again, we will just be using the default settings here to make this lesson easier.

Click the New Query Button to open a new query window

In the new window, type the following (note the semicolon at the end of the line, this is standard SQL and used by most system. SQL Server allows you to replace ; with the word GO. It is completely legit, I just don’t use it because no other system does either)

Create Database Test2;

Then click Execute

If you don’t see your new database appear in the Object Explorer, right click Database ,and select Refresh

Select Database to Work With

Method 1: Gui

From your query workspace, select your database from the drop down menu

Method 2: SQL Code

Go to a query workspace and type in the following code

use Test;

I tend to like this method because you can put it on the top of code you might share and it will guide people to the right database

Create Table

Method 1: Gui

Hit the + next to your database to expand

Right Click Tables > New > Table…

Now manually enter column names and datatypes for your new table

Once you are done. Click the X to close this tab. You will be first asked to save changes (yes) then you will be asked to Name you new table

Method 2: Sql Code

From your query window, use the following code to create a table:

Create Table tableName (
    Column 1  datatype,
    Column 2  datatype));

The syntax is pretty straightforward. The code below with create a table names Contractor with 6 columns

create table Contractor (
ContractorID int primary key,
CompanyNM nvarchar(255),
LastNM	nvarchar(255),
FirstNM nvarchar(255),
Phone nvarchar(50),
email nvarchar(255));

Note I am able to assign the primary key to the first column by putting primary key after the datatype

Copy this into your SQL Server — Note you can run segments of code by highlighting them first and then hitting execute. Only the highlighted code is run.

To see if it runs successfully, expand your tables segment out on your object explorer

Let’s add another table. Copy the following code over to SQL Server and execute just like before

create table Permit (
PermitID nvarchar(255) primary key,
StartDate date,
ProjectTitle nvarchar(255),
[Location] nvarchar(255),
Fee money,
ContractorID int);

Now lets connect the two tables with a foreign key/primary key relationship. To create this relationship, use the following code

alter table Permit
add foreign key(ContractorID) References Contractor(ContractorID);

Note I am working with the table Permit, I am saying the Column ContractorID is the foreign key in the Permit table related to (References) the ContractorID column in the Contractor table

Add data to tables

Use the following code to add data to the two tables

insert into Contractor
values (1, 'Front Poarch Construction', 'Poarch','Ken', '555-1234', 'poarch@fpc.com'),
       (2, 'Mikrot Construction', 'Mikrot', 'Kim', '555-5678', 'MK@mikrot.com'),
	   (3, 'Sobaba Construction','Sobata', 'Jeri', '555-9012', 'SJ@sobaba.com');

Insert into Permit 
values ('B12345','2022-01-01','My Deck','Branchburg',550.00,3);

The syntax is basically

Insert into <tableName>

Values (data separated by commas, rows wrapped in parathesis, again separated by columns)

Add Data from Excel File

You can download the following file if you want to play along

Right click on your database, Tasks> Import Data

Click Next on the first Window to pop up

Choose Microsoft Excel as Data source, browse for your file, make sure First row has column names is selected, click Next

Select SQL Server Native client as destination. If you have more than one to pick from, choose the higher number. Click Next

Leave default options – Click Next

Select the top option, You can change the destination table name if you choose.

I choose to change it and then click Next

Leave default selections, click Next

Click Finish

Make sure you got 75 rows Transferred and click close

Move data to production tables

Permit_Landing is a Landing Table. That means a table you load data into initially before it is verified and moved to production tables

Refresh your database to see the new added tables. Right click on Permits_Landing and Select Top 1000 Rows

A query window should pop up and give you the following results

The goal is to move this data to the Permit table. But note, the Permit Table has a column ContractorID that is not present in Permits_Landing. So we have to use code like seen below.

  insert into permit (PermitID, StartDate, ProjectTitle, [Location], Fee)
  select * from Permit_Landing;

Note, we have Insert Into Permit (like before) — but we now include a list columns. We only list the columns we want to load data into. Since we don’t have ContractorID column in the landing table, we will not include it here.

Also, notice the [] around Location. This is because location is a SQL key word. To let SQL Server know we are talking about a column and not a keyword, we put square brackets around it

Finally, we choose the data to load into the table using a simple select statement: Select * from Permit_Landing

MS Access: Query two related tables

The entire purpose of related tables is that they allow you to query information from multiple tables at once. In this example we will be creating a query that looks at the Class and Teacher tables we built in the intro to MS Access Lesson: link to lesson

To start, we will select Create from the Menu bar and Query Design from the Ribbon

Next drag the Teacher and Class table over to the blank space for Query1

down below you can select the columns (fields) you want to bring in from the tables.

Next, put all the all the available columns in the Fields below

You’ll notice the Fields all have their table names in front of them in the drop down. This is common SQL notation for <table>.<field>

Right click on the query tab and select datasheet view.

Note the two tables are matched up by the teacherID in two different tables. That is the relationship. That is how relational database allow tables to interact

Lets remove the teacherID from the query

Go back to design view and uncheck the columns to hide them from the query

To see the results, click on the Query1 tab and select Datasheet view

So you can see, our query returned information found in 2 different tables

Now, let’s right click on Query1 tab and select SQL View

This is how you would write this query using SQL

Select Class.ClassID, Class.Class_NM, teacher.teacher_name — This means that we want to see these three columns. Note the table name is in front, followed by the column or field name, separated by a ‘.’ This is common practice in SQL. It tells the database which table the field is in. And in situations like the teacherID column that is found in both tables, it clarifies which one you want.

from teacher INNER JOIN Class ON teacher.teacherID= Class.TeacherID; — this is a typical join statement. It says use both teacher and Class tables, and match the records up using the TeacherID field.

For more information in Joins, check my SQL Intro to Joins and SQL 4 Types of Joins

Back to Main Course Page: Course

Python: Accessing a MySQL Database

Here is a code block to create a database if you want to play along

create database sandbox;

use sandbox;
CREATE TABLE employee_id (
        emp_nm varchar(30) not null,
        emp_id varchar(8),
        b_emp_id varchar(8),
        PRIMARY KEY(emp_nm) );   

While loading data from Excel files and CVS files is pretty straightforward in Python, getting database from a SQL database is really a skill you should learn. SQL databases can store much more data than an Excel file and are used pretty much everywhere now.

This lesson will focus on MySQL, I have another lesson for SQL Server as well. The syntax does vary a little and if you are working with Oracle or Teradata, your syntax may change a bit as well. Luckily the Internet has plenty of resources to point you in the right direction.

Now, for MySQL, lets get started. First you are going to want to install mysql.connector (if you have the Anaconda distribution that I recommend, it comes with this pre-installed.

If you don’t have it installed, you can get it using pip or conda – I have a video showing you how to install a module here: video link — skip ahead to the 7 minute mark where I explain how to install modules

Once install, import it into your notebook

Now lets make a connection to our server: syntax should be self explanatory – localhost simply means its installed on my computer — otherwise you would provide a network path to the server there.

Let’s start by looking around- First I want a name off all the databases in my instance

Now in this example we will be working with the Sandbox database — I provided code at the top of the lesson you can paste and run in your MySQL instance to create a Sandbox database

Now lets add a new element to our connection string – database

And query the table names in the Sandbox database

Using the .execute() method, we can pass SQL commands to the MySQL instance

Below I am creating a table -> passing data to the table -> and committing the data

Without the commit() command, the data will not be saved into the table.

To add multiple rows to the table, I can use the executemany() method

Now let’s query our table. Note the .fetchall() method — this brings in all the rows from the query. I can iterate through list by running a simple for loop

I can also use the command .column_names after my cursor to return the column names of the last table I queried

Finally, we can use Pandas to put this database table into a dataframe we can work with

SQL: Check to see if table exists MySQL

First thing first, if you would like to play along with this tutorial, here is a code block to create a database and table:

create database sandbox;

use sandbox;
CREATE TABLE employee_id (
        emp_nm varchar(30) not null,
        emp_id varchar(8),
        b_emp_id varchar(8),
        PRIMARY KEY(emp_nm) );             

To check if a table exists in MySql, you can use the INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES table.

Running the following code, produces the results below:

Select *
from INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES
where table_schema = 'Sandbox';
You can use this table with an IF THEN clause do determine how your query responds whether or not a table exists.
SELECT IF( EXISTS(
             SELECT *
             FROM INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TABLES
           WHERE TABLE_NAME = 'employee_id'), 1, 0);

And if I try it with a table name that does not exist:

One of the more common uses I find for this when I need to create a table in a script. I want to make sure a table with same name doesn’t already exist, or my query will fail. So I write a query like the one below.

drop table if exists employee_id;

 CREATE TABLE employee_id (
        emp_nm varchar(30) not null,
             emp_id varchar(8),
             b_emp_id varchar(8),
             PRIMARY KEY(emp_nm) );

INSERT INTO employee_id
       (emp_nm, emp_id)
VALUES
       ('Bob', 'A1234567'),
       ('Lisa', 'A1234568'),
       ('Priyanka', 'B1234567');

Data Jobs: What does a Data Analyst Do?

Data Analysts get a bad wrap. With the advent of the Data Scientist, Data Analysts are often viewed as Data Scientists lite, however I feel that is not the honest case. Truth is, there is a lot of overlap between the two fields. I will dive deeper into what a Data Scientist is in a future article, but just know my opinion is the definition of Data Scientist as a job is still a bit fuzzy and I think the job title may eventually be broken into a few different titles to better define the differences.

Data Analyst

So what does a Data Analyst do?

A lot actually. You could put 10 data analysts into a room and you would get ten different answers to this question. So the best I can do here is make sweeping generalities. As the old saying goes “Your results may vary”

In general, data analysts perform statistical analysis, create reporting, run ad-hoc queries from data warehouses, create data visualizations, create and maintain dashboards, perform data mining, and create machine learning models (yes, ML is not only for data scientists). Their assignments are business driven. A data analysts is either embedded with a business unit (financial planning, fraud, risk management, cyber security, etc.) or working in a centralized reporting/analytics team. They use their skills to provide reporting and analytics for the business.

Tools used by Data Analysts

  • SQL – MySql, SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata, Postgres – whether simply querying a data warehouse or creating and managing a local data mart, data analysts need to be advanced SQL programmers
  • Visualization tools – Tableau, Qlik, Power BI, Excel, analysts use these tools to create visualizations and dashboards
  • Python/R – Data analysts should be familiar with languages like Python or R to help manage data and perform statistical analysis or build machine learning models
  • Spreadsheets – Excel, Google Sheets, Smart Sheets are used to create reports, and pivot tables used to analyze the data
  • ETL tools – SSIS, Alteryx, Talend, Knime, these tools are design to move data to and from databases, CSV files, and spreadsheets. Until the data is in a usable format, analysis cannot be performed.

Educational Requirements

Typically a data analyst position will ask for a bachelors degrees, preferably in computer science, statistics, database management or even business. While the barrier to entry for a data analyst job is generally not as high as a data scientist, that does not mean you cannot make a meaningful and well paid career as a data analyst. Also, the demand for data professionals seems to keep going up and up and it most likely will for the foreseeable future.

SQL: Rollback and Commit – undo mistakes in SQL

If you ever want to experience a heart attack, may I advise accidently deleting a production table from a database. And even if you survive the heart attack, your job may not.

This is, IMHO, this single most important piece of SQL code you will ever learn. It is called Rollback and Commit.

What Rollback does, is reverse and changes you have made to the database, allowing you to undelete the table you accidentally sent to the data afterworld.

Here is how it works. You start by letting the system know to you are making changes that you may want to reverse. The syntax is the as follows

Start transaction;

delete from <table> where <column> = <Value>;

Now comes the life saving part. If you realize you made a mistake, simply type Rollback;

If, on the other hand, you like the results, then type Commit;

The results will be saved and the transaction instance will be closed out.

Now lets try adding a new row, using start transaction
If that is not what you want, just type Rollback; and your mistake is gone
On the other hand, if you want to save the results, simply type commit; and the new record will stay

Important NOTE: Rollback only works if you first Start Transaction: — it is two words that will save your job. Start every instance of adding or deleting data or object with Start Transaction: – trust me on this one.

SQL: What is SQL and its 5 Subgroups DQL, DML, TCL, DDL, DCL?

SQL – short for Sequel Query Language is a programming language designed to work with data stored in RDBMS (relational database management systems). The data managed by SQL is tabular, meaning it formatted in rows and columns, very much like an Excel spreadsheet.

SQL is broken down into 5 sets of command groups:

DQL = Data Query Language

Querying (SELECT, FROM, etc)

DML = Data Manipulation Language

Data manipulation (INSERT, DELETE, etc)

TCL = Transaction Control Language

Transaction mgt. (COMMIT, ROLLBACK, etc)

DDL = Data Definition Language

Data definition (CREATE, DROP, etc)

DCL = Data Control Language

Data control (GRANT, REVOKE, etc)

SQL: Drop, Delete, Truncate commands

When it comes to deleting data from a SQL server, you have 3 main options: Drop, Delete, and Truncate

Drop

The Drop command completely deletes a table from the database. Let’s take the table Employee

When I run the following code: Drop Table Employee;

You can see the entire table has been dropped from the database, data and all. There is no way to recover data from a dropped table, short of having a back up

Delete

Delete removes data from the table, not the table its. Also, Delete can be used in conjunction with a Where clause to choose exactly which data to delete

You see that only the row with ‘Chris’ was deleted

Without the Where clause, all data is deleted, however the table remains

Truncate

Truncate acts just like Delete but you can’t add a Where clause, it simply deletes all data from a table

SQL: Load (Insert) data into a table

Here are the steps to add data to existing table:

Let’s use the employee table created on the create table page: Create_table

To insert some data into this table, first you need to know what the data types of each of the columns in the table are. In this example I am using my MySQL. An easy way to see column data types is to Right Click on Table name> Send to SQL Editor > Create Statement

The results will appear in the query window. In this table we can see the columns are a integer (INT), string (varchar), DOB (date)

The syntax for inserting data into the table is as follows

insert into <table name> (column1, column2,...)
values (value1, value2,...)

In the example below, we are loading 3 rows in, separating each row by a comma:

If we run this, we can then check on the results with a Select statement