Adventures in Machine Learning

SQL Essentials: The Beginner’s Guide to Must-Know Terms and Functions

SQL for Beginners: Must-Know Terms and Functions ExplainedStructured Query Language (SQL) is a powerful tool for managing and organizing large amounts of data. Whether you are working with financial records for a business, tracking inventory for a warehouse, or analyzing customer data for a marketing campaign, knowing the basic SQL terms and functions is essential.

In this article, we will explore some of the most important SQL terms and functions that beginners should know to make the most out of this technology.

SQL CASE Statement

The SQL CASE statement is a powerful tool used to create conditional statements in SQL. It’s handy when you are working with large datasets and need to sort and filter information based on specific criteria.

The CASE statement has several primary keywords, including CASE, SELECT, WHERE, ORDER BY, GROUP BY, and INSERT. To use the CASE statement, write a SELECT statement with the value or column you want to evaluate, then add the CASE statement followed by the specific conditions or rules.


SQL Common Table Expressions (CTEs) with the WITH clause is a powerful feature in SQL that allows you to write recursive queries and define temporary tables within a query. Often used when working on queries that are difficult to write with regular SQL statements, CTEs simplify and improve readability.

Using CTE involves some essential keywords such as CTE, WITH, SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, and MERGE.


When it comes to reducing duplicate data, the SQL DISTINCT keyword is the key. It’s handy when you want to return only unique values in a query and prevent redundancy in your data.

To use this keyword, write a SELECT statement with the value or column you want to evaluate, then follow it with the DISTINCT keyword. This works best when used with GROUP BY or aggregate functions such as COUNT or AVG.

SQL IDE (Integrated Development Environment)

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is essential when working with SQL. It’s software that provides developers with tools needed to create queries, debug errors, and manage data.

Some popular IDEs include SQL Developer, MySQL Workbench, and DBeaver.


The SQL INTERSECT operator is a method for comparing two or more tables or queries in SQL. It’s used to return only the rows that are common to two SELECT statements.

The primary keywords for using the INTERSECT operator include INTERSECT, SELECT, WHERE, table, and columns.

SQL UNION Operator

The SQL UNION operator is a critical tool for combining two or more SELECT statements into a single result. It’s used to combine or merge tables, and it removes the duplicates.

The primary keywords included in using the UNION operator are UNION, SELECT, table, and duplicates.

SQL Views

SQL Views are virtual tables that summarize information from one or more base tables. They are often used to simplify query writing and provide a snapshot of data.

The primary keywords involved include views, SELECT, table, summarize, and report.


The WHERE clause is a critical component of SQL. It’s used to filter returned data based on specified conditions.

It’s commonly used in SELECT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements. The primary keywords include WHERE, SELECT, DELETE, UPDATE, numbers, text, and dates.

SQL Window Functions

SQL Window functions are analytical functions that operate on a set of rows within a table or query. They are useful for statistical analyses, ranking, running totals, moving averages, and business analytics.

Some common window functions include ROW_NUMBER(), RANK(), DENSE_RANK(), SUM(), COUNT(), AVG(), MIN(), and MAX().


In conclusion, these SQL terms and functions are essential for any beginner looking to master SQL’s functionality. From the CASE statement to

SQL Views, CTE, and beyond, familiarizing yourself with these concepts can make your workflow more efficient and effective.

Mastering the WHERE clause and window functions will also take your SQL skills to the next level. By implementing these SQL terms and functions, you will be well on your way to becoming a master of structured query language.

In this article, we explored the must-know SQL terms and functions beginners should familiarize themselves with to become proficient in managing and organizing large amounts of data. From the SQL CASE statement to CTE, DISTINCT keyword, IDE, INTERSECT and UNION operators, SQL views, WHERE clause, and window functions, each term and function plays a critical role in simplifying query writing, filtering data, and improving data analysis.

By mastering these concepts, beginners can become proficient in structured query language, paving the way for seamless management, organization, and analytics of data.

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