# Unlock the Power of SQL: Finding the Third-Highest Salary by Department

## Finding the nth-Highest Salary by Department using SQL

As data continues to become more important, companies are increasingly relying on data analysis to derive insights and make informed decisions. SQL (Structured Query Language) is one of the most popular tools for interacting with data because it is intuitive, easy to learn, and highly versatile.

One common task in data analysis is finding the nth-highest salary by department. For example, a company may want to know the third-highest salary in the Sales department.

In this article, we will explore four different SQL solutions to this problem: using NTH_VALUE(), ROW_NUMBER(), RANK(), and DENSE_RANK(). Each solution has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, and by the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of when to use each method.

So, let’s begin!

Solution 1: Using NTH_VALUE()

NTH_VALUE() is a window function that returns the nth value of an expression within a group of rows. This function can be used to find the nth-highest salary, by simply ordering the salaries in descending order and selecting the nth value.

Here is the SQL code to find the third-highest salary:

“`

SELECT DISTINCT department_name, NTH_VALUE(salary, 3) OVER (PARTITION BY department_name ORDER BY salary DESC)

## INNER JOIN department

ON employee.department_id = department.id;

“`

The query above will return a table that shows the department names and the third-highest salary in each department. The DISTINCT keyword is used to remove duplicates, which can occur when two or more employees in the same department have the same salary.

One advantage of using NTH_VALUE() is that it is very concise and easy to understand. However, one disadvantage is that it can be slow when working with large datasets, since it has to sort the data for each row.

Solution 2: Using ROW_NUMBER()

ROW_NUMBER() is another window function that assigns a unique number to each row within a group of rows. This function can be used to rank salaries and then select the nth row.

Here is the SQL code to find the third-highest salary:

“`

SELECT department_name, salary

## FROM (

SELECT department_name, salary, ROW_NUMBER() OVER (PARTITION BY department_name ORDER BY salary DESC) AS row_num

FROM employee

INNER JOIN department

ON employee.department_id = department.id

) AS temp

WHERE row_num = 3;

“`

The query above uses a subquery to assign a row number to each salary within each department, and then selects only the rows with a row number of 3. This method is more flexible than NTH_VALUE() because it allows you to easily change the rank you want to select.

However, it can also be slower than NTH_VALUE() when working with large datasets. Solution 3: Using RANK()

RANK() is a window function that assigns a rank to each row within a group of rows.

This function can be used to rank salaries and handle ties, which occur when two or more employees have the same salary. Here is the SQL code to find the third-highest salary:

“`

SELECT department_name, salary

## FROM (

SELECT department_name, salary, RANK() OVER (PARTITION BY department_name ORDER BY salary DESC) AS rank_num

FROM employee

INNER JOIN department

ON employee.department_id = department.id

) AS temp

WHERE rank_num = 3;

“`

The query above uses a subquery to assign a rank to each salary within each department, and then selects only the rows with a rank of 3. This method is useful for handling ties, since two or more employees with the same salary will have the same rank.

However, it can also be slower than NTH_VALUE() and ROW_NUMBER() when working with large datasets. Solution 4: Using DENSE_RANK()

DENSE_RANK() is similar to RANK(), but it does not skip ranks when there are ties.

In other words, if two employees have the same salary and are ranked third, the next rank will be fourth, not fifth. Here is the SQL code to find the third-highest salary:

“`

SELECT department_name, salary

## FROM (

SELECT department_name, salary, DENSE_RANK() OVER (PARTITION BY department_name ORDER BY salary DESC) AS dense_rank_num

FROM employee

INNER JOIN department

ON employee.department_id = department.id

) AS temp

WHERE dense_rank_num = 3;

“`

The query above uses a subquery to assign a dense rank to each salary within each department, and then selects only the rows with a dense rank of 3. This method is useful for handling ties without skipping ranks, but it can also be slower than NTH_VALUE(), ROW_NUMBER(), and RANK() when working with large datasets.

## The Data Used for the Task

In all the SQL solutions presented above, we used two tables: Employee and Department. The Employee table contains information about each employee, such as their ID, first name, last name, salary, and department ID.

The Department table contains information about each department, such as its ID and name. By joining these two tables on the department ID, we can obtain the salary information for each department.

In conclusion, finding the nth-highest salary by department is a common task in data analysis, and SQL provides several methods to accomplish it. NTH_VALUE(), ROW_NUMBER(), RANK(), and DENSE_RANK() are all powerful window functions that can handle complex rankings and ties.

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each method, you can choose the one that best fits your needs for each specific scenario.

## 3) Understanding the Task at Hand – Finding the Third-Highest Salary by Department

In today’s world, data is king. As businesses store more and more information, data analysis becomes increasingly crucial.

One key question that arises often is how to find the nth-highest salary in a given dataset. And when combined with a condition of department, the task becomes even more critical.

For instance, a business may want to know the third-highest salary paid to an employee in a particular department. In such cases, employing the right SQL methodology is essential.

In this article, we will discuss how to use NTH_VALUE() to find the third-highest salary by department.

## 4) Using NTH_VALUE() to Find the Third-Highest Salary

NTH_VALUE() is a robust SQL window function that makes finding the nth-highest value in a particular dataset easy. In our case, we will use it to find the third-highest salary by department.

Here’s how we can use NTH_VALUE() to find the third-highest salary for a given department. – Functionality of NTH_VALUE()

NTH_VALUE() is an analytical function that works in tandem with the OVER() function to partition the dataset according to certain conditions like department.

We will use the OVER() function together with the PARTITION BY statement to specify the department column. To begin, let us first examine NTH_VALUE() in more detail.

Essentially, this function returns the nth value or expression within a particular window frame, specified by the OVER() function. In our case, the window frame will be the partition of datasets according to the department column.

Here’s the basic syntax of NTH_VALUE():

“`

NTH_VALUE(expression, n) OVER ([PARTITION BY partition clause] ORDER BY sort clause

[ clause] )

“`

– Using OVER() and PARTITION BY with NTH_VALUE()

To determine the third-highest salary by department, we must use the OVER() function in combination with the PARTITION BY clause. Here’s the code that we can use:

“`

SELECT DISTINCT department_name, NTH_VALUE(salary, 3) OVER (PARTITION BY department_name

## FROM employee

INNER JOIN department ON employee.department_id = department.id;

“`

Let’s break down the code to understand it better. The first line of the code is a SELECT statement, which is used to select the required columns from the database.

The DISTINCT function removes any duplicate entries from the result set. The second line of the code is what we’re most interested in – the NTH_VALUE() function.

Here we specify the salary column and the required value (3) to retrieve the third-highest salary by department.

In the third line of the code, we use the OVER clause to partition the data according to the unique department_name column.

Sorting this data in descending order of salary allows us to pick the third-highest salary for each department. The INNER JOIN function on the fourth line ensures that we properly combine data from both the employee and department tables.

One of the significant advantages of using NTH_VALUE() is its simplicity and ease of use. You can specify the value that you want to retrieve by merely changing the integer value in the NTH_VALUE call.

In summary, if you want to find the nth-highest value in your dataset, NTH_VALUE() proves to be an excellent solution. With its simplicity and ease of use, it can help you quickly retrieve the requested information.

However, its notable downside is slow speed if working with large datasets compared to the ROW_NUMBER() method.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the nth-highest salary by department using SQL can be an essential tool for decision-making in a business. In this article, we have explored how to use NTH_VALUE() to find the third-highest salary by department.

SQL window functions like NTH_VALUE() allow you to efficiently retrieve information like the third-highest salary within a specified dataset.

## 5) Using ROW_NUMBER() to Find the Third-Highest Salary

In the previous section, we explored how to use NTH_VALUE() in SQL to find the third-highest salary by department. Another window function that can be used to achieve the same goal is ROW_NUMBER().

In this section, we’ll learn about ROW_NUMBER() and how to use it with the OVER() and PARTITION BY clauses to find the third-highest salary in a specific department. – Functionality of ROW_NUMBER()

ROW_NUMBER() is another SQL analytical window function that assigns sequence numbers to each row in a dataset.

This function allows you to create a ranking based on the value of a specific column, which can be useful when searching for specific values like the third-highest salary. The basic syntax of ROW_NUMBER() is as follows:

“`

ROW_NUMBER() OVER ([PARTITION BY partition clause] ORDER BY sort clause [ASC|DESC])

“`

As with NTH_VALUE(), you can use the OVER() and PARTITION BY clauses to partition the data according to a specific condition like department and then use the ORDER BY statement to sort the data.

– Using OVER() and PARTITION BY with ROW_NUMBER()

To find the third-highest salary, we can use the OVER() function in conjunction with the PARTITION BY and ORDER BY clauses. We will partition the data according to department ID and order salaries in descending order for each department.

Here’s how the code would look like:

“`

SELECT department_name, salary

## FROM (

SELECT employee.department_id, employee.salary,

ROW_NUMBER() OVER (

PARTITION BY employee.department_id

ORDER BY salary DESC

) AS row_num

FROM employee

INNER JOIN department ON employee.department_id = department.id

) salaries_ranks

INNER JOIN department ON salaries_ranks.department_id = department.id

WHERE salaries_ranks.row_num = 3

ORDER BY department_name;

“`

Starting from the first inner JOIN, we will join the employee and department tables using the department_id column. We’ll use the ROW_NUMBER() function to assign a unique sequence number to each salary within the department_id partition.

Finally, after getting the ranking of each salary within the department, we’ll join the result set with the department table. The WHERE statement allows us to filter the result set, choosing only the rows with the third-highest row num, which corresponds to the third-highest salary in each department.

Using ROW_NUMBER() is a powerful alternative, especially when you require more flexibility with the ranking functions.

## 6) Using CTE with ROW_NUMBER() to Find the Third-Highest Salary

A common approach to make the query more readable and manageable is to use Common Table Expressions or CTEs. CTEs allow you to define a query that serves as an intermediary result set. This result set can be referenced multiple times afterward to simplify complex queries.

Here’s an example of how to use ROW_NUMBER() with a CTE to find the third-highest salary:

“`

## WITH salaries_ranks AS (

SELECT department_id, salary, ROW_NUMBER() OVER (

PARTITION BY department_id

ORDER BY salary DESC

) AS row_num

FROM employee

)

SELECT department_name, salary

## FROM salaries_ranks

INNER JOIN department ON salaries_ranks.department_id = department.id

WHERE row_num = 3

ORDER BY department_name;

“`

In this example, we created a CTE named salaries_rank. This CTE assigns sequence numbers to every salary in the employee table based on the department_id column.

This sequence number is then compared to 3 in the main query to find the third-highest salary within each department. Using a CTE with the ROW_NUMBER() function enables us to organize the code and reuse this CTE in future queries.

## Conclusion

Finding the third-highest salary in a specific department is a crucial aspect of data analysis tasks, mainly when dealing with large datasets. In this article, we expanded on our earlier discussion on finding the third-highest salary using NTH_VALUE() by delving into the usage of ROW_NUMBER() and CTE.

With greater flexibility comes added complexity, so it’s essential to choose the window function that suits your specific use case. Whether it’s using NTH_VALUE(), ROW_NUMBER() or CTE, these analytical functions are powerful tools that can help you uncover valuable insights when working with datasets and data analysis in general.

## 7) Using RANK() and DENSE_RANK() to Find the Third-Highest Salary

In addition to NTH_VALUE() and ROW_NUMBER(), RANK() and DENSE_RANK() are other window functions that can be used to find the third-highest salary in a specific department. In this section, we’ll learn about these two functions and the differences between them.

– Functionality of RANK() and DENSE_RANK()

RANK() and DENSE_RANK() are two analytical window functions that assign rankings to each row in a dataset. These ranking functions allow you to assign a ranking to each row in a dataset based on a specific column like salary.

Here’s an overview of each function:

RANK(): RANK() assigns a unique rank number to each row in the dataset based on the value in the column specified in the ORDER BY clause. This function will skip rank numbers when there are ties.

DENSE_RANK(): DENSE_RANK() is similar to RANK() but it does not skip rank numbers when there are ties. In other words, if two employees have the same salary and are ranked third, the next rank will be fourth, not fifth.

– Differences between RANK(), DENSE_RANK(), and ROW_NUMBER()

When choosing which ranking function to use, it’s essential to understand the differences between them. Compared to ROW_NUMBER() and NTH_VALUE(), RANK() and DENSE_RANK() are better suited for handling ties.

Because RANK() and DENSE_RANK() tie handling allow each two items to maintain the same rank, they can be preferred over ROW_NUMBER() or NTH_VALUE().

On the other hand, ROW_NUMBER() and NTH_VALUE() might be a better fit when you don’t want to see ties and instead want sequentially allocated row numbers by the partition.

Here’s an example of how to use RANK() to find the third-highest salary in a specific department:

“`

SELECT department_name, salary

## FROM (

SELECT department_name, salary, RANK() OVER (PARTITION BY department_name ORDER BY salary