5 programming languages database administrators should learn

Database admins strive to ensure that large chunks of data are both accessible and stored with integrity. By using these programming languages, they can keep systems optimized.

database administrator working

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As I have mentioned many times, I don't fancy myself a programmer. I can hold my own (sometimes) with certain languages, such as Bash and PowerShell. And while I can follow the logic with other languages, like HTML and JavaScript, programming is not my cup of tea. Yet, I tip my hat to those folks who can and do feel "hand in glove" when plugged-in to the matrix and creating something new.

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I'm much more comfortable managing systems and network infrastructure and feel right at home in a network closet checking/running cabling, managing switches, routers, and firewalls than hammering text that may or may not do what my mind is telling me it should do. Why are you sharing this with us, you might be thinking? Well, it's simple--I don't much care for database administration (DBA) either. Like programming, I see the benefit and need for qualified, talented personnel, but much like writing code, that also is not my cup of tea.

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For admins who are wizards with databases (DB) or those who wish to develop their IT knowledge base and possibly meld their programming and systems/data management skills, specializing in DBA is a great (and potentially lucrative) way to proceed forward in your IT career. The programming languages below represent the top five that IT pros should be learning to put themselves in the best position for a DBA job--whether you're just starting out or wanting to change gears, the languages below will help make it happen. 

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Arguably the most popular, general-purpose language, Python has its hooks into everything. From systems management to web tools to database management and integration. When paired with established frameworks that plug in functionality, Python can be leveraged to perform data analysis, display, and storage—all from one development platform, shaving down development time and adding increased support from one of the largest support communities.

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Structured Query Language (SQL) is the de facto standard programming language used by many of the most popular database servers worldwide. While SQL does have its criticisms regarding design among others, the language is known to be robust and scalable, mixing expressions, queries, and statements to produce a wealth of methods to access and extract data sets small and large. One pitfall to be aware of is though many different vendors have adopted SQL-based software, not all SQL applications are compatible. There is a known lack of portability between implementations from one SQL developer to the next, which may cause growing pains for users new to DBA.

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The C suite of programming languages provides flexibility and efficiency when developing apps that run natively on system hardware. And while it can be leveraged to provide cross-platform support, it can also be used to develop applications that interface with relational databases to maximize resources of both the servers hosting the data and systems (or apps) accessing the hosted data. The high-performance nature of native apps is the payoff for the intricate nature of apps developed in C, C++, and C#.

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R is a language whose strengths are based in statistical computing and used widely in data mining, statistical software, and data analysis. Given the nature of the data sets used in the above-mentioned types of databases, they tend to be fairly large and complex, making R the perfect language to handle the performance and computational requirements of managing such intricate data sets involving mathematical equations for analysis, display, and storing of data.

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While largely co-opted by web developers for complex, interactive websites, PHP also has strong ties to databases through its use of server-side scripting to power websites that utilize database connectivity for storing, writing, and retrieving records quickly and efficiently. The WordPress platform was built on PHP, and it has tight integration with databases to streamline web development, build websites based on a templating system, and aid HTML-based sites in loading faster across all supported platforms and apps.

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