Esat Erkec
Career path of a SQL developer

How to become a SQL Server Developer

May 20, 2022 by

In this article, we will talk about what SQL Server developers do and which main skills are required to get a job as a SQL developer.


In this decade, the data volumes increased gigantic and for the next years, this momentum will increase exponentially. In this situation, to be a SQL developer is the right decision to reach a good career and salary. Successful and talented SQL Server developers are still in high demand by the market with a satisfying salary. On LinkedIn, we can see that numerous open positions are listed for SQL developers overall in the world.


How much education do we need to be a SQL developer?

In terms of the education level, there is not any degree required to become a SQL developer but to have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a related field can help to decrease job finding period. At the same time, some companies may determine a bachelor’s degree as a mandatory requirement.

Are any certificates required to become a SQL developer?

No there is not any certificate required but passing at the least the following exam helps to confirm and prove knowledge to the recruiters.

Exam DP-900

How much does a SQL Server Developer make?

The answer to this question may vary from country to country. According to the payscale website, an average SQL Developer salary is £31,888 per year in the United Kingdom and this amount is $76,046 for the United States.

What are the career paths of SQL Server developers?

After the SQL developer position, your career can evolve in different ways. Such as, your career can start as a SQL developer and end as a CTO (Chief Technology Officer). During this duration, you can be in different positions as mid and high-level managers.

Career path  of a SQL developer

What does a SQL Server developer do?

The main responsibility of a SQL developer is to design, create, develop and manage the SQL databases and database objects. In a daily routine, a database developer performs:

  • Design, develop, and test database and database objects (tables, views, stored procedures, indexes, functions, constraints)
  • Working with the application development team to provide needed support for the application databases
  • Attending the Daily Standup Meetings
  • Troubleshooting the query performance problems
  • Using the version control systems for the database objects
  • Fixing the bugs

There is no doubt that a SQL developer must have some skills to meet these responsibilities. In the next sections, we will talk about which skills are required to be a successful SQL Server developer.

Building complex queries

One of the indispensable skills of a SQL Server developer is to know writing complex SQL queries and create database objects. To know writing complex SQL queries is use the T-SQL command which goes beyond the basic SQL queries which only involve the SELECT, JOIN, and WHERE commands. The following query patterns have to be known by the SQL developers:

  • Common Table Expressions (CTE)
  • PIVOT and UNPIVOT operators
  • Pagination queries
  • Designing and building temporary tables and table variables
  • SQL Window Functions
  • Building database objects (tables, views, stored procedures, indexes, functions, constraints, etc.)
  • Cursors, IF and DO WHILE statements
  • Modes of Transactions
  • Locking and Row Versioning
  • Using Memory-optimized Tables and Native Stored

What tools should a SQL developer be able to use

A SQL developer must have advanced knowledge to use some tools because these tools provide convenience and efficiency in the database development process. At least the following tools usage skills are required for the database developers:

  • SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)
  • Azure Data Studio
  • SQL Server Data Tools

Query tuning

Understanding the query tunning methodologies is a required necessary skill for database developers. Writing more tuned and sargable queries are always gained benefits the database performance positively. At least a database developer must know the following points:

  • Interpreting the query execution plans
  • Measuring and analyzing the query performance metrics
  • Ability to design appropriate and necessary indexes for queries and tables

Graphical query execution plan


ETL stands for Extract, Transform and Load, and it’s a data integration process that collects data from one or more sources and then re-shapes this data finally the data is stored in a data warehouse. Designing and ETL processes responsibilities have to meet by BI developers but in some companies, these tasks may be fulfilled by the database developers. SQL Server Integration Service (SSIS) is the ETL tool of the Microsoft BI stack. At the same time, we can use SSIS to transfer the database objects and data into the other databases. Therefore, SQL developers to have experience with SSIS will make their resumes look brighter.

Cloud databases

Cloud databases offer numerous advantages to database developers, but the most important feature of cloud databases is that they are easy to configure and easily scalable when demand increases. So at least it is an important skill for database developers to know about the fundamental features of the following cloud databases.

  • Amazon RDS for SQL Server
  • Microsoft Azure SQL Database


In this article, we explored how to become a SQL Server developer, and also we learned which skills are required.

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