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Zain Shahbaz
Zain Shahbaz

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SQL Interview Questions CheatSheet

SQL Interview Questions
1. What is Database?
A database is an organized collection of data, stored and retrieved digitally from a remote or local computer system. Databases can be vast and complex, and such databases are developed using fixed design and modeling approaches.

2. What is DBMS?
DBMS stands for Database Management System. DBMS is a system software responsible for the creation, retrieval, updation, and management of the database. It ensures that our data is consistent, organized, and is easily accessible by serving as an interface between the database and its end-users or application software.

3. What is RDBMS? How is it different from DBMS?
RDBMS stands for Relational Database Management System. The key difference here, compared to DBMS, is that RDBMS stores data in the form of a collection of tables, and relations can be defined between the common fields of these tables. Most modern database management systems like MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, and Amazon Redshift are based on RDBMS.

4. What is SQL?
SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is the standard language for relational database management systems. It is especially useful in handling organized data comprised of entities (variables) and relations between different entities of the data.

5. What is the difference between SQL and MySQL?
SQL is a standard language for retrieving and manipulating structured databases. On the contrary, MySQL is a relational database management system, like SQL Server, Oracle or IBM DB2, that is used to manage SQL databases.

6. What are Tables and Fields?
A table is an organized collection of data stored in the form of rows and columns. Columns can be categorized as vertical and rows as horizontal. The columns in a table are called fields while the rows can be referred to as records.

7. What are Constraints in SQL?
Constraints are used to specify the rules concerning data in the table. It can be applied for single or multiple fields in an SQL table during the creation of the table or after creating using the ALTER TABLE command. The constraints are:

  1. NOT NULL - Restricts NULL value from being inserted into a column.
  2. CHECK - Verifies that all values in a field satisfy a condition.
  3. DEFAULT - Automatically assigns a default value if no value has been specified for the field.
  4. UNIQUE - Ensures unique values to be inserted into the field.
  5. INDEX - Indexes a field providing faster retrieval of records.
  6. PRIMARY KEY - Uniquely identifies each record in a table.
  7. FOREIGN KEY - Ensures referential integrity for a record in another table. 8. What is a Primary Key? The PRIMARY KEY constraint uniquely identifies each row in a table. It must contain UNIQUE values and has an implicit NOT NULL constraint. A table in SQL is strictly restricted to have one and only one primary key, which is comprised of single or multiple fields (columns). ` CREATE TABLE Students ( /* Create table with a single field as primary key */ ID INT NOT NULL Name VARCHAR(255) PRIMARY KEY (ID) );

CREATE TABLE Students ( /* Create table with multiple fields as primary key /
LastName VARCHAR(255)
FirstName VARCHAR(255) NOT NULL,

ALTER TABLE Students /
Set a column as primary key /
ALTER TABLE Students /
Set multiple columns as primary key /
ADD CONSTRAINT PK_Student /*Naming a Primary Key
PRIMARY KEY (ID, FirstName);
write a sql statement to add primary key 't_id' to the table 'teachers'.
Write a SQL statement to add primary key constraint 'pk_a' for table 'table_a' and fields 'col_b, col_c'.`
9. What is a UNIQUE constraint?
A UNIQUE constraint ensures that all values in a column are different. This provides uniqueness for the column(s) and helps identify each row uniquely. Unlike primary key, there can be multiple unique constraints defined per table. The code syntax for UNIQUE is quite similar to that of PRIMARY KEY and can be used interchangeably.

`CREATE TABLE Students ( /* Create table with a single field as unique */
Name VARCHAR(255)

CREATE TABLE Students ( /* Create table with multiple fields as unique */
LastName VARCHAR(255)
UNIQUE (ID, FirstName)

ALTER TABLE Students /* Set a column as unique /
ALTER TABLE Students /
Set multiple columns as unique /
Naming a unique constraint /
UNIQUE (ID, FirstName);`
**10. What is a Foreign Key?
A FOREIGN KEY comprises of single or collection of fields in a table that essentially refers to the PRIMARY KEY in another table. Foreign key constraint ensures referential integrity in the relation between two tables.
The table with the foreign key constraint is labeled as the child table, and the table containing the candidate key is labeled as the referenced or parent table.
CREATE TABLE Students ( /* Create table with foreign key - Way 1 */
Name VARCHAR(255)
LibraryID INT
FOREIGN KEY (Library_ID) REFERENCES Library(LibraryID)

CREATE TABLE Students ( /* Create table with foreign key - Way 2 */
Name VARCHAR(255)
LibraryID INT FOREIGN KEY (Library_ID) REFERENCES Library(LibraryID)

ALTER TABLE Students /* Add a new foreign key */
REFERENCES Library (LibraryID);`

11. What is a Join? List its different types.
The SQL Join clause is used to combine records (rows) from two or more tables in a SQL database based on a related column between the two.

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There are four different types of JOINs in SQL:

(INNER) JOIN: Retrieves records that have matching values in both tables involved in the join. This is the widely used join for queries.

FROM Table_A
JOIN Table_B;
FROM Table_A
LEFT (OUTER) JOIN: Retrieves all the records/rows from the left and the matched records/rows from the right table.
FROM Table_A A
ON A.col = B.col;
RIGHT (OUTER) JOIN: Retrieves all the records/rows from the right and the matched records/rows from the left table.
FROM Table_A A
ON A.col = B.col;
FULL (OUTER) JOIN: Retrieves all the records where there is a match in either the left or right table.
FROM Table_A A
ON A.col = B.col;

  1. What is a Self-Join? A self JOIN is a case of regular join where a table is joined to itself based on some relation between its own column(s). Self-join uses the INNER JOIN or LEFT JOIN clause and a table alias is used to assign different names to the table within the query.

SELECT A.emp_id AS "Emp_ID",A.emp_name AS "Employee",
B.emp_id AS "Sup_ID",B.emp_name AS "Supervisor"
FROM employee A, employee B
WHERE A.emp_sup = B.emp_id;
13. What is a Cross-Join?
Cross join can be defined as a cartesian product of the two tables included in the join. The table after join contains the same number of rows as in the cross-product of the number of rows in the two tables. If a WHERE clause is used in cross join then the query will work like an INNER JOIN.

SELECT, sub.subject
FROM students AS stu
CROSS JOIN subjects AS sub;

  1. What is the difference between Clustered and Non-clustered index?** As explained above, the differences can be broken down into three small factors -

Clustered index modifies the way records are stored in a database based on the indexed column. A non-clustered index creates a separate entity within the table which references the original table.
Clustered index is used for easy and speedy retrieval of data from the database, whereas, fetching records from the non-clustered index is relatively slower.
In SQL, a table can have a single clustered index whereas it can have multiple non-clustered indexes.
17. What is a Query?
A query is a request for data or information from a database table or combination of tables. A database query can be either a select query or an action query.

  1. What are some common clauses used with SELECT query in SQL? Some common SQL clauses used in conjuction with a SELECT query are as follows:

WHERE clause in SQL is used to filter records that are necessary, based on specific conditions.
ORDER BY clause in SQL is used to sort the records based on some field(s) in ascending (ASC) or descending order (DESC).

GROUP BY clause in SQL is used to group records with identical data and can be used in conjunction with some aggregation functions to produce summarized results from the database.
HAVING clause in SQL is used to filter records in combination with the GROUP BY clause. It is different from WHERE, since the WHERE clause cannot filter aggregated records.

21. What are UNION, MINUS and INTERSECT commands?
The UNION operator combines and returns the result-set retrieved by two or more SELECT statements.
The MINUS operator in SQL is used to remove duplicates from the result-set obtained by the second SELECT query from the result-set obtained by the first SELECT query and then return the filtered results from the first.
The INTERSECT clause in SQL combines the result-set fetched by the two SELECT statements where records from one match the other and then returns this intersection of result-sets.

24. List the different types of relationships in SQL.
One-to-One - This can be defined as the relationship between two tables where each record in one table

27. What is Normalization?
Normalization represents the way of organizing structured data in the database efficiently. It includes the creation of tables, establishing relationships between them, and defining rules for those relationships. Inconsistency and redundancy can be kept in check based on these rules, hence, adding flexibility to the database.

28. What is Denormalization?
Denormalization is the inverse process of normalization, where the normalized schema is converted into a schema that has redundant information. The performance is improved by using redundancy and keeping the redundant data consistent. The reason for performing denormalization is the overheads produced in the query processor by an over-normalized associated with the maximum of one record in the other table.
One-to-Many & Many-to-One - This is the most commonly used relationship where a record in a table is associated with multiple records in the other table.
Many-to-Many - This is used in cases when multiple instances on both sides are needed for defining a relationship.
Self-Referencing Relationships - This is used when a table needs to define a relationship with itself.

32. What is the difference between DELETE and TRUNCATE statements?
The TRUNCATE command is used to delete all the rows from the table and free the space containing the table.
The DELETE command deletes only the rows from the table based on the condition given in the where clause or deletes all the rows from the table if no condition is specified. But it does not free the space containing the table.

Top comments (2)

aarone4 profile image
Aaron Reese

If you have me those answers you would get the job. As a pedant, I would also add the following.
4: Microsoft wanted to release a new RDBMS and as IBM already had db2 they wanted to call it and the programming language Sequel, however lawyers pointed out they would never be able to trademark it so they called is SQL instead and SAID it stood for Structured Query Language.
9 SQL is an ANSI standard for conversing with RDBMS. mySQL is a proprietary (open source) implementation of RDBMS and has its own dialect of SQL which builds on top of the ANSI standard. The same applies to Oracle, Microsoft, postgress Progress and a handful of others.
32 certainly in MS Sequel, Delete will write to the transaction log and can be rolled back whereas truncate cannot. In addition truncate will reset the record id incremented whereas delete does not. Both are limited by referential integrity constraints

bobbyiliev profile image
Bobby Iliev

This is a great list! We could add it as a chapter to the open-source introduction to SQL eBook:

GitHub logo bobbyiliev / introduction-to-sql

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