WordPress democratized content publishing, and we are all grateful to everyone that has improved it. Over time, those who created WordPress themes and plugins started to call themselves WordPress developers. Others tweaked WordPress themes and plugins and also claimed the name. Thanks to WordPress, a new wave of developers has grown in a short period of time. And yes, “WordPress developer” is a legit expression!
While other devs may disregard WordPress developers, we strongly believe that WordPress coders deserve our appreciation. Yet, they should have some MySQL experience under their belt, so that’s the reason for this article—what you should know about MySQL as a WordPress developer.
Am I a WordPress Developer?
Some software engineers consider WordPress a simple tool and disregard the so-called WordPress devs. Indeed, WordPress is less complex than Java, Python, or machine learning. Yet, tweaking the code in WordPress isn’t as easy as ABC. The real issue is that many people name themselves as devs, but they hardly know HTML and CSS. A good WordPress user is NOT a developer, that’s crystal clear! You are NOT a developer if you create websites using the page builder of choice. The superior attitude of software engineers and developers is partly understandable from this perspective.
The only certainty is that this question has no certain answer. You may consider yourself a WordPress developer while others won’t agree with this fact. Eventually, they will name you a WordPress expert. It depends on each person’s system of reference.
Rather than focusing on the legibility and fairness of trades, you’d better do everything to become a real master of WordPress. Indeed, you can create WordPress sites and apps without solid MySQL knowledge. However, MySQL is behind WordPress database management. Some of you used a few simple MySQL commands to handle your site in the PhpMyAdmin dashboard.
MySQL vs. SQL
It’s easy to mix MySQL up with SQL if you are new to this area. There is a difference between these two terms, but there are plenty of people who use them interchangeably. It’s not a huge mistake to do so, but you should know the differences between them.
SQL stands for Structured Query Language, and it’s a query programming language. Taking into account the widespread usage of databases, it’s no wonder that SQL is so popular. It follows a simple standard format and consequently, the number of updates is limited.
MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) based on SQL language. It allows handling the data, including WordPress databases. Oracle owns MySQL, but it’s open-source, so use it where you want and alter it to meet your needs. In simple terms, SQL is the programming language, and MySQL is one of the systems that run based on SQL.
MySQL and WordPress
Users are more interested in front-end tasks. That’s why WordPress users pay more attention to HTML, CSS, and PHP. Yet, it’s still good to know how the back-end works for WordPress sites.
All posts, pages, comments, themes, plugins, and users are stored in a database. Practically, every aspect of your WordPress website is stored in a database. Every time you perform an action like displaying the posts within a category or under a particular tag you query the database.
The information from a WordPress site database is stored in tables. Check the WordPress Codex to find out more about the default tables of a WordPress install.
You may forget this task, but after a WordPress installation, you are required to provide a database name, username, password, database host, and table prefix. That is the database that will keep all the details of your site.
PhpMyAdmin is a common database management tool that allows writing SQL commands for your website. A good rule of thumb is to do a backup copy before writing SQL commands. A staging site is mandatory for training purposes.
Start learning MySQL by understanding what a database is, its purpose, and how users manipulate it. Next, get used to working with tables—CREATE, ALTER, DROP, or TRUNCATE are queries you will face constantly by using MySQL. Clauses, conditions, and functions are the next topics to learn, and they are pretty intuitive. It depends on your background and scheduled time for learning, but a few months is enough to become a MySQL proficient user.
Resources to Learn MySQL
Thankfully, you have plenty of resources to learn MySQL, many of which are free of charge. The following suggestions are a good start to learning MySQL. Of course, there are many other top-class knowledge bases, online courses, or tutorials. It’s impossible to feature them all, but I will happily update the post with your cool suggestions. Leave a comment with your favorite resource for learning MySQL, and I will insert your recommendation in the post.
W3Schools is the starting point for many developers. This resource covers a variety of areas, and the explanations are concise and clear. All the theoretical explanations are backed up by exercises, so you will practice a lot. Under these circumstances, it becomes clear why W3Schools is a popular recommendation for anyone willing to learn to code. MySQL is a topic thoroughly discussed on W3Schools, so consider learning the fundamentals of MySQL here.
Programming with Mosh is one of the most appreciated YouTube channels for learning web development. On average, Mosh teaches you the basics of a language, including MySQL, in around five hours. The teacher knows how to make the learning experience enjoyable. Yet, learning the fundamentals of a language is a whole different story from coding in that language. In other words, complement your learning with many hours of practice.
I strongly recommend checking out the YouTube video explaining MySQL fundamentals. It’s free, effective, and funny! If you want to dig deeper, consider purchasing his course. (No affiliate links here, just pure appreciation for a talented course creator!)
Certificates aren’t required for a job as a SQL developer, but it’s good to have one, if possible. The University of Michigan offers this introductory class to SQL, and you get a certification after completion. According to their schedule, you don’t need more than 16 hours to complete the course. Its structure requires a four-week commitment, but if you can complete it faster, it’s not a problem. The syllabus follows:
- Week 1: Installing PHP and SQL
- Week 2: Intro to SQL
- Week 3: Database Design
- Week 4: Many to Many Architecture.
Despite some negative remarks, Udemy is an excellent resource for learning any topic. I use it especially to take beginner’s classes, and I have never been disappointed (no affiliate link here). As a result, I warmly recommend giving The Complete SQL Bootcamp 2022 a try. It’s one of the bestseller classes on Udemy, and more than half of a million people have taken this course. The 9-hour class is all you need to learn SQL, even with no prior experience.
This is another bestseller class on Udemy for anyone willing to learn MySQL. The final project of the class is to create a web app using NodeJs and MySQL, which sounds pretty interesting. The class covers all the aspects needed to reach the SQL master level, so grab another cup of coffee and start watching the lessons.
Over to You
Learning SQL isn’t easy at all, but it’s generally considered one of the simplest languages. I hope that this article is a starting point for everyone that wants to learn SQL and manage databases with MySQL.