SQL Boot Camp

Why SQL Cursor Skills Should Not Be On Your Resume!
id="attachment_1174" align="alignleft" width="300"] Why SQL Cursor Skills Should Not Be On Your Resume!


Do you realize that the skills listed on your resume are not all ranked equally or always looked upon favorably?

For example, listing a SQL skill like: "Cursors" on your resume may actually create an opposite or negative impression of your capabilities and here is why!

Set Based vs. Procedural SQL Query Writing

SQL is a SET based language which means that it is designed to process data efficiently in batches or groups.

The opposite of the last statement is also true: SQL is not really designed for record by record or row by row iterations or operations ... which is what you are doing when you you use cursors!

Cursors are so easily abused and because of that, many organizations / IT departments frown on using them for anything.

So, when interviewers see cursor skills listed on your resume, they will want to know whether you approach writing SQL queries with a "set-based" mind-set or a "procedural" mind-set".

What Is The Programming Mindset To Writing SQL Queries?

Having a procedural sql query writing mindset means adopting a "programming approach" to SQL query writing.

With a programming / procedural approach, you tell the database "what to do" and you also specify "how to do" it.

So, with a "procedural" mindset to writing SQL queries, if you are tasked with querying some tables for data, you will write the SQL queries using looping statements, conditional statements and / or CURSORS!.

A procedural sql query writer wants total control over the processing of data. He / she wants to specify to the database management system what to do and how to do it just like a Java / C# / PHP developer would do!

What Is The "Set-based" Mindset To Writing SQL Queries?

Having a set based mindset to writing SQL queries means that you are comfortable and skilled at specifying "what you want", but "not how to get it done"!

A set-based query writer must be skilled at writing SQL queries to retrieve data without having to process it on the database system in a record by record or row by row fashion.

How To Correctly Reference Cursor Skills

Considering that cursors are still a part of some relational database engines and that there are some instances when a SET based approach to writing SQL queries will not work, you must be aware of how to use and / or correctly reference cursor skills on your resume, job interviews and at work ...

  • Using Cursors On The Job: cursors are advanced database development features that are rarely used and almost, always discouraged in production environments and/or technology shops.

    Before you ever use cursors on the job, make sure that no SET based solution will work.

  • Discussing Cursors At Job Interviews: if you are interviewed about your cursor skills ... use the information in this article to explain the difference between set based approaches and procedural based SQL query writing.

    Then reiterate strongly that you prefer not to use cursors and that you will only use them when no other solution will work!

  • Listing Cursor Skills On Your Resume: do not list cursor skills on your resume!

    Though you may have a legitimate reason for listing cursor skills on your resume, the reality is that you will be unable to provide all that background on your resume ... which can raise a "red flag" or stop you from being short-listed for job interviews!

Proficiency or skill in cursors is not considered a "required skill" or a good thing ... so do not advocate or present your cursor skills either on your resume or at job interviews, because that could easily be a conversation or career killer.

With all this in mind, the SQL Boot Camp curriculum has been designed to be practical by focusing on the topics and skills that are actually useful and relevant to your career ... please contact us with your questions or request for help if you need any other information!