SQL Interview Questions and Answers

Top SQL Interview Questions and Answers (2024)

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a powerful tool used for managing and manipulating relational databases. For software testing professionals, having a solid understanding of SQL is essential as it enables effective testing of database-driven applications. This article aims to provide beginners in software testing with a comprehensive list of SQL interview questions and answers to help you prepare for your next job interview.

SQL interview questions and answers

What is SQL?

SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is a programming language designed for managing relational databases. It allows users to create, manipulate, and retrieve data from databases.

What are the different types of SQL statements?

SQL statements can be classified into three main types:

1.Data Definition Language (DDL): Used for creating, modifying, and deleting database objects like tables, indexes, and views.
2.Data Manipulation Language (DML): Used for manipulating and retrieving data from the database, including operations like insert, update, delete, and select.
3.Data Control Language (DCL): Used for managing user privileges and permissions, including operations like grant and revoke.

What is a primary key?

A primary key is a column or a set of columns that uniquely identify each record in a table. It ensures data integrity and provides a way to link data across multiple tables in a database.

What is a foreign key?

foreign key is a column or a set of columns in one table that refers to the primary key of another table. It establishes a relationship between two tables and helps maintain data integrity and enforce referential integrity constraints.

What is the difference between the “HAVING” and “WHERE” clauses?

The “WHERE” clause is used to filter records before grouping them, while the “HAVING” clause is used to filter records after they have been grouped. The “WHERE” clause operates on individual records, whereas the “HAVING” clause operates on groups of records.

What is the purpose of the “GROUP BY” clause?

The “GROUP BY” clause used to group rows based on one or more columns. It is typically used in combination with aggregate functions like COUNT, SUM, AVG, etc., to perform calculations on groups of data.

What is normalization in SQL?

Normalization is the process of organizing data in a database to eliminate redundancy and dependency issues. It involves breaking down a database into smaller, well-structured tables to ensure data integrity and efficient data management.

What is an index in SQL?

An index is a database structure that improves the speed of data retrieval operations on a table. It allows the database engine to quickly locate specific rows based on the indexed column(s), resulting in faster query execution.

What are SQL injection attacks?

SQL injection attacks occur when an attacker manipulates user-supplied data in a web application to execute malicious SQL statements. It can lead to unauthorized access, data breaches, and database manipulation. To prevent SQL injection, developers should use parameterized queries or prepared statements and perform input validation and sanitization.

How can you optimize SQL queries?

To optimize SQL queries, you can:

Use indexes appropriately.
Avoid using “SELECT *” and retrieve only the required columns.
Optimize the query structure by using proper joins, subqueries, and grouping.
Analyze and optimize the query execution plan.
Avoid unnecessary data conversions and type conversions

What is a self-join in SQL?

A self-join is a join operation where a table is joined with itself. It is useful when you need to combine rows from a table based on a related column within the same table.

SELECT e1.EmployeeName, e2.ManagerName
FROM Employees e1
JOIN Employees e2 ON e1.ManagerID = e2.EmployeeID;

What is a subquery in SQL?

A subquery is a query nested within another query. It used to retrieve data that will be used by the main query. Subqueries can use in the SELECT, FROM, WHERE, or HAVING clauses.

SELECT Employee Name
FROM Employees
WHERE Department ID IN (SELECT Department ID FROM Departments WHERE Location = 'New York');

What is a UNION operator in SQL?

The UNION operator used to combine the result sets of two or more SELECT statements into a single result set. It removes duplicate rows by default.

SELECT Employee Name FROM Employees
SELECT Customer Name FROM Customers;

What is a view in SQL?

A view is a virtual table based on the result of a SQL query. It does not store any data itself but dynamically generated when queried. Views used to simplify complex queries, provide security restrictions, and present a customized view of the data.

CREATE VIEW Employee View AS
SELECT Employee Name, Department
FROM Employees
WHERE Salary > 50000;

What are SQL constraints?

Constraints are rules defined on a table column to enforce data integrity. The commonly used constraints are:
Primary Key: Uniquely identifies each record in a table.
Foreign Key: Establishes a relationship between two tables.
Unique: Ensures the uniqueness of values in a column.
Not Null: Requires a column to have a non-null value.

What is the difference between UNION and UNION ALL in SQL?

The UNION operator combines and removes duplicate rows from the result set, while the UNION ALL operator combines the result sets but retains all rows, including duplicates.

How can you optimize the performance of SQL queries?
To optimize SQL query performance, you can:

Use indexes appropriately.
Optimize the query structure, such as avoiding unnecessary joins or subqueries.
Limit the number of columns retrieved.
Use appropriate data types.
Analyze and optimize the query execution plan.

What is the difference between a left join and an inner join?

A left join returns all the rows from the left table (the table before the JOIN keyword) and the matching rows from the right table (the table after the JOIN keyword). If there is no match, NULL values returned for the right table. An inner join only returns the matching rows from both tables.

What is the purpose of the SQL CASE statement?

The CASE statement is used to perform conditional logic in SQL queries. It allows you to specify different result expressions based on conditions.


SELECT OrderID, Quantity,
        WHEN Quantity > 50 THEN 'High'
        WHEN Quantity > 20 THEN 'Medium'
        ELSE 'Low'
    END AS QuantityCategory
FROM Orders;

How can you find duplicate records in a table?

To find duplicate records in a table, you can use the GROUP BY clause along with the HAVING clause to filter the results where the count of a column is greater than 1.

SELECT Column1, Column2, COUNT(*)
FROM Table
GROUP BY Column1, Column2


SQL knowledge is crucial for software testing professionals, especially when dealing with database-driven applications. Understanding SQL concepts, such as querying, data manipulation, and database design, can greatly enhance your ability to test and validate the integrity of data-driven systems. By preparing for SQL interview questions and answers, you can showcase your skills and demonstrate your expertise in this important area of software testing.

Remember, practice is key to mastering SQL, so continue exploring SQL queries and database concepts to strengthen your skills and increase your chances of success in software testing interviews. Good luck!

Note: It’s always recommended to study additional resources, practice SQL queries, and refer to the specific requirements and expectations of the company you are interviewing with to fully prepare for an interview.

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