Interview Questions for Business Analysts and Systems Analysts

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What is SQL and would a business or systems analyst use it?

Posted by Chris Adams

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Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Data Analysis & Modeling


SQL is a standard scripting language designed for managing data in relational database management systems. SQL stands for Structured Query Language. SQL became an ANSI standard in 1986, and an ISO standard in 1987.  Since SQL is a standard, a working knowledge of the SQL language used on one major RDBMS (Relational Database Management System), such as MySQL or DB2, can be leveraged for others.  However, issues still exist with portability of the actual SQL code from one RDBMS to another.  This is typically attributed to the RDBMS not being fully compliant with the standard, or the standard has been interpreted differently.  Still, the variation of SQL used doesn’t usually vary too significantly from one RDBMS to another.

It’s helpful for analyst to have a limited theoretical knowledge of the capabilities of SQL.  This includes SQLs ability to create and drop (delete) database table in order to create and modify the database schema, insert new data or update the existing data within table columns, query the data, and manage data access. 

While much of the capabilities of the SQL language go beyond that which a business or systems analyst would need to understand in detail, it often helps for analysts to learn the specifics of SQL querying using SELECT statements.  This allows the business analyst to perform a certain amount of data analysis and testing on their own.

The following is a sample SELECT statement where data is being selected from the “isbn”, “title”, and “price” columns of the “Book” table:

SELECT isbn, title, price, price * 0.06 AS sales_tax
    FROM Book
    WHERE price > 100.00
    ORDER BY title;



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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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