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SQL vs. CSS What’s the Difference? Which Is Better?

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SQL vs. CSS What’s the Difference? Which Is Better?

SQL has been the standard for database programming for quite some time. CSS acts as the window dressing to some of your favorite websites. With this in mind, what is the difference between these two programming languages? There are certainly some rather stark differences to call to mind between SQL and CSS. While one might be used best in one scenario, it might be an absolutely abysmal fit in another.

If you’re new to computer science or are just curious about the acronyms bandied about the web on a day-to-day basis, then you’re in the right place. Let’s look at these two popular programming languages. This guide will cover what they’re best at, where to use them, and the actual nuts-to-bolts differences between them.

SQL vs. CSS: Side-by-Side Comparison

FeatureSQLCSS
Full nameStructured Query LanguageCascading Style Sheets
FunctionCommunicating and building databasesStyling web documents
Dependent on other frameworks?No, developers can run and develop databases solely through SQLCannot create webpages, developers will need to utilize any compatible frameworks or HTML with CSS
Object-oriented?YesNo
CSS is almost synonymous with front-end web development as it allows developers to customize the appearance of web pages.

SQL vs. CSS: What’s the Difference?

When it comes down to it, these two languages couldn’t be more different. They have two different use cases, and their overall purpose isn’t at all aligned. That said, let’s look at these languages and what they do.

Use Cases

A developer would use SQL for creating, communicating with, and administering databases. Databases serve as structured repositories of tailored data relevant to whatever business is running it. This can be simple things like keeping track of materials on hand, or complex interwoven tables tracking orders and customer data. For this purpose, SQL works beautifully. SQL and the database languages it has inspired serve as the backbone for many organizations. They even power the web, as a structured database can keep track of multiple variables and reproduce them with simple requests.

CSS, on the other hand, is meant for styling a web document. Now, in previous versions of HTML, you would have to implement the design work directly into the HTML code. This was in the early days of the web and was a relatively basic means of visual design. CSS allows developers to create visually rich designs without muddying up the code of whatever framework they’re using as the basis for a web page. Further, it integrates with many popular frameworks like WordPress to help provide some visual flair. This is all done through a separate document that co-exists on the same web server.

Taking the Steps to Learn

Neither one of these languages is what you could call difficult to learn. You can pick the basics of either up in a relatively short amount of time, at least compared to more complex languages like C++ or PHP.

For example, one can learn the very basics of SQL in a weekend’s time. Users can learn to perform and phrase their own queries, as well as build their own tables, which can comprise a database. Where the learning process might take a dip is when analyzing larger projects. Larger databases take the simplicity of SQL’s framework and make it somewhat cumbersome to navigate. Now, this isn’t a detriment necessarily, but it is something to be aware of if you fancy pursuing a career in databases.

CSS is likewise relatively simple to learn. You can pick the basics along with the basics of HTML up in a relatively short time, with maybe a week of study netting you the skills needed to design a basic web page. Larger and more complex web pages make the HTML portion of web design vastly more complicated, but the CSS stays relatively simple. This is thanks in part to CSS being able to leverage labels and class names to manipulate elements. So you can specify which elements of a web page need to be styled a certain way while leaving others alone.

Career Paths

Learning and mastering SQL has a variety of careers in databases readily available. It is a crucial skill for these fields and serves very much as the foundation for this particular career path. However, learning CSS by itself won’t do much if you plan to go into web development, and you will probably need to pick up something else like HTML and JavaScript or one of the more popular frameworks like React or Node to be fully considered a front-end developer. These two languages can be further combined if you’re wanting to approach full-stack development, as complex web projects will need databases to run effectively.

Careers in CSS and SQL alike are relatively stable, as positions in both career paths will always have a need for talent. If you take the time to learn and master either discipline, you could find yourself on quite a lucrative career path. Databases in particular are prevalent along a wide swath of industries, with companies from medicine to tech requiring someone possessing a familiarity with SQL. As for CSS, with the modern web being what it is, you can opt for being freelance or a staff member. Web development and design are flexible fields and can be quite lucrative once you’re established.

joins in sql
The important thing to remember about SQL is that the structures you design aren’t solely monolithic entities.

SQL vs. CSS: Must-Know Facts

Facts about SQL

  • Used by massive companies like Google, Amazon, and Meta
  • The standard in database management languages
  • Sees usage in every field you can think of

Facts about CSS

  • Has native support for HTML, and cannot function without it
  • Makes designing web pages a much easier task
  • Easy to pick up compared to other web-oriented programming languages

SQL vs. CSS: Which One Is Better? Which Should You Choose?

These disparate languages have very different use cases. As such, it really depends on where you see yourself moving in terms of learning to code. If you see yourself entering a career in databases, or you just want to more fully complete your abilities to become a full-stack web developer, then SQL is the right choice. There may be other database languages out there, but they all owe some of their structure to SQL itself. With how prevalent databases are, you’ll find plentiful work if you choose to learn SQL.

In contrast, CSS isn’t a complete language by itself but could prove to be a vital component when entering a career in front-end web development or web design. With the world being the way it is, having a relevant web presence is more important than ever. Therefore, CSS provides a solid foundation for making attractive and visually rich web designs.

In an ideal world, if you have the time and drive, learning both should set you up well for a career in web development. There are certainly other applications you can use SQL towards, but providing a complete start-to-finish web presence is still very much in demand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can SQL be used for web development?

SQL isn’t strictly a web-based language. That said, there is a need for databases when constructing a full-stack web application. SQL serves as a database language for multiple major web applications. So yes.

Is CSS a complete language?

CSS cannot be fully used to develop a web page from scratch. Where it does come in handy is styling a web page. You might develop the backbone of your web project in HTML, but you’ll end up styling it in CSS.

Are there careers for people who know CSS?

Web development is quite a varied field. As such, you’ll find decently paying jobs if you know how to use HTML, CSS, and a bit of Javascript effectively. There are also jobs strictly done in design, where you’ll be designing the visuals for a page and then you’ll need CSS to implement it.

Is SQL in wide use by many companies?

SQL is ubiquitous, and as such, sees use by many major companies. As previously stated, companies like Amazon, Netflix, Meta, Hulu, and Twitter all use some form of SQL to work on their databases. It can be a bit unwieldy with larger projects but is one of the most efficient means of working on a database.

Can I use SQL for web design?

No, SQL has zero way of actually interacting or constructing a web page.

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