Sql Vs. Java What’s The Difference, And Which Is Better?

sql vs. java

Sql Vs. Java What’s The Difference, And Which Is Better?

If you’re new to coding or IT, you might be weighing in options between Sql vs. Java and wondering what the difference is. While SQL is a standard domain-specific programming language that facilitates data storage, processing, and extraction in relational databases, Java is a broad, high-level option for various general coding web applications.

In this article, we’ll delve into the key features distinguishing SQL vs. Java to help you decide which one you should learn and use, depending on your objectives.

SQL vs. Java: Side-by-Side Comparison

Year initially released 19791995
Original developersDonald Chamberlain and Raymond BoyceJames Gosling
Type of languageStandard query language (declarative, domain-specific)Object-oriented programming language (OOP)  (general-purpose, imperative,  scripting, platform-independent)
How language is used To communicate with, assess, and manipulate databases To build applications for computers, mobile phones, game consoles, data centers, and other devices
CompilationInterpreted Compiled and interpreted 
Speed Data processing in SQL is faster than writing code in JavaThough faster than languages such as Python, Java is slower than SQL
SecurityProne to hackersIncredibly secure
PopularityThe third most popular programming language in 2023The fifth most popular programming language in 2023
PortabilityRelatively portable Extremely portable 
Platform Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, MySQL, Redis, MariaDB, Cassandra Java SE, Java EE, Java ME, Java FX
Learning curveShort to moderate Steep
Latest versionMicrosoft SQL Server 2022Java 20/JDK 20
SQL is used to communicate with relational databases.

SQL vs. Java: What’s the Difference?

Like most new coding enthusiasts, you must be itching to know what to expect when learning the differences between SQL vs. Java. Keep reading to find out. 

Purpose and Application

SQL is a domain-specific programming language that enables you to communicate with relational databases and gather and manage information. It helps organizations, including governments and businesses across all industries, harness the actual value of data by accessing, retrieving, and analyzing it. Consequently, this allows them to gain more profound perceptions of various situations and make the best professional decisions.

Conversely, Java is a reliable scripting language developers use to build apps for various purposes, including mobile app development, gaming, Internet of Things (IoT) applications, big data technologies, and desktop GUI. You can also leverage this programming language to create chatbots and other handy marketing tools. Countless companies use Java to reach and serve their target audiences, including Instagram, Pinterest, Uber, Netflix, Spotify, and Google.  

Type of Programming Language  

SQL is a user-friendly declarative language that allows you to query or ‘talk to’ a database to retrieve information about a particular relation. This domain-specific tool only requires you to write the queries and stipulate the desired set of conditions; the collection figures out the best processes to handle your request. For instance, you can type in a single SQL statement to create, delete or modify tables, linking some of the columns to another table. 

On the other hand, Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented language where developers must declare a variable and compile the source code before running it. Although you’ll use plain text to write Java programs, you should type in the entire code to best understand how the processes work and avoid making mistakes. 

Ease Of Learning

SQL ranks among the easiest programming languages because it has straightforward grammar and syntax. You only need to know functions such as selecting, inserting, and updating to learn how to access or retrieve data. Furthermore, it’s an open-source tool, meaning you have a supportive community of users behind you whenever you need assistance. This explains why most dedicated beginners familiarize themselves with the basics within 2-3 weeks.

But despite SQL’s simplicity, you’ll require a high level of fluency to use your skills professionally. Achieving mastery could take about three months, but it all depends on your learning method. For example, doing it might take up to half a year or more, especially with minimal practice.

Java’s learning curve is nothing like SQL’s—it’s incredibly steep, owing to its massive in-built libraries, complex installation procedure, and verbose syntax. As a new programmer, you’ll need roughly nine months to be worth your salt. Of course, your learning process also comes into play here; if you’re juggling other things, you might need 12-18 months to understand Java.

Experienced coders practicing often can fully grasp Java in as little as four weeks. Whether you’re a novice, or boast some programming knowledge, join online communities or discussion forums to help you navigate Java’s challenges, such as the verbose syntax.


In 2020, Stack Overflow conducted a survey whose results indicated that SQL was the 3rd most marketable programming language, with 56.9% of the responders reporting they used it. It was right below JavaScript and HTML/CSS, which won the first (69.7%) and second (62.4%), respectively. It is beyond question that many developers are inclined to employ SQL because of its simplicity and efficiency in querying and manipulating databases.

On the flip side, though widely used, Java is less popular than SQL. Stack Overflow’s .u m,u2020 survey ranked it the 5th most common programming language, as only 38.4% of the developers who participated in the research confessed to understanding it. Nevertheless, this tool still beat many others, such as PowerShell, C#, C++, PHP, C, Go, TypeScript, and Ruby. 


SQL takes pride in being among the fastest programming tools available for data analyzers. Once you specify your query, you allow the database to fetch the information you need for you and filter out the data you don’t want. However, note that you’ll likely experience speed disparities in SQL if your queries involve complex correlations.

Java is much slower than SQL because its code requires interpretation during run-time. Furthermore, this language’s ‘bad programming practices’ have also contributed to its low speed. For instance, Java libraries value accuracy and readability, ignoring performance. Besides, the tool lacks middle operations to aid the execution and compilation of code. 


SQL may be well-liked for its many advantages, but it attracts malicious hackers dead set on getting their hands on the sensitive information it holds. Unfortunately, you must use some additional applications to get the most out of this tool, which gives cyber attackers opportunities to access your server. Your vulnerability is further increased because many SQL apps are tricky to manage and require regular updates.

Meanwhile, Java is glorified for its secure nature. It provides multiple layers of security to create a safe coding environment where you can create and run apps without worrying about viruses or hackers. One of this programming language’s helpful security features is the bytecode verification that deters you from running malicious code. The class loader architecture also isolates imported and local class packages, ensuring you don’t download malicious apps from insecure sources. 

OOPs in Java
Java is an OOP language that can be used very successfully with SQL.

SQL vs. Java: 7 Must-Know Facts 

  • SQL is a declarative, domain-specific language, while Java is a statically typed general-purpose language.
  • SQL communicates with databases, unlike Java, which is used to build applications
  • ISO has formalized SQL, but Java is yet to be standardized.
  • You need an RDBMS such as MySQL or Oracle to run SQL queries. However, Java runs on all operating systems.
  • SQL and Java are compatible.
  • SQL is less complex and rigid than Java.
  • Java is cheaper to use than SQL.

SQL vs Java: Which One is Better? Which One Should You Use?

SQL and Java are both in-demand programming languages. Some might argue they don’t warrant comparison, but they do when you endeavor to invest your time and resources in one of them. Which is the best pick for you? Well, both have their merits and demerits and are built for different purposes. Ultimately, the career path you intend to take should help you make the final decision.

SQL boasts impressive data management capabilities. For developers who get a bang out of analyzing information, such as scroll depth, and bounce rates, it’s the perfect fit. Besides making sense of the data, the tool lets you delete and manipulate it, no matter how complex. With remarkable SQL skills, you can work in nearly all industries since most companies have database systems.

Again, if you view SQL through the prism of beginner-friendliness, it’s an excellent choice for novices. You don’t even need to brush up on your coding skills to embark on your learning journey. 

Like SQL, Java is incredibly marketable, owing to the rising demand for software development. It could be your new home if you plan to enter the job market to build applications. But unlike SQL, it demands more attention and time and might seem more challenging for newcomers to the coding world.

Supposing you wish to enjoy the best of both worlds, Java and SQL are worth learning simultaneously or back-to-back. Being able to use these tools to manage data and develop applications will make you a highly sought-after professional in the corporate world; you might even bag a promotion only a few months into your new job. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can developers employ both Java and SQL in their work?

SQL and Java make a great match. With vast knowledge of these programming languages, you can integrate database tasks into your backend mobile and web development work without altering the behavior of either or jeopardizing your security.

Is SQL easier to master than Java?

Most programmers, including non-IT students, find SQL much easier to learn than Java, owing to its semantic ease and declarative nature. You don’t need coding knowledge or experience to use the language—your job is to know how to create queries or instruct the database to perform a specific task.

How long does one take to learn SQL and Java?

SQL is a simple programming language you can learn in 2-3 weeks, even though it might take a few months to feel completely at ease using it. On the other hand, Java is complex. Beginners with no coding background could take up to nine months to understand it, but you may learn it in three months if you practice it often.

Are SQL and Java enough to get a job?

You can bag a high-paying job in the Java and SQL domains if you’re proficient in using these languages together. Your career options include Java architect, business analyst, software engineer, data scientist, quality assurance tester, android developer, and scrum master.

Should beginners use Java or SQL?

The programming language you should use as a beginner comes down to your career goals. For instance, Java is the way to go if you want to work as an app developer for small and large companies like Google and LinkedIn. Newbies interested in becoming backend developers must master SQL.

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