Last updated: December 16, 2022

Are you preparing for an advanced SQL interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place. To prepare for advanced SQL interview questions, it is important to have a strong understanding of the fundamentals of SQL, such as writing queries, understanding data types, and using joins. Additionally, it is important to be familiar with the specific database system that the interviewer is using, such as MySQL, Oracle, or SQL Server. It is also helpful to practice writing complex queries and to review common SQL interview questions and answers. Finally, it is important to be able to explain the logic behind the queries that you write.

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing some of the most common advanced SQL interview questions and how to answer them. We’ll cover topics such as database design, query optimization, and more. We’ll also provide tips and tricks to help you ace your interview and stand out from the competition. With the right preparation and practice, you’ll be able to confidently answer any advanced SQL interview questions that come your way. So, let’s get started and learn how to answer advanced SQL interview questions like a pro.

Advanced sql interview questions: Explanation and examples

Database Design

Explain the principles behind normalization.
Normalization is the process of structuring a relational database in order to minimize redundancy and dependency by organizing fields and tables of a database. It is important to understand this process in order to use it to design efficient and effective databases. The most common principles behind normalization are first normal form, second normal form, third normal form, and Boyce-Codd Normal form.

What is the difference between a primary key and a foreign key?
A primary key is a field that uniquely identifies each record in a table and is used to reference other tables. It can be used to establish relationships between tables. A foreign key is a field in a table that references the primary key of another table. It is used to establish relationships between tables.

How would you design a data table to store information about customers?
When designing a data table to store customer information, it is important to consider the type of data being stored. The table should include fields such as customer ID, name, address, contact information, and any other relevant information. It is also important to consider the relationships between other tables and the customer table.

How would you design a multi-table query to find what customers purchased a particular product?
When designing a multi-table query to find what customers purchased a particular product, it is important to consider the relationships between the tables. A query can be designed to join the customer table and the product table in order to find the customers who purchased a particular product. The query should also include fields from both tables in order to find the desired information.

Describe the process of reverse engineering an existing database.
Reverse engineering is the process of analyzing an existing database and its tables, columns, and relationships in order to understand how the data is organized. Reverse engineering involves extracting information such as table structures, data types, relationships, and constraints in order to create a model of the existing database.

How would you handle a large quantity of data that needs to be stored in a database?
When handling large quantities of data, it is important to consider the structure and organization of the database. The use of indexing can help improve the performance of the database and ensure that data can be quickly accessed. Additionally, partitioning and sharding can be used to store large quantities of data by splitting it into smaller chunks and distributing it across multiple nodes.

Query Writing/Optimization

What techniques would you use to optimize a query for better performance?
Techniques to optimize a query for better performance include ensuring that the query is written correctly according to the SQL language standards, using appropriate indexes to improve query speed, and utilizing query hints to ensure that the query optimizer is selecting the best query plan. Additionally, if applicable, one can use table partitioning, materialized views, and data warehouse configuration to improve query performance.

Describe the steps involved in writing a complex SQL query.

How would you troubleshoot a slow-running query?

What are indexes and how do they help queries run faster?

How would you go about optimizing table joins?

Stored Procedures/Triggers

What is the purpose of stored procedures?
Stored procedures are pre-defined SQL commands that are stored in the database and can be used to perform operations on the data in the database. They are beneficial as they are reusable, they provide a layer of security as they are stored in the database and not in the application code, and they can increase the performance of the database when the same query is run multiple times by pre-storing the query execution plan.

How would you debug a stored procedure?
Debugging a stored procedure can be done by adding a TRY/CATCH block in the stored procedure and then setting a breakpoint at the CATCH block to see what is causing the error. Additionally, you can use the PRINT and SELECT statements to output values and check the data that is being used in the stored procedure.

What are triggers and what are their benefits?
Triggers are operations that are automatically performed when an event such as inserting, updating, or deleting occurs in a table. They are beneficial as they can automate tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually, such as updating other tables when a row is added to a table. They are also useful for enforcing database constraints and performing validations on the data being inserted or updated.

How would you create a trigger to update a table after an insert?
To create a trigger to update a table after an insert, you can use the CREATE TRIGGER statement. This statement will take the parameters of the name of the trigger, the type of operation that will cause the trigger to activate (such as INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE), the table the trigger is associated with, and the code that should be executed when the trigger is activated. For example, to create a trigger to update a table after an insert, the code could look like this:

ON myTable
UPDATE someOtherTable
SET someData = ‘new value’
WHERE id =;

Database Administration

Describe the process of creating a backup/restore strategy.
Creating a backup/restore strategy is important as it helps to protect data in the event of an unexpected incident or disaster. The process of creating a backup/restore strategy involves understanding the data that needs to be backed up, determining the appropriate backup frequency, choosing the correct backup tool, setting up the appropriate backup infrastructure, and testing the backup and restore process.

What techniques do you use to monitor a database for performance problems?
When monitoring a database for performance problems, there are a few techniques that can be used. These techniques include inspecting system memory usage, monitoring disk utilization, assessing CPU utilization, evaluating query execution plans, and examining query response times.

Explain how you would go about tuning a query for better performance.
When tuning a query for better performance, there are a few steps that can be taken. First, an analysis of the query should be conducted to identify any potential areas of improvement. This includes examining the data types used, reviewing the query structure, assessing the query plan, and examining any potential indexes that could be used. Once potential areas of improvement have been identified, then the query can be optimized by making appropriate changes to the data types, query structure, query plan, or indexes, as necessary.

How would you set up security for a database?
When setting up security for a database, there are a few steps that should be taken. These steps include determining the appropriate set of users and roles that need access to the database, creating a secure and unique password for each user, restricting access to certain features and functions of the database, and implementing an audit log to track user activities.

Describe the steps involved in patching and upgrading a database.
When patching and upgrading a database, there are a few steps that should be taken. These steps include determining the appropriate patch or upgrade version, testing the patch or upgrade version in a staging environment, creating a backup of the current database, applying the patch or upgrade to the database, and verifying that the patch or upgrade was successful.

Advanced sql interview questions: FAQs concisely answered

What is a Subquery?

A subquery is a query contained within another query. It is a type of nested query that is used to return data that is used in the main query. Subqueries can be used in a SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statement. They are often used to filter the results of the main query by using comparison operators and logical operators to compare values from the main query with the values from the subquery. Subqueries can also be used to return data from multiple tables in a single query.

What is Normalization?

Normalization is the process of efficiently organizing data in a database. It involves organizing data into tables and columns and defining relationships between different tables in order to reduce data redundancy and improve data integrity. Normalization usually involves dividing large tables into smaller ones and defining relationships between them.

What is a Join?

A join is a query that combines data from two or more tables. It is used to retrieve data from multiple related tables in a single query. Joins can be used to combine data from different tables based on a common field or set of fields. There are several types of join operations, including inner joins, outer joins, left joins, right joins, and full joins.

What is a View?

A view is a virtual table that is created by combining data from one or more tables. Views are used to select, filter, and manipulate data from one or more tables. A view can be created from one or more tables and can be used to restrict access to certain data.

What is a Trigger?

A trigger is a special type of stored procedure that is automatically executed when certain events occur in the database. Triggers are used to enforce data integrity, to audit data changes, and to automate complex business logic. Triggers can be used to execute a set of SQL statements when an insert, update, or delete operation is performed on a specified table.

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