MySQL Technical Interview Questions – part 1

What Is MySQL?
MySQL, the most popular Open Source SQL database, is provided by MySQL AB. MySQL AB is a commercial company that builds is business providing services around the MySQL database. See section 1.2 What Is MySQL AB.

what is a database management system. ?
A database is a structured collection of data. It may be anything from a simple shopping list to a picture gallery or the vast amounts of information in a corporate network. To add, access, and process data stored in a computer database, you need a database management system such as MySQL. Since computers are very good at handling large amounts of data, database management plays a central role in computing, as stand-alone utilities, or as parts of other applications.

what is a relational database management system. ?
A relational database stores data in separate tables rather than putting all the data in one big storeroom. This adds speed and flexibility. The tables are linked by defined relations making it possible to combine data from several tables on request. The SQL part of MySQL stands for “Structured Query Language” – the most common standardized language used to access databases.

what is Open Source Software.?
Open source means that it is possible for anyone to use and modify. Anybody can download MySQL from the Internet and use it without paying anything. Anybody so inclined can study the source code and change it to fit their needs. MySQL uses the GPL (GNU General Public License), to define what you may and may not do with the software in different situations. If you feel uncomfortable with the GPL or need to embed MySQL into a commercial application you can buy a commercially licensed version from us.

Why use MySQL?
MySQL is very fast, reliable, and easy to use. If that is what you are looking for, you should give it a try. MySQL also has a very practical set of features developed in very close cooperation with our users. You can find a performance comparison of MySQL to some other database managers on our benchmark page. See section 12.7 Using Your Own Benchmarks. MySQL was originally developed to handle very large databases much faster than existing solutions and has been successfully used in highly demanding production environments for several years. Though under constant development, MySQL today offers a rich and very useful set of functions. The connectivity, speed, and security make MySQL highly suited for accessing databases on the Internet.

Explain The technical features of MySQL ?
For advanced technical information, see section 7 MySQL Language Reference. MySQL is a client/server system that consists of a multi-threaded SQL server that supports different backends, several different client programs and libraries, administrative tools, and a programming interface. We also provide MySQL as a multi-threaded library which you can link into your application to get a smaller, faster, easier to manage product. MySQL has a lot of contributed software available.

It is very likely that you will find that your favorite application/language already supports MySQL. The official way to pronounce MySQL is “My Ess Que Ell” (not MY-SEQUEL). But we try to avoid correcting people who say MY-SEQUEL.

What is DDL, DML and DCL ?
If you look at the large variety of SQL commands, they can be divided into three large subgroups. Data Definition Language deals with database schemas and descriptions of how the data should reside in the database, therefore language statements like CREATE TABLE or ALTER TABLE belong to DDL. DML deals with data manipulation, and therefore includes most common SQL statements such SELECT, INSERT, etc. Data Control Language includes commands such as GRANT, and mostly concerns with rights, permissions and other controls of the database system.

How do you get the number of rows affected by query?
SELECT COUNT (user_id) FROM users would only return the number of user_id’s.

If the value in the column is repeatable, how do you find out the unique values?
Use DISTINCT in the query, such as SELECT DISTINCT user_firstname FROM users; You can also ask for a number of distinct values by saying SELECT COUNT (DISTINCT user_firstname) FROM users;

How do you return the a hundred books starting from 25th?
SELECT book_title FROM books LIMIT 25, 100. The first number in LIMIT is the offset, the second is the number.

You wrote a search engine that should retrieve 10 results at a time, but at the same time you’d like to know how many rows there’re total. How do you display that to the user?
SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS page_title FROM web_pages LIMIT 1,10; SELECT FOUND_ROWS(); The second query (not that COUNT() is never used) will tell you how many results there’re total, so you can display a phrase “Found 13,450,600 results, displaying 1-10”. Note that FOUND_ROWS does not pay attention to the LIMITs you specified and always returns the total number of rows affected by query.

How would you write a query to select all teams that won either 2, 4, 6 or 8 games?
SELECT team_name FROM teams WHERE team_won IN (2, 4, 6, 8 )

How would you select all the users, whose phone number is null?
SELECT user_name FROM users WHERE ISNULL(user_phonenumber);

What does this query mean: SELECT user_name, user_isp FROM users LEFT JOIN isps USING (user_id) ?
It’s equivalent to saying SELECT user_name, user_isp FROM users LEFT JOIN isps WHERE users.user_id=isps.user_id

How do you find out which auto increment was assigned on the last insert?

SELECT LAST_INSERT_ID() will return the last value assigned by the auto_increment function. Note that you don’t have to specify the table name.

What does –i-am-a-dummy flag to do when starting MySQL?
Makes the MySQL engine refuse UPDATE and DELETE commands where the WHERE clause is not present.

On executing the DELETE statement I keep getting the error about foreign key constraint failing. What do I do?
What it means is that so of the data that you’re trying to delete is still alive in another table. Like if you have a table for universities and a table for students, which contains the ID of the university they go to, running a delete on a university table will fail if the students table still contains people enrolled at that university. Proper way to do it would be to delete the offending data first, and then delete the university in question. Quick way would involve running SET foreign_key_checks=0 before the DELETE command, and setting the parameter back to 1 after the DELETE is done. If your foreign key was formulated with ON DELETE CASCADE, the data in dependent tables will be removed automatically.

When would you use ORDER BY in DELETE statement?
When you’re not deleting by row ID. Such as in DELETE FROM techpreparation_com_questions ORDER BY timestamp LIMIT 1. This will delete the most recently posted question in the table techpreparation_com_questions.

How can you see all indexes defined for a table?
SHOW INDEX FROM techpreparation_questions;

How would you change a column from VARCHAR(10) to VARCHAR(50)?
ALTER TABLE techpreparation_questions CHANGE techpreparation_content techpreparation_CONTENT VARCHAR(50).

How would you delete a column?
ALTER TABLE techpreparation_answers DROP answer_user_id.

How would you change a table to InnoDB?
ALTER TABLE techpreparation_questions ENGINE innodb;

When you create a table, and then run SHOW CREATE TABLE on it, you occasionally get different results than what you typed in. What does MySQL modify in your newly created tables?
1. VARCHARs with length less than 4 become CHARs
2. CHARs with length more than 3 become VARCHARs.
3. NOT NULL gets added to the columns declared as PRIMARY KEYs
4. Default values such as NULL are specified for each column

How do I find out all databases starting with ‘tech’ to which I have access to?

How do you concatenate strings in MySQL?
CONCAT (string1, string2, string3)

How do you get a portion of a string?
SELECT SUBSTR(title, 1, 10) from techpreparation_questions;

What’s the difference between CHAR_LENGTH and LENGTH?
The first is, naturally, the character count. The second is byte count. For the Latin characters the numbers are the same, but they’re not the same for Unicode and other encodings.

How do you convert a string to UTF-8?

SELECT (techpreparation_question USING utf8);

What do % and _ mean inside LIKE statement?
% corresponds to 0 or more characters, _ is exactly one character.

What does + mean in REGEXP?
At least one character. Appendix G. Regular Expressions from MySQL manual is worth perusing before the interview.

How do you get the month from a timestamp?
SELECT MONTH(techpreparation_timestamp) from techpreparation_questions;

How do you offload the time/date handling to MySQL?
SELECT DATE_FORMAT(techpreparation_timestamp, ‘%Y-%m-%d’) from techpreparation_questions; A similar TIME_FORMAT function deals with time.

How do you add three minutes to a date?
ADDDATE(techpreparation_publication_date, INTERVAL 3 MINUTE)

What’s the difference between Unix timestamps and MySQL timestamps?
Internally Unix timestamps are stored as 32-bit integers, while MySQL timestamps are stored in a similar manner, but represented in readable YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS format.

How do you convert between Unix timestamps and MySQL timestamps?
UNIX_TIMESTAMP converts from MySQL timestamp to Unix timestamp, FROM_UNIXTIME converts from Unix timestamp to MySQL timestamp.

What are ENUMs used for in MySQL?
You can limit the possible values that go into the table. CREATE TABLE months (month ENUM ‘January’, ‘February’, ‘March’,…); INSERT months VALUES (’April’);

How are ENUMs and SETs represented internally?
As unique integers representing the powers of two, due to storage optimizations.

How do you start and stop MySQL on Windows?
net start MySQL, net stop MySQL

How do you start MySQL on Linux?
/etc/init.d/mysql start

Explain the difference between mysql and mysql interfaces in PHP?
mysqli is the object-oriented version of mysql library functions.

What’s the default port for MySQL Server?

What does tee command do in MySQL?
tee followed by a filename turns on MySQL logging to a specified file. It can be stopped by command note.

Can you save your connection settings to a conf file?
Yes, and name it ~/.my.conf. You might want to change the permissions on the file to 600, so that it’s not readable by others.

How do you change a password for an existing user via mysqladmin?
mysqladmin -u root -p password “newpassword”

Use mysqldump to create a copy of the database?
mysqldump -h mysqlhost -u username -p mydatabasename > dbdump.sql

Have you ever used MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser?
Describe the tasks you accomplished with these tools.

What are some good ideas regarding user security in MySQL?
There is no user without a password. There is no user without a user name. There is no user whose Host column contains % (which here indicates that the user can log in from anywhere in the network or the Internet). There are as few users as possible (in the ideal case only root) who have unrestricted access.

Explain the difference between MyISAM Static and MyISAM Dynamic. ?
In MyISAM static all the fields have fixed width. The Dynamic MyISAM table would include fields such as TEXT, BLOB, etc. to accommodate the data types with various lengths. MyISAM Static would be easier to restore in case of corruption, since even though you might lose some data, you know exactly where to look for the beginning of the next record.

What does myisamchk do?
It compressed the MyISAM tables, which reduces their disk usage.

Explain advantages of InnoDB over MyISAM?
Row-level locking, transactions, foreign key constraints and crash recovery.

Explain advantages of MyISAM over InnoDB?
Much more conservative approach to disk space management – each MyISAM table is stored in a separate file, which could be compressed then with myisamchk if needed. With InnoDB the tables are stored in tablespace, and not much further optimization is possible. All data except for TEXT and BLOB can occupy 8,000 bytes at most. No full text indexing is available for InnoDB. TRhe COUNT(*)s execute slower than in MyISAM due to tablespace complexity.


4 Responses to “MySQL Technical Interview Questions – part 1”

  1. somnath Says:

    it provid good help to me…

  2. Ravindra Singh Says:

    Thanks for providing mysql interview question . we are from india.

  3. siva Says:

    nice & useful, thanks for sharing,

  4. parking lotnisko Says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your next post thank you once

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