Database Interview Questions for java

What’s the Difference between a Primary Key and a Unique Key?

Both primary key and unique key enforce uniqueness of the column on which they are defined. But by default, the primary key creates a clustered index on the column, whereas unique key creates a non-clustered index by default. Another major difference is that primary key doesn’t allow NULLs, but unique key allows one NULL only. Primary Key is the address of data and unique key may not.

What are the Different Index Configurations a Table can have?

A table can have one of the following index configurations:

  • No indexes
  • A clustered index
  • A clustered index and many non-clustered indexes
  • A non-clustered index
  • Many non-clustered indexes

What is Difference between DELETE and TRUNCATE Commands?

The DELETE command is used to remove rows from a table. A WHERE clause can be used to only remove some rows. If no WHERE condition is specified, all rows will be removed. After performing a DELETE operation you need to COMMIT or ROLLBACK the transaction to make the change permanent or to undo it. Note that this operation will cause all DELETE triggers on the table to fire.

TRUNCATE removes all rows from a table. The operation cannot be rolled back and no triggers will be fired. As such, TRUCATE is faster and doesn’t use as much undo space as a DELETE.


  • TRUNCATE is faster and uses fewer system and transaction log resources than DELETE.
  • TRUNCATE removes the data by deallocating the data pages used to store the table’s data, and only the page deallocations are recorded in the transaction log.
  • TRUNCATE removes all the rows from a table, but the table structure, its columns, constraints, indexes and so on remains. The counter used by an identity for new rows is reset to the seed for the column.
  • You cannot use TRUNCATE TABLE on a table referenced by a FOREIGN KEY constraint.
  • Using T-SQL – TRUNCATE cannot be rolled back unless it is used in TRANSACTION. OR TRUNCATE can be rolled back when used with BEGIN … END TRANSACTION using T-SQL.
  • TRUNCATE is a DDL Command.
  • TRUNCATE resets the identity of the table.


  • DELETE removes rows one at a time and records an entry in the transaction log for each deleted row.
  • DELETE does not reset Identity property of the table.
  • DELETE can be used with or without a WHERE clause
  • DELETE activates Triggers if defined on table.
  • DELETE can be rolled back.
  • DELETE is DML Command.
  • DELETE does not reset the identity of the table.

What are Different Types of Locks?

  • Shared Locks: Used for operations that do not change or update data (read-only operations), such as a SELECT statement.
  • Update Locks: Used on resources that can be updated. It prevents a common form of deadlock that occurs when multiple sessions are reading, locking, and potentially updating resources later.
  • Exclusive Locks: Used for data-modification operations, such as INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE. It ensures that multiple updates cannot be made to the same resource at the same time.

What are Pessimistic Lock and Optimistic Lock?

  • Optimistic Locking is a strategy where you read a record, take note of a version number and check that the version hasn’t changed before you write the record back. If the record is dirty (i.e. different version to yours), then you abort the transaction and the user can re-start it.
  • Pessimistic Locking is when you lock the record for your exclusive use until you have finished with it. It has much better integrity than optimistic locking but requires you to be careful with your application design to avoid Deadlocks.

What is the Difference between a HAVING clause and a WHERE clause?

They specify a search condition for a group or an aggregate. But the difference is that HAVING can be used only with the SELECT statement. HAVING is typically used in a GROUP BY clause. When GROUP BY is not used, HAVING behaves like a WHERE clause. Having Clause is basically used only with the GROUP BY function in a query, whereas WHERE Clause is applied to each row before they are part of the GROUP BY function in a query.

What is NOT NULL Constraint?

A NOT NULL constraint enforces that the column will not accept null values. The not null constraints are used to enforce domain integrity, as the check constraints.

What is the difference between UNION and UNION ALL?

The UNION command is used to select related information from two tables, much like the JOIN command. However, when using the UNION command all selected columns need to be of the same data type. With UNION, only distinct values are selected.

The UNION ALL command is equal to the UNION command, except that UNION ALL selects all values.

The difference between UNION and UNION ALL is that UNION ALL will not eliminate duplicate rows, instead it just pulls all rows from all the tables fitting your query specifics and combines them into a table.

What is B-Tree?

The database server uses a B-tree structure to organize index information. B-Tree generally has following types of index pages or nodes:

Root node: A root node contains node pointers to only one branch node.

Branch nodes: A branch node contains pointers to leaf nodes or other branch nodes, which can be two or more.

Leaf nodes: A leaf node contains index items and horizontal pointers to other leaf nodes, which can be many.

What are the Advantages of Using Stored Procedures?

  • Stored procedure can reduced network traffic and latency, boosting application performance.
  • Stored procedure execution plans can be reused; they staying cached in SQL Server’s memory, reducing server overhead.
  • Stored procedures help promote code reuse.
  • Stored procedures can encapsulate logic. You can change stored procedure code without affecting clients.
  • Stored procedures provide better security to your data.

What is SQL Injection? How to Protect Against SQL Injection Attack?
SQL injection is an attack in which malicious code is inserted into strings that are later passed to an instance of SQL Server for parsing and execution. Any procedure that constructs SQL statements should be reviewed for injection vulnerabilities because SQL Server will execute all syntactically valid queries that it receives. Even parameterized data can be manipulated by a skilled and determined attacker.
Here are few methods which can be used to protect again SQL Injection attack:

  • Use Type-Safe SQL Parameters
  • Use Parameterized Input with Stored Procedures
  • Use the Parameters Collection with Dynamic SQL
  • Filtering Input parameters
  • Use the escape character in LIKE clause
  • Wrapping Parameters with QUOTENAME() and REPLACE()

What is the Correct Order of the Logical Query Processing Phases?

The correct order of the Logical Query Processing Phases is as follows:
2. ON
10. TOP

What are Different Types of Join?

  • Cross Join : A cross join that does not have a WHERE clause produces the Cartesian product of the tables involved in the join. The size of a Cartesian product result set is the number of rows in the first table multiplied by the number of rows in the second table. The common example is when company wants to combine each product with a pricing table to analyze each product at each price.
  • Inner Join : A join that displays only the rows that have a match in both joined tables is known as inner Join. This is the default type of join in the Query and View Designer.
  • Outer Join : A join that includes rows even if they do not have related rows in the joined table is an Outer Join. You can create three different outer join to specify the unmatched rows to be included:
  • Left Outer Join: In Left Outer Join, all the rows in the first-named table, i.e. “left” table, which appears leftmost in the JOIN clause, are included. Unmatched rows in the right table do not appear.
  • Right Outer Join: In Right Outer Join, all the rows in the second-named table, i.e. “right” table, which appears rightmost in the JOIN clause are included. Unmatched rows in the left table are not included.
  • Full Outer Join : In Full Outer Join, all the rows in all joined tables are included, whether they are matched or not.
  • Self Join : This is a particular case when one table joins to itself with one or two aliases to avoid confusion. A self join can be of any type, as long as the joined tables are the same. A self join is rather unique in that it involves a relationship with only one table. The common example is when company has a hierarchal reporting structure whereby one member of staff reports to another. Self Join can be Outer Join or Inner Join.

What is a View?

A simple view can be thought of as a subset of a table. It can be used for retrieving data as well as updating or deleting rows. Rows updated or deleted in the view are updated or deleted in the table the view was created with. It should also be noted that as data in the original table changes, so does the data in the view as views are the way to look at parts of the original table. The results of using a view are not permanently stored in the database. The data accessed through a view is actually constructed using standard T-SQL select command and can come from one to many different base tables or even other views.

What is an Index?

An index is a physical structure containing pointers to the data. Indices are created in an existing table to locate rows more quickly and efficiently. It is possible to create an index on one or more columns of a table, and each index is given a name. The users cannot see the indexes; they are just used to speed up queries. Effective indexes are one of the best ways to improve performance in a database application. A table scan happens when there is no index available to help a query. In a table scan, the SQL Server examines every row in the table to satisfy the query results. Table scans are sometimes unavoidable, but on large tables, scans have a terrific impact on performance.

Can a view be updated/inserted/deleted? If Yes – under what conditions ?

A View can be updated/deleted/inserted if it has only one base table if the view is based on columns from one or more tables then insert, update and delete is not possible.

What is a Surrogate Key?

A surrogate key is a substitution for the natural primary key. It is just a unique identifier or number for each row that can be used for the primary key to the table. The only requirement for a surrogate primary key is that it should be unique for each row in the table. It is useful because the natural primary key can change and this makes updates more difficult. Surrogated keys are always integer or numeric.

How to remove duplicates from table?

                  FROM   TableName
                  GROUP  BY Column1,
                  HAVING MAX(ID) IS NOT NULL)

Note : Where Combination of Column1, Column2, Column3, … Column n define the uniqueness of Record.

How to fine the N’th Maximum salary using SQL query?

Using Sub query

SELECT * FROM Employee E1
WHERE (N-1) = (
               SELECT COUNT(DISTINCT(E2.Salary))
               FROM Employee E2
               WHERE E2.Salary > E1.Salary

Another way to get 2’nd maximum salary

Select max(Salary) From Employee e where e.sal < ( select max(sal) from employee );