Why do you need to use a database?

When it comes down to it, an Excel sheet is pretty much like a database.

Your excel sheet can have information and data that is easy to access and update.

We will use a simple example to show why a database is better than an Excel sheet.

Let’s take a typical student course registry. If you used an Excel sheet, you might come up with a worksheet that looks like this:

Each row contains a student name and the courses they are taking.

Now, if Angela wants to register for a third course, you would have to add another column like so:

The main issue is this method isn’t very scalable. Every time a student has more courses, you have to add in a new column. You also have other problems, such as mis-spelling the course names or putting in a duplicate course for a student.

Contrast this with a database, which would look like this:

It might look a little complex, but keep in mind that the DataBase Management System (DBMS) actually links all of this.

Now if you need to add in a new course, or a new student name, you simple have to add a new row to a table and link it. The database allows the information to scale a lot easier than a static Excel sheet.

In database terms, this is called “normalization” and is one of the basic foundations of relational databases.

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