Top 20 DBMS Interview Questions and Answers in 2024

Database Management Systems (DBMS) remain integral components of virtually every modern organisation’s infrastructure. As businesses generate and handle increasingly vast amounts of data, the role of proficient database professionals becomes more critical than ever. For individuals aspiring to secure positions in the realm of database management, thorough preparation is paramount, especially for interviews. To aid in this preparation, here are the top 20 DBMS interview questions and comprehensive answers for 2024. These questions encompass a wide range of topics, including database design, normalization, querying techniques, transaction management, and the latest trends in database technologies. 

By mastering the database interview questions, candidates can demonstrate their proficiency, problem-solving skills, and adaptability to the evolving demands of the field, thereby increasing their chances of success in landing coveted roles within the competitive realm of database management.

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database management system


20 Database Interview Questions and Answers for All Levels

1. What is the difference between logical and physical database design?

The differences between logical and physical databases are:

Logical database design involves crafting a comprehensive database model detailing entities, attributes, and relationships without considering the physical storage aspects. It focuses on the conceptual organization of data, emphasizing types, relationships, and constraints.

Physical database design, on the other hand, translates the logical design into a technical blueprint for data storage. It concentrates on efficient data storage and retrieval, considering specific features and limitations of the database management system (DBMS). This includes designing storage structures, indexing strategies, and implementing logical constraints.

2. Describe the three levels of data abstraction in a DBMS.

The three levels of data abstraction in a DBMS are as follows:

    • Physical Level: The lowest level detailing how data is physically stored, including structures and access methods.
    • Logical Level: This is the intermediate level that defines the data stored and the relationships among them. It involves creating schemas.
    • View Level: The highest level presenting data to end-users, hiding complexity through customized views.

3. What is an Entity-Relationship (ER) model?

The Entity-Relationship (ER) model is a conceptual data model used in database design. It depicts entities, their attributes, and the relationships between entities. This model aids in conceptualizing databases, making it easier to communicate and understand the design.

4. Explain the difference between a primary key and a foreign key.

The differences are:

Primary Key:

A unique identifier for each record in a database table that ensures record uniqueness and disallows null values.

Foreign Key:

An attribute in one table linking to the primary key of another table, allowing multiple null values unless restricted.

5. What is a Composite Key?

A composite key is a key consisting of two or more columns in a table that collectively uniquely identifies each row. It is used when no single column can guarantee uniqueness, making the combination essential for identification.

6. What are Table and Field?


A table in a database consists of rows and columns. Rows, also called records, contain specific data entries, while columns, referred to as fields, define the data type stored in each record. In MS SQL Server, tables are organized within databases and schema names.


In a database management system (DBMS), a field represents a single piece of information within a record.

7. What is a Default Constraint?

A default constraint is a rule applied to a column in a database table. It specifies a default value that will be inserted into the column when no other value is provided during record creation.

8. What is Normalization?

Normalization is a database design technique used to organize data efficiently. It involves analyzing relation schemas based on their functional dependencies and primary keys to minimize redundancy and avoid insertion, deletion, and update anomalies.

9. What are the distinctive advantages of row-based and columnar databases, and how do they cater to different types of operations within database management systems?

Row-based databases store data on disk row-by-row, while columnar databases store data column-by-column. Each method offers its unique advantages. Row-based databases excel in operations on individual rows, whereas columnar databases shine in operations on columns, such as aggregating large data volumes for specific subsets of columns.

Operations requiring complete rows, such as INSERT, DELETE, and UPDATE, are optimized in row-based databases. On the other hand, operations necessitating columns, like SELECT, GROUP BY, and JOIN, are typically faster in columnar databases. Thus, columnar databases are well-suited for analytical operations, whereas row-based databases are optimal for transaction processing.

10. What is Denormalization?

Denormalization is a database optimization technique where redundant data is intentionally added to one or more tables. This helps improve query performance by reducing the need for joins, especially in relational databases.

11. What is MySQL Collation?

MySQL Collation: MySQL collation refers to a set of rules used to compare characters within a specific character set. It determines how characters are sorted and compared based on their encoding. Each character set in MySQL may have multiple collations, with at least one default collation for each set.

12. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using hashing as a lookup technique in databases?

Hashing serves as a key lookup technique, mapping keys to values by converting strings into fixed-length values through hash functions. This indexed approach facilitates rapid database searches compared to alternative methods.

Advantages of Hashing:

Hash tables excel in point searches, enabling swift data search, insertion, and deletion regardless of dataset size or structure.

Disadvantages of Hashing:

Despite its efficiency, hashing may not always be optimal. For small datasets, the overhead of a sophisticated hash function renders hashing more costly than simple sequential lookups. Additionally, range scan operations are better suited to B+ trees, and substring or prefix matches are ineffective with hashing. Moreover, scalability poses a challenge as hash table performance diminishes with database growth due to increased collisions and higher collision resolution costs.

13. What is a Query?

A query in SQL is a request for specific data from a database. It is used to retrieve information based on specified criteria and can vary in complexity and efficiency.

14. What is a Subquery?

A subquery is nested within another query, typically within the WHERE clause. It allows for more complex data retrieval by using the results of one query as a condition for another.

15. What are the differences between two-tier and three-tier architectures, and how do these architectural models impact system usability and security? Provide examples of systems that illustrate each architecture.

Two-tier Architecture:

A two-tier architecture represents a fundamental client-server model. It enables direct communication between a client-side application and a server-side database. Examples of systems employing two-tier architecture include the Railway Reservation System and Contact Management System.

Three-tier Architecture:

In contrast, a three-tier architecture introduces an intermediary layer between the client and server. This additional tier enhances usability by ensuring system security and providing a user-friendly graphical interface. In this setup, client-side applications interact with server-side applications, which in turn communicate with the database system. Examples of systems utilizing three-tier architecture include Registration Form Designing, featuring components like text-boxes, labels, and buttons, or websites accessed over the internet.

16. What are the different operators available in SQL?

SQL operators include Arithmetic Operators, Logical Operators, and Comparison Operators, providing tools for performing calculations, logical evaluations, and comparisons within SQL queries.

17. Explain the role of a data warehouse in the context of business intelligence systems.

Data from various sources undergoes extraction, transformation, and loading processes before being stored in databases. A data warehouse acts as a centralized repository, receiving data from transactional systems and relational databases. It enables the correlation of large business datasets to enhance insights into business performance, serving as the core of business intelligence systems for data analysis and reporting. This database operates independently from the standard production database. While the second system is optimized for fast and accurate real-time data updates, the first system is tailored for offline operations, offering a longitudinal view of data over time.

18. Compare and contrast the Nested Loop, Hash Join, and Sort-Merge Join algorithms for performing JOIN operations in relational databases.

Different JOIN algorithms offer various approaches to combining data from multiple tables:

Nested Loop: This algorithm compares each row from the outer table with every row from the inner table. It’s versatile and can handle cross-joins efficiently but tends to be slower compared to other algorithms, especially with large datasets.

Hash Join: This method builds an in-memory hash table for the smaller of the two input tables, then scans the larger table to find matches. It’s highly efficient for equijoins but may suffer if the probe side of the join is excessively small.

Sort-Merge Join: Here, both input tables are sorted based on the join attributes. The algorithm then scans through both sorted tables simultaneously, merging rows with matching attributes. While efficient for sorting data, it requires extra processing to sort the tables initially.

9. Explain the concept of deadlock in operating systems. Provide an example to illustrate how deadlock can occur in a real-world scenario.

Deadlock is a scenario in an operating system where multiple processes are unable to proceed because each is waiting for a resource held by another process, creating a circular waiting condition. This commonly occurs in multiprocessing environments where processes share mutually exclusive resources known as soft-locks.

Example of Deadlock:

A tangible illustration of deadlock is traffic congestion on a single-lane bridge. In this scenario, the bridge represents a resource. When cars approach from both directions simultaneously, they may deadlock, unable to proceed until one yields to the other. To resolve this, a method such as resource pre-allocation and rollback can be employed when a car is in reverse. However, in extreme cases of deadlock, where a large number of cars are already reserved, some vehicles might remain stranded, potentially leading to starvation.

20. What is Auto Increment?

Auto Increment is a feature supported by many databases that automatically generates a unique numerical value for a column, typically used as a primary key. This eliminates the need for manual assignment of identifiers to new records.


Mastering these top 20 DBMS interview questions and answers for 2024 equips candidates with essential knowledge spanning database design, querying techniques, transaction management, and emerging trends. Proficiency in these areas not only demonstrates readiness for roles in database management but also showcases problem-solving abilities and adaptability to evolving industry demands. By comprehensively preparing with these questions, candidates enhance their chances of securing coveted positions and thriving in the competitive landscape of modern database management.

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