Bigquery Python Client: How to Check if a Select Query Returns Data with a Destination Table Configuration

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will learn how to verify if a select query returns any data when using the BigQuery Python client with a destination table configured. This knowledge is crucial for ensuring the integrity of your data pipeline and making informed decisions based on query results.

Introduction to the Problem and Solution

When working with BigQuery in Python, it’s essential to confirm whether a select query retrieves data, especially when dealing with configurations that involve specifying a destination table for query results. To address this challenge effectively within your Python script, we will explore how to implement a mechanism that checks for the presence of output from the select query.

To maintain data pipeline integrity, we need to create a validation process that ensures the select query produces results before proceeding further. By leveraging functionalities provided by the BigQuery Python client library, we can develop an approach tailored to scenarios where a destination table is part of the configuration.


from import bigquery

# Create a BigQuery client
client = bigquery.Client()

# Perform your SELECT query here and assign it to `query_job`

# Check if any rows are returned from the query
if query_job.total_rows > 0:
    print("Data returned from SELECT query.")
    print("No data returned from SELECT query.")

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In this code snippet: – We import necessary modules and initialize our BigQuery client. – The SELECT query is executed and stored in query_job. – We use the total_rows attribute of query_job to determine if any rows were retrieved. – Based on the result, an appropriate message is printed indicating whether data was obtained or not.

This solution offers a straightforward method to verify if our select query generated results when using BigQuery with Python. By checking the total number of rows returned by the SQL operation, we gain insights into its outcome before proceeding further in our workflow.

    How can I install Google Cloud’s BigQuery library for Python?

    You can install it using pip: pip install google-cloud-bigquery.

    What does assigning my SQL operation to query_job accomplish?

    It allows you to retrieve information about your job such as total rows fetched or job completion status.

    Can I use this method without setting up credentials for Google Cloud authentication?

    No, proper authentication through service account credentials or other supported methods is required for secure access to Google Cloud resources.

    Is there an alternative way of checking for empty results without accessing total_rows directly?

    Yes, you could iterate over results or use other attributes like schema, depending on your requirements.

    Does this approach work only for queries involving destination tables?

    No, similar techniques can be applied regardless of whether there’s a specified target table or not.

    What happens if my connection gets interrupted during execution of these queries?

    Google Cloud automatically resumes jobs upon reconnection to prevent progress loss.

    Are there performance implications associated with retrieving total row count like this?

    There might be some overhead involved, especially for large result sets due to counting all rows retrieved by your SELECT statement.


    Ensuring data validity is crucial in database operations. Implementing checks like verifying successful record retrieval post-query execution in projects utilizing technologies such as Google Cloud’s BigQuery alongside Python scripts significantly enhances reliability and operational efficiency.

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