How to Learn SQL for All Your Database Management Needs

Structured Query Language, popularly known as SQL, is a programming language that allows for data management and manipulation. It’s an essential skill for backend development, business intelligence, and database administration. Learning SQL, either on your own or with the help of SQL courses, can significantly improve your career prospects.

To help you get ready to study SQL, we’ll first review the basics. Then, we’ll cover all the steps you should take to learn this language, and which online courses and resources are the most reputable and effective.

What Is SQL?

SQL is a programming language used to manage data in relational databases. It is the standard language used in relational database management systems (DBMS), including Oracle, MS Access, Sybase, MySQL, Postgres, and Informix. 

SQL is a popular programming language because of its multiple functions. It can be used to access data in relational databases, describe that data, and manipulate it. You can also create and store new data, and set permissions on who can access certain databases and tables. SQL is also efficient when dealing with large data sets, unlike other basic data management options like Microsoft Excel.

What Jobs Use SQL Skills?

There are plenty of organizations looking for employees skilled in SQL. Once you complete your studies in this language, there will be many positions available to you. Below are some of the positions you should consider seeking.

  • Data scientist.  As the title suggests, data scientists deal with large volumes of data, and many of them use SQL on a daily basis. The more experience you have with data, including with data-specific languages, the higher your salary will be.

  • Big data architect. As a data architect, you will build products using different types of data. This will occasionally include SQL and other data programming languages like Python and R.

  • Data migration engineer.  Data migration engineers are essential in transferring data from outside databases to SQL servers.

  • Database administrator. This position is essential in ensuring proper storage and handling of big data. A well-managed database will make it easy for users to retrieve data. 

Steps to Learn SQL

While not the easiest computer language to learn, SQL is pretty easy, and there are plenty of resources to which you can turn to study. Follow the steps below to make sure you are building up a strong SQL knowledge base.

1. Learn Fundamentals 

Before you move on to the complexities of SQL, you must learn about its basic functions, such as GROUP BY, ORDER BY, LIMIT, FROM, and SELECT. It is also a good idea to research proper query structuring so you can learn the correct order of queries in SQL.   

2. Register for an Online Course

The best way to master SQL is to sign up for a course. These courses will expose you to new information, and they are usually taught by experts in the field. In some courses, you will also get to connect with professionals in the field who might be able to help you find job opportunities.

3. Watch Tutorials

To successfully learn a programming language, you may need to use a variety of resources. Besides taking courses, you may want to read SQL blogs or watch SQL tutorials on YouTube. Both of these methods are a good way to stay up to date on any new developments in the field.

4. Attend Webinars

Coding webinars are another great place to meet data programming professionals. You can strike up a conversation and ask them any questions you may have about SQL concepts. They will be able to offer advice on SQL and other data-specific programming languages.

5. Practice

Most developers are still working on their skills even after receiving a diploma or certificate. The world of coding is continuously changing. New ways of maintaining and transferring data are developed often, and you will have to stay ahead of the curve by working on relevant projects in your spare time.

The Best Courses to Learn SQL

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Learning SQL through one of the courses below can help you secure a raise.

There are plenty of top-rated SQL courses you can take to get certified or just learn more about the basics. Taking at least one or two of the courses below is an important part of developing SQL skills. If you want to move on to a career as a data scientist or data analyst, you will also need to gain additional certifications to improve your job prospects.

Below is a list of ten highly-regarded SQL courses for you to browse.

SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Cost: $168
  • Time: 12.5 hours

This is a great beginner-level course for studying SQL fundamentals. It covers all the major points of SQL and application development in accordance with techniques used by professional data scientists. The course will help you handle queries and joins such as right joins, self join, inner join, and cross enter.

Other topics include creating tables, basic queries, an introduction to PgAdmin, PostgreSQL installation, and database theory fundamentals.

SQL for Data Science

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 14 hours

This course helps students become proficient in SQL by working hands-on with databases. The lessons cover joins and subqueries, analyzing and modifying data, retrieving and selecting data, and calculating, sorting, and filtering data. You will also learn how to create tables and combine data. 

The Ultimate MySQL Bootcamp: Go from SQL Beginner to Expert

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Cost: $152
  • Time: 20 hours

This course offered by Udemy is great if you are trying to learn SQL from scratch. Great for beginners, it covers the basics of SQL, and gives you opportunities to practice inputting syntax and analyzing data using functions. After reviewing syntax, aggregate functions, joins, and Node jS, you will learn how to run complicated queries using string functions. 

The Complete Oracle SQL Bootcamp

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Cost: $168
  • Time: 16.5 hours

The course will give you experience in Oracle SQL software. The program is an efficient way to teach various methods for creating tables and databases. In addition, you will learn how to write queries with the software. 

Among the topics covered are pluggable databases, Oracle databases, SQL statement basics, relational databases, and more.

The Complete SQL Bootcamp 2021: Go from Zero to Hero

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Cost: $9.99
  • Time: 9 hours

These Udemy lessons will teach students how to write queries in PostgreSQL through hands-on practice. It covers data analysis, the basics of SQL language syntax, SQL commands, and PgAdmin and PostgreSQL.

Learn SQL 

  • Provider: Codecademy
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 7 hours

This online course goes over all the essentials of SQL and databases. The course features lessons on joins, aggregate functions, performing queries, and data manipulation. 

After taking this course, you will be able to communicate with relational databases using SQL, manipulate data, and build queries. You’ll also complete four practice projects.

Analyzing Big Data with SQL

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 18 hours
  • Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of SQL

This beginner course will improve your big data skills. It includes lessons on how SQL can be applied to big data, and how to filter, combine, group, and sort data.

The instructor also teaches the best techniques for answering analytical data questions and combining tables. It’s a great course if you already have some knowledge of SQL.

Excel to MySQL: Analytic Techniques for Business Specialization

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Cost: Free
  • Time: 7 months

This MySQL class for total beginners is one of the best if you are hoping to become a data scientist or data analyst. The lessons elaborate on how SQL can be used with Excel, Tableau and MySQL. You will then use these programs to analyze data, create models and forecasts, and design visualizations.

SQL – MySQL for Data Analytics and Business Intelligence

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Cost: $164
  • Time: 9.5 hours

This is an instrumental course if you’re interested in both the technical and non-technical aspects of data analytics and business intelligence. In it, you will learn vital concepts such as relational database management theory. You will also get access to downloadable files and resources to study.

Introduction to SQL

  • Provider: Datacamp
  • Cost: $164
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: Basic data extraction skills

These lessons feature basic topics such as selecting, filtering, aggregating, and sorting data.  To take this course, it is recommended that you already know how to extract information from databases. This class uses programs such as Oracle, Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

Why Learn SQL?

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Looking for a career change? Try mastering SQL to transition into a career in data science.

SQL is a programming language specific to data manipulation, which means it is an essential part of data science and data analysis. Knowing basic SQL queries makes manipulating, monitoring, and extracting large amounts of data much easier.

Besides the reward of learning a new skill, you may also receive a higher income if you learn SQL. There are plenty of career opportunities out there for SQL programmers. According to PayScale, an SQL developer earns an average of $74,000 per year. Even entry-level developers make a healthy salary of $50,000. 

Learning SQL will increase your job prospects without the need to spend much time learning the language. Even if you are not very interested in data, learning SQL is a great idea if you are passionate about coding and want to become a more well-rounded programmer.

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