Structured query language, or SQL, is a programming language, but it’s not just for programmers. In fact, it’s probably the language you should learn even if coding seemingly has nothing to do with your career.
SQL is used to communicate with databases. As data increasingly informs nearly every industry under the sun, SQL is widely used for database management and to pull, edit, manipulate, and add information to databases.
Think of it as a language for asking questions. Writing SQL is writing a code that will ask databases to group information based on what you or your company is looking to learn.
Even if you’re in a field that doesn’t normally require coding know-how, SQL can make you better at your job. It can make data analysis easier for anyone who works with data: marketers, those in business, and data scientists can all use SQL to inform their work. Thinking critically about data enables you to provide informed insights and to make better decisions for your company.
Cloud Computing: How much time will it take to learn SQL?
Online courses are a great way to learn SQL and database management — just don’t expect it to be something you can learn in a day. Most experts say that investing at least a few weeks into your training is ideal. That’s why online courses are so great. You’ll be learning at your own pace, which is always nice when learning something new. Many online SQL courses are downloadable, so you’ll be able to go back and repeat tutorials if you’re feeling lost or if you need a refresher at any point in your career.
As with any coding class, the best way to learn SQL is by doing. An interactive online class with lots of hands-on exercises will help you to learn how to form queries and get your SQL skills in tip-top shape.
It’s also important to pay attention to optimization when using SQL. As you learn more advanced SQL, efficiency will be key when writing queries. There are classes dedicated to SQL optimization for those already acquainted with the fundamentals.
We’ve researched the best online courses for learning SQL. Read on to find the class for you.
Nine hours • Accessible on mobile and TV • Certificate of completion
Lengthy lectures • Practice problems may not be challenging enough
This is a wonderful place for beginners to get acquainted with SQL and to quickly become comfortable with the language.
Cloud Computing: The Complete SQL Bootcamp
With this class, you can easily go from the fundamentals to becoming familiar with the language in less than a week.
This 9-hour, highly rated class on Udemy will help you transform from beginner to someone well-versed SQL by way of an interactive atmosphere that encourages you to learn by doing, rather than watching. You’ll be setting up and restoring databases right from the beginning, and become comfortable with querying a database via SQL.
The class goes through the basics and journeys on to more advanced commands, challenging you to practice problems along the way. The class goes in-depth using PostgreSQL, an in-demand skill in today’s job market. Your newly learned skills will also be easily applicable to other major SQL databases, such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Amazon Redshift, Oracle, and more.
Instructor Jose Portilla has been teaching online and in-person workshops for Fortune 500 companies for years, and is a great resource to newbies. Following this class, you should feel comfortable putting SQL and PostgreSQL on your updated résumé.
2-4 hours per week • Hands-on focus • Sharable certificate available
Mostly foundational • Additional education may be desired
This is a thorough beginner course for those with little to no knowledge of SQL or programming.
This introductory, 4-week class, brought to edX by IBM, requires no prior knowledge of databases, SQL, or programming. The course is taught with a focus on hands-on, practical learning, which is the best way to learn coding. You’ll be working with real databases and real data science tools, as well as real-world datasets.
You’ll deepen your knowledge with hands-on labs, learn how to create a database in the cloud, how to use string patterns and ranges to query data, and how to sort and group data in result sets as well as by data type. This class also goes into analyzing data using Python, too.
Students can apply for a verified, shareable certificate for $39.
Quick and easy • Exercises included • No long-term commitment
If you’re not ready to drop big bucks on an intensive class or you haven’t got the time, this is a great place to get acquainted with SQL.
Don’t want to spend weeks learning the ins and outs of SQL? Skillshare’s got you covered. Start with the basics of creating tables and manipulating data. The instructor then moves on to teach students how to retrieve data.
Though the class is short (only 90 minutes), basic SQL is clearly explained, and the exercises at the end of each lesson will help drive the points home. The class is organized into eight easily-digestible sections. You’ll learn everything from simple single table queries to joins and subqueries.
Take a peek at what other students are working on, as they upload their work to the site. The discussion board will help to provide a sense of community, and is a great place to get advice and help as you start making your queries.
Learn from leaders in the field • Comprehensive
Quizzes and assignments may be more difficult than material covered • Hard to get one-on-one advice or help
This is great for an intro to the data science perspective of SQL.
Offered by Coursera, this class focuses on the fundamentals as you get started on your path towards becoming familiar with SQL. With a focus on core concepts, this class also teaches you how to think critically about data and analyze information for data science purposes. It is intended for those with no prior coding experience.
In this four-course series, you’ll learn basics and then move into data wrangling, SQL analysis, AB testing, distributed computing using Apache Spark, and beyond. You will be creating new tables, moving data into them, and discussing real-world programming assignments. Four increasingly difficult hands-on projects will help you to master these skills.
The class is run by UC Davis, and you’ll receive a shareable certificate at the end of the course.
Learn on the go on your phone • Site recommends courses for your
Not for beginners • No reliable instructor support • Some additional education may be needed
This is the tutorial to take if you’re looking to get better at SQL.
If you’ve already got a firm grasp on SQL, but want to learn how to make your queries more efficient, this is the class for you. You’ll gain a better understanding of how databases translate SQL queries into execution plans. This course will teach you how to use data modeling strategies, boosting your query performance.
This LinkedIn Learning class focuses on fine-tuning queries using Indexing, query plans, and data structuring, as well as crafting efficient queries. LinkedIn Learning offers more than 15,000 expert-led courses, and students will love that the modules and activities can be accessed anytime via computer or phone. The SQL tutorial covers your next steps after learning basics to use the language more effectively. One of the most helpful aspects of LinkedIn Learning is that its algorithm will suggest the best classes for you to take next.
Community access and support • Learning roadmaps to guide your education • Great interactive challenges
Very basic • No big projects • Not very challenging
This is a great class to learn how SQL can apply to your career.
Cloud Computing: Beginning SQL Track
Real-world application of SQL is a focus in this class, which is great for those not used to working with data.
$25 – $199 per month
During this 10-hour online course, you’ll learn the basics of SQL and its application, including how to use SQL to read information and to create reports, how to use it for CRUD operations, and how to create complex queries and joins across multiple tables of data and databases with large amounts of information. You’ll learn how to count records, average values, and how to perform mathematical operations on the data you’ve pulled.
Teacher Andrew Chalkley explains in the intro how SQL can be useful to run custom reports to analyze marketing campaigns, and how SQL can be applied to technical marketing and business analyst roles, as well as web developers.
Treehouse will set you on a learning path to guide you from an introduction to SQL to mastering the language. The subscription-based platform will suggest each next class for you to take, and you’ll have access to thousands of hours of courses. You’ll get on-demand, expert-led video courses as well as interactive practice sessions and access to an online community of fellow students.
Downloadable video • Interactive • Subtitles in multiple languages
Must be online to access exercises • No certificate of completion
This class offers a ton, and the community support might be one of the most helpful things about the course.
Cloud Computing: SQL for Data Analysts
You’ll have to be online to access the course, but at a price like this (free!) we’re not complaining.
Four weeks of downloadable video, text, exercises, and quizzes will bring you from SQL basics to optimizing your queries. Best of all, it’s free. This is part of one of Udacity’s nanodegree programs, and to get the full benefit, you’ll have to pay. But if you’re just interested in getting to know SQL, you’re in luck.
The beginning of the class focuses on extracting data, joining tables, and performing aggregations, but soon you’ll be able to do more complex analysis and manipulations using subqueries, temp tables, and window functions. By the course’s end, you’ll be writing efficient SQL queries that are able to handle a variety of more difficult data analysis tasks.
One of the best things about Udacity is the support you’ll rec