Did you know that the SQL language has been around for more than half a century?
That's longer than the lifespan of the World Wide Web, which didn't come into existence until the late 1980s!
It was initially developed at IBM by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce in the early 1970s, and it's still going strong today, powering businesses, governments, and even social media platforms around the globe.
So when you like a post, book a flight, or stream your favourite show, there's a good chance SQL is working behind the scenes to make it all happen.
SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language specifically designed for managing and manipulating relational databases.
It serves as a universal language that enables users to interact with databases, extract information, modify data, and perform a wide range of operations.
SQL provides a standardised way to communicate with databases, making it easier for developers, analysts, and data professionals to access and work with the vast amounts of information stored within these systems.
SQL plays a key role in managing and analysing information.
Whether you're working with customer data, financial records, inventory systems, or any other type of structured data, SQL will allow you to extract valuable insights and make informed decisions.
SQL allows you to retrieve specific subsets of data, filter and sort information, perform calculations, aggregate results, and much more.
SQL is the language of choice for working with relational databases, which are widely used across industries. From finance and healthcare to e-commerce and marketing, relational databases form the backbone of numerous applications and systems.
Having a solid understanding of SQL enables you to efficiently navigate and manipulate these databases, and knowing it will help make you a valuable asset in the data-driven era.
The Advantages of Learning SQL
There are several advantages and opportunities for learning SQL.
Here are a few key benefits:
1. Improved Data Manipulation
SQL gives you the skills to retrieve, update, and delete data from databases with ease. This enables you to perform complex operations and transform raw data into meaningful insights.
2. Enhanced Data Analysis
SQL allows you to perform advanced data analysis tasks, such as aggregating information, generating reports, and uncovering patterns and trends. With SQL, you can quickly gain valuable insights from large datasets.
3. Career Growth
In today's job market, SQL proficiency is highly sought after. By mastering SQL, you enhance your employability in various roles, such as data analyst, database administrator, business intelligence professional, and more.
4. Flexibility and Portability
SQL is a standardised language used across different database management systems, including popular ones like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQL Server. Once you learn SQL, you can apply your skills across multiple platforms, making it easier to transition between projects and organisations.
5. Integration with Other Tools and Languages
SQL seamlessly integrates with other tools and programming languages. You can leverage SQL in conjunction with Python, R, or other languages to perform advanced analytics, build data pipelines, or create dynamic applications.
If you decide to invest your time and effort in learning SQL, you can gain a valuable skillset that empowers you to work with data effectively, accelerate your career growth, and contribute to data-driven decision-making processes.
Now that we've covered the basics and the significance of SQL, let's take a look at some great free resources that can help you get started learning SQL today:
#1 - Codecademy
Codecademy's Learn SQL course is designed to equip you with the skills needed to manage large datasets and analyse real data using the standard data management language, SQL.
Through this course, you will delve into the fundamentals of SQL, enabling you to handle and manipulate large datasets efficiently. You will gain hands-on experience analysing real data, allowing you to extract meaningful insights and draw actionable conclusions.
Overall, Codecademy's Learn SQL course provides a comprehensive learning experience for beginners.
#2 - Khan Academy
Khan Academy's Intro to SQL course provides a detailed learning experience for mastering SQL.
You'll start with SQL basics, progressing to advanced queries and relational queries, including joins. The course also covers modifying databases, giving you the ability to update, delete, and alter data.
By completing the course, you'll gain a solid understanding of SQL fundamentals and be well-equipped to work with databases effectively.
Additionally, the course gives guidance on further learning opportunities, enabling you to continue expanding your knowledge of SQL and databases.
#3 - SQLBolt
SQLBolt's Introduction to SQL course is designed to help users learn SQL in order to interact with existing databases.
The course begins by introducing the different components of an SQL query, recognising the practical context of using SQL with databases. Before delving into how to alter tables and schemas, as well as creating new tables from scratch.
Each lesson presents a new concept and concludes with an interactive exercise. The course encourages learners to progress at their own pace and encourages experimentation with the exercises.
By completing this course, you will establish a strong foundation in SQL, empowering you to confidently use SQL in your own projects and beyond.
#4 - W3Schools
W3Schools offers extensive SQL Tutorials teaching you how to effectively use SQL. The tutorials covers various database systems, including MySQL, SQL Server, MS Access, Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Postgres, and more.
Each chapter in the course is accompanied by practical examples that allow you to apply the concepts you learn.
Additionally, W3Schools provides an interactive SQL editor, enabling you to modify SQL statements and instantly view the results with a simple click of a button.
Throughout the tutorials, you'll gain the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to work with SQL across different database systems, making it a valuable resource for beginners and those looking to expand their SQL skills.
#5 - Kaggle
Kaggle's Intro to SQL course provides a strong learning experience for efficiently working with databases, specifically utilising Google BigQuery.
This course covers essential SQL concepts, starting with the workflow for handling large datasets and progressing through foundational components like SELECT, FROM, and WHERE. It then explores advanced topics such as GROUP BY, HAVING, and COUNT to derive valuable insights from SQL queries.
You'll also learn about ORDER BY, AS, and WITH statements to prioritise data and enhance query readability.
Once completed, you'll have a solid SQL foundation and the ability to effectively work with databases using Google BigQuery.
#6 - SQLCourse
SQLCourse is a unique tutorial website that offers easy-to-understand SQL instructions tailored to your skill level.
The platform includes an interactive online SQL interpreter, providing you with the opportunity to practice and apply what you learn in real time.
The Beginner SQL Course available on SQLCourse is designed as an ideal starting point for individuals new to database programming or administration.
Once you’re done with that, the platform offers a more Advanced SQL Course where you can further enhance your skills and gain a deeper understanding of SQL through more advanced features and clauses.
#7 - TutorialsPoint
TutorialsPoint's SQL Tutorial course is designed to provide a quick and easy way for beginners to learn SQL and database programming.
It covers a wide range of important concepts, offering an understanding of SQL and providing practical insights into its workings.
This tutorial is suitable for beginners who are new to SQL and want to grasp both basic and advanced concepts. It offers clear explanations and includes relevant examples to enhance understanding.
Before getting into the SQL examples provided in the tutorial, it is recommended to have a basic understanding of databases, particularly relational database management systems (RDBMS) and associated concepts.
By completing this course, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills to confidently work with SQL and utilise it in your database projects.
#8 - Udacity
Udacity's Intro to Relational Databases course offers a quick and enjoyable introduction to using relational databases within your code, with a focus on Python examples.
Throughout the course, you will gain a solid understanding of SQL, database design principles, and the Python API for connecting your code to a database.
Additionally, you'll learn essential techniques for safeguarding your database-backed web applications against common security vulnerabilities.
By the end of this course, you will have the skills to develop code that efficiently stores and retrieves application data using a reliable and secure database backend.
#9 - Sololearn
Sololearn's Introduction to SQL course will guide you to harness the power of data by teaching you the SQL standardised database language.
Throughout the course, you'll cover essential topics such as understanding database structures to comprehend how data is stored.
You’ll also use SQL queries to select, sort, and identify data from databases, employing the WHERE command and logical conditions to filter data effectively, leveraging aggregation functions to group data, and gaining practical experience in creating tables by adding, updating, and removing data.
This course is designed for beginners, requiring no prior coding experience.
If you need a handy quick reminder of SQL syntax for speedy coding, here are some useful cheatsheets you may want to bookmark or download:
For those who prefer watching videos, there are some great tutorials available on YouTube:
- SQL - Full course for beginners
- SQL For Beginners Tutorial
- Learn Basic SQL in 10 Minutes
- Learn SQL in 1 Hour - SQL Basics for Beginners
In conclusion, learning SQL is useful for anyone working with data. In this article we’ve discussed nine great free resources, including websites, courses, and online videos, that offer comprehensive SQL learning opportunities.
From Codecademy's Learn SQL to Sololearn's Introduction to SQL, these resources cover a range of topics, including managing large datasets, querying, joining data, and modifying databases. Whether you're a beginner or already familiar with SQL, you’re sure to learn something new!
By taking advantage of these free SQL resources, you can gain the knowledge and skills to effectively work with databases, manipulate data, and make informed decisions.
In SQL, the only LIMIT is your imagination!
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