Why Learn SQL?
SQL (Structured Query Language) is a language used for database management: it allows you to retrieve and manipulate data stored in databases. If you have ever needed to ask someone to pull data so you could answer a business question, you would benefit from being able to use SQL to access the data yourself. Put simply, SQL allows you to unlock the power of data for yourself, your team, and your business.
SQL has been around since the 1970s, and despite considerable evolution in programming languages since then, SQL remains a tried and true language used for data manipulation. Most database systems, like MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server interact with SQL. While many programming languages have come and gone since the 1970s, SQL has maintained its popularity in the Relationship Database Management System (RDMS) realm since that time. In fact, it has advanced considerably over that time and seems likely to stay that way for a long time to come.
Data is Power
In the information age, being able to access, manipulate, and get value from data is an incredibly powerful skill. The amount of data online is proliferating rapidly as papers are getting uploaded to PDFs, ledgers are being replaced by Excel sheets, books are being uploaded to eBooks, and more. SQL allows you to make sense of online information, and to gain valuable insights that make you a more valuable member of any organization.
In this economic climate, one thing is clear: learning SQL is a great skill to add to your resume and a surefire way to grow your job prospects. Whether you work in IT, Marketing, Finance, Product Management, or Data Science, learning SQL is a great investment in yourself and your future professional prospects.
6 Best Free Online Courses to Learn SQL
1. SQL Crash Course Uplimit (best overall)
Uplimit (formerly CoRise) combines industry-leading instructors, a global community of classmates, and interesting applied projects to create a learning experience far better than any other we saw out there. Their course is two weeks long and takes you from A to B, supporting you every step of the way. Highly recommend this to anyone hoping to dive in and get a ton out of their two-week experience.
2. Introduction to Databases and SQL Querying (best for videos only)
This course by Udemy is a great option for people who want the flexibility to learn at their own pace, by video, instead of being supported by a community of learners. In this course, you’ll learn how to query a database, create tables and databases, and ultimately be proficient with basic SQL querying.
3. Learn PostgreSQL Tutorial (best for getting familiar with PostgreSQL database)
This is a great option for anyone looking to learn how to use SQL to work with the PostgreSQL database, in particular. PostgreSQL is the most advanced database used to build back-end systems. You can learn about it via free YouTube videos linked above.
4. Oracle SQL - A Complete Introduction (best for getting familiar with Oracle database)
This is another great, learn-at-your-own-pace option, for people who are specifically interested in using SQL to work with the Oracle database. In this course, you will learn how to write basic SQL statements to view data, insert data, update existing data and delete data in an Oracle database.
5. SQLZoo (best for bookmarking and referencing in the future)
While admittedly not the best looking option on our list, the references SQLZoo have compiled are tremendously helpful for future SQL querying. This serves as a reasonable class, and an even better resource to bookmark and come back to in the future.
6. SQL for Data Science (best for self-paced)
This self paced and video-based course from Coursera is a great option for people interested in learning SQL, but with limited time to do so. You’ll learn the fundamentals of SQL via videos you can watch at your own pace.