The best SQL online courses provide a simple way to learn SQL for databases, covering everything from beginner to advanced users.
The Structured Query Language or SQL as it is more popularly known is the language for interacting with databases (opens in new tab). While the world may be divided on how to pronounce it, everyone seems to agree on the importance of SQL especially in this age of big data and business intelligence (opens in new tab).
With businesses of all sizes churning out an incredible amount of data, there is a huge demand for skills that’ll not only help collect and store this data but also analyse it to make informed decisions. SQL is one of the essential tools in a data scientist’s toolbox and a gateway to data science jobs.
Furthermore, SQL works with many of the popular relational database management systems like MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, and more. And that's regardless as to whether you're running your database in the cloud (opens in new tab) or on-premises.
So whether you are a developer looking to pick up a new skill or a greenhorn, we’ve rounded up some of the best online courses to help you master SQL.
We've also featured the best online courses for learning Linux and Python.
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The best SQL online courses of 2023 in full:
If you are already familiar with SQL and want to put your skills to handle big data, then the "Analysing Big Data with SQL" course is designed for you. The course is provided by Cloudera and can be audited for free.
The course assumes you have basic working knowledge of SQL and builds on top of that to help you write SQL SELECT statements geared towards data analysis. The instructor focuses on two distributed big data SQL engines, specifically Apache Hive and Apache Impala, though you can apply the learning on traditional RDBMS as well.
The course provides a virtual machine (VM) that includes everything you need to follow the course. The VM has specific hardware requirements so make sure you review these before you enroll in the program.
This course is the second in a three-part specialization. If you need to brush up on the concepts and vocabulary associated with the big data, you can take the earlier course that can also be audited for free.
Read our full Coursera review.
While you can find many courses on SQL, there are very few that focus on query optimization. When you get down to writing SQL queries in the real world, you don’t just want the correct result, you also want to ensure your queries are efficient. So while there may be many ways to execute a query, some are more efficient than others. The "Advanced SQL for Query Tuning and Performance Optimization" course will teach you everything you need to know about writing optimized queries.
The course begins with an introduction to Indexing, which is one of the most important tools for tuning queries. It’ll then teach you about query plans, the different ways to map a declarative query to a procedural execution plan, as well as the techniques for structuring your data and crafting your queries to produce efficient execution plans.
Needless to say the course assumes familiarity with SQL and doesn’t cover the basics. Also note that the trainer uses the PostgreSQL database in the course and covers installation on Mac OS X.
The course cost is a reasonable $40 / £30 / AU$60.
Read our full LinkedIn Learning review.
Data is pervasive in business and you can derive a lot of economic value from it. If you are looking to learn skills that’ll help you do this, then take a look at the "Introduction to Data Analytics for Managers" course. The course is designed for managers who recognize the opportunity to use data analytics in business but lack the skills to implement it.
Conducted by the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, the course uses a combination of lectures, business case studies, and hands-on exercises to give students an introduction to data analytics techniques and their application in business.
You’ll get a broad overview of tools and techniques in data analytics and management with enough hands-on examples and exercises to help prepare you for other deep dive courses on the subject. The course uses the browser-based Azure ML Studio IDE and also provides the dataset for you to import into the platform for this course.
Read our full edX review (opens in new tab).
If you are new to databases, the "Ultimate MySQL Bootcamp" course at Udemy is a very useful course to help you get started. The course is designed for absolute beginners with over 20 hours of videos. The course is divided into more than 300 lectures that cover a wide range of topics at a fairly good pace. Without rushing you, the instructor takes you from installing the MySQL database all the way to designing an Instagram-like database, which you’ll then use to solve some real-world data queries.
The instructor originally recommended and used the online Cloud9 IDE, but post its acquisition by Amazon, suggests students use the very similar Goorm.io IDE. He also shows you how to install MySQL on Windows and Mac OS X, but suggests you get to this after you’re done with the course.
After he’s equipped you with the skills to write SQL, the instructor ends the course by helping you build a simple web app. Instead of the popular MySQL and PHP combination, he uses Node.JS and the Express web development framework. While he does provide a crash-course for those who haven’t worked with Node.JS before, remember that this isn’t the focal point of the course.
Read our full Udemy review (opens in new tab).
If you don’t have the luxury of time and want a crash course in SQL, check the course "Master SQL Database Queries in Just 90 Mins" on SkillShare.
The course takes a little more than an hour to complete, and the instructor uses that time judiciously to cover everything from simple single table queries to joins and subqueries. He begins with a quick dive into creating tables and how to manipulate data inside them before moving on to retrieving information. The lessons are well explained and the exercises at the end of the lessons are pretty useful, especially since he spends time explaining all the solutions as well, which is really helpful.
Note that during the course the instructor uses Firefox with the SQLite Manager add-on for executing the SQL queries. However, since that add-on can’t keep up with newer Firefox releases, the instructor now suggests using DB Browser for SQLite, which is pretty similar.
Read our full SkillShare review.
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How we tested the best SQL online courses
To test for the best SQL online courses we searched for a range of popular learning platforms as well as took recommendations from people who are learning SQL or who are already competent with it. Then we followed the tutorials to get an idea of how easy they were to follow, how easy it was to learn essential tools and processes, and additionally what sort of user level the courses were aimed at, such as beginner, medium, or advanced-level users.
Which best SQL online courses is best for you?
When deciding which of the best SQL online courses to use, first consider what level of competency you are currently at. If you've not learned SQL before then it would definitely be recommended to start with the beginner courses, as these will break you into the basics you'll need before you cover more advanced programming features. However, if you already have a decent amount of experience with SQL or other database development language then feel free to try your hand with the more advanced courses.