Table of Contents
- 1 What Are The Best Ways To Start Learning SQL?
- 2 What Other Resources Can I Use?
- 3 How Long Does It Take To Learn SQL?
- 4 What’s The Best Way To Practice SQL for beginners?
- 5 Top Tips For Learning SQL
- 6 Conclusion
What Are The Best Ways To Start Learning SQL?Learning SQL can be difficult. Although it isn’t a super complex language, it is structured differently to the majority of other languages. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t learn SQL basics – just that you need to think carefully about how to do it. In my honest opinion, the best way to learn SQL for beginners is by enrolling in and working through an online course. Online courses offer a wide range of features and other resources that you can draw on to help you discover how to learn SQL. Some of the main benefits of learning via an online course include:
- They are flexible. If you’re trying to figure out the best way to learn SQL and move from beginner to pro level, then I’d recommend using an online course. Online courses are flexible, which means that you can learn when it suits you. However, this means that you also need to make sure that you’re quite self-motivated, otherwise you’ll never get anywhere!
- They are affordable. If you want to learn how to code by taking a university course, you will probably have to pay a significant amount of money (depending on where in the world you are of course). However, basic online courses teaching how to learn SQL are usually either free or very cheap.
- You can go over content as many times as you want. In my opinion, this in itself would be enough of a reason to enroll in an online course teaching SQL for beginners. Being able to return to difficult concepts and go over them as often as you want will help you build a complete knowledge of SQL as you journey towards becoming a pro database programmer.
The Interactive SQL TutorialInteractive SQL Tutorial allow you to write code directly in your browser. You will receive feedback on every piece of code you write, which means that you can quickly modify and improve your coding style. If you decide to work through this course, you will learn a wide range of different SQL core concepts, including basic syntax, how to write commands to access your database and the difference between different types of data.
The Unity Database Interaction TutorialIf you’ve already got a basic understanding of how to learn SQL for beginners, you might be able to skip the simplest courses. In fact, you may find that you have enough knowledge to move straight onto a course like the Unity Database Interaction Tutorial. This course will teach you how to use both SQL and PHP to interact with Unity video game databases built on MySQL. I would recommend working through the Interactive SQL Tutorial outlined above before you take this course, even if you already know a bit of SQL. Doing so will make sure that you have enough basic knowledge to move on to this more complicated course.
The Text-Based SQL TutorialAlternatively, you might decide that you want to learn SQL by working through a text-based tutorial. In this case, I would recommend having a quick look at the BitDegree SQL tutorial. This comprehensive guide can be used as both a learning resource and a language reference. To use it as a learning resource, I would recommend working through the different sections of the guide slowly, practicing your code and taking notes as you go. Start with the What Is SQL introduction section and work through the rest of the Tutorial in order. I’ll go into more details about language references in the following section.
What Other Resources Can I Use?Although online courses are the best way to learn SQL – in my opinion anyway – there are plenty of different resources out there that you can draw on to help you become a pro coder. I’ve focused on free resources here, but there are plenty of paid resources available as well. A quick Google search will turn up some of the best.
Language Reference GuidesIt doesn’t matter if you’re learning SQL for beginners or Python for professionals, language reference guides are always a great resource to get familiar with. In most cases, language references contain comprehensive information about everything to do with a language – including syntax, core concepts, and coding best practices. When you’re having trouble remembering something or you can’t quite seem to get your syntax right, all you need to do is head over to your language reference and find the necessary information to help you out. My favorite SQL reference guide for general use is the Oracle SQL Language Reference. Alternatively, have a look at the BitDegree Learn SQL Guide, which I touched on above. Note that different databases will have slightly different ways of doing things, so you should always try and find a database specific reference when you’re working on a single database.
VideosIn my opinion, short educational videos are one of the most underrated learning resources out there. They can be used to find information about difficult concepts, to practice your skills, or to simply learn more about SQL basics. I like to use videos when I’m having a lot of trouble with a particular piece of syntax or concept. I simply head over to YouTube and do a quick search of the things I’m having trouble with. Then I try and choose a video which looks like it will explain things clearly, which has a lot of views, and which has a good rating. Watch the video, take notes, and don’t forget to subscribe to your favorite SQL channels.
Coding ChallengesCoding challenges are another great way to practice SQL. Hacker Rank is my favorite website when it comes to finding challenges and exercises to practice SQL for beginners. It boasts a whole range of different exercises which are all carefully categorized by difficulty and topic. Most of them will provide you with clear instructions, including an endpoint that you have to get to, and will then ask you to write the code to fulfill these instructions and complete the challenge.
How Long Does It Take To Learn SQL?
What’s The Best Way To Practice SQL for beginners?When it comes to learning a programming language like SQL, regular practice is the key to building and maintaining knowledge. If possible, you should try and practice every day. If not, practice as often as you can. Even a few minutes per day is enough to keep important concepts and syntax fresh in your mind. Read over your notes before bed, work through a few coding challenges, or simply participate in a few forum discussions. Some of my favorite ways to practice SQL include:
By Working Through Coding ChallengesIn my opinion, coding challenges are one of the best ways to practice your SQL skills. I’ve already gone over them above, so I won’t spend too much time here, but be sure to check out a few of the following websites:
- Hacker Rank
- Hacker Earth
- Coder Byte
Creating And Manipulating Your Own DatabaseSQL is used to manipulate, modify, and analyze data within databases. It, therefore, makes sense to practice your SQL for beginners by creating and playing with your own database. Doing this will help you become familiar with the skills that you will need to become a SQL pro. One of the most widespread database management systems in the world is MySQL. I would, therefore, recommend setting up your own database on this platform and playing with it so that you become familiar with the way it works and with the kind of things that you can do with it. Try and get out of your comfort zone and learn new skills as often as you can. Doing this will help you get the most out of the time you spend practicing your code.
Networking On ForumsOnline SQL forums are also a great way to practice your coding skills. Although you won’t find set challenges or step-by-step instructions to practice your SQL on a forum, you will find a lot of questions that you can answer and problems that you can help people solve.
Top Tips For Learning SQLNow, learning SQL can be hard – trust me, I’ve done it myself. Unless you’ve managed to find a decent support network, you might find that you have trouble staying motivated and working on your code regularly. With this in mind, I’ve drawn on my experienced to put together a short list of tips to help you move from SQL for beginners to becoming a pro SQL coder. Tip 1: Network As Much As Possible Building a strong support network is essential when it comes to learning how to program in any language. SQL is no different. Get familiar with forums, and make a name for yourself on your favorites. Try and find any physical meetup groups in your area, and get down to events whenever you can. I find that a quick Facebook or Meetup.com search usually turns up plenty of physical SQL and general programming groups. If you can’t find any groups in your area, consider starting one! Tip 2: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect According to the old saying, ‘Practice makes perfect’. Unfortunately, this isn’t entirely true. Instead, I like to work with the motto that:
“Perfect practice makes perfect.”When you’re practicing your SQL code, it’s important to follow best practices. If you get into bad habits early in your coding career it can be difficult to break them later on. You will find yourself running into problems with your code, and you might not know how to do things properly if you practice lazily. Always do things the right way, even if it takes longer or is more difficult!