For an absolute beginner, SQL stands for structured Query Language. It is the standard language for relational database management systems and is used for operations like creating, deleting, updating and retrieving data from the database. The data in RDBMS is stored in tables and tables are related to each other with common/unique keys. SQL queries operate on one or more tables at a time to manipulate data in one or more tables in a go.
Talking a bit more about SQL, you can use SQL queries with all RDBMS systems including Oracle, mySQL, SQL Server, Sybase, Informix, Postgres and the list is very long. A key point to note here is that many SQL systems like MYSQL have custom SQL extensions as well, custom extensions provide additional features on top of the standard SQL.
Though mastering the standard SQL covers almost everything you need to do with a database, but knowledge of database specific extensions can greatly enhance your productivity.
One can learn SQL basic concepts in a matter of few hours by following good SQL tutorial or spend days struggling with low quality learning material. To make it easier for everyone to find the best SQL tutorial, we have listed down many tutorials and learning resources, each labeled by complexity and delivery media. Most of the SQL resources and tutorials mentioned in this article are free but some of the paid courses are too good to be excluded from this list.
One of the online course that you cannot miss (Have a look for sure, 80% discount, opens in new window) is: The complete SQL Bootcamp – This course is for absolute beginners and includes high quality, bit sized videos with real world coding examples and exercises.
Another one to check before reading further is: SQL for Newbs: Data Analysis for Beginners – This SQL course focuses more on non-technical folks and has been taken by marketing teams of Udemy, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Lyft among many others.
Let us look at the 20 Best Tutorials and resources to learn SQL–
SQLZOO.NET – Online, Interactive – Beginners SQL Tutorial
SQLZOO is one of the best places to learn depths of SQL at your own pace. It is developed and maintained by Edinburgh Napier University and can be accessed free of cost. Few major sections on the website include tutorials, assessments, references, challenges and other useful resources.
The tutorial contains a set of exercises to try your hands with SQL queries, you can write the query, execute the query and see the results right there. You start off with SQL basics, then learn the nested SELECT statements and aggregate functions (such as COUNT, SUM, or AVG), ending with more advanced JOIN operations.
At any time, you can consult the reference section for understanding the theory and details around the specific SQL statement, its usage and background etc., everything is explained with the help of interactive examples. You can take a quiz after completion of each tutorial, and assess yourself on how much you have understood. The Assessments section contains several mini projects and each project includes around 15 questions with difficulty level easy, medium and hard.
The user interface is available in English and Deutsch languages and you can learn SQL using SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL and DB2 database engines.
Beginner SQL Tutorial – Beginners, Online Reading
This is another comprehensive SQL tutorial for beginners and covers all aspects of writing and programming SQL queries. The tutorial covers all aspects of working with databases including creating and dropping tables, database structure, data rows, columns and various SQL commands.
SQL commands are typically divided into four key categories, as listed below, this tutorial covers all four-
- DDL – Data Definition Language
- DML – Data Manipulation Language
- TCL – Transaction Control language
- DCL – Database Control Language)
Following this tutorial, you can learn about SELECT, Alias, Where, Logical Operators, LIKE, IN, NOT IN, Order By, group Functions, Group by, Having, Insert, Update, Delete, Create Database, Alter Database, Drop database, Data Types, Command Groups, Create Table, Alter Table, Auto Increments, Joins, rename, Views, Subquery, Indexes, Grant, Revoke, Oracle Functions, Wild Card Operators, Rank Function and much more.
SQL Course – Beginners, Online with SQL Interpreter
SQL Course is an online guide to learn SQL, it lets you practice what you learn with an online SQL interpreter. By using their online interpreter tools, you can easily create your own tables and perform selects, inserts, updates, deletes, and drops. This tutorial is strategically developed to facilitate learning the basics in the way of Do-It-yourself style.
The tutorial is organized into various sections that include SQL overview, table basics, selecting data, creating tables, inserting into a table, updating records, deleting records, drop a table, advanced queries and details around standard SQL interpreter.
TutorialsPoint.com – Basic to Advanced, Online Interactive
TutorialsPoint is among the best free online learning resources out there in the wild. It has more than 20 million readers who run through 50 million pages every month to learn programming.
When it comes to learning SQL, TutorialsPoint is a great place to learn basics as well as advance level SQL programming. The tutorials are good, resource complete with examples and illustrations and are explained in simple language. Apart from covering the basics SQL commands, tutorial also covers details around SQL injection, handling duplicates, using sequences, sub queries, clone tables, temporary tables, having clause, transactions etc. and other advanced level SQL concepts.
TutorialsPoint also provides Tutor Connect, it is their free platform where students can connect with tutors and get guidance on any topic. Another great thing from the house of Tutorialspoint is a mobile app, you can download it free and start learning on the go.
Udemy is a big name in the online learning marketplace and it has more than 40,00 courses in various topics with over 12 million students at the time of writing this article. Talking about SQL, there are many professional grade courses on Udemy that are taken by thousands of students and professionals from many small and large organizations.
SQL courses on Udemy including practice sessions, video lectures and exercises to master the art of SQL queries. There are multiple course and content of each course is well outlined so that you can pick the course that is right fit for you.
We recommend below courses (popular and bestselling) –
- The complete SQL Bootcamp – This course is for absolute beginners and includes high quality, bit sized videos with real world coding examples and exercises.
- SQL for Newbs: Data Analysis for Beginners – This SQL course focuses more on non-technical folks and has been taken by marketing folks from Udemy, Amazon, Facebook, google and Lyft among many others.
SQLFIDDLE – Online Interactive shell, Intermediate
Rfect SQLFiddle is a different animal altogether and is meant to be used by those who know the basics of database and SQL queries. It doesn’t provide step by step instructions to learn SQL but offers a perfect online platform/interactive shell to write, execute and test your SQL queries.
The website is best suited for one or more of the below activities –
- You want to take help from online forums like StackOverflow or Reddit etc. You can build schema and data on sqlfiddle, take the link of it from sqlfiddle and send as reference to the folks from whom you are seeking help, referring the link, they would be able to investigate the schema and provide help on answering your query.
- To compare SQL statements in different databases including MS SQL Server, Oracle SQLite, MYSQL and PostgreSQL.
- You do not have a database setup on your machine/server, but you want to play around and check query performance etc. against a specific database engine, SQLFiddle is the perfect option for that.
Vertabelo academy is a good place if you are looking for interactive SQL courses. Learn by doing is the way to go on Vertabelo academy and you get to work on real life scenarios with example SQL queries to understand the concepts and techniques.
There are multiple courses on vertableo academy that focus on one or more specialized topics on SQL. Just to give you an idea, some of the course titles are like SQL Basics, operating on data in SQL, Creating Tables in SQL, Standard SQL Functions, Window Functions, Recursive Queries. If you are not sure which course to choose, they have a course advisor, just launch it and figure out what fits best for you.
There are many exercises in each course to ensure you practice enough to cement your understanding. To start off with courses on Verabelo, you need to sign up through any social networking site like Facebook, or Google plus.
SQLBolt is relatively new website but is liked by many sql learners. I like Sqlbolt because it is well organized, interactive tutorial, and the explanation around each topic is provided in detail. After every topic, you have interactive shell to copy/paste the query snippet and execute to see the results. The tasks to be completed to ensure that you have understood the concepts are listed alongside.
Apart from the basics of SQL, it covers intermediate SQL topics, subqueries, unions, intersections and exceptions.
W3Schools SQL Tutorial
W3Schools is also among the most reliable websites and presents the updated and latest tutorials to learn all aspects of SQL.
SQL Course – 2, Advanced
SQLcourse2 is sequel to the most popular sqlcourse, it includes even more advanced and recent features of SQL and is suited fo beginners as well as those who are already familiar with databases and SQL.
Learn SQL from Khan Academy
Khan Academy also offers courses to learn programming for free. It is a not for profit organization and was created back in 2006 by Salman Khan, it grew in popularity ever since its initial launch. Some of the courses (similar not exact) for which you would pay money on websites like Udemy, Lynda, Coursera or Pluralsight are available free of cost on Khan Academy.
The courses on Khan Academy include exercises with many examples to ensure better understanding. The free SQL Tutorial on this website is titled as “Intro to SQL: Querying and managing data”.
The whole course contains 5 parts, that start with SQL fundamentals. It proceeds on with constructing more advanced SQL queries using operators (such as AND/OR, IN, LIKE, etc.) and joins. An ending section called “What to learn next” provides useful tips and links to revise.
SCHEMAVERSE.COM – Learn while playing game, Advanced
Learn while playing games, this is the concept of scehmaverse and that is why it is on this list of top tutorials to learn SQL even though it is not a step by step tutorial. Scehmarverse hosts a “space strategy game” that is implemented in PostgreSQL database. You as a player start from the home planet where you are asked to build new spaceship and mine the resources that are used to create new space shops or upgrade the space ships.
To direct the fleet, you need to use the SQL statements. The game is not meant only for beginners but is for advanced learners who love to use SQL concepts to play the game and learn more about SQL while playing. Apart from becoming fluent in the basic SQL, you will also get a hang of PL/pgSQL.
Learn SQL in Russian Language (Интерактивный учебник по SQL)
If you are looking for a SQL tutorial in Russian Language, this is the perfect place for you. The online SQL tutorial is available in English language as well though. It is among one of the most professionally written and detailed tutorial on internet, the only reason it being not so famous is that the website is .ru instead of .com and for that reason famous mostly among developers from Russian federation.
They also have another website reference – SQL-EX.Ru, this website focuses more on exercises to do hands on practices, be fluent and master various query types in SQL.
SQL Course By StanFord.EDU – Video Lectures and Exercises
A course by Stanford university’s official website is bound to be perfect and comprehensive. This course is highly rated by the students for learning SQL syntax and commands. The course not only explains simple commands but covers the database design along with explaining the use of database management systems for applications.
The tutorial is complete with many exercises and video lectures, additional recommended (but not mandatory) courses include “Introduction and Relational Databases” and “Relational Algebra”.
SQL VIDEO Tutorial
Did we miss adding a fantastic SQL Video Tutorial from YouTube? Yes, but here is the one. This is a super crash course for you in around 30 minutes or so to get a good grasp on what SQL, data and databases are in general.
The only thing I do not like about video tutorials is that, they do not come with interactive playground, but then advantage is that you can watch the video on the go and practice at a later stage.
EssentialSQL is a very popular blog about everything SQL and related databases. It is a place that you do not come to learn SQL as a beginner but as SQL developer to keep yourself updated with the latest and greatest of SQL, and this includes solutions to some very common and complex problems of SQL query writing as well as backend database server management.
Modern SQL is a step ahead than most of the other SQL references and tutorials which only cover the basics or only the most standard command and way of working. Modern SQL focuses more on using the most recent advancements in SQL to solve real world problems.
It also provides standards compliant alternatives available to solve a given problem in more than one ways.
Introduction to SQL – Pluralsight
Pluralsight hosts many courses on different programming topics. When it comes to SQL, the course labeled Introduction to SQL is one of the best available anywhere on the internet. It covers depths of SQL and focuses on fundamentals SQL, for beginner programmers.
Jon Flanders, the author of the tutorial, has vast experience on various technologies and databases. His step by step course will give you good grasp on the SQL and database fundamentals, use of SQL commands, writing queries, creating tables and much more.
Summary – SQL Tutorials
There are many SQL learning resources online in the form of interactive tutorials, eBooks, PDFs, Videos and text format. The best way to begin your journey with SQL training is to figure out the great tutorial or course and then follow it with full focus.
The free tutorials are great to know the in and out of SQL, but at times free might take a bit longer than the paid courses which are backed by professional instructors and are updated on timely basis.