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Lesson 3SQL Course Requirements
ObjectiveWhat do you need to learn SQL?

Learning SQL: A Comprehensive Guide

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is an essential tool for working with relational databases. It allows you to access, manipulate, and manage data stored in a database, making it an invaluable skill for data professionals. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to effectively learn SQL and unlock its full potential.

  1. Understand the Basics of Relational Databases: Before diving into SQL, it's crucial to understand the basic concepts of relational databases. Familiarize yourself with terms like tables, records, fields, primary keys, foreign keys, and the relational model. This foundational knowledge will help you grasp how SQL operates within a database context and why it's so powerful.
  2. Choose the Right Learning Resources: There are various resources available to learn SQL, both online and offline. You can choose from interactive tutorials, video courses, textbooks, or workshops. Pick the ones that best align with your learning style and preferences. Some popular resources include:
    1. SQLZoo (Interactive Tutorials)
    2. Mode Analytics SQL Tutorial (Interactive Lessons)
    3. W3Schools SQL Tutorial (Web-based Lessons)
    4. "Learn SQL the Hard Way" by Zed Shaw (Textbook)
    5. Coursera's SQL for Data Science course (Online Course)
  3. Familiarize Yourself with SQL Syntax: SQL has a simple, English-like syntax that is easy to understand. Start by learning basic commands like SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, and CREATE TABLE. Then, explore more complex functions and clauses like JOIN, GROUP BY, ORDER BY, and WHERE. As you progress, you'll gain an understanding of the various ways SQL can be used to manipulate and analyze data.
  4. Practice with Real-life Scenarios: The best way to reinforce your SQL knowledge is by practicing with real-world examples. Work with sample databases or create your own to experiment with various SQL commands. You can also use websites like LeetCode or HackerRank to practice your SQL skills with coding challenges and improve your problem-solving abilities.
  5. Learn Advanced SQL Concepts: Once you've mastered the basics, move on to advanced topics like indexes, views, stored procedures, and triggers. You'll also want to learn about database normalization, transactions, and optimization techniques. Gaining expertise in these areas will allow you to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your SQL queries.
  6. Explore Different Database Management Systems: There are several database management systems (DBMS) that use SQL, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server. Each has its own unique features and syntax variations. By learning the differences and nuances among them, you'll become a more versatile and well-rounded SQL practitioner.
  7. Join a Community: Learning SQL is an ongoing process, and connecting with others who share your interests can help you stay motivated and informed. Participate in online forums, attend meetups, or join social media groups focused on SQL and databases. These communities can provide valuable support, resources, and networking opportunities.
  8. Apply Your SQL Skills to Real Projects: The ultimate goal of learning SQL is to apply it to real-world projects. Look for opportunities to use your SQL skills at work, freelance projects, or personal endeavors. As you gain experience, you'll develop a deeper understanding of SQL's capabilities and limitations, helping you to refine your skills and become an SQL expert.

By following these steps and dedicating time and effort to learning SQL, you will be well on your way to mastering this powerful language and unlocking new opportunities in the world of data management.


Download MySQL from and run the database in localhost.
You should feel free to post a message to the forum regarding any challenges that you may have.
The following are examples of the most popular SQL-compliant databases:
  1. MySQL 5.1/5.6
  2. Microsoft SQL 2015
  3. Microsoft Access 2013/2016
  4. Oracle 11g,12c, 13c
  5. DB2 UDB Versions 7, 8, 9

Course download files

PUBS Database
The database we'll be using is the standard PUBS database. This database is a fairly standard demonstration database that ships with many of the database engines listed and supported by this course.
If you are using Microsoft Access, you will be able to download the PUBS database directly for Access.
If you are using Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle, you will need the scripts provided to populate the database with the required data. The Access database and the Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle scripts are available from the Resources page.

Online WebStore

The following textbook on SQL Queries will help you obtain a better understanding of SQL.
SQL Queries

So this course is aimed at database practitioners in general, and SQL practitioners in particular, who have had some exposure to the relational model but do not know as much about it as they would like to. It is definitely not meant for beginners and is not just a refresher course, either. To be more specific, I am sure you know something about SQL; but would like to apologize for the possibly offensive tone here if your knowledge of the relational model derives only from your knowledge of SQL, then I am afraid you will not know the relational model as well as you should. SQL and the relational model are not the same thing. Here by way of illustration are some relational issues that SQL is not too clear on (to put it mildly):

  1. What databases, relations, and tuples really are
  2. The difference between relation values and relation variables
  3. The relevance of predicates and propositions
  4. The importance of attribute names
  5. The crucial role of integrity constraints
  6. The Information Principle and its significance
and so on (this is not an exhaustive list). All of these issues, and many others, are addressed in this course. I say again: If your knowledge of the relational model derives only from your knowledge of SQL, then you might know.