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Best SQL Courses for Beginners in 2024

Updated on: July 5th, 2024

Whether you’re dreaming of a career in data analytics or just want to learn a new skill, learning SQL is worthwhile. But don’t waste your time on poorly-designed courses or other learning resources! In this article, I’ve collected the best online SQL courses for beginners. Pick one and start being awesome!

SQL (Structured Query Language) has emerged as one of the top skills that recruiters look for when it comes to data related jobs. High-paying and in-demand jobs like data analysts, data engineers, data scientists, and software developers require intermediate to advanced knowledge of SQL. According to the 2023 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 48% of all respondents use SQL, including 51% of professional developers and 40% of other coders (source).

But what is SQL and what makes it so popular? SQL is the key to unlocking the power of databases, which are structured collections of data. By enabling you to query, modify, and utilize this data – which is often essential to business operations – SQL equips you with the ability to unearth valuable insights and drive significant cost savings.

Learn SQL if you want to navigate databases with confidence and contribute to data-driven decision-making in any tech-forward organization.

Check out this video for a quick overview of databases and SQL.

People who are looking for a change in career – inside or outside of IT – or who work in marketing, finance, operations, or HR can benefit from learning SQL. In fact, anyone who deals with data will find SQL a worthy tool to learn.

And what better way to learn a digital-world skill than in a digital fashion – i.e. through online courses? But the sheer volume of online SQL courses available makes it hard to choose a good course.

This is precisely the reason I am writing this article on the top 6 online SQL courses for beginners. If you are looking for something that covers SQL from beginner to advanced levels, check out the SQL From A To Z track from It is one of the most comprehensive SQL learning paths on the market today, with 7 interactive courses, 700+ coding exercises, and an estimated 84 hours of learning time. Plus, the 220K+ people who’ve taken it give it a rating of 4.91 stars.

What Is SQL Used For?

SQL's history began in the 1970s at IBM, where it was developed to manipulate and retrieve data stored in databases. It was originally named SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language) for its ability to express database queries in plain English, which was revolutionary at the time. This innovation provided a foundation for the relational databases that have become essential to modern computing. SQL has evolved over the years, but its core purpose remains the same: to easily and efficientl manage vast amounts of data.

SQL is the go-to tool for managing and manipulating databases. It's like the command center for accessing and organizing the data that businesses rely on every day. Whether it's managing customer information, tracking sales, or running complex data analyses, SQL is the backbone that supports these operations.

For developers, SQL is just as essential. It allows them to build and maintain the database structures that power websites, applications, and software systems. By using SQL, developers can ensure that the data their applications use is accurate, secure, and efficiently retrievable – crucial for delivering a seamless user experience.

Beyond tech professionals, SQL is also for anyone who interacts with data in their role. Marketing teams use it to understand customer behavior, finance teams to track transactions, and HR to manage employee records. Learning SQL opens up opportunities across various industries, making it a versatile and valuable skill to learn.

What Is an RDBMS and Which One Is Best for You?

A Relational Database Management System, or RDBMS, is software that helps you keep track of all your data. It's set up like a bunch of spreadsheets (tables), with rows and columns that store information; it lets different tables talk to each other using special links called relationships. This makes it easy to find and work with lots of data.

Here are some of the major RDBMS options you might consider:

  • Microsoft SQL Server: A top choice for large businesses that need to handle lots of transactions and queries at the same time.
  • MySQL: Super user-friendly and fast, making it perfect for web development and smaller projects.
  • PostgreSQL: Offers lots of advanced features if you're looking to do more complex data work.

Each of these databases uses its own SQL dialect. If you're feeling lost now, just check out Agnieszka's article What Is a SQL Dialect, and Which One Should You Learn?

Additionally, for those looking to deepen their knowledge, consider enrolling in SQL corporate training courses.

What Makes an Online SQL Course Great?

Before getting to the list of beginner-level SQL courses, let me take you through some important things we considered before making our selections. We chose our courses based on five major parameters:

  • Content: This is the first and most important criteria. A good SQL course should cover the basic concepts that are needed for a strong foundation in working with data.
  • Practice Queries and Exercises: Tech-related subjects are best learnt with hands-on practice, like writing your own queries. We looked at the amount and also the quality of the exercises.
  • Ease of Learning: This is mostly about content delivery, including graphics, videos, narration, and how easy it is to set up your practice environment. The fewer the roadblocks to getting you started, the better. For instance, if you have to set up a database on your system before you can start practicing, that’s an effort. But if you can get started with just a browser, that’s ease of learning.
  • Enrollment and student ratings: The voice of the customer says a lot about a course; therefore, this is an important part of our ranking. The more enrollments and the higher the rating, the better. We also factored in some online testimonials, too.
  • Value for Money: This is the overall value for money, which depends on the price you pay and the content you receive.

With that in mind, let’s dive straight into the list of best beginner-level SQL courses.

Our Top 6 Online SQL Courses for Beginners

With so many SQL courses out there, it's tough to know which ones are worth your time and money. That's why I've narrowed it down to the top six. These are the courses that will really teach you what you need to know, without wasting a minute. I've kept beginners in mind, so you can start learning confidently and build a solid foundation in SQL. Here are my top picks that make the cut for quality, value, and effectiveness.

Rank Course Title Provider Format Duration Content Rating Price Dialect Certificate
1 SQL Basics hands-on practice 10h 129 exercises 4.8 $39 Standard SQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, or MySQL yes
2 The Complete SQL Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero Udemy video 9h 83 video lessons 4.6 $85 PostgreSQL yes
3 Introduction to Structured Query Language Coursera video 15h 19 videos, 3 quizzes 4.8 $39/month MySQL yes
4 SQL for Data Science Coursera video 15h 43 videos, 14 tasks 4.6 $39/month Standard SQL yes
5 SQL for Newbs Udemy video 3.5h 33 video lessons 4.3 $85 MySQL yes
6 SQL Tutorial W3Schools hands-on practice n/a 42 exercises n/a free Standard SQL no

1. SQL Basics

Top 6 Online SQL Courses for Beginners

Price: $39 (Unlimited access)

Rating: 4.82/5

What I like the most about the SQL Basics course is how simple yet impactful it is. With 129 interactive exercises, its 10 hours of learning time gives you a comprehensive understanding of core SQL concepts.

It is easy to start learning; you just need a browser and an internet connection and you’ll be ready to write your own SQL queries.

The first two lessons are free for anyone to try. This means you can check if the delivery methods suit you or not. But once you begin the course, I’m betting you’ll want to continue. SQL Basics

The course is for people with no IT background; it does not go into the details of complex SQL constructs. I would recommend it for beginners and for entry-level jobs related to data. The fact that around 330K people have already enrolled and that it has a 4.82/5 rating makes it the top course on this list, and the certificate of completion can be a great addition to your resume.

Write actual SQL queries, tackle exercises, and get immediate feedback. It's a simple, engaging way to get comfortable with SQL fast – especially if you're just starting out. With this awesome online SQL course, you're not just learning; you're actively applying what you learn as you go.

At the time of writing this article, the SQL Basics course is free for students. Find out more on our education offer page.

What users say (source: Reviews on Trustpilot):

Well worth every penny.

The courses and learning tracks make this one of the best platforms for learning SQL. The practice databases make it easy to keep up with the skills learned during the course. It is easy to understand and follow.

Great resource for beginners and experienced users

I purchased the lifetime membership when it was on sale and it's a great deal. The lessons range from beginners to advanced users. Each one is small enough that I can do one or two if I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to studying, or can just keep going when I do have longer periods to focus on learning. It's a great resource for both beginners and those looking to refresh their skills.

2. The Complete SQL Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero

Top 6 Online SQL Courses for Beginners

Offered by: Jose Portilla

Price: $85 (unlimited access)

Rating: 4.7/5

The Complete SQL Bootcamp is arguably the best SQL course on Udemy. It’s highly relevant for a beginner and covers the basics of SQL syntax in PostgreSQL (a popular SQL dialect). This includes the GROUP BY clause, joining tables, and other SQL constructs.

What I like about the course is that it also gives you an idea of how data analysis is done in SQL. This makes it very useful and practical.

Author Jose Portilla delivers training to Fortune 500 companies and it shows in the examples he uses and his delivery of the course. Overall, this makes it a good investment for the price.

What users say (source: Course Reviews on Udemy):

This course is good for beginners who have zero knowledge about the SQL. For explanation part, it would have been great if the order of execution of each of the clause covered in this course has been discussed in detail. This would have made the course more understandable. Overall, a good course but don't expect too much expertise after this course.

3. Coursera: Introduction to Structured Query Language

Top 6 Online SQL Courses for Beginners

Offered by: University of Michigan

Price: $39 USD per month

Rating: 4.8/5

This course provides an introduction to SQL over four weekly modules. It also has a short guide to installing text editors and setting up your MySQL database. It is delivered by Dr. Charles Russell Severance, a highly-regarded professor and the author of several books on programming and other tech subjects.

This course covers the basics of table creation, SELECT statements, working with multiple tables, and foreign keys. Barring the installation part, the content coverage is similar to other basic SQL courses for beginners.

You can choose this if you want to specifically learn the MySQL dialect of SQL. The course can get a little verbose at times, but besides that it is fairly good. With over 160K enrollments, it is one of the most popular online SQL courses.

You’ll get a certificate of completion after finishing this course.

What users say (source: Course Reviews on Coursera):

I had zero prior knowledge of SQL and at times struggled through this course. My main issue was at the beginning of the course trying to install the programs. The screen shots and references to the downloading process are from earlier versions and didn't match up to the newer versions. I enjoyed this course and plan on taking additional courses to expand my knowledge. Thank you.

4. Coursera: SQL for Data Science

Top 6 Online SQL Courses for Beginners

Offered by: University of California, Davis

Price: $39 USD per month

Rating: 4.6/5

If you’re an aspiring data scientist, this is a great course. It teaches you the basics of SQL, data analysis, and data science. This course is led by Sadie St. Lawrence, who has trained over 70,000 people in data science.

Unlike many other courses (which mainly use PostgreSQL or MySQL), this course uses SQLite as the SQL dialect. In addition to basic SQL commands, it will teach you how to identify what part of the data you need (a subset) and how to retrieve it. You’ll also learn how to do simple data analysis with SQL. There are many Coursera deals available on the market.

What users say (source: Course Reviews on Coursera):

The course is nice but I suppose the PowerPoint presentation that accompanies it could use some effects to show us the clauses one by one, as they are spoke. That would make understanding them easier.

5. SQL for Newbs

Top 6 Online SQL Courses for Beginners

Offered by: David Kim, Peter Sefton

Price: $85 (Unlimited access)

Rating: 4.3/5

This course is focused on the practical application of data analysis. If you want to become a data analyst or you need to use data analysis in your work, this course may be for you.

The whole course is structured like a business case study. It is different from other courses in the sense that learning happens in a fun way, with David and Pete taking you through the analysis used in setting up a new company. It’s like college friends teaching you some stuff. In the course, you learn the queries a new business would run in the initial days and that is how you understand various SQL concepts.

The course uses MySQL. It can feel a little slow at times, so if you like learning fast, I would recommend one of the other courses on the list.

What users say (source: Course Reviews on Udemy):

The course is very helpful to learn the basic concepts of SQL. You can be able to write SQL queries only just watching this video. Trust me this video helps you a lot for interviews too.

6. W3Schools: SQL Tutorial

Top 6 Online SQL Courses for Beginners

Some would say W3Schools’ SQL Tutorial is not a course: a course needs to have some videos, an instructor, etc. But the intent of this article is to give you the best online sources to study SQL, even if they don’t match a conventional definition of an online ‘course’.

The reason I like W3Schools is because it covers the basics of SQL very well. It suits someone who learns by reading online and practicing things by themselves. You  may choose to use it as a secondary learning source and make one of the other courses your primary choice. Or you can use it for reference whenever you need help or a sample query with a simple SQL construct.

I’d encourage you to take one of the courses from the above list, but also keep referencing W3schools to review your basics.

All Set to Learn SQL?

I hope this list helps you start learning SQL. It's a powerful skill that can open doors to numerous career opportunities. Knowing SQL is essential, whether you're aiming to become a data analyst, a software developer, or you just want to understand data better. The courses I've picked out for you are designed to make learning SQL straightforward and practical, with plenty of exercises to get you comfortable with writing and running queries.

Remember, the right course for you will depend on your learning style and career goals. Some courses are great for beginners who need to start with the basics, while others can help you dive into more complex topics as you get more confident.

Whichever path you choose, stick with it, practice regularly, and don't be afraid to ask questions. The more you use SQL, the more natural it will feel. Here are some great resources to enhance your learning experience:

As you progress, keep exploring and building your SQL skills. The world of data is always evolving, and there's always something new to learn. So, use this guide as a starting point and keep pushing your limits. With the foundational knowledge from these courses, you'll be well on your way to becoming proficient in SQL and ready to tackle any data challenge that comes your way.

After you've got the SQL basics down, you'll soon find yourself in need of good SQL practice to sharpen your skills. It's a smart move to bookmark this awesome hands-on SQL course and circle back to it when you're ready to take your abilities to the next level. Regular practice is the key to mastering SQL, so having a go-to resource for challenging exercises will be invaluable on your learning journey.

You may also want to check out our previous lists of top SQL courses:

But no matter what course you choose, the important thing is to start applying your learning. If you need inspiration, these movies where SQL is one of the main stars should give you a boost.

If you are a student, try to use SQL in your internship or in a project. If you’re a working professional, try out a couple of analyses in your workplace and see if you can draw some meaningful conclusions. Once you get ahold of SQL, you can create some terrific presentations filled with data-backed recommendations.

All the best and enjoy learning SQL!