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How Hard Is It to Learn SQL Without IT Experience?

Updated on: September 12, 2023

Learning SQL doesn't have to be difficult! Taking an interactive SQL course is a great way to start your career in the high-paying world of IT.

When you started your adventure with computers, you surely didn't realize how far you could go. You were probably only a few years old, and your first experience with a computer was probably gaming.

Today, computers provide more than just quick access to entertainment; they’re a great tool for earning money. And computers (as well as tablets and smartphones) are good for personal development too – you have access to a wide base of information with a few clicks.

If you want to use a computer to learn new job skills, you can! You need these skills to earn good money. SQL is one such skill; it can be used in IT, but it’s also in marketing, business management, finance, and many other areas.

Learning SQL is mostly an investment in your own future. It costs time and maybe a little bit of money. Is it worth the investment?

Why Should You Learn SQL?

SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, is a dedicated language designed for interacting with databases. If you think of a database, it's probably SQL that's involved. SQL is the go-to tool for extracting, modifying, and managing data stored in relational databases.

Originating from the need for a consistent method to handle vast datasets, this language has since become the de facto standard for database communication across various systems. It's instrumental in areas like data analytics, business intelligence, and software development

Want to learn more about the importance of SQL? Check out the article What Is SQL Used For? It's a great read that breaks down its role in the digital world – perfect for beginners or anyone who wants to know more.

Knowing Knowing Structured Query Language gives you a good chance for a better job. If you want to work in IT, it’s a good start to your journey. Do you want to become a data analyst or data engineer? You’ll need to know how to use data, and SQL enables fast, detailed, and accurate data synthesis.

SQL is also widely used in business. Let's discuss a real-life example: me. I work in marketing. Every day, I meet people who prepare various types of reports, statements, calculations, and statistics. I have to prepare reports and stats, too! My department works with databases that can be difficult to control – especially the really big ones, where Excel doesn’t cut it.

Learn SQL

Relational databases eliminate this problem. They can hold enormous amounts of data. The user can obtain detailed information from the database just by using SQL. And you don’t have to be an IT person to do this – just knowing SQL can get you the information you need!

So if you ask me why you should learn SQL, I'll answer “Why not?”. This technology is well established, sought after by employers, relevant, and useful. There are only benefits to learning SQL.

What Makes SQL So Useful?

SQL is a declarative language. This means that you just need to write queries, set conditions, and learn the functions and their syntax. You don't need to understand exactly what happens after you create a query; all you need to know is how to tell the database what to do and it will figure out how to do it. By taking an SQL course, you can get the information you are interested in. It’s not necessary to know how it all works technically.

With some time, you’ll understand how SQL works. But this isn’t a prerequisite for using it effectively. Unlike


, for example, SQL doesn't take long to get information. With much less work, you can get a comparable result. I found a great lecture on the differences between SQL and Java. See for yourself how they differ:

A few lines of text in SQL have the same effect as pages of Java code – or maybe hours of looking for information yourself. Can you imagine what can be done with the time saved?

From Excel to SQL

In Excel, building a functional spreadsheet is not only time-consuming, but it also requires some proficiency in using the software. (Not to mention hours of inputting and correcting data. Have you ever mistaken a cell? Oof.)

The capabilities of a ‘database’ built in a spreadsheet are much narrower than a true relational database. Excel may be sufficient for companies that operate on a small amount of data. However, as the data in the company grows, so does the difficulty of synthesizing it using a spreadsheet.

And although there are many ways to organize and efficiently retrieve information from large databases, SQL is one of the best. If you've already made the decision that you want to abandon Excel in favor of a database management system (DBMS) like MySQL or PostgreSQL, I'm very happy for you!

If you’re not sure, I recommend trying SQL first so you see how easy working with a true relational database is. Start with the SQL Basics course. Excel is useful for many other things, but data synthesis can be done in a much better way on a relational DBMS.

Easy Data Processing for Reports

You can use databases in many ways. Do you want to get specific numerical data about transactions in your online store? Or maybe analyze the costs of a social media campaign? With SQL, this will take just a few seconds. Are you curious to see what this looks like in reality? Let’s have an example!

Imagine you are a marketing specialist in an audio store. Last month (let's say it was August), your department launched a promotion on all products in the store. It lasted exactly one week: from the 15th to the 22nd.

All the products you sell are stored in the database. Specifically, they’re listed in a table called products, which contains the columns product_id, and model.

Another table, sales, contains the columns product_id, price, amount, date, discount,and payment.

Your task is to prepare a report containing the product models, their price, and the date of sale for all sales made during the promotion period. Notice how simple the query is. You can probably figure some of it out already:

SELECT model, price, date
FROM sales
JOIN products ON products.product_id = sales.product_id
WHERE date BETWEEN '2021-08-15' AND '2021-08-22';

Basically, what we’ve done is to tell the database to give us data from the model, price, and date columns from the sales table. So, we have the sales info, but we don’t have the product names. That’s why we use the JOIN function to match the product IDs in the sales table to the same product IDs in the product table. This lets us return the name of each product involved in the sale. Then we narrow the results down by date, telling the database to only return records where the date is between 15 August and 22 August.

Based on this, you can indicate how many products were sold during the promotion. If you add data from other periods (outside that week), you can indicate the percentage sales trend.

Was the promotion effective? Have you managed to sell more products than usual? You’ll soon know with SQL!

See what opportunities you can gain by learning SQL? You can use it in any industry that requires analyses (and that’s a lot of them)! And it doesn't look too complicated, does it?

A bit of thinking and everything becomes clear!

Learn SQL


How Hard Is Learning SQL?

If you're not a “computer geek”, don't worry. Most users – even the least technical – like SQL.

Is learning SQL difficult? It depends. Your first steps will probably be a challenge because you’re dealing with something completely new. However, over time, you will understand that learning SQL requires self-discipline and motivation – not necessarily technical chops.

Also, it’s important to keep your focus while learning. You’ll be learning things that you may not have heard of before. The new knowledge can be frightening, but after a while you'll be quite comfortable with it. Here you will find some useful tips on how to learn SQL faster.

If you find it easy to motivate yourself and overcome your fear, learning SQL will be easier. And if you follow the advice of our experts, it will be a piece of cake. Their advice will help you save time and avoid moments of doubt.

A Short Guide to Getting Started with SQL

How do you start learning SQL? First, tackle SQL’s basic theory: How does it work? What does its syntax look like?

At the beginning of your journey, it’s especially important to find easy explanations for your questions. Learning SQL by myself, I was initially exhausted by trying to figure out what it was all about. Wherever I looked for answers, I got scientific definitions that I didn't understand.

Learn SQL


Fortunately, our SQL Basics interactive course will help you learn how its syntax and basic functions work. The explanations are very simple and are meant for absolute beginners. Plus, they are offered in several SQL dialects (i.e. versions of SQL that work with specific databases) like MS SQL Server and PostgreSQL. If you already know which dialect your company uses, you may want to take that version of the SQL Basics course.

Also, it’s important to shift to database thinking. To understand databases well and to get the most out of them, you need to understand database structure and logic. Some of this you will learn as you progress through our SQL Basics course, but you may also want to explore more on this subject in the Get Started and SQL sections of our blog.

Finally, remember that forward movement is important; if you feel stuck, it’s easy to give up. So once you understand and can use the basics, look for ways to progress – like taking additional courses.

Why Choose Courses?

For one thing, our SQL courses are interactive: you write actual queries and have them immediately checked. You can instantly see the results. And our courses are 100% online – you don't need to install any external software. You can do everything in your browser.

Even if something goes wrong along the way, you don't need to worry! Hints are available for most tasks, and you can reach out to other students or to the course creators if you need additional help.

Learn SQL and Fall in Love with Databases!

From my own experience, I can say that once you start learning SQL, everything becomes easier. There is something magnetic about learning SQL. Interactive courses make you want to learn more and more. With each completed course, you want to start another one, because learning SQL is really fun. And you gain some great possibilities for getting a new job!

Have you decided it's time to start learning SQL?