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Is MS SQL Server Still Worth Learning in 2021?

There are some open-source database solutions for MS SQL Server. Some have more support from the online community, and others may run faster in certain situations. Nevertheless, MS SQL Server is still hot and is not going anywhere. Is it worth learning MS SQL Server in 2021? In this article, I will try to answer this question. Read on.

What is MS SQL Server?

Let's start with the basics. You've probably heard that MS SQL Server is a popular Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). An RDBMS is a set of solutions for working with relational databases.

This software will help you work with databases. We use SQL or one of its dialects to support such solutions. You can read more about DBMSs from a great article by my friend Adrian: What Is a DBMS?

In the case of MS SQL Server, the language in which we write queries is T-SQL. It is similar to standard SQL, although some syntax elements are different. From the point of view of the casual user, there aren't any big differences.

If you can use SQL Standard, you will be able to use T-SQL just as well. Remember, you can always check the differences in the documentation. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend the article 14 Differences Between Standard SQL and Transact-SQL.

How To Start Using MS SQL Server

Are you new to T-SQL and would like to start using MS SQL Server? Does your company use a Microsoft solution? Would like to be able to use it as well?

If you are a beginner, start with this great interactive SQL Basics in MS SQL Server course. You can also choose one of the SQL Fundamentals in MS SQL Server mini-tracks. With these resources, you will learn the basics that will allow you to freely work with databases and write simple SQL queries.

How Did MS SQL Server Become So Popular?

MS SQL Server was created by engineers from Microsoft in 1989. Back then, it ran as a 16-bit server for the OS/2 operating system. It was still a few years before the Windows era! Since then, the software has had many versions and updates.

Why has MS SQL Server become popular? First of all, it was developed by an IT giant that dominated the market throughout the 90s. You may not remember, but everyone wanted Windows.

If someone wanted an office package, they chose MS Office. If they worked with databases, they used MS Access or MS SQL Server.


Of course, there were many alternative solutions on the market. Oracle was popular, and PostgreSQL was gaining popularity. But in the 90s, Microsoft was synonymous with modernity and stability.

This was especially true in the eyes of business owners and managers who chose the software for their enterprises. MS SQL Server provided the performance needed and was updated regularly. Subsequent patches only improved its operation.

In retrospect, I am not surprised that Microsoft dominated the market. Microsoft's solution is used to this day, and despite the passage of time, it remains on the top.

The latest edition is MS SQL Server 2019. It comes in many versions based on various licenses, paid and free.

If you are just starting out, the free Microsoft SQL Server Express is enough. Although it is significantly reduced compared to its paid, standard counterpart, you can practice MS SQL and learn T-SQL with it. You can download it directly from the Microsoft website.

SQL Server 2019

Is MS SQL Server Still Worth Learning?

I can answer this question with full conviction: YES! Why is it worth learning? It is still an industry standard. Just take a look at some database popularity surveys.

Some time ago, I wrote the article The Most Popular Databases in 2020. The Stack Overflow survey clearly shows that MS SQL Server is one of the top three most popular solutions. And as trends indicate, this will not change in the coming years.

You can also take a look at another study, the prestigious DB-Engines Ranking. Although my favorite PostgreSQL is on its heels, MS SQL Server is on the podium.

DB-Engines Ranking


What does this mean for you? MS SQL Server will be on the market for many years to come. Thus, there will be a demand for people who can use it.

Being an expert in T-SQL and MS SQL Server gives you a great chance for employment with good earnings. Learn about the positions you could get with MS SQL by reading Types of Database Jobs: Choose One of Them and Start Being Awesome.

From the entrepreneur's point of view, it is worth choosing Microsoft software. People value the ease of its implementation in a company, exemplary support and customer service, as well as clear and legible licenses.

If you are a micro-enterprise and need a relational database to handle simple things, choose the Express version or PostgreSQL (I have written many times that I really like this open-source solution).

However, if you are a manager in a large corporation, MS SQL Server should at least be taken into account when choosing a database environment.

MS SQL Server has been on the market for 30 years, and I do not know a case in which it failed or did not meet expectations. Moreover, because it has ruled for a long time, you can find real experts who have used it for years. This is not always possible with, for example, some new NoSQL products and solutions.

Do you want to use a cloud database and at the same time use the T-SQL learned in our course? It’s simple!

Since 2010, Microsoft has been developing its Azure platform and Microsoft Azure SQL Database. This modern tool is widely used around the world and, next to solutions from AWS and Oracle, is the industry standard when it comes to cloud computing.

Are T-SQL and MS SQL Server Hard to Learn?

It all depends on how you approach learning. In my opinion, however, everyone, even people with no prior IT experience, will be able to learn T-SQL and use MS SQL Server.

SQL is one of the easiest branches of IT. It is primarily logical and is based on English syntax. Here, you will write your database queries.

What does this mean? Just ask the database for specific data, and the program will do everything for you. Check out this article to learn more about how easy SQL is.

Should you still learn MS SQL Server in 2021?

If you are still hesitant about whether you should learn MS SQL Server in 2021, read Microsoft SQL Server Pros and Cons. This will help you decide if it's worth it.

A career in MS SQL Server databases is a great choice. It will give you a tremendous chance of promotion. Imagine the moment when your boss congratulates you on a well-prepared report and analysis based on data from the database.

Or, do you want to finally quit your job and find something much better, including better pay? Do you know where to look? Here are my Top 10 Websites That Will Help You Find the Perfect SQL Job.

Just before writing this paragraph, I did a little test. I entered “SQL Server” in the LinkedIn job search engine. What kind of results did I get? I could choose from over 35,000 job postings in the US, both full-time and remote. If you prefer to work as a freelancer, I recommend this article.

Have you decided to apply for a position? Then it’s a good time to prepare for the interview. If you want to do well, I recommend the What SQL Practice Do You Need to Prepare for a Technical Job Interview? Follow Rebecca's advice and give yourself a chance to succeed.


I hope I managed to convince you that it is worth learning MS SQL Server in 2021. It is a brilliant database solution that is the industry standard. Okay, what now? How do you start your adventure with T-SQL?

You can start with our popular SQL Basics in MS SQL Server course. It provides the basics that will allow you to write your SQL queries in an MS SQL Server database and create your first data analysis.

With this set of 131 interactive exercises, you will not only learn T-SQL syntax but also practice it immediately and see how it works in our online code editor. You don't need to install or set anything up. All you need is an internet connection, a browser, and a bit of motivation.

Are you afraid that you will fail? Are you worried that with family and work, you won't find time to learn SQL? I know this well, which is why I wrote the article Learning SQL When You Work and Have a Family.

SQL from A to Z in MS SQL Server

If you are serious about becoming, for example, an MS SQL Developer, accept the challenge and complete our SQL from A to Z in MS SQL Server track. Here, you will find everything from the basics to advanced topics like Window Functions and CTE.

Everything is arranged in a logical sequence. So, the learning process will be as effective and fast as possible.

We believe in hands-on experience and learning by doing. And our track consists of 7 interactive courses. It should take you around 90 hours to complete all of them. This is all it takes to become a SQL expert. Cool, right?

So, what are you waiting for? As my favorite character from the series "How I Met Your Mother" said, it's gonna be LEGEN (wait for it) DARY!

It's gonna be LEGEN (wait for it) DARY!