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5 Reasons Why No One Should Be Afraid to Learn SQL

Updated on: September 17, 2023

Think SQL is just for tech experts? Think again. In this article, we'll bust some common myths and show you that anyone can learn SQL. Let's dive in and make SQL simple.

In today’s world, even those in non-technical jobs need some technical skills. And you don’t have to be a hard-core nerd to get these skills. Everywhere you look, from marketing to management, a touch of tech knowledge can set you apart. It's no longer just the realm of IT departments and software engineers. Let me tell you my own story.

A few years ago, I wasn’t considering learning SQL or anything else that I labeled “technical”. My background is in sociology, journalism, and scriptwriting, and I thought computer languages were pretty sci-fi.  However, once I started working on an e-learning project, I became increasingly aware of the fact that tech skills are not limited to programmers and developers.

It was a revelation. If someone like me – with a background far removed from technology – could see the value in these skills, then truly anyone can and should use them. The digital age doesn't discriminate; it invites everyone to join in, learn, and innovate.

Does this make you want to learn SQL? You can jump into the basics of databases with our SQL Basics course. It's made for newbies! Through interactive online exercises, you'll learn how to ask databases for the info you want. From retrieving a single piece of information to joining tables together, this course is your starting point for understanding SQL. Give it a go!

I Want to Learn SQL, But…

I decided to experiment with learning some of these strange, non-spoken languages we call programming languages.  I looked up Structured Query Language (SQL) on Wikipedia, but my anxiety grew with every sentence I read. Here’s what I was thinking:

  • “Whoa, this is too difficult for me!”
  • “I’ve never done any programming before. I don’t have the knowledge for this.”
  • “Wait, do I need technical skills to learn SQL?”
  • “What new software will I need?”
  • “Maybe I don’t really need SQL after all …”
  • “How on earth does one speak to a database?!”

The only solution was to give it a try. Despite my initial apprehension, I reminded myself of the countless stories I'd heard about individuals diving into unfamiliar territories and emerging triumphant. If they could do it, why couldn't I? After all, every expert was once a beginner.

I began by enrolling in an online SQL Basics course designed for beginners. The course promised to break down SQL into digestible chunks, making it easier for someone with no background in programming languages to understand. The first few lessons were challenging, but they were also intriguing. I learned about relational databases, how queries worked, and the magic behind the SELECT statement. I was going to learn to talk to a database!  Well, not “talk”, precisely, but at least communicate.  I would learn about relationships – relationships between tables and pieces of data, but still relationships!  (These are what put the “relational” in “relational database”.)  This sounded like a familiar, human-like sort of concept.

As days turned into weeks, I found myself becoming more comfortable with the language. The initial fear of the unknown was replaced by a sense of accomplishment. I realized that while technical skills were beneficial, what mattered more was perseverance, curiosity, and the willingness to learn.

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The more I practiced, the more I began to appreciate the power and flexibility of SQL. I could retrieve specific data, manipulate it, and even visualize it in ways I hadn't imagined.

Looking back, I'm grateful I didn't let my initial fears stop me. By giving SQL a try, I gained a deeper understanding of the digital world around me – and I acquired a valuable skill. This reinforced the idea that with the right resources and mindset, anyone can learn and master analytical skills and tools, regardless of their background.

Five Reasons I’m Not Afraid of SQL

Soon, I found out that SQL could have a lot of potential for non-technical people like me. As I got near the end of the course, I started to see databases everywhere. And I learned five reasons why no one should be afraid of using SQL:

1.   Basic SQL Is Logical and Intuitive

SQL, at its core, is much like the structured query language of our everyday conversations. When you learn SQL, it's akin to engaging in a dialogue with your database. Instead of vocalizing your thoughts, you're meticulously typing out your queries. Each of these queries or select statements is a clear, concise command to which the database promptly responds.

Foundational SQL is rooted in simplicity and logic, making the process of crafting an SQL query often more intuitive than sifting through multiple Excel functions.

Embarking on your journey to learn SQL with offers an enriched experience. Online SQL courses are meticulously designed, not merely to instruct, but to immerse and engage. After diving into each exercise, you're met with immediate feedback, reminiscent of having a seasoned tutor by your side. This feedback isn't just about affirmation; it's about active learning and refining your technical skills. The instructions of tasks and explanations are clear, and hints are provided if anyone gets stuck.

2.   You Only Need Basic Math and Some Excel

You do need some basic math to use SQL.  You’ll need to know about “less than”, “greater than”, and “equal to” signs – although you can get a quick refresher online if you need to.  You’ll be using SQL to add, subtract, divide, and multiply.  In time, you’ll also learn some simple statistics.  Don’t worry if your math skills are rusty; what you need to do will be described in the step-by-step directions.   Also, understanding the fundamentals of how spreadsheets like Excel work and what they do will help.  I venture to say that most people have these skills already.

As I moved through the course, I sometimes went back to previous lessons just to make sure I was doing things correctly (or if I’d forgotten how to do them).  I also made a lot of notes.  This helped me learn, but it also gave me some information to review afterward.

3.   You Have Control of How You Learn SQL

One thing will determine how well you learn SQL, and that’s your own motivation.  It’s like any other language, be it Java or Japanese.  You need to have the motivation within yourself to learn it.  You also need to give it time on a regular basis.  And it helps if the method you use to learn is fun and gives you some encouragement to continue.

For me, an online course worked well because I could do it anytime. Plus, many courses make it like a game, seeing how many points you can get or how quickly you can get to the next level.

This helped me keep going, and the immediate feedback I already mentioned boosted my confidence.  I loved knowing that I had built a query by myself, without using any hints!

There’s also some excitement whenever you start a new lesson. What will we discover next? What else can we achieve?  I remember when I found out how to find the total number of rows in my database without actually counting them – I felt like I had made a major breakthrough, and it made me want to see what else I could learn.

5.   You Actually Have Some Analytical Powers Already

Being “analytical” is a really in-demand ability, and it’s one that seems really rare.  But as I learned SQL, I realized that part of being analytical is being detail-oriented and organized (a combination that I call “tidy-minded”) and precise.

Imagining what a specific query will do requires you to think about the details.  It can also require patience to get it right!  Several times, I could not figure out why a query wasn’t working.  After I carefully examined the details of what I was writing, I could see the solution. Also, I got quite a lot of queries wrong because I misspelled things. I guess that in addition to being detail-oriented, I needed to use my typing and editing skills.

So remember, neither SQL nor analytical skills belong solely to technical people!

5.   SQL Doesn’t Care About Your IT Background

Now it’s time for a confession: I haven’t taken the final SQL test yet. Does this mean that I’m unable to learn SQL? No; I think the cause is somewhere else – a lack of time and energy, perhaps. Or maybe the motivation is lacking: if I needed to start an SQL-centric job, I would have to finish in good time! Taking the course for personal development, as I am, there’s no pressure to finish. But I am planning to finish soon.

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As I look back over my progress, I’ve realized that I didn’t need to have a technical background to master SQL. While taking the course, I read the blog for some additional insight. I also read the discussions attached to every lesson. I found out that some of my questions are common and don’t have anything to do with technical skills.

Inner Joy and INNER JOIN

Even at this semi-complete stage in my SQL Basics journey, I’ve learned the following lessons:

  • Learning SQL is great for personal development.
  • It’s good brain exercise!
  • I don’t need a tech background to gain tech skills.
  • I have a better understanding of what is behind websites and apps. Databases are everywhere!
  • Changing career paths is always a possibility.
  • I’ve learned something interesting I can share with others … and maybe brag about a little.


One of my techie friends is more excited about my SQL adventure than I am. When we recently met, I decided to show off a bit. I told him that I had just finished the part of the SQL course about LEFT JOIN and RIGHT JOIN. I wanted him to explain something to me, but I wanted to let him know how much I knew, too. He asked me straight away if I knew the most important thing about those operators. I was about to say “No” when I realized that actually I did know! I told him, and he looked at me with some respect. That was like +10 to my personal SQL prestige score!

There are many people with similar concerns about learning SQL. I have friends who are more technically skilled than I am, and they don’t want to give it a try. For them, SQL is still a little too sci-fi. To all these people, I want to say that you don’t need to have crazy IT skills to succeed at SQL.  Take it from me, a non-technical person.

If you found this article helpful or insightful, don’t keep it to yourself! Feel free to share it on social media, especially on LinkedIn, to help others in your network benefit from it as well. You can also tag our company profile when you share the article.

Who’s Afraid to Learn SQL? Not You!

Considering a tech career? Dive in and learn SQL. It's the backbone of many databases, and it's simpler than you might think. Even if you're new to programming languages, starting with SQL Basics can be a smooth introduction.

In today's world where AI is making waves, SQL's importance hasn't diminished. AI thrives on data, and SQL is the key to accessing and understanding this data. So, even in an AI-driven landscape, SQL developers remain crucial.

Every database query or select statement you hear about in businesses? That's SQL in action. As companies increasingly rely on data-driven insights, the demand for those versed in structured query language is skyrocketing.

Choosing SQL isn't just about the present; it's a future-proof skill. From startups to global giants, technical skills like SQL are always in demand. It's a versatile tool in your career toolkit, ensuring you stay relevant in the evolving tech world.

While tech trends come and go, SQL's value remains steady. Whether you're pivoting careers, enhancing your analytical skills, or aiming to stay ahead in tech, mastering SQL is a move in the right direction.