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Top SQL Certificates in 2023

SQL is an essential skill in today’s data-driven world. Looking for the best SQL certificates to further your career can be confusing. This article gives some pointers that will help you make the best choice to fit your goals.

Who needs an SQL certificate? If you can write advanced SQL queries, surely you can just demonstrate your skills at the interview and you'll be hired. Yes ... but ... you won't reach the interview unless the recruiter invites you. Chances are, your competitors will have SQL certificates to prove they're experts. So getting yourself certified is just smart.

In this article, I look at SQL certification paths that will help you make a breakthrough in your career. Read on!

Are There Industry-Standard SQL Certificates?

The bad news is that there is no standard SQL certificate that will immediately kick-start your career. To make the best choice, you first need to define your goals, then look at what’s available and how it will help you achieve them.

You may have a specific career in mind, such as:

Or you may just want to access and analyze data to help you in your own work. With the trend towards data democratization, SQL is an invaluable skill in the workplace. This is true whether you are a manager, a researcher, or an accountant.

If, for whatever reason, you need to gain strong SQL skills, our SQL From A to Z learning track may be a good option for you. You don’t need any prior knowledge of SQL to follow this learning path. It will take you all the way from beginner to advanced level.

Which Examining Bodies Are Respected in the IT Industry?

When choosing SQL certificates or an SQL exam, it helps to know which certificate providers  employers value most highly. These fall into two categories:

  • Independent examining bodies, including:
    • ICCP (Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals)
    • CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association)
    • W3Schools is worth a mention. It’s well-respected, although it’s not an official examination body.
  • Major software vendors. These organizations offer certification in their own products, and employers hold their certificates in high respect. They include:
    • Oracle
    • IBM
    • Microsoft
    • AWS (Amazon Web Services)
    • EDB (Postgres Database Management)
    • Google Cloud Services

Do These Organizations Offer SQL Certification?

The organizations mentioned in the previous section offer many certification paths, but only W3Schools offers a specific SQL exam. SQL does, however, form an important part of many of the learning options offered by the others. But all of their qualifications include much more than SQL and require an extended period of study.

It’s important, therefore, to choose a learning path relevant to your own goals. If you simply want to improve your SQL skills so you can do your job better, these organizations may not be for you. It’s also worth mentioning that their study paths are specific to their own database products, so you’d need to be sure that their courses will give you what you need.

So, a large part of which SQL certification you need depends on which career you choose. Let’s look at a few career choices and see which qualifications employers are likely to be looking for in each one.

Data Analyst

A data analyst extracts, aggregates, and analyzes data to provide insights needed by their organization.

Qualifications in demand by employers in this field include:

Database Administrator

Database administrators are responsible for creating and maintaining databases to meet their organization’s needs. They must ensure the availability, security, and integrity of data while taking care that performance criteria are met.

The qualifications in this area are mostly geared to specific database software. They require in-depth knowledge of extracting data, creating and maintaining databases, disaster recovery planning, and performance tuning. Possible certification paths include:

Data Engineer

Data engineers are responsible for designing an overall data storage policy that best fits an organization’s varied needs. They may make use of several different database technologies and methods of access to ensure the right data is available to the right people.

Data engineers need to have an in-depth knowledge of relational databases and SQL, Big Data skills and concepts, and distributed data management tools like Hadoop. In-demand qualifications include:

Choosing SQL Certification and Learning Paths

As you have seen in the previous section, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when choosing an SQL-related qualification. If you’ve already decided on a career path, you may want to go for one of the qualifications listed above.

Most of these certificate providers offer study guides and a certain amount of training. But since training is not their core business, their courses may not be comprehensive and easy to follow.

Most students supplement their learning with other materials, such as outside courses, reference books and study guides. Several of these institutions outsource their training to course providers like Udemy and Coursera.

Many official courses don’t include a large amount of practical work. Practice is the best way to learn. It’s also the best way to impress potential employers with a portfolio of work and quick answers to interview questions.

Top SQL Certificates

One way of getting enough practice to supplement exam preparation is to enroll in’s practice track. This learning path allows you to work through hundreds of examples using real databases that can be accessed from your browser. There is no better way of enhancing your skills while preparing for an SQL exam or an interview.

Another consideration is that most of the qualifications we spoke about take some time to complete – and most of us have to earn our living at the same time. Some certificates require students to already have worked in the IT industry before even beginning the course. And to land a top job, you need experience as well as a certificate.

Knowledge of SQL, and of course an SQL certificate, can help you land the kind of job that gives you the practical experience you need to work towards becoming a high-earning professional. A good starting point is to take one of the many online courses that offer an SQL certificate of their own. But how do you choose? Here are some points you can take into consideration:

  • Does the course cover what you need to know?
  • Does it include enough practical work?
  • Can you get help from an instructor or mentor if you need it?
  • Does it use the same type of database (g. Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, or Oracle) that you will either be working with or studying?
  • Is it within your budget?
  • Can you fit the study times into your existing schedule?
  • Is the SQL certificate they offer respected by potential employers?
  • Will it cover the topics you need if you decide to take an SQL exam, such as the one offered by W3Schools?

In the next section, we’ll compare some of today’s popular online SQL course platforms and providers.

Top SQL Certificates
  • It offers a wide range of courses to cover every need.
  • The SQL From A to Z learning track combined with Creating Tables in SQL gives you a great way to learn the skills needed to pass the W3Schools SQL exam.
  • All courses offer practical, hands-on learning. Since you’re able to access’s databases online, you don’t need to install any software of your own.
  • You will be awarded SQL certificates for each module you complete.
  • Courses are available for Standard SQL, MS SQL Server, MySQL, and PostrgeSQL
  •'s courses have favourable reviews on, one of the largest job marketplaces. Uber has chosen to use these courses for all their SQL training needs – read this case study to find out more.
  • You can choose your own study schedule and take as much or as little time as you need to complete the courses.
  • A mentor is always available to help you if you’re having any problems. You become part of a community of students, where you can share ideas and solutions.

DataQuest SQL Skills

  • This learning path includes five courses and a project. It starts from a beginner level.
  • Your project can be submitted for expert review and certification, which you can then showcase to potential employers.
  • Learning is self-paced, but you need to commit 10 hours a week and should complete the course in a month.
  • The courses include practical, hands-on exercises that can be completed through your browser.
  • A community forum allows you to post questions and receive answers and advice.

DataCamp Learn SQL

  • Learning is flexible and self-paced.
  • You can start at beginner level and progress to advanced topics.
  • All learning is reinforced with practical exercises.
  • DataCamp offers a Statement of Accomplishment rather than an SQL certificate. However, this is just as effective for including on your resume or sharing with potential employers.
  • Courses are well-structured and break the learning process down into manageable steps.

Coursera’s Learn SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization

Top SQL Certificates
  • This specialization consists of four courses. Each course has its own project and certificate, and an overall certificate is awarded for completing the specialization. As a whole, it provides a really good grounding in database concepts and SQL skills.
  • The courses are run in conjunction with the University of California.
  • Courses are self-paced, and consist of videos, readings, quizzes, assignments and a project
  • Although Coursera doesn’t give instructor feedback or assistance, it does allow interaction with other students via a forum, where help is available.
  • The courses don’t include as much hands-on practice as many of the other learning options.

SQL Certificates: The Bottom Line

SQL is an essential skill in many careers, and is also extremely useful for anyone who works in a data-driven organization. SQL certificates and SQL exams are a useful way of proving your ability, but are only the beginning of the path to a top-paying job. You need to define your goals and pursue them with the right learning path. Plus, you need to find the right job to gain the work experience you need to reach the better-paying roles.

You may decide to pursue one of the professional qualifications we spoke about earlier, or you may opt to start with a course offering an SQL certificate that helps you to move to the next level.

Wherever you are in your learning journey, it’s worth checking out the wide range of courses available from Whether you’re just starting and want a good foundation in SQL, need more skills in a specific area, or just need more practice, there is likely to be a course for you.

Now go and boost your career with this essential skill!