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Is Your Learning SQL Plan Stuck in Neutral?

Are you stuck on some tricky point of learning SQL and don't know how to move on? This article will help you move on in your SQL journey.

Have you been learning SQL, only to get discouraged by some difficult concept? Everybody gets stuck when they try to learn something new. Most of us have probably given up trying to learn that thing, only to come back to it later. But when we do that, we usually have to start all over again from the beginning. And the longer your break from learning, the more you forget about what you’ve already mastered.

So, if you’ve previously been stuck on some thorny SQL problem, now is the time to tackle it and resume your progress! In this article, we’ll give you some insights on how to get un-stuck when you’re learning SQL.

How Not to Learn SQL

There are many ways to learn SQL; an Internet search will find most of them: YouTube video tutorials, online how-to guides, Internet forums, online courses, books, scientific publications, audiobooks, podcasts, open academic lectures, etc. However, it’s all too easy to come across low-quality content. Even if these options are free, they are not necessarily the best choices.

What should you be careful about when looking for quality sources to learn SQL? Let me tell you a short story.

Is Your Learning SQL Plan Stuck in Neutral?

Some of Us Start Learning SQL with YouTube (Unfortunately)

My dear friend Joanna is a front-end developer. She learned everything herself. Her boyfriend, Tomek, a completely non-IT guy, wanted to start working with databases; HR was looking for someone with SQL knowledge. Joanna advised him to start with YouTube, which was how she learned programming. So Tomek started on YouTube... and just ended there. Didn't learn SQL. Why didn’t this work for him?

Well, not every YouTuber who provides educational content is a good choice. YouTube is a platform where anyone from anywhere can upload whatever they want (as long as it’s in line with community standards and regulations). When it comes to SQL courses, you could post one yourself right now. Haven't learned SQL yet? Doesn't matter. You just need to read a few lines of Wikipedia.

There are a lot of such SQL video courses on YouTube. That is why finding proven sources of knowledge is so important. Otherwise, you’re wasting hours on tutorials that may ultimately turn out to be worthless.

Of course, there are also some really fantastic SQL channels on YouTube. But even so, newbies usually need more than just some videos to get good at coding. And there’s also the fact that many of these tutorials are meant for intermediate and advanced SQL users. This is one way people get stuck when learning SQL: they start with topics too advanced for them or they don’t find ways to practice what they learn. So what other options are there?

SQL Books

This is another quite tricky area. Why do I say this? After all, everyone thinks that what is written in a book must be true. Surely any published book is a reliable source of SQL knowledge.

There certainly are SQL books that are great for newbies, beginners, and advanced SQL users. Periodically, LearnSQL.com publishes our picks for  the best SQL books on our blog. Recently, these have included:

  1. SQL Books To Read - A great inventory of books recommended by our resident bookworms.
  2. The 5 Best Books on Data Analysis - If you want to start your SQL career as an analyst, be sure to take a look at this list.
  3. Books for Data Engineers - The best literary books especially for data engineers, selected by our SQL experts.

For me personally, it’s easy to focus on learning from a book because I can absorb knowledge at my own pace and keep track of what may be useful to me. But books are not the only learning source that can give you that! And books also pose a risk that you may get stuck while learning SQL. Why?

Because there’s no easy way to practice what you’ve learned. Yes, theory is  important. But no company will pay you for extensive SQL knowledge if you can't apply it. To learn SQL, you have to practice it. And not every book is of a practical nature. When you learn SQL, you need to observe the effects of the code that you create yourself – or how a database REALLY behaves when you work with it.

Without practice, learning SQL via book can get just as discouraging as wasting your time on YouTube. And we both want the opposite, right? What’s the solution?

Comprehensive Online SQL Courses

So let's give up the archaic methods of research, trial and error, and looking for valuable SQL content. To learn SQL effectively, you should choose an online interactive course. There are interactive SQL courses for advanced users, SQL beginners, and anyone in between. What makes these courses so valuable?

  1. Availability and convenience. You can learn SQL wherever you want. All you need is a computer and Internet access.
  2. Innovative e-learning methods – including hands-on practice, instant feedback, and cooperation other SQL learners – are the best possible way to learn SQL. At LearnSQL.com, you can learn directly in the browser. You have a preview of the practice database. You learn SQL by typing code yourself and observing what it does.
  3. Before you buy the full version of the SQL course, many courses will let you try out a few exercises to see if the content is understandable and appropriate for you. This lets you save time (if the course doesn’t suit you, you can keep looking) and money – you’re not buying for a course you can’t use.

There are some really great providers of high-quality SQL courses out there; take a look at LearnSQL.com’s picks for the e-learning platforms and SQL courses for 2022. But if you've never had anything to do with databases before, our SQL Basics course is an ideal starting point. It walks you through everything you need to know simply and clearly, and it doesn’t assume you have any prior IT knowledge.

If you have already chosen the method of learning SQL, there’s something else you need to know…

How to Learn SQL Effectively

Choosing the right source of SQL knowledge is a good first step. But that alone is not enough. Knowledge won’t just enter your head. You still have a lot of work to do – remembering what you’ve learned, trying to stay focused. But don't worry; there’s a way for everything.

When you’re beginning to learn SQL, pay special attention to the details and small information. Regardless of which of the most popular databases you choose (MS SQL Server, PostgreSQL or Standard SQL), prepare a notebook, flashcards, colored markers, or anything else that will help you remember new information. And use them – colorful notes really make anything easier to remember! Not only do you repeat to yourself what you are learning, you also create learning aids that you can easily use.

If you are having trouble focusing, I prepared these tips on concentration techniques that I think may help. I think it may be very useful for you at the beginning of your journey with SQL. While some of the tips may seem obvious to you, you probably rarely remember them on a daily basis, right?

A good, comprehensive SQL course and a properly designed learning path will allow you to understand SQL basics in a month. With determination, you can  learn SQL quickly and start building your career around databases!

Why Should You Start Learning SQL Now?

You can be sure that it's really worthwhile to learn SQL. Besides the obvious financial bonuses of working in IT, knowing SQL will bring you many other benefits, such as helping you run your own business! And the demand for database specialists is consistently high. People who know SQL are needed in many industries, including advertising, marketing, HR, and more.

When you learn SQL, you have more professional development opportunities. It will also improve your daily work and may be the key to a promotion or a job change.

No matter your background, you can learn SQL from scratch. I encourage you to try the sample exercises from the SQL Basics in PostgreSQL course. You will see for yourself that it’s not difficult!

So, what’s been getting you stuck with learning SQL? Don't hesitate any longer. Buckle up, get a cup of coffee, and may SQL be with you!