Back to articles list March 12, 2020 - 9 minutes read The Top 7 Platforms with the Best SQL Courses for 2020 Zahin Rahman Nuclear Engineer by day and Data Scientist by night, Zahin is passionate about driving business with data. He has 5+ years of industry experience in energy and power generation and has a master’s degree in Engineering with a focus in Data Science. He loves learning, whether from an industry veteran or a high school science enthusiast. Tags: sql learn sql online practice Are you struggling to narrow down which platforms are the best for learning SQL online? We have all been there. I know how confusing it can be when choosing amongst the hundreds of resources available. Find out below which platforms offer the most enriching and seamless SQL learning experiences online. In this article, I will review the platforms with the best online SQL courses offered this year. Whether you are a student looking for your first job, a professional hoping to transition to a data analysis, or an experienced data practitioner, there are plenty of great opportunities to learn SQL online at various levels of technical ability. I am not a fan of most online learning platforms or marketplaces, and this is for two primary reasons. First, it can take a long time to find valuable content. Second, not all who have mastered their technical prowess have mastered the ability to teach. Hence, the online SQL courses that I will be covering are carefully curated. If you are interested in learning about a few other online SQL resources (including books and tutorials), check out the 18+ Best Online Resources for Learning SQL and Database Concepts. Are you ready to learn about the best online SQL courses? Let’s get to the list! 7. Codeacademy Skill Level: Basic to Intermediate “Learn SQL” by Codeacademy introduces databases and the implementation of SQL. This course provides real-life database samples, such as the New York Restaurants database and Startup Trends databases, for example problems and exercises. Using these databases, students work on four projects to develop their portfolio. This course focuses on the following subject areas: Data manipulation: Access, create, and update data stored in relational databases Performing queries: Use keywords and functions to perform commonly used basic and intermediate queries Aggregate functions: Learn about aggregate functions and how to extract basic meaningful information from datasets JOINs: Utilize JOINs to draw insights from an entire database or a collection of tables Codeacademy is renowned for its intuitive UX design. As you can see above, the instructions, database description, and code execution sections are all shown on the same screen. Over one million users have taken “Learn SQL,” which is free and has no recommended prerequisites. It’s a good course for learning the basics of SQL. However, being a seven-hour course that only touches the surface of JOINs and more complex areas of SQL, it falls short of preparing you to work on real-world projects on your own. Furthermore, the quizzes and projects, which are essential to the learning process through the course, are only available to users who have signed up for Codeacademy’s paid Pro version. 6. Pluralsight Skill Level: Basic to Advanced Pluralsight offers a collection of SQL-focused courses ranging from basic to relatively advanced. The platform hosts an interactive learning experience. The tutorials are well-designed and categorized into relevant sections that make it easy for you to browse through the content. It also has a neat “offline” option, which, as the name suggests, allows you to read content on the go without continuous internet access. There is a myriad of SQL courses offered by multiple expert instructors, which is great for topic variety and depth. However, this often creates issues with respect to continuity. It’s difficult to advance through courses with incremental difficulty due to differences in pace and teaching style. Pluralsight Iris recommends learning pathways. However, it is not well-publicized on the platform and can often be tricky to follow. If you are a seasoned data practitioner looking to further develop or brush up on advanced concepts, these drawbacks will not impact the user experience much. But for new learners, they could be significant roadblocks to the learning experience. That being said, Pluralsight offers a generous 10-14 day (depending on the number of licenses), no-commitment, free trial to see if it is a good fit. 5. DataCamp Skill Level: Basic to Advanced DataCamp offers SQL course bundles divided into six “Skill Tracks” that guide you from the very basics to proficiency for various end goals and functional roles: SQL Server Fundamentals SQL Fundamentals SQL Server Toolbox SQL for Business Analysts SQL for Database Administrators SQL Server for Database Administrators Each of the Skill Tracks goes appreciably in depth into the prescribed topic areas and has at least 15 hours of learning material. Combining the six Skills Tracks above covers most of the important SQL subject areas from basic to advanced including JOINs, queries/subqueries, aggregation, code/query performance optimization, visualization, and management through PostgreSQL. On the downside, most of the Skill Tracks have considerable overlap between them. Scourging through the multitude of courses inside each Skill Track to figure out which ones will complement each other can be frustrating. Additionally, most of the exercises on DataCamp are fill-in-the-blank type code snippets, which helps speed up the progress rate but does so by damaging the retention rate. This is not the preferred learning style for most individuals, especially with a skill-based topic such as SQL. 4. SoloLearn Skill Level: Basic “SQL Fundamentals” is among a vast collection of online courses by SoloLearn. It is split into four modules, 27 lessons, and 104 quiz questions and includes two challenges at the end of the course. The four modules cover basic and intermediate topics: Module 1: Basic syntax rules and theory Module 2: Filtering, functions, and subqueries Module 3: JOINs and UNIONs Module 4: Course challenges The lessons are concise and to the point, helping you to stay focused. Modules 1-3 are followed by an interactive quiz, and Module 4 consists of two challenges. Users stay engaged by collecting points (or XP) to unlock levels and achievements along the way and to compete with others around the world. The course is free. Once you have successfully completed the course, including the final challenges, you will get a certificate to showcase your achievement! While there are several quizzes to hone your basic skills, there isn’t much content for continued SQL skills development and advanced learning pathways offered on the platform. 3. SQLBolt Skill Level: Basic Another good platform for online SQL courses is SQLBolt. It has a series of simple exercises and interactive lessons designed to enable you to quickly learn SQL. There are 19 lessons divided into four topic areas: Introduction; Intermediate; Subqueries; and Unions, Intersections, & Exceptions. The platform is built like a basic webpage. Its content also sticks to the basics and doesn’t venture into advanced topics. SQLBolt consists of 20 individual lessons covering concepts such as basic queries, JOINs queries, aggregation, filtering, and dealing with missing data. Each of the lessons are followed by interactive tasks and exercises, which will ensure that you apply your SQL knowledge and maximize retention. You will likely have to move on to a different platform to continue learning the more advanced areas of SQL. 2. SQLZOO Skill Level: Basic SQLZOO is a free interactive online SQL platform that does not mandate user registration. The layout of SQLZOO might seem familiar, with it closely resembling Wikipedia. Each of the 12 lessons are short and concise. They are followed by several practice exercises as well as seven different assessments and one larger-scale challenge which allows you to dive straight into the deep end of SQL. Similar to SQLBolt, there aren’t many intermediate or advanced concepts covered in SQLZOO. It is best suited for new learners and students looking to strengthen their basic skills. 1. LearnSQL.com Skill Level: Basic to Advanced LearnSQL.com provides a one-stop-shop for all things SQL, covering basic to advanced concepts in one single platform. Unlike most other online learning platforms, LearnSQL.com is specifically geared towards SQL. SQL from A to Z is a course track consisting of seven interactive courses. It includes over 84 hours of progressively technical instructional materials and coding challenges. This course track provides a seamless entry point for data enthusiasts into the world of SQL as well as a means for experienced professionals to pick up a few more SQL tricks and skills. If you want to focus on certain technical competency levels, there are mini learning tracks as well. For example, there are four mini learning tracks for the Standard SQL dialect: SQL Fundamentals consists of three courses that set the foundation for SQL beginners by introducing WHERE, GROUP BY, ORDER BY, HAVING, and JOINs and implementing them through interactive exercises. SQL Practice consists of two courses that build on the SQL Fundamentals course track and brush up on some basic topics such as JOINs, aggregation functions, GROUP BY, HAVING, and subqueries. Advanced SQL consists of interactive courses. It delves into code optimization and performance, which is a key aspect of system efficiency and computational resource optimization when handling massive amounts of data. Window functions (the building blocks of funnel analysis), as well as advanced GROUP BY clauses, such as ROLLUP and CUBE, are explored and implemented. SQL Reporting is for individuals who have already mastered advanced functions and want to create multi-tiered reports in SQL. Perfect for seasoned data analysts, marketers, business owners, and accountants alike, this track enables you to gain real insights into data through comparison, filtering, and detailed mutli-dimensional analysis and custom classifications. This course track equips individuals with the technical knowledge and skills to guide their respective businesses to make data-driven business decisions for increased competitive advantage. LearnSQL.com stands out from other platforms because it provides the most complete SQL learning experience. You receive continual support and guidance until you reach your desired level of competency through streamlined learning tracks. This makes LearnSQL.com a great platform for students, seasoned professionals, and career transitioners alike. Furthermore, the platform has a sleek and seamless UX with an intuitive layout, dual theme, and embedded code editor with concise instructional material to go with it. A discussion forum is also built into the platform with prompt support provided by course instructors and moderators. To top things off, LearnSQL.com provides a flexible subscription plan with either a six-month commitment or a month-to-month commitment. It provides free access to the first several exercises of each of the courses if you want to try out the interface and instructional material before subscribing. Final Takeaways This is my curated list of the best online SQL courses in 2020. With a vast number of resources available on any given topic, it boils down to what you want to get out of your learning experience. If you are looking to learn the basics, free online SQL courses on platforms like Codeacademy, SoloLearn, or SQLZOO are fairly good options. However, if you are looking for a seamless SQL journey of learning, practice, mastery, and knowledge retention, platforms with guided learning tracks, such as DataCamp and LearnSQL.com, are the best choices. 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