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Where to Go After Learning SQL Basics

Learning to code is – in general – a lot of fun, for sure. Even after a few years in the IT industry, I still love learning new technologies. And I now know that learning with a good plan is even better than learning without one. This also applies to learning with advanced SQL courses. In this article, I'll show you how learning paths can save you some time and a lot of frustration.

What Can Go Wrong When Selecting SQL Courses?

Actually, there are a few things that can go wrong in the process of selecting SQL courses, or in learning any new technical skills for that matter. You can get stuck at the basic level, not knowing where to go next. You can try to learn everything at once without any plan and make no real progress. You can attempt to learn random topics that turn out to have prerequisites, unaware that you don’t have a proper background in the domain.

I made this mistake myself some time ago, although even at that time I was no longer an IT newbie. I'm a big enthusiast of maps and geographical data, so as soon as I realized there was a course on PostGIS, I enrolled. I only had the very basics of standard SQL – I hadn’t even finished the SQL basics course at that time – and never learned PostgreSQL, the SQL dialect on which PostGIS is based. As you might imagine, I didn't succeed in mastering PostGIS. I had no idea what this course was about!

How Not to Start Learning

Most programming newbies are really excited about new things they're learning, but their enthusiasm can burn out quickly. That can be challenging, because consistency is very important in learning to code. Creating learning plans helps a lot with this.

Learning without a plan is a common beginners’ mistake. All the new technologies seem tempting; you'd like to try a bit of each. It’s easy to go around in circles, staying at the beginner’s level and making no real progress, if you don’t know what to learn after the basics. That can lead you straight to becoming unmotivated to learn further. You can’t stay focused on learning, if you can’t see any progress in your knowledge.

Also, some technologies are based on others, so it's important to put the technologies you'd like to learn in the right order. For example, my PostGIS course was based on PostgreSQL, but I ignored that fact.

Where to Start

It sounds like a total cliché, but it's really that simple: start at the very beginning, and don't overcomplicate things. When it comes to learning SQL and looking for suitable SQL courses for beginners, there's one I can honestly recommend: SQL Basics. I started my SQL training with it, and I was amazed how intuitive and user-friendly it was! If you get into the swing of it, you can go further and try an entire learning track for beginners called SQL Fundamentals.

At the beginning, I was taking (or rather, trying to take) individual SQL courses. But in hindsight, I appreciate the learning tracks and having all the materials already organized for me. It's really helpful when you don't need to worry about the order of the courses to take next. I now recommend learning this way to others, because it makes the learning process easier and keeps you from missing some important materials.

I Know the SQL Basics, so What Next?

SQL skills are constantly in demand, not only in IT but also outside. Because of its versatility, it can be used by developers, administrators, data analysts, marketers, and others alike.

There are as many reasons for learning SQL as there are learners. Whatever your goal might be in learning SQL, you can achieve it much more easily with a learning plan. If you already know which SQL-related career you’d like to pursue and what you want to do with your SQL knowledge, choosing the right path among the learning tracks at LearnSQL.com will be easy.

With the tracks, you ensure that you have comprehensive knowledge in the covered area or at the specific level of expertise. You don’t have to worry about missing something important. The tracks help you systematize your knowledge and motivate you to make progress.

SQL from A to Z

Whatever your plan and reasons for learning SQL are, the best idea is to complete one of the most comprehensive sets of SQL courses: SQL from A to Z. It has much more than just a course; it's a full learning track designed to provide all you need to master SQL at a reasonable level. It is beginner-friendly; you'll start with creating simple queries and joins, then continue with more complex operations like aggregations and subqueries, ending with advanced topics like creating SQL reports and writing window functions.

I know that a massive amount of knowledge can be intimidating – this track consists of about 84 hours of learning! But don't worry. You won't have to complete it in one single attempt. It's divided into seven separate courses, so you can take the courses one at a time. Even with the pre-assembled plan for your learning process, you still learn at your own pace.

Need SQL Dialects?

When learning database-related programming languages, I strongly recommend starting with the most universal one. The plain SQL is the standard for all database management systems. There are a few different SQL dialects that are used widely, like SQLite, Microsoft's MS SQL Server, and the open-source PostgreSQL, but all are based on the standard SQL. With solid basics in SQL, it will be much easier for you to try any of these variants.

There may be reasons you can't use the standard SQL in your day-to-day work or in your specific project. It may simply be a requirement by your company or a matter of compatibility in the project, limiting you to using a specific SQL dialect like PostgreSQL or MS SQL Server. Each syntax is slightly different from the standard one, but don’t worry about that. You can easily find full learning tracks for both dialects.

Learning by Doing

One of the most important things when learning a technical topic is to practice what you've learned. Skipping this is also a common beginners' mistake. The human brain is meant to deal with real-life problems rather than to memorize tons of information. Without practice, the learning process becomes repetitive and dull, because you don’t see any effect of the learning in your work.

If you're taking your first steps in the world of SQL courses, or any other programming language, you probably don't know where to start practicing what you've learned. Why not learn and practice at the same time? At LearnSQL.com, we create our courses so that you can practice your SQL right away. You will solve exercises in our online console by writing real SQL queries. And you don't need to install or configure anything extra! All you need is your favorite web browser.

In our SQL Practice learning track, you will learn by doing tons of practical exercises. What's more, you'll be able to test your knowledge and revisit the SQL basics you've already acquired. I need to warn you, though – if you’re relatively new to SQL, don't start with this track! Complete the basic SQL course first, or you'll repeat my PostGIS fail, or even worse, end your SQL training here.

Select the Right SQL Courses for you

What's the best thing about learning tracks over individual SQL courses? Personally, I appreciate the fact that someone more experienced has put the effort to arrange all the materials in a logical order for me. And it's reassuring to know that I'll be provided with the full knowledge of the subject when I finish all the courses in the track. I really wished I had learned this way when I took my first steps in learning to code; it would have made my life so much easier back then! So, have you already chosen your learning track?

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