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Why Take the “SQL Basics” Course at’s interactive “SQL Basics” course teaches the foundations of SQL. Discover why we built this online course, our philosophy behind it, and what it contains!

What Is SQL, and Why Should You Learn It?

SQL is a language used to talk to databases, computer programs that hold data and can process it efficiently. SQL can select data from a database and perform various computations on the data, be they simple or complex.

SQL was developed for relational databases, such as IBM DB2, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, or MySQL. Nowadays, SQL is also commonly used for other data processing technologies, such as Big Data technologies, NoSQL technologies, or even in spreadsheets.

SQL is the language of data. Everyone who works with data should know at least a little SQL.

The “SQL Basics” Course at

“SQL Basics” is designed to help you “learn by doing.” This interactive online course is hands-on and consists of 129 practical coding exercises. In each exercise, a new SQL feature is introduced with a bit of theory, an example, and a task for you to complete.

The task asks you to write your own SQL code to solve the problem defined in the task. The example in the exercise will help you write the correct code.

The exercises are engaging and fun. The data in the exercises are made up but resemble what you would encounter in real life.


The huge benefit of our course is that you have to type the full answer on your own. There are no fill-in-the-gaps or multiple-choice exercises. We believe that typing the full answer is more effective when it comes to learning SQL.

With each exercise you solve, you build confidence in your SQL skills. With each piece of code written, you train your fingers and your brain to commit SQL to memory.

With this type of online course, you may get stuck sometimes. Don’t be afraid of getting stuck! It’s a natural part of the learning process. It can be frustrating when it happens, but being stuck now and then teaches you to look for solutions on your own. Eventually, you’ll be more independent.

If you get stuck, you can get a hint or peek at the correct answer. If you have questions, you can use the “Disqus” tab to ask what you are wondering or to look at the questions other people have. Disqus in the commenting plugin we use on our website. Our moderators are constantly monitoring Disqus to promptly answer your questions.

The 129 coding exercises are divided into eight parts. The last part of the course is a quiz with no hints. In the quiz, there are nine exercises for which you have to write the solution completely on your own.

“SQL Basics” is the most complete online interactive SQL course out there. We cover all of the material taught in university database courses and other offline training:

  • Selecting from a single table – the basic anatomy of an SQL query, various options for filtering data with the WHERE clause, basic arithmetic, and ordering results
  • Selecting from multiple tables – a thorough discussion of JOINs, including the frequently used JOIN and INNER JOIN and the less frequently used LEFT JOIN, RIGHT JOIN, and FULL JOIN (we also discuss the rarely used NATURAL JOIN and CROSS JOIN)
  • Aggregation functions and grouping – the essential clause for building reports in SQL: GROUP BY
  • Subqueries, including correlated subqueries
  • Set operations – combine results from multiple queries using UNION, UNION ALL, INTERSECT, and EXCEPT

We also cover topics other courses, especially online interactive SQL courses, frequently omit, such as correlated queries.

Who Is “SQL Basics” For?

“SQL Basics” assumes you have no previous knowledge about databases or IT. We designed the course with complete beginners in mind. This course is good for anyone who wants to learn SQL from scratch. In particular, it is good for:

  • Complete beginners with no background in IT – we start with explaining the very basics: what is a table in a database, and what is SQL?
  • Data analysts and data scientists – anyone who works with data should know some SQL
  • Programmers – all software engineers, software developers, programmers, etc. should know at least a little SQL
  • Students taking database courses – our course is a good refresher or preparation for an SQL test

The History of “SQL Basics”

In the summer of 2015, we created the Vertabelo Academy learning platform and prepared the contents of its first course, “SQL Basics”. We launched “SQL Basics” in October 2015. The original intention for the course was to promote our database modeling tool, Vertabelo. Two additional courses soon followed: “Operating on Data in SQL” and “Creating Tables in SQL.” The three original courses were available for free.

At the time, this was the first interactive SQL course in the world (at least to our knowledge). Other interactive coding platforms were available, but they taught general-purpose programming languages like Javascript or Python.

It turned out that the people who were learning SQL with our courses were not interested in our database modeling tool. They were at a different level of their career: they were beginners, students, often people who weren’t in IT.

Our promotion plan for Vertabelo did not work out. But we noticed that the feedback we got for “SQL Basics” was immensely positive. People loved the platform and our courses. Here are some of the early reviews we got:

Excellent .. Tried so many other SQL courses but none of them were as fun as this one. it keeps you motivated till the end. Thank you so much.
The best and fastest way to learn SQL.
Very good atomic tasks. With a short but useful explanation. I like the course.
Among SQL courses I studied, this is one the most useful. Thank you for your time. Well done!
Great course to kickstart your SQL journey! The course sets the groundwork perfectly. Finish the examples here and move to more advanced stuff.

The value of our platform increased even more in 2016. In 2016, Vertabelo signed a contract with Uber to prepare custom SQL courses for Uber employees. Our “SQL Basics” course was adapted to Uber’s domain and business. The launch of the SQL learning platform at Uber was a tremendous success.

So, we decided to expand the set of SQL courses offered and added “Window Functions,” “Recursive Queries,” and many others. Over the years, we expanded further with Python and R courses. By 2019, we had so many courses that we decided to move the SQL courses to their own platform:

Summary is an online platform designed to help you master SQL. As of today, it offers 30 interactive courses that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. (And the number of courses is growing!) Each course delivers both theoretical knowledge and hands-on exercises so that you can solidify these new ideas. So, what are you waiting for? Get started with “SQL Basics” today!