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The Best YouTube Channels for Learning SQL

SQL is not hard to learn, and YouTube tutorials are plentiful. Are online videos the best choice for you? How do you find quality YouTube channels for learning SQL?

So you’re thinking of learning SQL? Maybe your job includes working with data, or maybe you’re looking to further your career by upping your skills. Good choice! But what’s the best way to learn?

You may decide that an SQL YouTube tutorial is the best choice for you at the moment. This might be because:

  • You’re really broke and can’t afford to pay for a course.
  • You’d like to have a look at a YouTube channel to learn SQL for beginners. This is a good way to see if SQL is something you really want to do before you commit to paying money for training.
  • You just want a quick overview to see what SQL is all about.
  • You already know SQL and you want to learn one or two advanced topics.

YouTube is one of several ways to learn SQL, including books, in-person classes, MOOCs, and online courses. Each method has pros and cons. Learning solely on YouTube does have disadvantages; you’re probably not going to get enough hands-on practice to really master the skills. For that, we recommend taking interactive online courses like our SQL Basics course. In the next section, where I look at a few good-quality YouTube channels, I’ll discuss if and how the various lecturers try to get around the practice problem. But first, let’s talk about how you set up your SQL practice environment.

Setting Up a SQL Learning Environment

Regardless of how you choose to learn SQL, you’re definitely going to need somewhere to practice. Unless you already have access to a relational database, you’ll need to install one and set up some test data to practice on. There’s a catch here: to enter data, you need to use SQL – which you haven’t yet learned!

The first step is to make sure you have the same type of relational database as the one used by the YouTube lecturer. There are many popular relational databases, including:

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • Oracle
  • SQLite
  • MariaDB

Each has their own dialect or ‘flavor’ of SQL. If you’d like to know more about the different types of databases, have a look at this article on SQL dialects.

Which database should you use? If your workplace or college is already using a database, the choice is simple: learn the one you’re going to be working with. If not, you’d probably want to go with MySQL, which is free and also very popular. SQL Server Express, the free test version of Microsoft SQL Server, is also a good choice. Finally, you may also want to consider PostgreSQL, another popular (and free!) open-source database.

The next step is to install the relational database. You’ll also need software that allows you to enter SQL queries. If you’re not an IT person, this may sound scary, but luckily there are some YouTube videos that tell you exactly how to do this.

Another way to get some quick practice is to use the W3Schools online practice site. This lets you type and run queries against a small test database. It’s a great way to get started without installing any software.

If you want to get some real practice, check out LearnSQL.com’s practice tracks. They include loads of challenging exercises, and you can access a comprehensive test database through your browser. You’ll get hours of SQL practice and learn to apply your knowledge productively. The practice tracks are available for many major SQL dialects, including MS SQL, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

Now that we’ve got that sorted, let’s go ahead and have a look at some good SQL YouTube channels.

YouTube Channels for Learning SQL

The type of videos an SQL beginner needs is quite different from an intermediate or advanced SQL user. To make things easier, I’m going to divide videos into groups based on who will use them (total IT newbies, SQL beginners, advanced learners) and why (to prepare for a job interview, learn a new technique, etc.). Let’s start with people who have no IT or SQL experience.

If You’re New to SQL and Relational Databases

If you’re very new to SQL and you’re not sure what a relational database actually is, here are a couple of short videos to get you started.

  • What Is SQL?
  • This is the second part of the We Learn SQL series. In the first video, our expert Adrian explained what databases are. Now, we’ll focus on what SQL is and what it does.

  • Relational Database Concepts
  • This 5-minute video from Prescott Computer Guy gives a very clear explanation of the main principles of a relational database. Well worth watching!

  • What Is SQL? in 4 Minutes for Beginners
  • This fun video from Danielle Thé is a 4-minute introduction to SQL, why you need it, and how to use it.

  • SQL Tutorial for Beginners: From Basic to Advanced SQL
  • This is a 3 hour 40 minute video from Extern Code. My thoughts:

    • There are very clear explanations and a logical flow of concepts.
    • The lecturer’s suggestions for setting up a practice database are unnecessarily complicated and could end up costing money. I suggest that instead you install MySQL (as shown in the video featured above).
    • The lecturer has a test database that you can download and pull into MySQL so you have some data to practice
    • There’s a forum where you can ask questions.
    • There are no practice tasks, but you can try out the code examples as you go.
    • The lessons are very thorough and easy to understand.
    • In spite of the disadvantages I mentioned, this would be my top pick.
  • SQL Querying for Beginners Tutorial
  • This is a 2 hour and 45 minute course from LearnIT Training. My thoughts:

    • It uses MS SQL Server. The lecturer says it’s OK to use a different database, but I would recommend installing SQL Server Express to avoid difficulties.
    • It includes instructions for installing the software.
    • The lectures are clear and easy to follow.
    • It includes practice
    • The course covers a lot of topics without becoming confusing.
    • There are parts where it jumps into more complicated topics, which could interrupt the experience for some people.
    • Some of the functions covered may not work well outside of SQL Server.
    • The course includes a community where you can ask questions and interact with other students.
  • Postgres Tutorial – Beginners to Advanced
  • This is an awesome playlist from Analytics Excellence. It’s a series of 37 videos, each averaging about 10 minutes.

    • This playlist starts with relational database concepts and installing PostgreSQL. It gives good coverage of simple queries and ends with fairly advanced topics.
    • Since it’s split into small videos, it’s easy to go at your own pace and learn only as much as you need at any point in your career.
    • The explanations are clear and logical.
    • The lecturer includes lots of examples, but doesn’t include practical exercises.
    • It’s well thought-out and easy to follow.

If You’re Serious About Learning Everything SQL

This video is a full SQL course; it finishes by showing you how to use SQL with a real website. It’s not for the faint-hearted – be prepared to put in a lot of effort if you decide to tackle this one! It’s particularly suitable for anyone who needs to learn SQL for a software development or web development role, but it’s also great for anyone who wants a deep understanding of the capabilities of SQL.

  • Complete MySQL Beginner to Expert
  • Video hosted by Full Course. Time: 20 hours 21 minutes.

    • It includes instructions for installing all the necessary software; it also makes use of the W3Schools SQL runner.
    • There’s clear and comprehensive coverage of topics.
    • The course includes exercises, challenges, and quizzes.
    • There’s support for asking questions and getting help from the lecturer.
    • The course project features building a web app that uses SQL.

Advanced Topics

If you’re already using SQL and need some help with advanced features, there are plenty of videos that teach individual topics. Searching for a particular topic, function, or feature will probably give you some helpful channels. The following playlist covers various advanced SQL topics.

  • E-Learning Bridge
  • The fastest way to move from ‘Beginner to Professional’ is to learn from the best. But, with so many data experts around, how do you pick just one to learn from? Fortunately, you don’t have to. On the E-learning Bridge Youtube channel, you’ll find live sessions, workshops, and podcasts with multiple industry experts.

    Together with experienced Data Engineer and the originator of E-Learning Bridge, Shashank Mishra, they discuss various SQL, data, and technology-related topics. His channel is stacked with practical tips that will help you not only learn SQL but also gain an in-depth perspective on current trends in the data community.

    Before you dive into SQL-related interviews, check out the complete SQL Roadmap by Shashank, in order to have a better learning plan in mind.

  • Advanced SQL Tutorials
  • Hosted by Alex the Analyst, these 6 videos each average about 10 minutes.

    • Explanations are clear and logical.
    • Each topic is thoroughly covered.
    • Check back from time to time – he may add more topics.

SQL Interview Questions

If you already know SQL and are preparing for an interview, there are lots of YouTube videos that give you sample interview questions and model answers. I liked this one:

  • Top 23 SQL Interview Questions and Answers
  • This 18 minute video from CareerVidz is presented by Richard Munn of PassMyInterview.com.

    • It contains 23 typical interview questions with their top-scoring answers.
    • The information is suitable for all SQL roles.
    • Both technical and non-technical questions are covered.
    • The video also offers downloadable slides, so you can review the questions in your own time.

If you’d like to browse around a bit more, here’s another  article on YouTube SQL videos with some good links.

Learning SQL Beyond YouTube

We all have our own unique learning style, and there’s no right and wrong answer as to the best way to learn SQL. In my opinion, online learning courses work best for most people – but YouTube videos definitely have their place. As you’ve seen, there are lots of channels that can help you at various stages of your learning journey.

I hope you’ve found my selection useful. Whichever way you learn, practice is the difference between knowing the theory and actually being able to use SQL effectively. As I mentioned before, LearnSQL.com’s SQL Practice Track (available also in SQL Server and as shorter practice sets in MySQL and PostgreSQL) and Advanced SQL Challenges give you the chance to turn your knowledge into expertise.

SQL is a valuable skill. If you’re planning on a data-oriented career like data analysis or web development, hands-on SQL practice is essential. But more and more people need access to data in the workplace. Managers, accountants, marketers, researchers, and others all need data to make informed decisions. SQL is a must-have skill in today’s data-driven world, especially if you’re involved in web development.

You may like to have a look at a few of LearnSQL.com’s learning tracks. Each one is carefully designed to build your skills and give you heaps of practice. And you’ll always have access to a mentor and a student community where you can share ideas.

  • SQL Basics is perfect for beginners. You’ll quickly learn to access, sort, and analyze data.
  • SQL A to Z takes you all the way from beginner to expert in easy steps.
  • Advanced SQL is ideal if you already know some SQL and want to learn all the latest functionalities.

And if you’re a student, there’s an amazing offer just for you.

Happy learning!