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How Long Does it Take to Learn SQL? #Tips for Efficiency

Resuming our series on how long does it take to learn programming languages, we will today check out the options on how long does it take you to learn SQL. Maybe, as usual, it would not be that easy to find the exact timeframe you would ideally choose to learn SQL (or, for that matter, any other programming language).

How long Does it take to learn SQL?

Before we can go into details, you would want to know how long does it take to learn SQL. Ideally, if you already have a good knowledge of any other programming language, it should take around two to three weeks to learn the basics of SQL. If you are already aware of spreadsheet solutions and have been using them extensively, it should rather be a little more comfortable for you to learn SQL. However, mastering SQL would take a longer time. In fact, learning any programming language should invariably be an ongoing process, and you are expected to cultivate an appropriate attitude.

One of the advantages of SQL is that it does not need an extensive computer science background. It follows a logical syntax, and if you know spreadsheets well enough – you should be capable of learning it within a span of two days.

What is SQL?

SQL is pronounced either as S-Q-L or See-Quel. Acronym for Structured Query Language and is meant to be the best option for dealing with relational database construction. By definition, it is a special-purpose programming language that is designed for working with the databases. If you have fields of data within tables, it can be considered to be one of the best programming languages to analyze and understand it.

Recommended Reading - Why Learn SQL?

There are a multitude of reasons that we would recommend learning SQL. Some specific reasons would include

  • The language is quite easy to learn  – The language follows a logical syntax and thus should much easy to learn. The queries and requests are akin to the English language. You would also find that it would further be an easy task once you master it wherein you can combine multiple queries into one.
  • An efficient Data Mining – SQL should be one of the excellent options for mining your data efficiently. An excellent option for updating the events, monitoring table activity, and other activities.
  • Data Manipulation – SQL has been observed to be one of the excellent options for data manipulation. It helps you share the data more dynamically. You should be able to manipulate and handle it rather effectively.
  • Help Combine data from Multiple Sources – When you want to combine the data from multiple sources, it can be quite difficult to handle. SQL simplifies your task seamlessly in this context.

Is SQL Hard to Learn?

A valid question and we guess we have already provided the answer. If you already have enough knowledge in terms of any other programming language and have been using spreadsheet solutions for the most part of it, it should not be hard to learn.

If you tried learning a host of other languages such as C# or even JavaScript, you would definitely understand the hard work needed to learn them. In comparison, SQL is much simpler. You just need to follow the logical sequence or syntax for understanding the concept of the programming language.

Unlike in the case of other programming languages, SQL does not need you to find or learn how to extract data from a database. Instead, it just requires you to know what you want to extract, SQL handles it on its own. Yet another advantage offered by SQL when you compare it to other programming languages is that it uses English words. That should be one of the prime factors that makes it rather intuitive to learn and master.

Simply put, getting started with SQL involves understanding the basics, and once you are through it, it should be easy enough to continue working with it.

How to Plan your SQL Study?

Instead of being worried about how long does it take to learn SQL, it may be a good idea to give a thought to a few pointers to make your learning easier and simpler. A few good tips shared here should prove to be effective and efficient in taking your learning journey ahead.

Begin with Basics

Like we stated already above, learning the complex aspects of SQL can take years. In essence, learning any programming language it a continuous process, and you would constantly be evolving with each of the projects you complete. Never expect mastering SQL right away in a short span. The key is to learn the basics and then move ahead to master it further.

The Basics are what would turn out to be the building blocks of your knowledge, and that is precisely what you would use in building your proficiency with. Learning basics of SQL should not take a massive chunk of your time, either. Under ideal conditions, you should be able to understand the basics within a few days to a couple of weeks at the maximum. Once you understand the statements and the basics behind it, it should be easy to use them in real-world scenarios in an efficient manner.

The best strategy to employ should be to keep working with the basics until you have really mastered them. Moving ahead to the complex aspects without a thorough knowledge of the basics can make you commit more grave mistakes.

Move ahead with Videos

It is a well-established fact that learning would be much simplified if you can visualize the concepts. In fact, seeing is learning, and that should help you gain better knowledge in making your learning a rather easy task. Videos can definitely be one of the excellent sources for the purpose.

YouTube, for one, has evolved into one of the best options to learn and master newer concepts. With a shooting popularity of the platform, YouTube now hosts a series of dedicated channels for learning a few professional courses. Of course, not all teaching concepts are likely to meet your needs and expectations. The best option should be to pick a couple of broadcasters with whom you can relate to.

SQL TV is one of the most recommended options for the best channel from this perspective. SQL is Easy is yet another perfect channel for the beginners, thanks to the engaging teaching method that should suit the newbies.

Prefer a Hands-On Learning Approach

To learn any skill, you need to go through plenty of surgery. But, that should not mean that it is all you would be interested in. A full-hearted approach of a hands-on learning should be what would take you places. The best option would be to find an open-source platform and keep practicing what you have learned.

There are a few good test databases. You can check the databases and try to understand the different codes and queries within the database. You can further try creating your own test projects. In essence, practice is what helps you grow with your knowledge, and that should be one of the prime techniques of learning any programming language.

Additional info you may be interested in

MySQL vs SQL Server – The Key Differences 

MySQL is basically a Relational Database Management System or RDBMS. It is based on SQL and can learn on platforms such as Linux, UNIX, and Windows.  It is an open-source platform and works with SQL for working as a database management system. It works seamlessly with Windows, Mac OS, Solaris, Free BSD, and Linux.

SQL Server, on the other hand, is developed and marketed by Microsoft Corporation. The platform is used for running and storing the data required by other applications. These applications can range across a wide range of application areas, such as those required for running the computers connected to the network.

Parameters My SQLSQL Server
The DefinitionOpen source relational database systemThis is a closed source relational database system
Programming Language used C and C++Major part is in C++, but a minicule part may be in C
Language Support English onlyMultiple Language support
Platforms supported Multiple platforms such as Linux, UNIX and WindowsLinux and Windows only
Syntax Quite complex syntaxSimple and easy to follow
Official website
Application areasAlmost all open source PHP projects.NET applications and Windows apps
Security No security tool built inBuilt in security tool -MS baseline security analyzer tool
SupportSupport only through subscription or paid modeWide range of community and forum support

The Best Way to Learn SQL

Well, now that we have a good understanding of how to begin our study of SQL and how to learn it in the best possible professional environment, let us move ahead to the ways to learn the language. Obviously enough, you need to take a stock of the basics first. The simple approach should be to begin understanding how to work with the basic concepts of the language work.

The tips here are quite significant from that perspective –

Begin with Simple Tasks

The key to learning SQL should be to make a beginning in learning the basic concepts first. It would require you to go through a huge amount of reading and rehearsing. Make a slow beginning in your learning strategy and slowly move ahead.

Never ever move towards the complex aspects of SQL and ensure that you have understood every simple concept of the programming language.

Watch the Tutorials

There are several tutorials that can help you learn the basics of SQL and then move forward. Microsoft SQL fundamental databases can be one of the excellent options you can give serious thought to. You should be able to find them across several different online courses.

You can even check out a few videos from Microsoft or other certification authorities. These tutorials are designed to provide a thorough understanding of the basic and complex ideas involved in professionally learning SQL.

Choose Your Courses after enough Research

You would perhaps find a good number of online courses offered for free. However, most of the free courses available can be of poor quality. In case you want to learn SQL online for free, it may be a good idea to invest enough of your time in proper research.

Some of the free courses may skip the important information, and thus you may end up getting harmed in your quest for learning the basic concepts. If you want to build your career as a SQL Developer, it may be necessary to check the courses wisely.

The practice is the Only Key to Success

If you are looking to master the complex aspects of SQL, the only right options you would come across would be to practice as much as you can. It would be a great idea to practice almost on a daily basis. This will help you reinforce your knowledge of the critical aspects and enhance your fluency further.

Best SQL book for Beginners – A look at the Resources

No matter whether you are looking to improve your options in the Data Sciences sphere or want to become a full-fledged SQL developer, you should have a thorough knowledge in SQL.

The right way to learn SQL is to practice as much as you can and the best way to practice is to read as many books as would be possible. We thought we will list out as many books as would be possible to provide you access to an enhanced knowledge in SQL and allied topics.

SQL Quick start Guide

SQL QuickStart Guide 

Buy from Amazon

A considerably thinner book with just around 70+ pages, the QuickStart guide can be an excellent option for answering almost every question that you may have had with respect to SQL. The book lets you learn almost all the basics right from creating tables, generating queries and working with SQL.

The hands-on technique utilized by the book os one of the unique concepts that makes the book all the more competitive. Access to a free database should be yet another added advantage so that you can practice further. It should be a great option for beginners with practically zero experience ever.

SQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

SQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

Buy from Amazon

If you look at the price that the book sells it, you would indeed be flabbergasted with the sheer amount of information that it contains. The availability of specific real world examples is one of the key factors that makes it a worthy book you can have a look at.

The book contains a dedicated chapter for each of the concepts that a beginner would want to be well versed with. It follows a gradual approach moving from the basic concepts to the more complex ones such as WHERE clause, AND/OR values, and using wildcards. It can also double up as a good reference book for those looking to use the SQL code in their programs but do not necessarily need to master it.

The Ultimate Guide From Beginner To Expert

The Ultimate Guide From Beginner To Expert

Buy from Amazon

This is one book in this collection that doubles up as both a great book for beginners and advanced users as a reference book. The book is essentially much short, but does pack in a host of additional information. It provides you access to a huge array of SQL basics along with a host of advanced concepts.

In addition to a considerably good number of common SQL related queries that you may have, it also offers you access to enough number of architectural queries in relational databases. The book can be one of the excellent options for understanding the best practices in data creation and optimized SQL queries.

The ones described apart, one of the excellent options for learning SQL, can be an outstanding book from an exceptional author. Yes, we are referring to the series of Learn the Hard Way series but the world-renowned author Zed A. Shaw. Maybe slightly expensive, the book has been an indispensable tool to learn SQL for long.

The book invariably focusses on learning the SQL concepts from the practical point of view. You would learn by practicing the hard way or by making mistakes. The concept of the book Learn SQL the Hard Way focusses on learning the concept of SQL in a rather slower manner. The book would be best understood with the accompanying videos.

The Closing Thoughts on Learning SQL the Easy Way

Well, those were a few enhanced options that should help you learn SQL in a rather positive and professional manner. Data storage and data manipulation have been moving towards the digital revolution. You would definitely be looking ahead to a great career in SQL.

Learning SQL can be one of the excellent options to help you learn the best opportunities in becoming the proficient SQL developers and administrators. The information contained herein should ideally help you get access to the best possible options in that context. In essence, instead of focussing on how long does it take to learn SQL, it would be a great idea to make the best of your opportunity to achieve the best possible learning and career options for your needs.

About the author

Timmappa Kamat

Timmappa Kamat is interested in technology and allied subjects and loves sharing the knowledge through the tech-savvy websites. Fond of gadgets and gizmos, he loves working with different apps, tools and software and sharing the knowledge with the world at large. On Stooglers, he handles content related to technical aspects.

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