The University Network

Best Online Classes And Programs For SQL

Data science is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative fields in the 21st century economy, so much so that it has been prominently and repeatedly referred to as “the new oil.” According to Glassdoor, the average yearly salary for data scientists is an impressive $117,345, while the highest earners make upwards of $150,000 per year.

If you’re interested in getting in on the new boom, you’re going to need to develop strong skills in commonly-used data science technologies. 

Learning SQL is a great place to start. SQL is the most commonly-used programming language by database developers and administrators. Unlike more general use languages like Python and Java, SQL is used entirely for database management. It is used daily by professionals in big data and statistics, such as data analysts, data scientists, and statisticians.

If you’ve never learned a programming language before, taking on a complex programming language like SQL can seem like an intimidating commitment. Fortunately, there are countless free and affordable online courses that will help you develop the basic skills to work with SQL in professional settings. We’ve put together a list of our favorite online courses to help you learn SQL on your own time, from the comfort of your home.

Introductory Courses on SQL

1. The Complete SQL Bootcamp

The Complete SQL Bootcamp” is a well-taught course for absolute beginners to SQL. The course covers PostgreSQL, a popular database management system, but the SQL syntax translates to any other major SQL database such as MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, or Oracle. Instructor Jose Portilla is clear and articulate when breaking down basic SQL and fundamental data analysis concepts. You’ll learn about the most important database commands and how to build basic and complex queries. The course is designed for beginners, but it also touches on some advanced commands, like timestamps and extract, mathematical functions, strings and operators, subqueries, and self join.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale (194.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 8 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish
  • Vendor: Udemy

Note: Prices for all courses listed in this article are true on the date of publishing, but are subject to change.

2. The Ultimate MySQL bootcamp: Go From SQL Beginner to Expert

Taught by Colt Steele, one of the most popular programming instructors on Udemy, this course teaches SQL using MySQL. According to Stack Overflow, MySQL is the most commonly used database, used by major corporations like Twitter, Uber, and Airbnb, as well as governmental organizations that handle enormous amounts of data, including NASA. The course itself is based around immersive and interactive learning. From the very beginning, you will be working on SQL code-writing exercises and building complex projects, such as a mock Instagram database. You’ll learn to work with massive datasets containing thousands of entries and practice designing and implementing complex database schemas. This is a comprehensive course for all learners, whether you’re a beginner developer, an experienced developer interested in working with databases, or a business owner who wants to learn better data analysis skills.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($179.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 20 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish
  • Vendor: Udemy

3. SQL for Data Science

SQL for Data Science,” offered by UC Davis via Coursera, is a comprehensive introduction to SQL and database management for beginners. The course is designed for all students. You don’t need any experience in computer science or data science, just a desire to learn about SQL. The course begins covering basic syntax rules and concepts, before diving into building queries and working with strings and numbers. Finally, you’ll learn different methods for analyzing and modifying data using SQL.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 20 hours (4 weeks with 3-5 hours/week suggested)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Coursera

4. SQL for Data Analysis

This free course from Udacity focuses on using SQL to extract and analyze data from large databases. In six lessons, you’ll learn basic SQL commands and common functions like extracting data, joining tables together, and performing aggregations. The second half of the course deals with more complex functions used daily by data scientists. For example, you’ll learn to use subqueries to run multiple queries together and to use temp tables to access tables with multiple queries. You’ll also learn about using SQL for data cleansing, a critical task that data scientists may spend over half of their time working on.

  • College credits: NO
  • Price: FREE
  • Financial aid or scholarships: YES
  • Mobile learning: NO
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 4 weeks
  • Languages: English
  • Vendor: Udacity

5. Databases and SQL for Data Science

This is a beginner-level course that emphasizes a hands-on learning approach. From the very beginning of the course, students work with real datasets, practicing basic SQL code. The course consists of four modules, including a final project in which students are tasked with analyzing data from with multiple real datasets for for the city of Chicago. You will learn the basic SQL syntax as well as intermediate and advanced concepts like searching data with string patterns and ranges and working with multiple tables using join operations. You will also use Python to connect to databases and analyze data. Offered by IBM via Coursera, this course is part of two Coursera programs — the IBM Data Science Professional Certificate and the Introduction to Data Science Specialization.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 11 hours (4 weeks with 2-4 hours/week suggested)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Korean, and Arabic
  • Vendor: Coursera

6. SQL – MySQL for Data Analytics and Business Intelligence

This course teaches SQL with MySQL, beginning with the very basics. It is a true beginner course, featuring introductory sections on SQL theory, basic data science concepts, the structure of a database, and database terminology. If you’ve never worked with a database before, this steady and thorough introduction will help you understand fundamental concepts that you will need once you dive deep into SQL programming. As the course progresses, you’ll start to touch on some advanced concepts, including different types of MySQL variables, indexes, triggers, and the CASE statement. This course also includes lessons on using SQL with Tableau, a popular data visualization software.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($194.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 9 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, and Spanish
  • Vendor: Udemy

Intermediate Courses on SQL

7. SQL Server – Master Class for Data Analysis

This course teaches SQL beginning with the basics, but it is best for intermediate and experienced SQL users interested in relearning basics or learning nuances they may have missed along the way. You’ll learn tips and tricks for analyzing data as well as SQL analytics functions such as LAG(), NTILE(), OVER, PARTITION, and more. You’ll learn about modifying and defining data with DML and DDL. You’ll also learn some advanced SQL analytics concepts that are used in real world data analysis scenarios, such as cohort analysis and customer acquisition analysis. In total, the course includes nearly eight hours worth of video content and a number of exercises and challenges.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($174.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 7 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Udemy

8. Introduction to Structured Query Language (SQL)

This course teaches SQL from scratch, beginning with the process of installing a text editor, MAMP or XAMPP, creating a MySQL database, and writing a PHP program. In subsequent sections, you’ll start working with basic SQL functions and learning the structure of the syntax. As you move through the course, you’ll steadily start working with more advanced concepts like designing complex databases with multiple tables, foreign keys, and JOIN, and modeling many-to-many relationships. This course is included in the University of Michigan’s “Web Applications for Everybody” Coursera Specialization.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 2 months (10 hours/week suggested) 
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English, Korean, and Serbian
  • Vendor: Coursera

9. Data Wrangling, Analysis, and AB Testing with SQL

This course is in many ways a sequel to UC Davis and Coursera’s “SQL for Data Science” course. If the prior course is focused on teaching SQL fundamentals, this course is based on practicing real-world data analysis scenarios. Here, you will take the basic SQL functions taught in “SQL for Data Science” and put them into practice in four data science inquiry case studies. You will learn to produce trustworthy analyses of new, potentially unreliable data sets, learn how to organize unfiltered data into clean datasets, learn how to problem solve in SQL and answer complex, vague, and confusing data questions, and, lastly, set up a basic AB testing system, which you will use to prove or disprove a hypothesis about user behavior. This is an excellent course for students who know their way around SQL and are ready to get their hands dirty with realistic data science problems.

  • College credits: NO — Course Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Course Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 20 hours (4 weeks with 2-5 hours/week suggested)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Coursera

10. Developing SQL Databases

Designed by Microsoft and taught by Microsoft instructors, this course is focused on using SQL to build quality databases. This course is recommended for students who are already well-versed in the fundamentals of SQL and want to learn practical database creation tips and tricks. You’ll learn to create and implement a variety of database objects, including views, stored procedures, and columnstore indexes. You’ll also learn about the principles of database creation, such as logical table design and how to ensure data integrity.

  • College credits: NO — Verified Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a $99 fee to earn and buy a Verified Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 4 weeks (2-4 hours per week)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: EdX

Advanced Courses on SQL

11. SQL Advanced

This advanced SQL course focuses on concepts used regularly by senior data scientists and experienced developers. You’ll learn how to use materialized views to replicate data across servers, optimize performance by partitioning tables, and use Analytic SQL to aggregate, analyze, report, and model data. You’ll also learn about hierarchical data and how to create hierarchical queries and tree-structured reports. The course also includes sections on other advanced concepts like regular expressions and the GROUP BY clause. In short, this is a strong course for experienced SQL users who are interested in learning some lesser-known and more complex features of SQL.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: $9.99 on sale ($149.99 regular price)
  • Financial aid or scholarships: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 4 hours, 30 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Udemy

12. Advanced SQL for Data Scientists

This Lynda course is focused on advanced SQL concepts and practical data science tasks often used in real-world data science situations. The course features a brief overview of SQL basics and then covers five critical data science topics: statistics in SQL, data preparation, advanced filtering and data aggregation, window function, and preparing data for analysis using common analytics tools. Additionally, you’ll learn other field-relevant information, like ANSI standards for databases. 

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: One-month free trial and then $29.99 for monthly plan OR $19.99 for annual plan billed monthly
  • Financial aid or scholarship: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 1 hour, 24 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Lynda

13. Advanced SQL for Query Tuning and Performance Optimization

Even experienced SQL programmers struggle with slow, long-running queries that take up CPU and memory resources. This course is focused on strategies for building fast, optimized SQL queries. You’ll learn what goes on behind the scenes when SQL executes queries, so you can analyze query execution plans and troubleshoot when you run into long-running or poor-performing queries. Students will learn about a few PostgreSQL tools and data modeling strategies that are helpful for optimizing queries. You’ll also learn about some common issues that arise in building queries and how to solve them by using different kinds of indexes and methods like partitioning and materialized views to improve query performance.

  • College credits: NO — Certificate of Completion only
  • Price: One-month free trial and then $29.99 for monthly plan OR $19.99 for annual plan billed monthly
  • Financial aid or scholarship: NO
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: 1 hour, 44 minutes
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Lynda

Online Programs on SQL

14. Modern Big Data Analysis with SQL Specialization

This Coursera Specialization takes a modern and forward-thinking approach to data management, focusing on working with massive datasets stored in distributed clusters and cloud storage. To query these kinds of datasets, you need to work with a type of SQL engine called “distributed query engines.” This Specialization focuses on using two of these engines: Hive and Impala. It consists of three courses, beginning with a course on the big-picture data management concepts in which you’ll learn about the structures of different kinds of databases and about the unique demands of big datasets. Moving on, you’ll cover the basics of the SQL syntax in Hive and Impala and any differences with other common database management systems like MySQL and PostgreSQL. Finally, you’ll cover how to manage big datasets. You’ll learn to load them into clusters and cloud storage, organize the data, and run queries using SQL engines.

The 3 Courses:

Course 1: Foundations for Big Data Analysis with SQL

Course 2: Analyzing Big Data with SQL

Course 3: Managing Big Data in Clusters and Cloud Storage

  • College credits: NO — Specialization Certificate only
  • Price: FREE to audit, but there’s a fee to earn and buy a Specialization Certificate
  • Financial aid or scholarship: YES
  • Mobile learning: YES
  • Self-paced learning: YES
  • Flexible deadlines: YES
  • Time needed for completion: Approximately 2 months (9 hours per week suggested)
  • Languages: English with subtitles in English
  • Vendor: Coursera