If you plan to learn SQL online but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in the right place. I evaluated the top 7 ranked SQL online courses to help you find the right solution.
While summer’s a great time to relax and get away from work, it’s also an excellent opportunity to learn new skills—like SQL! Thanks to online schools, learning new tech skills is super easy, and you can choose from a variety of formats to suit your needs, like courses and tutorials. But obviously, not every online course is going to suit your needs.
Which online SQL school is the best?
Well, it depends! Some courses explain concepts through text; others rely on multimedia like videos and images. But at the end of the day, the best courses are those that help users practice and apply the concepts they learn so they can sharpen their skills and retain the concepts they learned.
Let’s take a look at the best online SQL schools on the market.
#1 Vertabelo Academy
Vertabelo Academy has plenty of online interactive SQL courses that range in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Here are some of their courses:
- SQL Basics (10h) – A comprehensive guide for beginners with no prior knowledge of programming or IT. Start here if you’re an SQL newbie.
- SQL Practice Set (10h) – Contains 88 interactive exercises ranging from simple tasks with
SELECT FROMstatements to more advanced problems involving multiple subqueries. With so many problems to solve, you’ll gain valuable practice with your SQL skills.
- SQL JOINs (10h) – Intended for users who have very basic experience with SQL. This course covers all important types of
SQL JOINs and contains 93 comprehensive exercises.
- Standard SQL Functions (18h) – Introduction to the standard SQL functions used in data processing. Learn how to use SQL to work with different data types.
- Writing User-Defined Functions in PostgreSQL (20h) – Intended for advanced users. You'll learn how to write your own functions in PL/pgSQL, the most commonly used procedural language in PostgreSQL. This course shows you how to use different types of parameters, nest function calls, and return a table from a function.
- Window Functions (20h) – Intended for intermediate users. You’ll deepen your understanding of SQL aggregate functions and learn how to use analytic SQL functions to truly understand data.
- Recursive Queries (18h) – Intended for intermediate users. This course shows how to manage SQL queries with CTEs (often called
WITHclauses), how and when to nest CTEs, and how to use recursive CTEs to move through hierarchical data models.
- How to
DELETEData in SQL (2h) – An excellent introduction to the SQL data manipulation language (DML). Learn how to INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE data from an SQL database.
- Creating Tables in SQL (12h) – Your ultimate guide to building (and then managing) your own custom database.
- PostGIS (12h) – Intended for advanced SQL users. In this course, you’ll learn to store and manage geographical data of the PostgreSQL database. Some exercises will even let you see the results of your queries drawn on a real world map.
Vertabelo Academy also delivers a course path dedicated to MS SQL Server. You can also learn T-SQL, an extension of the SQL standard. You can choose from among these courses:
- SQL Basics in MS SQL Server (10h) – A comprehensive guide for beginners with no prior knowledge of programming or IT. Start here if you’re an SQL newbie but you want to work in T-SQL for SQL Server, retrieve data from an SQL Server database, and build simple reports.
- How to Insert, Update, or Delete Data in MS SQL Server (8h) – Introduction to the SQL data manipulation language (DML) in T-SQL, especially for users who completed the SQL Basics or SQL Basics in MS SQL Server course. Learn how to INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE data from an MS SQL Server database.
- Common Functions in MS SQL Server (10h) – Introduction to the standard T-SQL functions used in data processing, especially for users who completed the SQL Basics or SQL Basics in MS SQL Server course. Learn how to use SQL to work with different data types.
- Creating Basic SQL Reports in SQL Server (10h) – Intended for intermediate users. This course is ideal for users who know fundamental T-SQL concepts and would like to create meaningful SQL reports in MS SQL Server.
- Window Functions in MS SQL Server (20h) – Intended for intermediate users. You’ll deepen your understanding of T-SQL aggregate functions and learn how to use analytic T-SQL functions to truly understand data.
- Recursive Queries in MS SQL Server (18h) – Intended for intermediate users. This course shows how to manage T-SQL queries with CTEs (often called WITH clauses), how and when to nest CTEs, and how to use recursive CTEs to move through hierarchical data models.
- GROUP BY Extensions in MS SQL Server (7h) – Intended for intermediate users. Learn how to use ROLLUP, CUBE, and GROUPING SETS, three extremely useful GROUP BY extensions. It’s also a good option for anyone who wants to pass the 70-761 Querying Data with Transact SQL certification.
There are plenty of other courses on Vertabelo Academy to help you sharpen your SQL skills. In terms of ease of use, Vertabelo Academy ranks high—you don’t need to install a database server or any other applications. Vertabelo Academy gives you a sandbox environment with a modern UI; here, you can practice writing real SQL queries on real datasets, and you’ll get feedback on everything you do.
At the end of every SQL course, you’ll be given a comprehensive quiz that tests everything you learned to make sure you’re on track to success.
If you ever get stuck on anything, you can chat with other members of the Vertabelo Academy community through the Discuss tab or even email the Vertabelo Academy team directly with any questions you have.
With reasonable pricing and an interactive user interface, Vertabelo Academy offers everything that beginners and pros alike could want from an online SQL course.
Codecademy is an online learning platform for programming in general; it offers the following three SQL courses:
- Learn SQL (7h) – A good guide for beginners. You learn how use
ALTERstatements. The course also covers
SELECTqueries and aggregate functions.
- SQL: Table Transformation (3h) – Presents issues about subqueries, set operations, and standard SQL functions. It is for intermediate users.
- SQL: Analyzing Business Metrics (1h) – Covers data analysis with data aggregation. It is for intermediate users.
- Analyze data with SQL – intended for beginners who want to obtain skills in analyzing data with SQL. This course covers SQL basics, querying SQL, using aggregate functions to calculate data, joining sources of data, and applying your knowledge to solve real business problems.
Overall, Codeacademy’s SQL courses cover fundamental SQL concepts, but they don’t cover some important issues like
ORDER BY and
IN with a list of columns, or the
HAVING clause. The platform also doesn’t contain set operations with the
MINUS operator or subqueries with the
NOT EXISTS operators.
Each course consists of a panel divided into three sections: text explaining the concepts with instructions and template code, a console where you can paste the template code, and an area that displays the results of the database schema. The one downside of the “Learn SQL” course is that most of its exercises hold your hand and guide you towards the answer instead of encouraging you to solve them on your own. Despite that, I think it’s still quite a good SQL course for beginners.
You can upgrade your account to the paid Pro version, which offers a personalized learning plan to track your progress and remote tutors who can help you with your learning process. The pro version also gives you access to realistic projects that help you apply your skills.
#3 Khan Academy
Khan Academy is an online learning platform that covers a wide range of subjects, not just those in programming. In terms of SQL, Khan Academy offers a free course, Intro to SQL: Querying and managing data, that consists of the following sections:
- SQL basics.
- More advanced SQL queries.
- Relational queries in SQL.
- Modifying databases with SQL.
- Further learning with SQL.
All Khan Academy courses rely on video tutorials to explain subjects. In the SQL course, these videos are supplemented with challenges that help you practice SQL exercises through a console interface that displays your code and its result set.
Each section of Khan Academy’s course ends with a project, but there are no quizzes to test your knowledge. You can also create your own projects and share your work with other members of the Khan Academy community, ask questions, and help others.
The course provides essential knowledge of SQL fundamentals, but some beginner concepts are omitted. Overall, the course is ideal for beginners, so if you’re looking for more advanced topics, it’s not the best option.
#4 SQL Teaching
SQL Teaching is an interactive SQL tutorial available for free. The course is divided into lessons that consist of short explanations with one example and an exercise to help you practice what you learned. You’ll get feedback when you run your code. However, their user interface is a bit dated, and they don’t offer any quizzes to test your knowledge. All in all, SQL Teaching is a good interactive platform for beginners, but not for advanced users.
SQLBolt is a free interactive SQL platform that does not require registration. In each lesson, you’ll get a rundown of the theory followed by an exercise with an SQL console. As in the other platforms, you’ll get feedback on your submission. In terms of advanced SQL, this platform is lacking in content, but it hits all the basics.
SQLZoo is a free interactive SQL course that doesn’t require registration (unless you want to comment in the discussion section). Each lesson is very short and is followed by several practice SQL exercises. Each tutorial finishes with a quiz that tests your knowledge of the concepts you learned. SQLZoo teaches the fundamentals of SQL. Apart from the very basics, you won’t find information about intermediate SQL concepts on SQLZoo.
The W3Schools SQL Tutorial is a free interactive online course for learning SQL that does not require registration. It’s one of the most popular websites for learning SQL. Each lesson consists of a short rundown of some SQL syntax, followed by examples and diagrams. You can use the Try it Yourself button to visit their SQL console and experiment with their datasets. Each tutorial wraps things up with a quiz. Like most other courses, W3Schools explains the fundamentals of SQL, thus, is a good solution for beginners only.
In this article, you’ve learned about SQL online schools which I rank high, and you’ve learned why I believe they are the best. Let’s summarize it in points:
- Interactivity and lots of practice material are key to mastering writing queries. For users, it’s very convenient if the elements in the application are at hand.
- Free courses offer solid information, but they are usually not going to be enough if you plan a professional career in SQL programming.
- Not every school from the list provides certification of completion. If you plan on attaching certification to your resume or it’s required by your employer, be careful to check that before starting a course.
Below is a summary table of all the information we covered:
7 Best SQL Online Schools
|SQL school||Difficulty||Practice materials||Format||Pricing||Cummulative quizzes||Certifications|
|Vertabelo Academy||beginner to advanced||yes||text||free/paid||yes||yes|
|Codecademy||beginner to intermediate||no||text||free/paid||yes||yes|