YouTube is not just funny cats, music clips, and viral videos. It can also be a mine of knowledge – if you know where to look. Can YouTube tutorials really help you learn SQL?
Let's say you're a marketer or an accountant. You work with databases every day. But when it’s time to write a query and get specific data, you need to call someone from IT. Why not learn to do it yourself?
Maybe you’re a job seeker. Many employers are beginning to require some programming skills from their non-IT employees. Don’t be surprised if one day your boss asks you for a report with a summary of data from several tables in a specific order. Don't panic! It is not as difficult as it seems.
If you’re thinking, “Gee, I’d better learn more about this SQL stuff”, you’re on the right track.
So You Want to Learn SQL
You’ve decided to learn SQL. Good for you! There are many ways to get started. You could use a book. There are some great choices out there, but be careful! Many SQL books contain outdated content, which won’t help you stay current. Another thing to note is that books are not interactive; it’s harder to put your newly-learned skills to work.
Online courses are another option. We have them at Vertabelo Academy; more than 65,000 people have already taken our SQL Basics course. These types of courses allow you to work on concepts as you learn them, which is very helpful.
But what if it’s difficult for you to learn from online courses or books? In this case, an SQL tutorial video might help you get started.
SQL Tutorials on YouTube: Just the Tip of the Iceberg
We live in a multimedia age, which is why many beginning SQLers look to YouTube for help. That’s not a terrible idea; for one thing, most beginning SQL videos are free. But they are often just the first part of a paid course. If you want to learn SQL from these sources, you'll have to spend some money.
And, as with many other things, the internet is full of useless and sometimes even harmful content. Instead of helping you in your career, some video tutorials can actually discourage you from learning SQL. Maybe the content is outdated or poorly presented. These will only waste your time, and possibly lower your chances for a promotion or a better job.
So, let’s say you are searching for "SQL tutorial for beginners" in the YouTube search box. Thousands of results come up – which one should you choose?
7 YouTube SQL Tutorials to Watch
We've scoured YouTube for beginning SQL tutorials. Here are the ones worth spending time on:
Let's start simple: What are databases? What is SQL? The answers can be found in this video, created by a group of programming enthusiasts. You’ll learn what a Database Management System (DBMS) is and who invented it. Sound interesting? Check it out!
Programming with Mosh
This is a set of tutorials explaining how to use SQL to query a relational database. Joey uses SQL Server and SQL Server Management Studio to demonstrate the concepts. These provide a dose of knowledge for novices.
FreeCodeCamp.org calls itself “an open-source community of busy people who learn to code and build projects for nonprofits”. Their SQL tutorial video is almost 4.5 hours long. It’s quite difficult to take it in all at once, but if you manage to stay focused, you can really learn something. The FreeCodeCamp.org channel also features content on other programming languages, machine learning, game programming, and computer science.
SQL in Sixty Seconds
As the name suggests, this channel is filled with minute-long clips – some are slightly longer – containing tips on SQL and SQL Server. It is run by Pinal Dave, a.k.a. the "SQL Authority". His videos are a good way to learn about a standard function or solve a specific (simple) problem. Absolute beginners should be careful not to get lost in all this. I’d recommend learning the basics of SQL first, then tackling this content.
Here’s another very simple guide for rookies that mostly demonstrates foundational SQL. The focus is on PostgreSQL (a free, open-source database management system), which you will need to install in advance if you want to try out the concepts covered in the video. It’s a good way to get your curiosity going, and it may inspire you to learn more about PostgreSQL.
These videos by Ulka Simone Mohanty have a slightly different approach to learning. They’re short, and they’re presented in an unusual way. This is SQL basics for action movie fans: everything flashes, music pulses in the background, and the instructor cracks jokes. The first minute will either capture your imagination or make you switch to another tutorial.
SQL Tutorials: To Video or Not to Video?
Watching videos is great fun, but most YouTube SQL tutorials will only take you to an introductory level. To get good at SQL, you need practice and real-world experience. And remember to find a trustworthy source; errors learned at this level will come back to haunt you later, maybe for years.
In the end, the only way to really learn SQL is to learn it by doing it. Some people have enjoyed using online courses as well as YouTube videos to learn SQL. While the videos will give you a lot of breadth, they can’t replace the hands-on nature of an interactive course. Plus, you won’t get a certificate of completion for watching a lot of videos! So, feel free to check out Vertabelo Academy’s SQL courses for free – there’s something there for every SQL skill level.