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Best SQL Courses for 2021 – here are 11 (newbie, intermediate & advanced)

📂 11 Best SQL Courses for 2021 💾

What are the MUST HAVE best SQL courses for 2021?

Here are my top 11 picks that include beginner, intermediate & advanced SQL courses.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you buy something. Read my disclosure for more details.

Best SQL Courses TLDR

🗂️ SQL is a language used to manipulate databases. It’s an essential skill for software developers, data scientists, business analysts and DBAs (database administrators).

💾 My favorite course for general SQL newbies is Complete SQL + Databases Bootcamp: Zero to Mastery [2021] by Andrei Neagoie.

🖥️ However, if you’re an experienced developer, check out Database Design Fundamentals for Software Engineers by Educative.io.

🧭 You can customize your SQL learning journey by learning an RDBMS like MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and more.

What is SQL?

SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It’s the language you use for accessing databases.

Developed by IBM in the 1970s, SQL is a sleek weapon. You can use it to manipulate data in powerful ways.

For example, you can:

  • extract data
  • update data
  • insert new data
  • delete data
  • create and delete tables
  • and much more.

What is an RDBMS?

An RDBMS is an acronym. It stands for Relational Database Management System.

An RDBMS stores data in rows and columns.

Every RDBMS uses SQL.

And most businesses are using an RDBMS.

Nerdy side note: every database that isn’t relational is known as a NoSQL database.

Some RDBMS examples include:

  • MySQL
  • Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL)
  • PostgreSQL
  • Oracle
  • MariaDB
  • and many more.

⚠️ How does SQL work with an RDBMS? ⚠️

Essentially, SQL is the language that communicates with the RDBMS.

For example, if I wanted to fetch the email addresses of all my customers signed up to my mailing list, I could issue a special SQL command.

That command would communicate with my RDBMS (for example, MySQL) where the names are stored. Then the RDBMS would return the email addresses to me.

Thus, you can see how SQL & RDBMS go hand-in-hand.

Why should I learn SQL?

Above all, job opportunities along with compensation make SQL a rewarding skill to learn.

For example, according to ZipRecruiter, the annual average salary of a SQL developer is over $94,000.

Some career fields that use SQL regularly:

  • Web Developer (full-stack & backend)
  • Data Scientist / Data Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Database Administrator (DBA)

Learning SQL, if even the basics, has never been more critical. SQL is everywhere.


🗄️ Best SQL Courses: General

1. An Introductory Guide to SQL (Educative.io)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

This beginner course starts with SQL basics like creating a database, queries and updating data.

Then, you’ll learn about SQL fundamentals such as:

  • multi-table operations
  • nested queries
  • setting up views
  • triggers
  • views

And much more.

Creating a SQL database in the An Introductory Guide to SQL course on Educative.io

With 13 hours of interactive lessons, you’ll learn SQL concepts with:

  • 528 code snippets
  • 438 illustrations
  • 72 code playgrounds

In addition, there’s 73 quizzes.

What makes Educative.io unique:

First of all, Educative.io doesn’t use any videos in their courses. Instead, you use highly interactive coding environments.

And because there are no videos, Educative.io is ideal for beginners. Although it may sound counterintutive, this forces you to be hands-on with material.

In addition, you move through the courses at your own pace. You can spend as much or as little time as you need in each lesson.

Level: Beginner

Duration: 13 hours

Cost: $29 for the course/$39.99 per month for all courses/$249 per year for all courses ($20.79 per month)

2. Analyze Data with SQL (Codecademy.com)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

There’s a curated collection of 8 modules in this SQL skill path. So that’s 8 times the SQL information you’d get from an average course.

This collection of SQL courses is geared towards students interested in a data analyst career.

Aggregate function challenge in the Analyza Data with SQL skill path on Codecademy Pro

In addition to learning SQL basics, Analyze Data with SQL also covers:

  • writing basic queries
  • calculating aggregates
  • joining tables
  • analyzing real data with SQL
  • advanced SQL concepts

And more.

Also, there are 15 mini projects you’ll work on throughout the course. There are also 3 portfolio-ready projects.

Finally, there’s an entire lesson dedicated to SQL interview prep.

What makes Codecademy unique:

First, the entire Codecademy platform has high production values.

Codecademy uses interactive learning with an embedded code editor to teach concepts.

Also, they sometimes use videos to clarify new or difficult concepts. There are also many multiple choice quizzes.

With their skill paths and career paths, you’ll work on multiple mini-projects and portfolio-ready projects.

Finally, it’s well-organized. You can easily search for particular courses or skill paths.

Level: Beginner

Duration: 6 weeks

Cost: $39.99 per month for Codecademy Pro. This includes all Codecademy courses, skill & career tracks. Or opt for a yearly subscription for $240 ($19.99 per month).

3. Complete SQL + Databases Bootcamp: Zero to Mastery [2021] (ZeroToMastery.io)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

Andrei Neagoie is a well-known developer who has worked in Silicon Valley. He’s also an instructor with a knack for teaching courses that have helped thousands of developers land jobs.

Complete SQL + Databases Bootcamp is a video course. Instead of interactive exercises, you’re challenged with multiple choice quizzes.

In this course, you’ll start learning SQL basics like functions and retrieving data.

SQL Function video explanation in Zero to Mastery from the course Complete SQL + Databases Bootcamp: Zero to Mastery

But you’ll also learn some more complicated concepts like:

  • generating insights and reports using SQL
  • database best practices
  • making business decisions based on user data
  • using SQL across multiple databases
  • creating your own SQL database

And much, much more.

There are plenty of exercises you’ll be working on throughout the course.

What makes ZeroToMastery unique:

Founder Andrei Neagoie pays attention to detail. His videos are consistently high-quality and tightly edited.

The idea behind ZeroToMastery.io is to teach an absolute beginner and lead them to mastering a programming language or discipline.

This is a code newbie-friendly platform.

And because of the level of detail, you’ll come out as an advanced student.

Level: Beginner

Duration: 25 Hours

Cost: $29 per month for full platform access/$264 per year ($22 per month)

4. Beginning SQL (TeamTreehouse.com)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

Clocking in at 10 hours, Beginning SQL will show you everything you need to know to get started with the language. This is a Treehouse Track, meaning it is a collection of courses.

In the Beginning SQL Track you’ll learn:

  • The absolute basics of SQL
  • How to generate reports
  • Basic SQL commands
  • Database normalization
  • Common Table Expressions with WITH
  • SQL reporting by example

And much more.

Explanation of SQL Basics in the Treehoues track Beginning SQL

What Makes Treehouse unique:

First, Treehouse is truly a beginner-friendly platform.

Second, their video production values are extremely high quality.

Third, their lessons are short.

For example, the first course in this 6-course track Beginner SQL is two hours.

However, the majority of videos are under three minutes. This makes learning SQL quite manageable.

Level: Beginner

Duration: 10 hours

Cost: $29.99/month or $239.88 a year (averages to $19.99/month).

💻 Best SQL Courses: Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL)

5. SQL Server Fundamentals (Datacamp.com)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

This interactive skill track consists of 5 courses:

  • Introduction to SQL Server
  • Joining Data in SQL
  • Intermediate SQL Server
  • Time Series Analysis in SQL Server
  • Functions for Manipulating Data in SQL Server
Video explanation of SQL basics in the SQL Server Fundamentals skill track on DataCamp

Using videos and interactive exercises, you’ll learn how to query, access and extract data from databases.

Also, you’ll be able to perform common data manipulation tasks.

In addition, you’ll use real-world data to perform cross-database analyses.

Finally, you’ll learn how to process and transform data in the SQL server.

What makes DataCamp unique:

While DataCamp consists primarily of interactive lessons, there are also videos to introduce new concepts.

There are so many interactive lessons with embedded code editors. So you’ll see the lesson, exercise, prompt and your work all in the same browser.

It makes for an ideal learning experience.

And with a gamified learning environment, DataCamp adds an extra level of challenging yourself.

Level: Beginner and Intermediate

Duration: 22 Hours

Cost: $25 per month for the Standard plan/$33.25 per month for Premium plan

6. SQL Server for Database Administrators (Datacamp.com)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

In this interactive skill track, you’ll learn how to set up, design and maintain your database.

With over 28 hours of material, this skill track contains 7 courses:

  • Introduction to Relational Databases in SQL
  • Database Design
  • Hierarchical and Recursive Queries in SQL Server
  • Transactions and Error Handling in SQL Server
  • Writing Functions and Stored Procedure in SQL
  • Building and Optimizing Triggers in SQL Server
  • Improving Query Performance in SQL Server
Relational databases quiz in the DataCamp skill track SQL for Database Administrators

So you’ll start by learning how to create and design functional databases. From there you’ll learn how to write scripts and recursive queries.

In addition, you’ll learn about SQL Server skills you need to monitor database performance and manage access using SQL Server.

Finally, you’ll learn how to implement triggers and write efficient queries.

What makes DataCamp unique: See #5!

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Duration: 28 hours

Cost: $25 per month for the Standard plan/$33.25 per month for Premium plan

7. Cleaning Data in SQL Server Databases (Datacamp.com)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

Data is messy and has to be cleaned before you can analyze it.

But you’ll need more than soap and water to clean the typical data set. That’s where this course comes in.

In this interactive course, you’ll learn how to clean data that’s stored in a SQL Server database.

Introduction to Cleaning Data lesson in DataCamp’s course Cleaning Data in SQL Server Databases

In addition, you’ll solve problems like:

  • cleaning up messy strings
  • empty values
  • string similarities

And more.

The course keeps it fun by using real-world data like airline flights, TV series and retail sales.

There are 4 chapters that deal with:

  • cleaning data
  • different date formats and duplicate data
  • different data types and out of range values
  • splitting, combining and transforming data

And more.

What makes DataCamp unique: See #5!

Level: Intermediate

Duration: 4 Hours

Cost: $25 per month for the Standard plan/$33.25 per month for Premium plan

📨 Best SQL Courses: MySQL

8. MySQL Path (Pluralsight.com)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

This path consists of 8 beginner, intermediate and advanced video courses. All are highly specific courses mostly related to MySQL.

Courses included in the MySQL Path on Pluralsight

In addition to learning the basics of SQL and MySQL, you’ll learn more complex MySQL concepts like:

  • backup and recovery fundamentals
  • indexing for performance
  • optimization and performance tuning

And more.

Then you’ll learn the fundamentals of phpMyAdmin, a MySQL database management app.

What makes Pluralsight unique:

Pluralsight has exclusively video content. Therefore, there’s no heavy reading or interactive exercises.

Plus Pluralsight has a huge variety. For example, there are over 7500 different courses and hundreds (if not thousands) of instructors.

So if you don’t like a teaching style, you can probably find another instructor that works for you.

Level: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced

Duration: Unknown

Cost: $29 per month/$299 per year (~$25 per month)/$449 for premium interactive courses

🤖 Best SQL Courses: PostgreSQL

9. Design Databases With PostgreSQL (Codecademy.com)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

This is a 5-course skill path where you’ll learn how to create and optimize databases. You’ll also learn best practices for database design using PostgreSQL.

In addition, you’ll build 3 real-world projects.

Lesson on relational databases in the Design Databases with PostgreSQL skill path on Codecademy Pro

You’ll learn topics like:

  • database basics
  • how to write basic queries to get information from databases
  • how to design a database by learning about database keys, schemas and relationships
  • about adding constraints to databases
  • how to optimize databases by using indexes and normalization

And much, much more.

What makes Codecademy unique: See #2!

Level: Beginner

Duration: 30 Hours

Cost: $39.99 per month for all Codecademy courses, skill & career tracks/$240 for a yearly subscription ($19.99 per month)

10. Querying Data with SQL from PostgreSQL (Pluralsight.com)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

This is 5-course skill path contains 5 beginning, intermediate and advanced courses:

  • Querying Data from PostgreSQL
  • Combining and Filtering Data with PostgreSQL
  • PostgreSQL Data Manipulation Playbook
  • Capturing Logic with Custom Functions in PostgreSQL
  • PostgreSQL Functions Playbook
Video explanation of relational databases from the Pluralsight path Querying Data with SQL from PostgreSQL

With a series of videos, you’ll learn concepts like:

  • querying data with the SELECT statement
  • filtering data with WHERE clause
  • aggregating data
  • inserting, updating and deleting data
  • combining data with JOIN

And beyond.

What makes Pluralsight Unique: See #8!

Level: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced

Duration: Unknown

Cost: $29 per month/$299 per year (~$25 per month)/$449 for premium interactive courses

🎨 Best SQL Courses: Database Design

11. Database Design Fundamentals for Software Engineers (Educative.io)

Why this made the list of best SQL courses:

Databases are a critical part of everything from video games to banking systems. And just about any software system that maintains persistent data.

With 74 lessons, you’ll learn using:

  • 42 playgrounds
  • 95 illustrations
  • 28 code snippets
  • 17 quizzes

First, you’ll start with the fundamentals of databases.

Then you’ll learn about techniques like normalization.

Lesson on data models in the Database Design Fundamentals for Software Engineers course on Educative.io

Some key concepts include:

  • data modeling
  • functional dependencies
  • normalization
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)

And much more.

Finally, you’ll finish with learning the basics of SQL.

What makes Educative.io unique: See #1!

Level: Beginner

Duration: 8 hours

Cost: $39 for the course/$39.99 per month for all courses/$249 per year for all courses ($20.79 per month)

Best SQL Courses: Final Thoughts

The best SQL course for you depends on a lot of factors.

Firstly, do you have a career track in mind? Some careers tend to favor one RDBMS over the other.

Secondly, what is your preferred learning method? If you like videos, sites like ZeroToMastery and Treehouse may be a good choice. On the other hand, if you can’t stand videos, check out Educative.io.

And if you like a combination of both videos and interactive bits, DataCamp and Codecademy may be up your alley.

Finally, how much time do you have to invest? Some courses on this list are a few hours, while others will take a few weeks or months to complete.


Thanks for reading this list of best SQL courses for 2021. Want more? Check out our full review of Codecademy Pro.

  1. What's the best SQL course for beginners?

    There are a few excellent SQL courses for beginners, but right now my favorite is Complete SQL + Databases Bootcamp: Zero to Mastery [2021] by Andrei Neagoie. Andrei not only is a veteran software dev who worked in Silicon Valley, his video production is top-notch. It's a great course for those new to databases or development in general.

  2. What's the best PostgreSQL course?

    Arguably the best PostgreSQL course right now is Design Databases with PostgreSQL on Codecademy. This course goes past the basic SQL commands to show you an insider's view of PostgreSQL. This is a 5-course skill path where you'll learn how to create and optimize databases. You'll also learn best practices for database design using PostgreSQL. In addition, you'll build 3 real-world projects.

  3. Who should learn SQL?

    SQL is used in numerous career fields and disciplines. It's a great skill to have if you're a backend or full-stack web developer, data scientist, data analyst, desktop application developer, or business analyst.