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Written by: ronen ariely
23/04/2021 11:39 RssIcon

SO what is this?!?

This post come to answer the question how to learn SQL which raise in the forum from time to time. It brings my personal insights about self-learning and a few sentences on how to start learning SQL. It is not exactly a regular post like I usually write but since the question was asked once more yesterday then I simply copy the answer which I gave in the forum so I will have it documented for the next time it will be asked

What are the first steps to learn SQL

"SQL" stands for Structured Query Language. It is a simple language which by definition of it's goal was designed to be simple and any children who know to read/write in English can learn it. A full course from start to end can take a about one to two full week(s) net.

I used to teach it more than 20 years ago on my free time at the time that I worked as a teacher in high schools and I continue to teach it a bit even during the time I worked at the university. The reason that people continue to ask questions and learn it for years is only when they do not learn it in an ordered way!

The problem is that most people cannot learn on their own without the proper guidance of a teacher. The reason is not related to how smart you are but to the ability to sit on your ass and learn without skipping steps and without interruptions.

In job interviews almost all the candidates claim that they are fast learning (it sound good) but in practice there are very few people who are really capable of self-study!

After tens of years in teaching, I understood that the job of the teacher is NOT to teach but to guide you to learn !

Note: many databases are managed under a database server like SQL Server or Oracle or MySQL and so on.

These servers do not use clear SQL language but an extension of the language. For example SQL Server uses a language named "Transact SQL" or TSQL in short and Oracle uses "PL/SQL"

The differences are not big but you will need to choose which database server you want to use and learn the language according

In order to learn SQL you need (1) Someone or something that will guide you step by step including exercises and tests. (2) You must have a tabular database to run the queries on. (3) You need an application with simple GUI which connect to the database and let you execute the queries

  1. I am not familiar with any good free online course for TSQL but a basic course for SQL you can find here: https://www.w3schools.com/sql/default.aspThis tutorial not include the preparation of installing the server for example.
  2. You can use the free edition of SQL Server like "Express with Advanced Services (SQLEXPRADV)" which you can get here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Download/details.aspx?id=101064
  3. Since in step 2 we select SQL Server then you need a tool to manage SQL Server databases. Therefore, you should use SQL Server Management Studio which you download here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/ssms/download-sql-server-management-studio-ssms

What next?

You need to install the SQL Server -> install the SQL Server Management Studio -> connect to the server -> create your first database -> connect the new database and start learning SQL