20+ Ways to Learn SQL Online (For Free!)

By: Kit Warchol

Category: Free Resources

We teach a lot of tech skills here, particularly in our Break Into Tech course. There’s HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and PHP (in our WordPress course). One thing that comes up a lot with our students and readers is: Where are the Structured Query Language (SQL) classes? And is there any free way to learn SQL online?

We address SQL databases in our Python class (inevitable for people who want to get into data science) but we’ve also rounded up the best online courses and tutorials for beginners that you can use for free. (Yep!)

Why learn SQL? SQL is used to manage data in relational database management systems and its main functionality is in data structures, though it’s used in web development as well.

Data scientists, data analysts, and programmers with machine learning specializations use SQL to write complex queries from scratch to do data analysis on data sets.

If that sounds like a mouthful, know that it’s used in many real-world projects and is related to other open-source relational database systems (like MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL as well as closed source relational databases like Microsoft SQL Server).

If you start learning SQL online now, you can hone your new skills and get even more prepared for a future tech career. Here are the 20+ best ways to learn SQL fast, online and for free.

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1. Intro to SQL: Querying and managing data via Khan Academy

This course starts with SQL basics (perfect for beginners who want to learn SQL for the first time), then expands into:

  • More advanced SQL queries
  • Relational queries in SQL
  • Modifying databases with SQL
  • Further learning in SQL

Ideal for a deeper dive into SQL and all of its moving parts with step-by-step instructions in this free course. Start the free class online here.

2. Codecademy’s free SQL Class

Codecademy promises that if beginners take this SQL course, they’ll “learn to communicate with databases using SQL, the standard data management language.” That means four lesson segments on the following SQL-related topics:

  • Manipulation
  • Queries
  • Aggregate Function
  • Multiple Tables

One majorly annoying thing: only the first interactive lessons from each segment are available for free. To take a deeper dive into SQL on Codecademy, you’ll eventually need to upgrade to a Pro account. Try the first free SQL lessons.

3. Developing SQL Databases via EdX

We always mention EdX in our roundups of free coding resources because the quality is fantastic. The courses are sourced from universities including MIT and Harvard, and their free SQL classes are no different. Sign up for their SQL class here.

4. SQLcourse.com

If you can handle the outdated website, this resource is actually chock full of great (and yep, free) interactive SQL lessons and tutorials. Great for teaching yourself at your own pace, here’s where you should start learning.

5. W3Schools SQL Class

There’s a reason why W3Schools is seemingly everywhere — they make consistently great online coding and tech classes for beginners. The same is true of their SQL tutorial, which features a highly UX-friendly sidebar table of contents and straightforward examples. Start learning SQL here.

6. FreeCodeCamp’s SQL Course

Big surprise: You can find beginner SQL classes on YouTube (is there anything you can’t find on YouTube, though?). This 4+ hour SQL class from FreeCodeCamp is one of the best and most thorough options out there.

7. SQLZoo

Again, not exactly the prettiest option on our list, but it gets the job done. This works OK as a class to learn SQL, but even better as a bookmark to reference anytime you need a review. Take a look.

8. Introduction to Computer Science via EdX

This Harvard class includes lessons on multiple programming languages, including SQL but also JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and more. It’s available online and for free, also via Edx. Sign up for it here.

9. Introduction to Databases and SQL Querying via Udemy

What better way to start learning SQL as a beginner than to take a 2.5 hour Introduction to SQL class? Give it a whirl.

10. Learn Basic SQL in 10 Minutes (YouTube Video)

Are you sort of like: This list is great and all, but I’m not even sure I want to learn SQL…Is there an easier way to figure it out than a hours-long class? Yep. If the goal is to learn SQL fast, this is a great video for you start with. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing thing, but it promises to teach you SQL basics in 10 minutes.

11. Learn SQL in 60 Minutes (YouTube Video)

Good old Kyle. Kyle will tell you that the goal of this video tutorial is to make SQL accessible to everyone — which we can totally get behind. We can also get behind the fact that if you want to learn SQL fast (like before a job interview), 60 minutes is totally doable.

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12. Udacity’s SQL Course

One of the most professional feeling free SQL courses on our list, it’s also one of the more thorough options. Udacity says you can complete its beginner’s SQL class in four weeks — which is not bad at all if the goal is to use SQL in your daily work.

13. SQL Fundamentals by SoloLearn

SoloLearn has gamified the learning process with its SQL course. Here’s how they say it works:

“Create, access, and manipulate databases. At the same time, collect points, unlock levels and achievements, and compete with other learners from around the world!”

Why not have a little fun while you learn SQL fast?

14. SQL for Web Nerds eBook

This “book” is by an MIT professor, and it was sort of a “must include” simply because we can’t get over the cute photos of him with his dog. But if you’re more of a “learn by reading” type, this is probably the best way to learn SQL for free for you.

15-17. SQL Reddits + Reddit Threads

Inevitably, there’s plenty of chatter about learning SQL happening on Reddit. Here are just a few channels you should dig into if you’re into that sort of thing:

r/learnSQL/
Thread: “best way to learn SQL at home”
r/learnprogramming/

18. Quick SQL Cheatsheet

While this isn’t exactly a beginner’s class, it is a very useful SQL resource to bookmark for all you future SQL-related work. So save it somewhere.

19. StudybyYourself SQL Course

Straightforward and easy to navigate, yet another great free SQL class option for total beginners. The way it’s laid out also allows you to hop around a bunch, so if you’re trying to learn specific elements of SQL quickly, you might want to give this class a go.

20. SQLBolt

This is probably the #1 SQL class cited in Reddit threads about learning SQL fast, so it’s also probably worth a shot.

21. Introduction to SQL by PluralSight

PluralSight offers a free 10-day trial, which means if you want to learn SQL fast, this might be a great class for you. Just don’t forget to cancel your trial if you don’t want to get charged!

22. Fresh2Refresh SQL Tutorial

Another great option for the reader among us, this tutorial is simple to navigate and very straightforward — as any SQL tutorial for beginners should be.

23. Coursera

Coursera offers many free SQL lessons on its website, which means that you have a lot of options when it comes to which class you want to take and how in-depth you want to go.

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Kit Warchol

Kit Warchol is the Head of Content for Skillcrush and writes for magazines and sites including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Girlboss, and others in her spare time. After teaching herself to code at the height of the recession (heyo, 2009), she worked as a web designer at various tech startups, then took a Senior Project Development role at the University of Southern California before diving back into writing full-time. Before joining us, she served as the Editorial Director of Career Contessa, a career advice site for women.