How long does it take to learn SQL without formal education?


Has anyone tried teaching SQL query design to someone with no experience in this area?

How far might you expect to be able to go with the training in a few weeks?

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8 Responses to "How long does it take to learn SQL without formal education?"

  1. OccumsRevelation   January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    This will vary from person-to-person. Everyone has their own learning curve. Various things will help you: do you know and understand database structures, do you know any programming languages, do you have access to a test database to use.

    I’ve taught dozens of people with varying levels of skill and experience with SQL, and the best training tool I’ve found is looking at real-world examples and playing with them in a test database —- a VERY segregated test database. If you take a look at an existing database and review the code behind various queries / views / procedures / etc you can get a feel for SQL very rapidly. Particularly if you are already familiar with the data itself.

    Generally, I’ve found people could be trained to the point they can generate simple ad hoc queries and reports in a few weeks with some reliability. Some concepts I’ve found virtually no one understands, no matter how experienced they are (try explaining how Oracle will interpret multiple outer-joins within separate subclauses sometime for an exercise that can only be described as self-immolating).

  2. ajgeiger38   January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Are you familiar with databases now? Are you familiar with programming practices?

    SQL is fairly easy if you are used to how tables work and are constructed. I am a programmer/analyst and picked up the basics in three days.

    If you have access to databases and a working version of something similar to Microsoft Access you can create some tables from scratch and play with creating queries. Access can be used on any desktop/laptop system.

    If you are working in a mainframe environment, do you have IBM’s Query Management Facility (QMF)? IBM has a good manual that lists different query commands and can help you learn forms and how to format output.

    Practice is the best method.

    Good luck!

  3. Chamak   January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    If u know how to write english (that I can see u do :-D) It’ll take at most one week to learn basic sql and another week to practice and that’s all!
    Better start with a weekend crash course or dummies book…that’ll do…

  4. Hari R   January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    I guess you are thinking about formal education on Computers ? If that is the case, if you have the attitude it takes a few weeks only. Load MySQL and start understanding things.

    There is a saying. When the student is ready the teacher appears! So it all depends on the attitude buddy. I have seen a 10 year old who is MCP(Microsoft Certified Professional) in MS SQL Server. Well doesnt that Inspire you ?
    Go ahead and enjoy SQL

  5. mannu   January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    it depends on your capability.
    if you can put in your affort then it hardly takes 2 months…

  6. TL   January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    You can probably do a lot in a few weeks, if you practice and understand the concepts. Structured Query Language is relatively easy to learn. Simple data querying, and manipulation can probably be done in the first hour. You might have some times when you’ll need to refer back for more complex joins, embedded statements, and then getting higher-performing queries and such. Notably, if you’re aiming to become a DBA, then there are a lot of different skills outside of SQL. But anyway, you can find some online SQL tutorials that are pretty good starting points at Good luck!

  7. Paultech   January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    well there is books out that u can learn sql within 7days. but depends how good the person is at learn it and maintaining what they learned.
    i would say that in a few weeks of training/learning should have covered all the basics, all querys, database design, etc.. and moved well onto the more advanced stuff.

  8. HotRod   January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    First off, If you do not have basic knowledge of SQL, read the SQL Books or documentation that comes with it, if you don’t have that available then google for SQL beginner’s tutorials…

    Then ask questions (no offense implied).

    You must understand the principles of SQL before you even begin to try and understand it’s structure and coding scheme.

    If you have DBMS background, then SQL is pretty simple.

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