How Long Does It Take to Learn SQL? [and Tips to Learn SQL Fast]

Data is at the heart of every decision. To make sense of the overwhelming information available, you need to learn new skills, including SQL (Structured Query Language). How long does it take to learn SQL?

On average, it takes two to three weeks to learn SQL. This is enough time to master the fundamentals of this programming language. Learning advanced concepts and using SQL in real-world applications can take longer, ranging from four months to one year or even longer. 

Read on to learn more about how long it takes to learn SQL and tips for learning it quickly. 

How Long Does It Take to Learn SQL? 

how long does it take to learn sql

Basic online SQL courses will take only a few hours to complete. However, to have a grasp of its fundamental concepts, learning SQL takes two to three weeks. This is enough for beginners who have no programming experience and are interested in learning only the essentials of SQL. 

Meanwhile, if you are a beginner who wants to learn SQL to land a lucrative job as a data analyst or data engineer, you must be familiar with advanced queries. From building databases to optimizing security, it will take four months to one year before you learn. Within this duration, you will earn an online certificate that will help boost your career. 

Factors That Determine How Long It Takes to Learn SQL 

There is no magic number that indicates the exact timeframe at which you can learn SQL. Different factors will come into play, including those we’ll be talking about below. 

1. Online vs In-Classroom 

Studying online is the quickest way to learn SQL. This will take only a few days or weeks. It is easy and convenient since you can do it anytime and anywhere. You can access the learning materials at your own pace.

Meanwhile, learning in a classroom can also be quick, but it is inconvenient. It is a hassle to travel to school. Plus, you do not have the freedom to control your time and pace your learning depending on your availability. 

2. Programming Experience and Knowledge

If you have zero programming experience and knowledge, it will take a bit longer to master SQL. Meanwhile, if you have intermediate and advanced programming language know-how, there is no steep learning curve. It’ll take only a few hours or days before you can have a basic grasp of the concepts and applications.

3. Personal Goals 

Why do you want to learn SQL? Is it to have a basic knowledge of how the language works? Or is it a stepping stone to a more advanced career? The more complex your goals are, the longer it will take to learn SQL because you need more advanced knowledge.

4. Level of Difficulty

Do you want to learn basic, intermediate, or advanced SQL? Your answer to this question is one more thing that determines how long it will take to learn SQL. Logically, the more advanced the concepts are, the longer they will take to master. 

5. Availability 

Your availability is another determining factor in the time that it will take to learn SQL. If you are studying SQL full-time, then the time is shorter. Meanwhile, if you have work and can study only part-time, learning SQL will be slightly longer.

How to Learn SQL Fast

It is overwhelming for beginners, but do not give up. If you are looking for the best way to learn SQL in the shortest amount of time, below are some of the noteworthy tips:

1. Know What SQL Is All About 

Do not just jump on the bandwagon and start studying SQL. Brush up on your reading. Go beyond the definition. Watch online reviews and ask around from people who know SQL. Understand its real-world applications and what it does to data. Once you know these things, the next steps are easier. 

2. Do It Online 

Learn SQL online. This is the quickest and practical way to elevate your knowledge and skills. Tons of online courses are available. Many of them will provide you with a certificate upon completion. You can control your time and pace better. YouTube is also a great platform as many people are uploading free lessons teaching the basics of SQL.

3. Find a Learning Buddy 

Almost everything that you need to learn about SQL is available online. However, it helps if you have a learning buddy who can help you easily understand even the most complicated concepts. This person can also motivate you to keep on learning. Look for a friend who has a similar interest or with vast experience. This friend can be your mentor. 

4. Get Hands-on 

Another way to speed up the time it takes to learn SQL is to get hands-on experience. Go beyond reading and concepts. Get your hands dirty and do the difficult work. Find an open-source database online where you can practice everything that you know about SQL.

This will let you run basic queries and understand how SQL works in the real world. You will most likely commit mistakes, but do not give up. See it as an opportunity for improvement. 

5. Take Your Time 

Do not be in a rush when learning SQL. It isn’t a race. Take baby steps if you must. If you are doing it too fast, you might fail to understand the fundamental concepts. The best approach is slowly but surely.

Again, how long does it take to learn SQL? It takes about two to three weeks to learn the basic concepts of SQL. It takes several months to a year to learn the more advanced SQL concepts. Be patient and take your time when learning.

6. Document Your Experience 

Proper documentation is important for tracking your progress. Keep a journal and note everything you are learning daily, an excellent way to build your expertise. It will also help identify the mistakes that you are committing.

7. Follow the Best Practices 

Another tip for learning SQL quickly is to follow the best practices. Do not easily be contented with your output. Being lazy is a bad habit that compromises the outcome of your work. Make sure that it adheres to the highest industry standards. By following the best practices, you can be more confident of high-quality outputs. Do not be contented with mediocre results. 

8. Volunteer on a Project 

If your goal of studying SQL is to start a high-paying career, look for volunteer opportunities which is a great way for you to build your experience and improve your credentials. You can also look for freelance job opportunities. As you get better, these freelance opportunities can turn into an attractive career.

9. Look for Coding Challenges 

Many websites have coding challenges, which is a great way to test how much you know about SQL. This will encourage you to think outside of the box and develop novel solutions to common problems. This is also great preparation for your job applications. 

10. Practice Makes Perfect 

This is the most important thing for learning SQL. Even if you have finished the course, learning must continue. Practice the real-world applications of SQL. This is an opportunity to uncover more concepts and broaden your knowledge. You will realize that there is a lot more than you need to know.

Is SQL Hard to Learn? 

Not at all. As earlier mentioned, SQL is easy to learn. It uses basic and user-friendly languages. The concepts are pretty straightforward as well. Even for someone who has zero programming background, SQL isn’t difficult to master. 

You do not have to be a tech geek or math person to know SQL. The foundation is the English language and not the mathematical language. As long as you understand English, you can input specific commands. Even as SQL gets more advanced, it is still fairly easy to learn for almost anyone.

What Are the Benefits of Learning SQL? 

how long to learn sql

You do not need to be a data analyst or developer to learn SQL. Below are some of the most compelling reasons to master SQL: 

1. Easy to Learn 

While it seems complicated in theory, SQL is pretty much straightforward. You can pick up the basic commands in no time. Commands such as CREATE, UPDATE, and DELETE will do exactly what the name implies. You can learn SQL fast even if you have no programming background.

2. Opens Doors to a Plethora of Opportunities 

If you are looking for better career opportunities, you have another good reason to learn SQL. This will help you land a career in data science, big data, and business intelligence, among other fields. With more and more companies emphasizing the importance of data, SQL is an in-demand skill. 

3. Mine Data Better 

Using SQL queries helps in efficient and accurate data mining. You can extract trends that help improve business performance. It is an easy way to manage massive information. SQL helps make sense of the seemingly endless data that confront organizations. 

4. Access Data Quickly 

Another good reason to learn SQL is to have easy access to necessary data. SQL organizes information so that you won’t have to scramble to find the information that you need. You will find it within seconds. 

5. Combine Information from Several Sources

Effective data analysis requires using information from multiple sources. Doing this manually is time-consuming and prone to errors. Learning SQL will make it easier to retrieve information from various sources. You can combine them in a single document. 

How Long Does It Take to Learn SQL? FAQs

learn sql fast

Before we end this guide, we’ll answer some questions you might have about learning SQL:

Is SQL Easier than Python?

Yes, SQL is easier compared to Python. It is perfect even for beginners in programming languages. The commands are narrow and simpler. While SQL is up to ten times longer than a Python script, it is less complicated. 

How Much Do SQL Programmers Make? 

This will depend on many things, such as your experience and credentials, as well as the company where you plan to work. In the United States, the average annual salary for an SQL developer is $86,964. 

What Jobs Can I Do with SQL? 

One of the best things about learning SQL is that it opens a wealth of job opportunities. Whether you are a novice or an expert, the possibilities are endless. Some of the best jobs are business analyst, data scientist, quality assurance tester, database administrator, educator, researcher, and business intelligence specialist. 

Can You Learn SQL on Your Own? 

It is possible to learn SQL by yourself. Plenty of online materials are available, including videos. Nonetheless, it is best to be guided by someone who has professional SQL experience. You will greatly benefit from the knowledge and expertise that such a person can share. It only takes two to three weeks to grasp the basic SQL concepts.

How Do I Get SQL Experience?

An easy way to gain experience in SQL is to get an online certification. It is available on many websites, most of which will require only a few hours or days to complete. You can also incorporate SQL in your daily work life, look for a mentor, and practice using free, open-source databases.

What Is SQL? 

Structured Query Language or SQL is one of the most important programming languages for comprehensive data analysis. It facilitates the retrieval of information from different databases. Despite being old, it is the most common database language. 

Let’s say that you have an online business. You have a database of customer names, addresses, contact information, and orders. They will make repeat orders or change contact information, including phone numbers and addresses. The function of SQL is to make it easy to organize, retrieve, and update data in real-time while ensuring accuracy.

Conclusion – How Long to Learn SQL?

If you want to learn only the fundamental concepts of SQL, it takes approximately two to three weeks. On the other hand, for more advanced theories and the real-world applications of SQL, you will need four months to one year. Within such time, you will earn a certificate that will help broaden your programming knowledge and advance your career. 

Many factors will impact how quickly you will learn SQL. For instance, it depends on whether you are going to learn SQL online or in a classroom. Another factor is whether you have prior experience or none. The time it takes to learn SQL also depends on learning basic, intermediate, or advanced SQL knowledge.