11 Best Free SQL Courses

Data drives the modern world. Almost every organization, whether an emerging startup or a well-established global corporation, relies on data in day-to-day operations. Structured Query Language (SQL) is the programming language that organizes and interacts with this data. It is the most valued skill, appearing in 42.7% of all data science job posts on Indeed.

The great thing is that you can learn SQL for free! This post reviews the selection of the best free SQL courses. Most of them are beginner-friendly and have no prerequisites besides computer literacy. If you have already completed an introductory SQL course, you will find several intermediate options to deepen your knowledge of SQL and databases. Let’s dive into it!

Top 11 Free SQL Courses

Below, you will find the selection of the best free SQL courses. All of them are self-paced, ranging from three hours to two months. Most SQL courses have a ranking based on learners’ reviews, allowing you to assess the quality of the content before enrolling. Some platforms, such as Coursera and Kaggle, also offer a certificate of completion for free courses. 

SQL for Data Science 

This beginner-level course is offered by the University of California, Devis, as a part of Learn SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization. The curriculum covers identifying subsets of data to write SQL queries, using SQL commands, creating analysis tables, and applying functions to integrate data from different sources. The course consists of four modules: 

  • Module 1: Getting started and selecting & retrieving data with SQL, 4 hours.
  • Module 2: Filtering, sorting, and calculating data with SQL, 3 hours.
  • Module 3: Subqueries and joins in SQL, 3 hours.
  • Module 4: Modifying and analyzing data with SQL, 3 hours.

Participants must complete four quizzes and eight assessments to earn a shareable certificate. 

Check out more of the best Coursera courses and their reviews. Additionally, this course is available in Coursera Plus, so make sure to read more.

Introduction to Structured Query Language (SQL)

The University of Michigan offers an introductory SQL course as part of Web Application for Everybody Specialization.  It has the highest ranking among free SQL courses (4.8 ✩). You will learn the basic syntax of SQL, database design with foreign keys, tables, and the JOIN operation. After the course, you will be able to model many-to-many relationships to represent users and roles. The course material is divided into four modules:

  • Module 1: Installing PHP and SQL, 3 hours.
  • Module 2: Introduction to Structured Query Language (SQL), 2 hours.
  • Module 3: Database design, 4 hours.
  • Module 4: Many-to-many, 3 hours.

To get a shareable certificate, participants need to pass two quizzes.

Databases and SQL for Data Science with Python

This IBM beginner-level course targets data scientists, data analysts, and data engineers working with Python. Within 31 hours, participants will build knowledge in analyzing data within a database using SQL and Python, creating a relational database, constructing SQL statements, and composing queries with advanced SQL techniques. This course has six modules: 

  • Module 1: Getting started with SQL, 2 hours.
  • Module 2: Introduction to relational databases and tables, 3 hours.
  • Module 3: Intermediate SQL, 5 hours.
  • Module 4: Accessing databases with Python, 4 hours.
  • Module 5: Course assignment, 5 hours.
  • Bonus Module: Advanced SQL for Data Engineering (Honors), 8 hours. 

Participants who pass seven quizzes and eight assignments earn a certificate of completion.

Learn SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization

This UC Davis specialization is designed for learners without coding experience who want to build SQL query fluency. It covers SQL basics, data wrangling, SQL analysis, AB testing, distributed computing with Apache Spark, Delta Lake, and more complex SQL projects with data science applications. The specialization consists of four SQL courses: 

  • Course 1: SQL for Data Science, 14 hours.
  • Course 2: Data Wrangling, Analysis, and AB Testing with SQL, 15 hours.
  • Course 3: Distributed Computing with Spark SQL, 13 hours.
  • Course 4: SQL for Data Science Capstone Project, 35 hours. 

This comprehensive specialization will prepare you to use SQL creatively to study and explore data, demonstrate efficiency in query writing, develop data analysis datasets, undertake feature engineering, and utilize SQL with unstructured data sets. After completing all required quizzes and assignments, participants will earn a certificate for each course. 

SQL for Data Analysis

It is a beginner-level course taught by Derek Steer, Mode Analytics’s CEO, and Facebook’s analytical foundation developer. It consists of seven self-paced lessons with videos, text materials, and quizzes for self-testing. Udacity doesn’t offer certificates for any of the free courses.

The first five lessons cover basic SQL, working with single and multiple tables, key commands, aggregations, SQL functions (SUM, AVG, COUNT, CASE, HAVING, and DATE), subqueries, and data cleaning. The last two lessons are dedicated to advanced SQL, such as window functions, advanced JOINs, and performance tuning. 

Intro to SQL

This three-hour course focuses on teaching SQL for working with databases using Google BigQuery. There are six lessons, each containing a tutorial and exercises. Learners can ask questions and communicate with their peers in the Discussion panel. The course prepares learners for advanced SQL and offers a certificate of completion.

The curriculum covers the workflow for handling big datasets with BigQuery and SQL, foundational components of SQL queries, and techniques like GROUP BY, HAVING, and COUNT. The participants learn to order data using the ORDER BY clause, organize queries for better readability with AS & WITH, and combine data sources to solve real-world problems. 

Learn SQL

Codecademy’s Learn SQL course teaches how to manage large datasets and analyze actual data using the standard data management language. It is beginner-friendly and targets anyone working with data, including non-tech roles. The syllabus comprises four lessons: 

  • Lesson 1: Manipulation – using SQL to access and manage data stored in databases.
  • Lesson 2: Queries – performing complex queries with keywords and functionality.
  • Lesson 3: Aggregate Functions – executing complex database operations.
  • Lesson 4: Multiple tables – create and manipulate databases with multiple tables.

The course takes approximately eight hours and includes five projects and four quizzes. The platform doesn’t provide a certificate of completion for free courses. 

How to Transform Tables with SQL

It is an intermediate Codecademy SQL course in partnership with the business intelligence platform Looker. It is intended for learners who have already completed the introductory Learn SQL course and aim to learn more about manipulating data stored in relational databases. During the course, participants will familiarize themselves with subqueries, set operations, and conditional aggregates. There are four lessons in the course’s syllabus. 

  • Lesson 1: Subqueries – transforming data tables by nesting a query within a query. 
  • Lesson 2: Set operations – using set procedures to query data from multiple tables. 
  • Lesson 3: Conditional aggregates – use aggregate functions based on set conditions. 
  • Lesson 4: Data, number, and string functions – use built-in functions to transform data.

The course is designed for approximately eight hours. A certificate of completion is not offered for a free plan. 

StanfordOnline: Databases: Relational Databases and SQL

This Stanford University course introduces relational databases and covers SQL in depth. The course is taught by Jennifer Widom, Dean of the School of Engineering at Stanford University. There are no prerequisites besides some computer science background. Initially, it emerged as one of Stanford’s first massive open online courses and now represents a set of five self-paced Databases courses. 

  • Course 1: Databases: Relational Databases and SQL
  • Course 2: Databases: Advanced Topics in SQL
  • Course 3: Databases: OLAP and Recursion
  • Course 4: Databases: Modeling and Theory
  • Course 5: Databases: Semistructured Data

The free courses include videos, quizzes, and exercises. It is self-paced and requires study

8–10 hours per week for two weeks. An optional upgrade with unlimited access to course materials, graded assignments, and a shareable certificate is available.

IBM: Introduction to SQL

This introductory course from IBM teaches how to use and apply SQL for better communication and data extraction from databases. It targets data engineers, data analysts, and data scientists. Although no prior experience in databases, SQL, or programming is required, some basic data literacy is advantageous.

This course aims to introduce participants to relational database management system (RDBMS) ideas and help them understand and apply fundamental and intermediate SQL knowledge. To begin, learners will use CREATE, SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements to conduct fundamental Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) operations. 

Then, participants will learn how to filter, arrange, sort, and aggregate data. They will also use functions, make sub-selects and nested queries, and access numerous database tables. This course has a strong emphasis on hands-on, practical learning. Learners will practice building and running SQL queries through hands-on experiments. They will use and display their skills with a final project at the end of the course.

The course is self-paced, requiring 2-4 hours per week for five weeks. Learners may upgrade to a paid plan for unlimited access to course materials, graded assignments, and a shareable certificate of completion. 

Introduction to Databases and SQL Querying

This introductory course is suitable for beginners with no prior database experience. It familiarises the participants with SQL syntax and the concept of databases. By the end of this course, learners will be able to write simple queries such as Dates, String manipulation, and Aggregation. The syllabus consists of 11 lessons with on-demand videos divided into five sections. 

  • Section 1: Introduction and setup, 2 lectures, 22 minutes
  • Section 2: Introduction to querying, 2 lectures, 17 minutes 
  • Section 3: Deep dive into querying, 2 lectures, 31 minutes 
  • Section 4: SQL joints, 2 lectures, 37 minutes
  • Section 5: Dates/aggregations and string functions, 3 lectures, 30 minutes.

The total duration of the course in-demand videos is 2 hours 17 minutes. Students can upgrade to the paid option to access instructor Q&A, direct messages, and a certification of completion. 

Best Free SQL Courses: Comparison table

CourseRankingPlatformLevelDurationOptional paid plansCertificate
SQL for Data Science4.6 ✩CourseraBeginner14 hours$39/mo.; Coursera Plus, $59/mo.Yes
Introduction to Structured Query Language (SQL)4.8 ✩CourseraIntermediate15 hours$39/month; Coursera Plus, $59/mo.Yes
Databases and SQL for Data Science with Python4.6 ✩CourseraBeginner31 hours$39/mo.Yes
Learn SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization4.5 ✩
CourseraBeginner2 months at 10 hours a week$39/mo.; Coursera Plus, $59/mo.Yes
SQL for Data AnalysisN/AUdacityBeginner7 lessonsN/ANo
Intro to SQLN/AKaggleBeginner3 hoursN/AYes
Learn SQL4.5 ✩CodecademyBeginner8 hoursFrom $13.99/mo.Only with paid plans
How to Transform Tables with SQL3.9 ✩CodecademyIntermediate3 hoursFrom $13.99/mo.Only with paid plans
Stanford University: Databases: Relational Databases and SQL4.4 ✩EdXBeginner2 weeks, 8-10 hours per week$50Only with a paid plan
IBM: Introduction to SQL4.5 ✩EdXBeginner5 weeks, 2-4 hours per week$99Only with a paid plan
Introduction to Databases and SQL Querying4.5 ✩UdemyBeginner2 hours 17 minutesFrom $12.99Only with a paid plan

The Bottom Line 

Various e-learning platforms offer free SQL courses developed in partnership with leading universities or practicing subject matter experts. If you are new to Structured Query Language and databases, you can choose beginner-friendly and introductory courses at Coursera, Kaggle, Codecademy, EdX, and Udemy. You can learn to write SQL queries, use commands, apply functions, and create multiple tables. If you want to advance your knowledge, you still have free intermediate options from Coursera and Codecademy. 

Stacey M.
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