If you work with data, or with databases, you will probably already know that learning SQL is imperative. Okay, we will admit, learning any programming language is far from being a piece of cake, more a slab of concrete.
However, aside from the metaphors, SQL is not too tricky, it is not like learning extreme code to allow you to build a whole website from scratch. It is easier than that.
For the basics, it does not take that long at all, not in comparison to learning other coding languages.
However, we cannot tell you exactly how long it will take you. If we had a time machine, we probably could. Yet, the truth is, how long it will take you is totally dependent on you.
Age can be a big factor because our brains are better hardwired to take in more information when we are younger, so a younger person might grasp it easier than an older person.
Availability is also critical, how much time do you have on your hands to learn it?
What are your goals?
Do you have any experience in coding or database programming?
There are so many things that can play into how long it will take you.
So, for that reason, we won’t give you a one-size-for-all answer. Instead, we will delve into the topic and throw some averages your way.
Are you ready?
What Exactly Is SQL?
We are going to jump into the basics here, and assume you are a beginner, even if you are not, it’s worth sticking around.
However, for you beginners, before you start taking lessons, let’s understand exactly what you are trying to learn here. You should always know what you are learning.
While we often refer to SQL as a programming language, it’s technically a query language.
What we hear you ask, well, it is a type of programming language built to specifically interact with databases.
You can use it to get specific data from a database, compound information from different data tables into a single database, and calculate, analyze, and filter data to answer all those questions you have.
It is handy, to say the least, in any workspace that is data-focused.
If you have data stored in an SQL-based database, which a majority of companies do, then SQL is what you need to use to speedily work with whatever data you need to.
So, SQL is not the kind of language you need if you are coding a game, or a website, this type of language is what you need for databases, and that is what it is made for, database work, and databases alone.
While that might sound especially droll, it is not, it is actually a good thing.
You see, because SQL is specifically made to work with data, that means there is less for you to learn, and pretty much all of the educational materials that you will find will be pinned on using SQL for typical data management tasks.
It is made for what you need it for. Basically.
Why Do You Need To Learn It?
There will always be someone asking this question, and so we are going to jump the gun before anyone can ask it.
Let us not forget how tech-involved our lives are, and therefore, businesses too.
Do you buy most of your stuff online now? Many do. With our lives being so heavily integrated with the online, it is only sensible to integrate the online into our knowledge.
Businesses use SQL because most need databases, or someone to manage their databases for them.
Data is important, and online management is much cleaner and easier managed than paper-based data – what a thing of the past, huh?
You need to learn this because almost every company will use some form of SQL-based database in order to store their data.
Any will use Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and so on, all of which require SQL skills to work with them.
Of course, SQL also gives you the ability to work more efficiently than with Excel.
Sure Excel is great, but where are all the shortcuts? There are none, need to find something, look forward to ages of scrolling, need to edit? Good luck! SQL makes it so much easier, and much more manageable.
If you are out of work or looking for new work, this is reason enough to learn, because SQL skills are in high demand. Especially in data science, even the most unrelated jobs need SQL skills.
Everyone needs someone to help manage their data systems and with SQL skills on your resume, you’re irresistible.
How Long Does It Take To Learn It?
We cannot give you a straightforward answer for how long it will take you to learn it, but we can give you some scenarios. Just remember it takes you longer to learn than we say, or even shorter. It all depends on you.
If you have no experience and just want the basics, then you may be able to learn basic SQL in a few hours or just over the weekend.
If you have no experience and want to learn at an intermediate level then you are looking at a few hours or days, set aside from free time to practice as well!
If you have no experience and want to become advanced then it can take a month to several months.
But if you are looking at a data-heavy job, SQL is not the only thing you will need, remember this.
With the previous experience to a basic level, you’ll only need a couple of hours. With the previous experience to become intermediate then you will likely need a week.
And, with previous experience to get to an advanced level then you will probably need a month or so.
We cannot tell you how long it will take you to learn SQL, there is no straight answer, it is all down to you, and your goals.
The best you can do is start learning now, define your goals, and get your head in the game.