Structured Query Language (SQL) allows users to update, modify, and retrieve data from a database. Several database management software vendors offer SQL certifications, including Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM.
The best SQL certificate and certification programs provide foundational training in SQL or build upon advanced students' existing knowledge. They are also taught by knowledgeable and experienced instructors, and some even help students apply for and secure jobs.
Best SQL Certification Programs of 2021
- Best Overall: Learn SQL
- Best Bootcamp: The Complete SQL Bootcamp 2021
- Best on a Budget: Analyze Data With SQL
- Best for Beginners: SQL Certification Training
- Best for Advanced Students: Master SQL Development
- Best for Data Analysts: Data Science Fundamentals
- Best for Business Analysts: Excel to MySQL
Best Overall : Learn SQL
Udacity's SQL program covers the basics of SQL and relational databases. However, its unparalleled student support and career assistance earned it our top spot for the best program overall.
Career services and mentor support
Requires only basic computer skills and understanding of data types
Access to course materials only while enrolled
Udacity's “nanodegree” program in SQL includes two courses. The introductory course teaches students core SQL commands and how to clean and optimize SQL queries. The second course introduces students to SQL Database Definition Language (DDL), which they can use to create data schemas, and Database Manipulation Language (DML), for migrating data. Students also learn how to use nonrelational database programs, such as MongoDB.
Udacity's program lets students apply their SQL knowledge to two projects. In part one of the course, students act as data analysts for an organization working to prevent deforestation. In part two, students build a clone of Reddit, the social news aggregation site. The program is self-paced, but students can reach out to technical mentors for support. Udacity staff also helps students optimize their resumes and LinkedIn profiles to showcase their new SQL skills when applying for jobs.
Udacity's program is best for aspiring business analytics and database professionals. However, individuals seeking careers as data scientists, software engineers, and product managers may also benefit from the program. There are no prerequisites, but students should understand different data types before enrolling. The program costs $399 a month or $678 for two months. Students can complete the course in two months studying 10 hours per week.
Best Bootcamp : The Complete SQL Bootcamp 2021
Udemy's complete SQL bootcamp is more affordable than in-person bootcamps, making it a good choice for students seeking a quick and affordable way to learn SQL.
Covers beginner and advanced topics
No instructor support
Certificate less respected by employers
Udemy is one of the most popular online learning platforms, and its complete SQL bootcamp is one of its most highly rated SQL classes. It introduces students to PostgreSQL, a popular relational database management system, and PgAdmin, an administration and development platform. Students learn the basics of SQL syntax, create tables and databases, and use Python to improve their skills.
Data scientist Jose Portilla teaches the course, which includes nine hours of video content, 14 articles, and 13 downloadable resources. The bootcamp is self-paced and does not include personalized support from the instructor.
Throughout the course, students can apply what they learn in hands-on challenges and tasks. Udemy's bootcamp is appropriate for beginners, but it also addresses advanced topics, such as working with timestamp data and variable character information.
Students who complete the bootcamp earn a certificate. A certificate from Udemy may be less impressive to prospective employers than one from an accredited school or industry leader, such as IBM. However, it can lay the groundwork for earning subsequent SQL credentials. Udemy's complete SQL bootcamp costs $174.99, but Udemy courses are often available at steep discounts; this one is currently on sale for $18.99.
Best on a Budget : Analyze Data With SQL
Codecademy is known for the quality of its free and low-cost training materials. The quality and accessibility of its SQL lessons make it the best place for students on a budget to begin learning SQL.
Includes hands-on practice
Not for intermediate to advanced students
Certificate less respected by employers
Codecademy offers free resources to help people learn coding, data science, and other skills. Students can access SQL lessons and an SQL cheat sheet for free on the site. However, quizzes, projects, and readings are only available to Pro members.
Codecademy's basic SQL course includes four lessons, which students can complete in eight hours. Codecademy's SQL skill path offers more comprehensive training. It consists of eight lessons and takes about six weeks to finish. The learning path covers both SQL basics and advanced topics, such as data analysis and SQL functions.
All Codecademy courses are online and self-paced. While Codecademy classes do not have instructors, Pro members receive step-by-step guidance and peer support. They also earn certificates when they complete courses. Pro memberships are $19.99 per month, but college students are eligible for a 35% discount.
Best for Beginners : SQL Certification Training
Simplilearn is a leading information technology (IT) certification, provider. Its SQL certification training course is rigorous but doesn't require previous SQL experience, making it the best option for beginners serious about developing their SQL skills.
Limited course content
Unlike many free and low-cost course providers, Simplilearn offers courses accredited by independent global bodies, such as the Dutch IT company Exin. Simplilearn's courses are not accredited by the same organizations that accredit colleges and universities. However, like accredited college courses, they must meet a higher standard of academic rigor. Employers may give more weight to a certificate from an accredited training provider such as Simplilearn than one from an unaccredited program.
Simplilearn's SQL certification course covers fundamental SQL topics, such as query tools and commands, database relationships, and tables and joins. The class is suitable for professional programmers and software developers. However, students do not need any previous SQL training or experience to enroll.
Simplilearn's course is self-paced and entirely online. Course materials include case studies, exercises, and over seven hours of recorded video lectures. Students do not interact directly with their instructors. However, Simplilearn offers 24/7 learner assistance.
Simplilearn's SQL certification training course is $499, and graduates have lifetime access to the materials. The program also offers a 100% money-back guarantee to students who request one within seven days of purchasing the course. Those who score 85% or higher on their final exam earn their SQL certification.
Best for Advanced Students : Master SQL Development
LinkedIn Learning offers short courses and a learning pathway for professionals with SQL experience. The quality and depth of its advanced courses make it the best choice for SQL pros.
Short but thorough course modules
Unlimited course access with membership
Not for beginners
No instructor support
LinkedIn Learning's master SQL development pathway includes eight certificate courses appropriate for advanced students. The class on advanced SQL for query tuning and performance optimization addresses how queries can be made more efficient. The advanced class on logical query processing has two parts and focuses on how relational databases process SQL queries.
Individuals can purchase a LinkedIn Learning subscription for $29.99 a month, or $19.99 a month if they sign up for an annual subscription. Advanced SQL courses are short—most can be completed in under two hours—and include project files, course videos, and quizzes. The SQL development pathway contains 13 hours and 52 minutes of content.
Experienced data visualization and big data experts teach all of LinkedIn Learning's advanced SQL pathway courses. However, instructors do not grade assignments or offer personalized feedback. Therefore, this program is best for students with a solid understanding of SQL basics who enjoy learning independently. Those who complete the learning pathway earn a certificate.
Best for Data Analysts : Data Science Fundamentals
SQL is an essential programming language for data analysts. IBM's data science with Python SQL specialization offers the best training in how to use SQL and other tools to manage and analyze big data.
Reputable course provider
Not exclusively focused on SQL
Too basic for advanced students
IBM's data science with Python SQL specialization provides students with hands-on experience using Jupyter, SQL, and Python. It's suitable for beginners with basic computing knowledge but is particularly beneficial for prospective data analysts. Students learn statistical analysis techniques, including descriptive statistics. Courses also cover data visualization, probability distribution, hypothesis testing, and regression.
The data science with Python and SQL specialization is self-paced and includes five classes, the fifth of which focuses specifically on databases and SQL. Students can complete this course while working toward their specialization certificate or take it as a standalone class.
The program includes 36 to 48 hours of coursework. Students who devote 10 to 12 hours a week to their studies can complete the specialization in one to two months. Course materials include videos, readings, and graded assignments. The program is currently available for $39 a month.
Best for Business Analysts : Excel to MySQL
Duke University's Excel to MySQL program teaches students how to respond to business challenges using data science, making it the best SQL program for business analysts.
Reputable university course provider
Opportunity for feedback from Airbnb data scientists
No prior knowledge required
Takes up to seven months to complete
Not for advanced students
Duke University's Excel to MySQL specialization program focuses on using SQL to analyze and optimize business practices. The program consists of four online courses available through Coursera covering business metrics, data analysis with Excel, and data visualization. The fourth course provides an introduction to MySQL, a relational database management system.
At the end of the program, students complete a capstone project sponsored by Airbnb. Using MySQL, Excel, and Tableau, students identify ways for a fictional real estate management company to increase profits. The top 10 capstone students then present their work to Airbnb's senior data scientists, who offer feedback.
Students can access Duke University's Excel to MySQL program for $49 per month. Course materials include videos, readings, and practice quizzes, and instructors give personalized feedback on assignments.
We chose Udacity's SQL training program as the best overall because of the quality of its training and emphasis on helping graduates succeed in the job market.
Udacity provides students with a solid foundation in SQL basics while also covering more advanced topics. The program isn't limited to readings and quizzes. Students also apply their SQL skills to unique, hands-on projects. Technical mentors offer feedback on assignments and advice for advancing in the industry.
Compare the Best SQL Certification Programs
|Learn SQL Best Overall||Online||Online projects, quizzes, mentors||$399 per month; $678 for 2 months||2 months|
|The Complete SQL Bootcamp 2021 Best Bootcamp||Online||Online videos, coding challenges, assessments||$174.99 (on sale for $18.99)||9 hours|
|Analyze Data With SQL Best on a Budget||Online||Online exercises, projects, interview prep, peer/team support||$0-$19.99||6 weeks|
|SQL Certification Training Best for Beginners||Online||Online videos, exercises, interview prep, final exam||$499||7+ hours|
|Master SQL Development Best for Advanced Students||Online||8 online courses with videos, exercise files, challenges||$19.999-$39.99 per month||13 hours, 52 minutes|
|Data Science Fundamentals Best for Data Analysts||Online||5 online courses with videos, readings, graded quizzes, graded assignments||$39 per month||36-48 hours|
|Excel to MySQL Best for Business Analysts||Online||5 online courses with videos, readings, graded quizzes, graded assignments, capstone project||$49/month||6-7 months|
How to Choose the Best SQL Certification Program
When choosing an SQL certification program, consider programs offered by reputable companies and educational institutions. Make sure the program you choose matches your current skill set. Finally, if you learn best in collaborative settings, seek out a program where students work together on projects. If you prefer to study independently, consider a self-paced program you can complete on your own.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Do You Learn in an SQL Certification Program?
Some SQL certificate and certification programs teach students SQL fundamentals, like how to write basic SQL statements. Others focus on more advanced topics, such as SQL functions and query optimization. Most programs teach students how to use relational database management systems, like MySQL. Some also provide instruction in using programming languages such as Python to access databases.
Is It Worth Getting an SQL Certificate?
Earning an SQL certificate from a reputable program can significantly advance your career. According to Coursera, 50% of graduates of the Excel to MySQL program for business analysts received a salary increase after earning their certificate. Approximately 33% of individuals who completed IBM's data science with Python and SQL specialization secured new positions. Working toward an SQL certificate could also improve your performance in your current role.
How Much Do SQL Certification Programs Cost?
SQL certification and certificate programs vary widely in cost. The most expensive program we reviewed, Udacity's SQL nanodegree program, costs $678 for a two-month subscription. With the exception of Codecademy's free content, the least expensive course on our list is Udemy's complete SQL bootcamp, which was on sale for $18.99 as of May 2021.
What Types of Jobs Can You Get With an SQL Certificate?
Learning SQL is critical for many jobs that involve working with big data. SQL-certified professionals include data analysts, business analysts, analytics managers, and SQL developers. The average salary for certified SQL professionals is $71,985 per year.
SQL isn't just for developers and analysts, however. Marketers, copywriters, and web designers can also benefit from learning SQL, which can help them manage large quantities of data relevant to their work. Additionally, the Consortium of Investigative Journalists identified SQL as one of nine essential tools for data journalists.
We reviewed 20 highly rated SQL courses and programs to choose the best in each of our categories. We did not focus on preparatory courses for database vendor-specific exams, such as Oracle's 1Z0-071 SQL database SQL certification exam. Instead, we looked at multi-course programs that award students industry-recognized certificates and certifications upon completion. We also considered programs that help beginner students and those on a budget develop their SQL knowledge and skills.
The programs we chose are offered by reputable course providers, taught by qualified instructors, and award industry-recognized credentials to students who complete them. We also considered cost, flexibility, student support, quality of course materials, and opportunities for hands-on learning.