SQL Training: What You Should Look for When Choosing a Program

SQL (Structured Query Language) is an important tool for anyone who uses, designs, or manages a database. And this means a lot of people can benefit from SQL Training as databases see wider use in the conduct of business.

There are many SQL training programs available, and you may be tempted to sign up for the first one to fit your budget. However, there are some additional considerations to make. In this article, we’ll discuss some of these.

Level of Complexity

Training programs are generally separated into beginner/introductory and advanced courses. Beginner courses are perfect if you have no previous experience and are learning for the first time.

They can also be useful as a refresher or if you are self-taught. Many people learn through reading online articles on SQL (for example, SQL Select Queries article, SQL InnerJoins guide) and often find as they move onto more advanced techniques that they have missed some of the basic concepts through not following a structured course.

A course will ensure that you have all of the key basics of relational databases before moving to more advanced techniques.

Advanced courses cater to learners who have a good understanding of the SQL Select queries. It builds up on this skill and introduces more operators and concepts like transaction processing and parameterised data. Advanced courses can help you even if you have never had beginner courses but have learned SQL on the job and have experience in using SQL.

Instructor-Led or Online Courses?

Another factor to take into account is whether to sign up for instructor-led training or online courses. With instructor-led training, the learner is taught and guided by an expert onsite. In this type of training program, learners are able to focus on the content as they are instructed in a favorable learning environment. Some learners prefer this type of training as they find that they can concentrate better when they have a teacher.

Another benefit of instructor-led training is that when the learner needs to ask questions or require guidance, the response is immediate. However, with instructor-led training, time must be specifically set aside for the training as you will need to adjust to the training schedule.

An alternative to instructor-led training is online courses. Since the training is delivered via technology, learners can train at their own pace. Employees can generally log-in and take the training in between tasks or while conducting their day-to-day tasks. However, there is the risk that learner will be unable to focus on the training. And if they have questions, the training provider may not even have the facility to communicate with them.

If you do decide to get an instructor-led training program, here are some additional things to consider:

  • Where is the training location? Is it easily accessible to you, or do you need to make special arrangements to get to the facility?
  • What is the training schedule? Do you need to make arrangements at work to take some time off? Can you take the lessons after work? How long does the whole course take?
  • Do they provide individual PC or laptop? If they don’t provide a PC or laptop, you’ll have to bring your own or borrow one from the company or a friend.
  • Do they give time for hands-on practice? Some training providers give a lot of hands-on time to practice what you learn. Some training providers don’t give practice time and just teach the concepts and commands. If you feel more confident with hands-on practice, check that the program provides you with ample time to practice the lesson.
  • Will there be any documentation or books provided? While note-taking is essential to any learning experience, having documentation to refer to is helpful when you want to study ahead of time.
  • Will they provide a certificate of attendance/completion? Your employer may require you to submit one if they give you time off or pay for the training.

Application-Specific or Application-Neutral?

There are many relational database management systems that use SQL: Oracle, Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, Access, Ingres, and so on. Some training programs will specifically cater to one or more of these applications. These programs will teach you proprietary commands, tips, and tricks that are applicable to that system, in addition to the standard SQL items. If you use that specific system at work, it will empower you to do your job better.

Another option is to learn from an application-neutral training program. This means that you will only learn commands and concepts that are standard across all or most of the systems. You will still need to learn the proprietary commands of the system that you will be working with at your job, but you will have a solid SQL foundation that is applicable across most systems.

If you are selecting a training program for your company, some training providers can actually customise their training program to fit your specific company requirements. They may even provide instructors who have experience or understanding of your business to better tailor the learning material.

Final Note

Whichever SQL training program you choose, proficiency in SQL will provide you with a useful skill that is applicable in most modern workplaces.