How Long Does It Take To Learn SQL?

A hand touching the words SQL

SQL stands for Structured Query Language and is a specific programming methodology for working with data.  According to Stack Overflow’s 2021 Developer Survey, SQL was ranked as the 4th most commonly used programming language.  But SQL is not just used by computer programmers. SQL is increasingly used across a myriad of professions due to the exploding amount of data and the need for corporations, non-profits, governments, and consumers to review and make decisions based on that data. In fact, according to Burning Glass, Managing and Analyzing Data increased in demand by 24% between 2014 and 2017 and continues to grow.

It Takes About Two Weeks to Become SQL Certified...

At, our experts have reviewed the top SQL courses offered by the leading learning platforms based on strict criteria.  This criterion takes into account all of the core content that our experts feel should be included in a SQL course.  You can view our curated lists of courses, and the criterion used below.

Based on our picks, the median amount of time required to take a SQL course is 9.5 hours.  Most learners average between 4-5 hours per week actively studying, so it’s safe to say that a comprehensive SQL course will take about 2 weeks to become certified.

...But It May Take a Lot Longer To Become an Expert

Much of the SQL Training out there does not require practical experience.  SQL and relational databases are very nuanced concepts and you’ll likely need a few major projects under your belt – with lots of trial an error – before you can consider yourself an expert.  

Coursera offers a series of guided projects that could be a good complement to any of our curated courses to ensure that you get practical experience along with your certification.

Professions and Common Uses for SQL

According to Stack Overflows 2021 Developer Survey, SQL ranked as the 4th most commonly used programming language.  But SQL is not just used by computer programmers.  Because of the popularity of relational databases, many modern professionals use SQL to do their work:

  • Economists, Researchers,  Data Scientists, and Statisticians – use SQL to perform complex analysis on many data sources to identify patterns.
  • Business Analysts – use SQL to help businesses review key performance indicators and make informed decisions.
  • Database Administrators (DBAs) – Manage databases and data for a wide variety of organizations.  Most major corporations employ DBAs.  SQL is their lingua franca.
  • Software Engineers – Use SQL to retrieve data from databases to present within web applications, mobile apps, and other software.  The skill with which software developers use SQL can often determine whether the applications are snappy or sluggish.  A bad SQL query can crash a website.
  • Journalists – Increasingly, journalists use SQL to cull through corporate and government data as part of their research.
  • Quality Assurance (QA) Engineers – use SQL to run automated tests or to test the results of operations performed by software applications.
  • Designers – use SQL to retrieve data that will be presented in complex data visualizations
  • Political Scientists – use SQL to analyze voting data

Can You Get SQL Certified?

While there is no central body that offers certification in SQL, many of the RDBMS companies – Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server – and training companies offer useful tutorials, courses, and training with certificates of completion.  Some courses even offer certifications that are underwritten by well-known universities. 

You May Also Be Interested in These Resources

Related Posts