Without exception, all the online businesses I’ve worked with – or even just heard about – use SQL (Structured Query Language) in one way or another. Thus, learning it is very useful for anyone who wants to have a career in the online world. But for a Data Analyst (or Data Scientist) it’s a definite must, since SQL is one of the most common data languages, too. Let’s see why:

  • SQL is easy to learn
  • SQL performs extremely well on bigger data sets (even a few million lines)
  • SQL has been around for more than 40 years and it will be here for at least the next 40

I put together an article series called SQL for Data Analysis – Tutorial for Beginners with eight articles. By reading it, you can learn SQL in a very practical and fun way.

Here we go:

1) Install Python, SQL, R and Bash (for non-devs)

The first step is to set up your SQL environment. In this step-by-step tutorial article you can learn how to do that. We are going to use the best open-source SQL language: postgreSQL. But the tutorial itself will (optionally) walk you through how to install Python, R and bash too. Once you are done with everything, you will have your own SQL server to practice! READ>>

2) How to install SQL Workbench for postgreSQL

SQL Workbench is my favorite SQL tool. It’s fast, stable and runs on every operating system. SQL Workbench will boost your SQL learning curve because it makes your code easy to edit and visually transparent. The setup seems a bit difficult at first sight, so in this article I listed the 6 simple steps you should go through. By the end you will be all set! READ >>

practice sql for data analysisUPDATE! By popular demand, I’ve put together a video course called Practice SQL! It’s designed to be the perfect extension for the whole SQL for Data Analysis article series. Take this video course to practice everything that you learn here. Because writing your own SQL queries is not just the best way to learn SQL — it’s also the most fun. MORE INFO >>

3) SQL for Data Analysis ep#1: SELECT * FROM ____ WHERE ____;

The first article introduces the most basic SQL query, which you’ll use all the time. In this tutorial we will create our first SQL table, select data from it, and eventually filter for specific parameters! READ >>

4) SQL WHERE

The next chapter is dedicated to the SQL WHERE clause. It shows you the logical and comparison operators – and then you will see how to use the WHERE clause for sophisticated filtering. At the end of the article we will also import a 7.000.000+ row data set for further practicing. Plus, this is the first SQL for Data Analysis tutorial in which I included a video! 🙂 READ >>

5) SQL functions and intermediate SQL clauses

Just like in Excel, you can use different functions in SQL. These include: COUNT (for counting elements), SUM (for summarizing integers), AVG (for calculating mean), MAX (for finding the greatest value), MIN (for finding the smallest value), and so on… I guess I don’t have to emphasize how important these are.

This article also presents the sorting (ORDER BY), the unique (DISTINCT) and the grouping (GROUP BY) “commands” of SQL. READ >>

6) SQL for Data Analysis – best practices

At this point, you might already have reached an intermediate level in SQL for Data Analysis, so it’s worth it to take a break and learn a bit about SQL best practices. In this episode I wrote down 6 things that will help you to make your future SQL efforts much smoother (and definitely much more syntax-error-free :-)). READ >>

7) SQL JOIN

SQL is super powerful for joining tables. Sometimes it does that even 1000-times faster than other languages. (I know this from my own experience.) So let’s just say, it’s worth spending some time to understand how you can use SQL JOIN like a pro. This article will describe the whole concept and give examples (with syntax) for the most common use cases. READ >>

8) SQL for Data Analysis – Advanced stuff

In this final episode, I listed 3 advanced SQL methods. These are: sub-queries, SQL CASE (basically the if statement of SQL) and SQL HAVING (an advanced version of WHERE). While these are “advanced” SQL methods, sooner or later you will run into a problem where you have to use one or all of them! READ >>

+1) Test yourself: SQL tech screening questions

If you want to test your SQL skills on practical exercises: READ >>

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Learning SQL for Data Analysis definitely pays off quickly: you will be much more efficient with your data-related tasks and you will get easier access to the business data you want to work with!

I hope these articles will help you to learn and understand everything! If you have any questions or feedback, let me know in the comment sections below the articles.

Check the Python and the bash tutorials, too!

Plus, stay tuned and subscribe to my Newsletter!

Cheers,
Tomi Mester