Learning SQL From Code Academy and Khan Academy

I have always wanted to learn programming. Even now my top favourites on my to-learn list are: Javascript, AngularJS, Python and others in that order. And then out of nowhere I have started pursuing SQL. I don’t know why, but it occurred to me that knowing SQL is an important step in learning to build apps and understand data. And so began my search and quest to learn SQL.

SQL on Code Academy

SQL Course on Code Academy

The course on SQL on code academy is what I started with. Of course if you search online with the search phrase “learning sql online” a lot of pages are listed in the search results. Right at the top is the SQL Tutorial from W3Schools.

SQL Course on W3Schools

The W3Schools tutorial seems to be universally recommended as the starting point for learning SQL. But the problem that I have with learning at W3Schools is that the website is really cluttered with ads. I see the reason for that, their revenue model is based on earnings from ads. So I don’t blame the makers of the site for bombarding the learners with ugly and attention diverting ads on an otherwise useful learning site that. But, Yuck.

Why CA (a.k.a code academy)? I have used CA before to learn Python and HTML/CSS. I am familiar with their interface and the design of the courses. The CA courses are always easy for me to get started with because they are beginner friendly. And add complexity to the learning topics at a gradual pace.

At the time of writing this article, the SQL course on CA is not very big. It covers the basics and it does an excellent job of it. I was able to start from being a complete beginner to SQL and get to a stage where I could read SQL statements and write simple ones to extract data from a database.

One of the best parts of learning at CA and this is true for all the courses on the website, is that you write the code and run the code right there in the browser and you see the results of your code instantly. This kind of a learning environment is great for me, as I don’t have to write the code in a code editor, save the file, use the command prompt to run the code in a compiler. So, thank you code academy.

Learning SQL on the Khan Academy

After finishing the course on code academy I was looking for more on SQL. I wanted to learn more. Another set of searches ensued and I stumbled across the Intro to SQL: Querying and managing data on Khan Academy.

SQL Course on Khan Academy

What I like about this course is that while the code academy courses are a series of instructions led exercises to learn code, this course on KA (a.k.a Khan Academy) has the instructor has inserted talk throughs in between the exercises.

She (I don’t know who the instructor is) explains the usage of a particular SQL query and then explains the results and then we are supposed to try it out to cement the learning by hands on practice. Similar to code academy, this course too does an excellent job of ramping up the complexity of the course slowly so learners have a chance to internalise the simpler concepts in the raising order of complexity of the SQL queries.

Similar to the learning environment on CA the KA learning environment too allows for the code to be run right in the browser and you can see if you have done any mistakes. There is also a very useful helper functionality that tells you if you have done any syntax errors in the SQL queries as you type them.

In Conclusion

Learning coding in 2016 has never been easier. There are thousands of places where you can learn to code in any language of your choice. There are innumerable tutorials written by caring and generous developers who have chosen to share their knowledge with complete strangers who they may never meet in their whole life. It is this generosity in sharing knowledge that makes the lives of learners like me way easier. Thank you dear tutorial writer.

Written on October 18, 2015