How Long Does It Take To Learn SQL?

How Long Does It Take To Learn SQL? Factors Determine the Duration of Learning SQL Your Knowledge of Programming, Platform, Learning Pace.


When it comes to learning and grasping the onions of a trade or particular skill, there is no clear-cut duration that serves all learners. We may all walk through the path towards a course, but some will still get to the end of the journey before others. This is because humans are wired differently and our learning abilities differ across boards. The point here isn’t to identify the different types of learners or learning abilities but to dissect the average time it would take to learn SQL. Even though the duration of learning may depend largely on the learner, does that not also depend on the knowledge to be acquired? This means we are also going to look at the difficulty levels of the subject matter – SQL. 

What Is SQL?

Let’s attempt a conceptual definition of SQL as a takeoff point to understanding where we are headed. This definition may not be relevant to you if you’re already into computer programming and also works with a database. For the layman, Standard, or Structured Query Language (SQL) is what is currently being used globally to work on databases. It does more than data entries and goes on to provide you with options for edits. It is in no doubt one of the best programming languages currently being used to work on a database. When Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce developed the SQL over three decades ago, they were looking for better ways to organize data sets in databases with little to no stress, thereby, saving time and resources.

Gathering information about people and their activities to inform business decisions, political decisions, and so on isn’t a walk in the park. The fact that information is available for companies, government, and individuals for informed decision making but are in their raw forms makes it worthy to have a tool that can put the raw information out there into something more useful and most effective. This is one of the primary functions of the Standard Query Language. The 21st century makes it even more important to have such a tool that can be used by analysts to gather information from all the “foot pints” people leave on cyberspace. As users jump from one app to the other or from one social media platform to the other, they leave behind different information in raw format that can be organized and analyzed into useful information to people in need of them. 

This goes further to iterate the demand for people that are skillful in the use of Standard Query Language (SQL). Using this language you will be able to not just enter data or information but you will also be able to search for data and information as well as also modify, and delete entries in the database you’re working on. Using SQL to get correlations that can be used to guide business growth is one of the major reasons for the demand for people with the skill. As more information is dissipated in relational databases in their crude forms, this language becomes your first tool to extract such information. 

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopted Standard Query Language as its standard in 1986 and in the following year the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also adopted it as its standard. This made SQL gain more popularity and wide-spread use throughout the United States.

Functions of Standard Query Language (SQL)

Using SQL allows a user to execute queries against a database and also retrieve data. These two functions are important functions of SQL and one of its primary functions. You can also add records to a database and update the records in the database. This includes deleting records from the database. As part of its primary function, you can also use it to create new databases, create new tables in the database, and also design stored procedures in a database. 

With SQL a data analyst can create views in the database he’s working on, set who can access tables in the database, and the kind of access a person can get. Standard Query Language is also used in websites, however, this feature requires any of the RDBMS database programs. With this, you can use a scripting language like ASP and PHP and HTML or CSS (which are both used to give your page a unique style). You’ll enjoy access to the data you are looking for just by learning and understanding how SQL works and knowing how to use it.

Now you know the basics of Standard Query Language (SQL), let’s talk about learning SQL and how long it would take to learn it.

Learning SQL

As stated ab-initio, learning is one thing that differs from one human to the other but there is one thing that makes learning easier and that is interest. To learn any body of knowledge, you need to have an interest in that field you are aspiring to learn or at least build interest in it. This is similar to what people would describe as having a passion for the field. Passion and interest will propel you to learn keenly and even make you learn faster. Learning could be stressful and demanding and that is where passion and interest come in. Learning SQL is as simple as learning just anything at all, but you must have the right amount of passion and interest that will match what you are going to learn. I have seen people take up courses online and ended up stopping mid-way. Some people never made it beyond the first-course level even though they thought they were prepared to take the course. 

That brings us to the first thing you need to do before learning SQL, which is also a major determinant of how long it will take you to learn the program. Imagine going into college without the prerequisite knowledge you need for the career path you have chosen. Well, that’s not even possible because the system won’t let you into college without a proper high school education background. But let’s just imagine that possibility. You will look so dumb in class and may not understand anything you are taught. Your grades will turn out so bad that you may be advised to drop out of college and find yourself something that suits your level. This is the same way you can’t jump into learning SQL without getting basic knowledge of computer programming as a beginner. 

Factors that Determine the Duration of Learning SQL

Different factors besides passion and interest determine how long it will take to learn the programming language.

Your Knowledge of Programming

If you already have basic programming knowledge, then, you are likely going to learn SQL faster. It becomes even faster when you already have background knowledge on SQL. This is more like your SQL level. As a beginner, you will spend more time learning the language than it will take you when you already have a base knowledge of the program. Having fundamental knowledge of SQL before starting to learn the program is going to help you not just learn faster but comprehend better. You see that right there?

Comprehension itself is also an important factor but we shall talk about that in a different factor. Just know that it would be better for you before taking a professional course on SQL to first acquaint yourself with the fundamentals of the program. You can also decide to get knowledge of database management before going into SQL. This will also help you acquaint yourself with some of the jargons used in SQL.

How Good You Want to Be

One of the most important of these factors is how well you want to know SQL. This means that for someone who wants to know just the basics of SQL, he or she may not require that much time to learn. All that needs to be done would be to understand the basics and how the program works. Such a person may not be able to dive into the other complex functions of the program. For such an individual, a period of not more than a month is all that is required to acquire the skill. Mind you, this also depends on such internal factors as the willingness of the individual to learn and the individual’s base knowledge on programming.

All things being equal and the individual is passionate enough and has the base knowledge, he or she would be able to learn in less than a month, say within two to three weeks. There are lots of people in this category that just want the basic knowledge and they may not be desiring the skill because they want to use it to its full capabilities; just maybe to create a simple database. If you want to use more of the program’s functions and want to dive into some of its complex functions, then, you will need more time.

One thing you need to take note of is that learning is a continuum and it is the same with the program. There are new depths to always reach. Knowing the basics is never enough as you may soon discover that the bases also have different levels and you may just be at the surface level. While you may already have the surface knowledge that you need, it is also important that you update yourself with time. What this means is that you just have to keep up with recent developments in the program regardless of how proficient you want to be. 

Learning Pace

 Your learning pace is one of the major determinants of how long it will take you to learn SQL. Slow learners will obviously take more time to learn than fast learners and vice versa. This factor leaves it completely up to you to determine the duration it would take you to either become prolific with the program or remain a surface user. Let’s just say all things being equal and you are a fast learner, then, you are looking at learning within the space of three weeks to be able to do basic operations with the program and maybe a few complex operations. For a slow learner, all things being equal, it would take at least a month to be able to do the basics. This is the point that most people don’t often consider when talking about learning a program.

They tend to forget that people learn at different paces and may end up being as good as each other. If it took one person two months to learn and it took another two weeks to, it doesn’t mean in any way that the one who spent more time (one month) learning will know better than the one who spent two weeks to learn. It only shows that they have a different learning pace. This is why a lot of platforms provide learn at your pace services for their courses. This allows them to serve the different learners taking their courses.

It would be a disservice to slow learners to fix a particular time frame for a course completion without paying attention to their learning pace. Your learning base is basically how fast you comprehend the subject you’re learning. If you’re quick to grasp the lessons, then, you should be able to learn faster. However, if you are slow to grasp the lessons, you are most likely going to spend more time learning. 

The Platform you are Learning From

This may not seem like a big deal but it is one that needs to be considered. Some platforms may not grant you access to a new level of the course when you have not completed certain tasks in the previous level. They try to ensure that you follow the steps sequentially and shouldn’t skip any step as the case may be. Some platforms only allow you access to single course material at a time while some platforms allow you access to the full course material at once. This will further influence how a learner might learn. Some tasks may not be necessary to the learner but may have to be completed before gaining access to the next course material. Generally, learning with platforms that make use of audio-visuals can further help a learner learn faster than learning with platforms that make use of texts alone. 

Some platforms allow you to interact with other learners thereby encouraging peer reviews and peer-to-peer learning. Such platforms are most likely to yield the most results and make a learner learn faster as they allow learners to learn from themselves. A learner may be able to find more answers from peers and also find solutions from peers. Joining forums is also one major way you can fast track your learning process. This works even better for people who want to have an in-depth knowledge of the program. Joining forums will make you learn faster and also make you learn more but it is not advisable that you join forums without basic knowledge of the program even though there are forums for beginners where you could still join and make the most of it. You can also learn faster by combining different learning sources but you must be mindful of your learning sources so you don’t make it difficult to grasp what you’re being taught. When using multiple learning sources, it makes learning faster and within a period of two to three weeks, you would have gotten yourself ready for at least the basic things about SQL and even more. 

Are you Learning SQL Alone or Combining it with Other Programs?

Trust me, when you jump on programming language and database, you’ll find a lot of interesting things to learn that you may want to learn alongside your initial plan of learning Standard Query Language (SQL). While no knowledge is a waste, learning different things at once has a way of slowing down your pace of learning and may also distract you from even learning as well as you should. It is like multitasking which allows you to accomplish more tasks but slows down the average time to complete each task. You can easily distract yourself from one course when you are taking more than a single course at a time. It means to cover SQL in a window of say three weeks, you would have to focus only on SQL to get the most of the time you have otherwise, you will finish the course without gain much from the program.

The Total Number of Hours you put in Per Day

Here is also a very important determinant of how long it will take you to master SQL. You cannot compare someone who puts in approximately 6 hours a day learning a particular thing to someone who spends less than half of that time. The more hours you put into learning it per day, the earlier you’ll be able to finish the program and master it. Most online platforms for learning SQL gives you at most 2 hours per day and the course is scheduled to last for not more than a month. SO, imagine putting in two times the number of hours per day, it means you would have succeeded in splitting the total duration into half of its original period. For platforms that scheduled longer periods, say two months and you put in two or three times the number of daily hours, you will also finish the course and most likely gain mastery earlier than scheduled. Imagine you are only able to give an hour out of the two hours scheduled per day, that means you’re extending the total duration by at least 100%. A month-long course ends up taking two months and so on. The more the hours you put in daily, the faster it would take you to learn SQL, but the lesser the hours you spend per day, the longer it would take you to finish the course. This is usually the case with most learn at your pace platforms. Learners easily get tired or lose interest when a program takes too long. This is why platforms try to chunk up their courses into weeks or days while also giving you the option of learning at your pace.

You may be a full-time learner or a part-time learner, this will affect how fast you. A full-time learner will spend more time learning while a part-time learner will have schedules different from the course schedules and most times prone to distractions than a full-time learner. 

Now that we have taken a good look at some of the major factors that can determine how long it would take you to learn the Standard Query Language (SQL), it is safe to say that, there is no clearly defined duration for learning and mastering SQL. You have to consider all of these factors before you jump into learning the language. The most important of them all is you, yes, you. If you take a good look at all of these factors, you will find that they are in some ways dependent on you. It is all up to you to choose which platform you want to learn from and how you want to follow through on the learning process. Your passion and interest must match with the schedule designed by the platform otherwise, you may find yourself running behind schedule. It is good to learn at your pace but, it is better if you don’t use that as an excuse for being lazy about what you’re learning.  

It is not automatic that once you sign up on a platform, you will complete the course trust me, there are lots of people that have started a similar course and never finished them. Avoid unnecessary distractions like learning different things at a time. If you focus on learning SQL first and follow through enthusiastically, you will end up saving yourself enough time to learn some other programs. Remember that learning never stops, and you cannot stop learning just because you have completed a course. You have between two weeks and six months to learn SQL successfully and, it is all up to you. 

Standard Query Language is an important tool for database management and, it has lots of things in it that help you become an effective database manager. There are lots of jobs out there that require you to have this skill and, it would be a wasted opportunity if you don’t have it and can’t learn it before you miss the opportunity. Just make up your mind to start learning if you don’t already have the skill and, before you know it, you will finish as long as you don’t lose interest along the way and give it your best attention.

also read: How Long Does It Take To Learn SQL?

How Long Does It Take To Learn SQL?

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