10 Best SQL Books for Beginners & Advanced Programmers [Updated in 2021]

10 Best SQL Books for Beginners & Advanced Programmers
10 Best SQL Books for Beginners & Advanced Programmers

Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves”
Tim Berners-Lee

Some of the best books in the market that can help you have a firm grip on writing SQL queries and detailed knowledge of SQL books are listed in this article.

You will be surprised to know that we produce over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. The question here is where is this all data stored? We are aware of the databases.

Databases are responsible for storing the data. This data should be accessible, mutable and secure. The database requires a special programming language to interact with the user. It enables the user to make changes, view and delete data.

We have a special programming language known to enable us to perform various operations. You can do meaningful queries on the database to extract the desired data out of a large amount of data. You can store or update particular data points according to the requirement. SQL acts as the medium between SQL (structured query language) databases and used for interaction.

Why should I learn SQL?

SQL is one of the most in-demand skills in the current scenario. According to StackOverflow, it is the third most popular programming language. It has application in almost all fields from banking, business to the software. You can be looking for various job profiles such as business analyst, data scientist, software engineer, database administrator, quality assurance tester, or data engineer, you ought to know SQL. All major companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest, Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, Google and Udemy, use SQL.

It is often overwhelming for beginners to get started with SQL via these SQL books. Learning SQL doesn’t need prior programming experience in general. It is need-specific and a completely different programming language from the commonly known high-level programming languages such as Python and Java. You can choose your methodology of learning SQL either from tutorials or SQL books for beginners or a combination of both.

Some of the best books in the market that can help you have a firm grip on writing SQL queries and detailed knowledge of the best SQL books for beginners are as follows:

Beginner

1. Getting Started with SQL: A Hands-On Approach for Beginners

Author: Thomas Nield
Publisher: Shroff/O’Reilly
Rating: 4.5/5
Our Rating: 4.7/5
MRP: Rs. 522.50 (Kindle edition)
Edition: First edition (1 January 2016)

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This is the book you should refer to if you just getting started with SQL. This is one of the best SQL books for beginners by O’Reilly. You would be learning about relational databases in centralised models. You will be using SQLite and SQLite Studio for creating databases.

You will be learning about various commands to query and transform data such as SELECT, WHERE GROUP BY and ORDER BY. On completion of this book, you would be able to create your own centralised databases and tables using the normalised design principle. You will also learn to manage data using INSERT, DELETE and UPDATE commands.

PROS:

  • Clear explanation
  • Fast-paced and enjoyable
  • Sufficient examples and exercises
  • Great for beginners

2. Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL — A Learner’s Guide

Author: Lynn Beighley
Publication: Shroff/O’Reilly
Rating: 4/5
Our Rating: 4.5/5
MRP: Rs. 1225
Edition: First edition (1 January 2011)

This is an interesting book to take your SQL skills on a different level. It will help you to elevate your fundamentals by teaching application. It is a step ahead from the basic INSERT and SELECT queries to hardcore database manipulations with indices joins and transactions. This book incorporates the latest research in microbiology to make learning theory easy using multisensory learning techniques. This is not any text-heavy book rather a complete experience.

PROS:

  • For beginners to intermediate
  • Visuals along with text
  • Examples and exercises
  • Practical implementation focused

3. SQL: The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Learn SQL Today

Author: Steve Tale
Publication: Createspace Independent Pub
Rating: 3.9/5
Our Rating: 4.5/5
Edition: 4 June 2016

This is a simple concise book to make learning SQL easy. It can be a laborious and tedious task to learn SQL with text-heavy books. In this book, you would be getting simple steps with instructions to help you learn properly. It is full of examples and sample relations or tables to make you understand how the queries work in an efficient manner.

PROS:

  • Simple and intuitive language
  • Recommended for beginners
  • Quiz, test and hands-on cases
  • Sufficient exercise

4. SQL: Easy SQL Programming & Database Management For Beginners, Your Step-By-Step Guide To Learning The SQL Database

Author: Felix Alvaro
Publication: Inhouse
Rating: 4.1/5
Our Rating: 4.6/5
MRP: Rs. 1860
Edition: November 2016

This is the complete book you can refer as a beginner to get an overall understanding of databases and SQL. Some of the key concepts discussed in this book are SQL data types, SQL structure, data definition language, data manipulation language, data query language statements, transaction control commands, database designs using a primary and foreign key, index and normalisation, understanding of cursors triggers and errors and much more. You will be getting ample practice exercises to test your learning.

PROS:

  • Detailed explanation
  • Sufficient exercise

5. SQL: Learn SQL (using MySQL) in One Day and Learn It Well. SQL for Beginners with Hands-on Project. (Learn Coding Fast with Hands-On Project Book 5)

Author: Jamie Chan
Publication: Zaccheus Entertainment
Rating: 4.5/5
Our Rating: 4/5
MRP: Rs. 5784
Edition: January 2018

Learning by doing is one of the best approaches to learn a new skill. Projects are often a great source to cover maximum concept in minimum time. This book is specially designed for busy individuals who want concise and “to the point” information. It will take you through all the steps of the processes involved in data management.

PROS:

  • No prior coding experience required
  • To the point
  • Hands-on project

Advanced

6. SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Techniques for All SQL Users

Author: Anthony Molinaro & Robert de Graaf
Publication: O’Reilly
Rating: 4.7/5
Our Rating: 4.9/5
MRP: Rs. 4089
Edition: Second edition (December 2020)

It is important to learn applications and gain real-world experience with large databases. You will be getting a valuable problem-solving guide for practical implications of SQL. It has examples for several flavours of SQL including Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL.

7. SQL All – In – One For Dummies, 3ed

Author: Allen G. Taylor
Publication: Wiley
Rating: 4.6/5
Our Rating: 4.8/5
MRP: Rs. 762
Latest Edition: January 2019

It is one of the best SQL books for beginners and experts alike that contains eight mini-books that cover a full spectrum of issues from building, using, querying and managing relational database systems. It is all you need to cover all the major concepts to intricate details of implementation.

8. SQL: 3 books in 1 – The Ultimate Beginners, Intermediate and Expert Guide to Master SQL Programming

Author: Ryan Turner
Publication: Nelly B.L. International Consulting Ltd.
Rating: 2.9/5
Our Rating: 4/5
MRP: Rs. 3340
Edition: March 2020

This is a comprehensive guide from getting started with SQL to gaining real-world experience. It is a combination of 3 books which is divided as beginner, intermediate and expert level. The first book comprises of basics such as SQL joins the union, database creation, administration, modification and altering.

The second book comprises configuring and installing SQL, data types in SQL, normalisation, creating and indexing views. The third book deals with accessing databases using ODBC and JDBC. You will learn to combine JSON and SQL, tuning, compiling and simplifying advanced interfaces.

9. Structured Query language for all RDBMS and PL/SQL

Author: Kriti Sinha
Publication: Kalpaz Publications
Rating: 4.2/5
Our Rating: 3.5/5
MRP: Rs. 405
Edition: First edition (January 2016)

It is an in-depth guide for learning SQL. This can be referred by a wide variety of audience both technical and non-technical users, programmers, IT professionals or engineering students who want to do Oracle certification and want to take a leap ahead in their career in SQL.

You are provided with illustrations and released examples to clarify SQL and PL/SQL concepts. This book also compares SQL products from leading RDBMS vendors describing their advantages benefits to help you gain the right query for your application. You can use significant database products like Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and MS access to practice.

10. SQL Cookbook

Author: Anthony Molinaro
Publication: O’Reilly
Rating: 4.6/5
Our Rating: 4.8/5
MRP: Rs. 5691
Edition: First edition (January 2006)

The last in the list but a comprehensive book to make you learn the power of SQL. You will be working on SQL for pushing data across the network to your applications. It is the highly recommended books for intermediate level. it has hundreds of real-life examples. It is written in simple language and has an easy-to-follow method.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SQL?

SQL stands for Standard Query Language and is a very popular programming language used to administrate, manage and maintain relational databases. SQL is a domain-specific language used in relational database management systems.

What are the applications of SQL?

SQL is used heavily to retrieve and modify data from databases. It is used to create databases, for insertion of data, deletion of data, identification of targets and updating existing data.

What are query languages?

Query languages are computer languages used to make queries in a database or an information system.

Is SQL a better alternative to Python?

SQL allows developers to seamlessly merge data from various tables and retrieve data from databases. SQL, however, is not good at manipulation or transformation of data into different formats. Higher-level data manipulation such as applications in statistical analysis, regression tests and time-series data manipulation cannot be achieved with just SQL.

Python is perfect for structured or tabular data. SQL can retrieve the required data, and then, when further manipulation is required, Python can come into use. Hence, though SQL is more efficient in working with databases, Python cannot be replaced by SQL.

Is SQL easy to learn?

Yes, SQL is very easy to learn, and even beginners with no prior experience in programming or advanced computing can pick up SQL with ease. It is easy to understand and implement, this is the reason why individuals from various fields are using Database and Information systems with the help of SQL.

What are some examples of query languages?

HTSQL is an example of a query language that translates HTTP queries to SQL while AQL is a popular query language that is used for the ArangoDB native multi-model database system. Similarly, Cypher is a query language used in applications in the Neo4j graph database. DMX is also a highly used query language used for data mining models.

What is data control language?

A data control language (DCL) is a syntax that is similar to that of other computer programming languages which are used in controlling and accessing data stored in databases. DCL is a component of SQL and is one of the various logical groups among SQL Commands.

What is Microsoft SQL Server?

Microsoft SQL Server is one of the most popular relational database management systems developed and maintained by Microsoft. Microsoft SQL Server is a database server and a software product used primarily in storing and retrieving data requested by other software applications, either running on the same system or running across the network.

What is the best SQL book for beginners?

There are many books that are great for SQL but “Getting Started with SQL: A Hands-On Approach for Beginners” is a great choice for absolute beginners!

How long does it take to learn advanced SQL?

It takes a few weeks up to become acquainted with SQL and up to a few months to be an expert in manipulating databases with ease using SQL.

Where can I learn advanced SQL?

Good books which delve deep into advanced SQL and the various applications of SQL alongside informative study guides and courses are a great start to learning advanced skills in SQL.

Is SQL worth learning 2021?

Yes, SQL is definitely worth learning in 2021. Relational databases are highly in use now and will be for a long time both in multinational companies and small firms. SQL is one of the most popular choices while deciding upon the language to use for database management.

What are Advanced SQL skills?

Knowledge of efficient methods of using queries such as manipulation of performance, skills in dynamic SQL and in-depth knowledge about cursors, good fundamentals of schema design with a strong foundation in referential integrity and indexing.

What is the SQL syntax?

SQL follows a specific set of rules and guidelines known as syntax. SQL syntax follows the standards defined and maintained by ISO/IEC SC 32, a part of ISO/IEC 9075. Despite being standardized, SQL code is not compatible with different database or information systems without prior adjustments.

Key Takeaways

You must not confuse between different RDBMS vendors and MySQL servers. You can easily grasp the basics of SQL and apply them in any of the RDBMS vendors with little or minor syntax changes. You should initially focus on learning the various concepts such as relational algebra, relational calculus and database design.

SQL is a great way of approaching relational databases and database management systems. Even fundamental actions like the creation of databases, adding data and deleting data require languages like SQL to launch the required queries. Through SQL, one can truly gain extensive control over databases and administrate or modify data in information systems with ease.

Books on SQL which are geared towards beginners are a great way of being introduced to these systems and databases while books containing advanced or expert-centric knowledge are always welcomed by seasoned programmers and individuals from other fields which require working with databases as well.

We hope this article was helpful and gives you the guidance to get started with SQL and excel in it.

Happy Learning!