These are the Best SQL Certifications in 2021 to Level Up Your Career

Learning programming languages isn’t just a skill that’s reserved for developers and coders anymore.

One of those languages that can transcend a number of different job titles is SQL. 

As the technology industry grows, more and more job functions are requiring (or at least, favoring) those who have technical experience in order to work deeply with data. In fact, some of these jobs are now considered a hybrid title because they require technical acumen and expertise in another field. These hybrid jobs are projected to grow very quickly over the next decade.

Source: https://www.cfr.org/report/the-work-ahead/report/findings.html 

SQL, or Structured Query Language, deals with relational databases that hold a lot of data. SQL allows the user to add, delete, modify, or update records within that database, among a ton of other things. These databases hold large amounts of organized data, and let’s face it: Data is the truth by which many of us perform our jobs.

With the uncertainty that 2020 created on the job front, learning a high-level programming language like SQL that can be used in just about any job can give you a leg up in the new year if you’re looking to elevate your career. 

These are the best SQL certifications in 2021:

Best SQL Certifications in 2021

There’s a lot to consider if you want to get a SQL certification in 2021: Cost, course length, and learning method (self-taught, guided class, in a virtual classroom) are all factors to think about. We break down a few of our favorite courses in an effort to help you learn SQL the way that makes the most sense to you.

SQL For Data Analysis: Weekender Crash Course for Beginners.

Cost: $129.99

Duration: 4+ hours

Level: Beginner

Rating: 4.5 / 5 (Udemy)

Learning method: Self-guided course with articles, video, downloadable resources

Weekender crash course is right: This quick, high-level SQL session is great for those who are studying from scratch as no technical experience is required. While the description suggests this class takes more of a marketing-based approach, it could be a good starting point for anyone interested in growing their data analysis skill set and earning SQL certifications in 2021.

Learn SQL.

Cost: $29 – $179

Duration: 10 – 80+ hours

Level: Beginner – Advanced

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (student ratings)

Learning method: Lessons range from mini-courses to full-track courses, all interactive and self-paced

You can get as granular as you want with the courses from Learn SQL and for just $179, you get lifetime access to all of their courses, which is a pretty good deal considering the amount of content they have to offer. Keep in mind that the mini-courses and individual tracks still take a decent chunk of time to complete (some as long as 18 hours), but it is self-paced so you can work as quickly as you’d like.

App Academy Open

Cost: Free

Duration: 1,500+ hours (though you can focus on  the SQL sections)

Level: Beginner – Intermediate

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (Course Report)

Learning method: Self-guided course with interactive curriculum, live chat with other students

At the risk of tooting our own horn, we believe that education should be accessible to all, so we put our entire 16-week full-stack engineering curriculum online for free for anyone to use. This curriculum is identical to what you would learn if you were studying in the virtual classroom, but it’s uniquely strong because it’s built on getting people jobs. Over 3,800 folks have been placed at Google, Facebook, Netflix, and more.

You’re also able to choose the sections or topics you’d like to cover and focus there. Luckily, SQL is one of them, and this method can give you a solid understanding of SQL principles before (or in lieu of) taking another more advanced course.

The Complete SQL Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero.

Cost: $174.99

Duration: 9+ hours

Level: Beginner – Intermediate

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (Udemy)

Learning method: Self-guided course with articles, video, downloadable resources

Udemy provides a ton of different SQL courses — this one covers more broad SQL skills that are applicable across all sorts of tech professions, from data analysis to programming. You’ll learn the basics of syntax, running queries, and be introduced to Python in order to advance those skills, which is a big bonus if you’re looking to expand your coding knowledge.

Oracle’s Database PL/SQL Language Reference.

Cost: Free

Duration: Open

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (G2)

Learning method: Self-guided references with downloadable PDF or HTML files for reading or watching

Oracle’s database is absolutely massive, so you have to know what you’re looking for. However, with the option to instantly download resources like readings, tutorials, and videos, you can hang on to them and study at your pace. In this database version (18c), there are a few dozen SQL-based pieces to pull info from. Upon first glance, this resource is definitely not for a beginner, but could be wildly helpful if you’re working within the Oracle database itself.

Managing Big Data with MySQL.

Cost: Free 7-day trial

Duration: 32+ hours

Level: Beginner – Intermediate

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (Coursera)

Learning method: Guided course with flexible start dates and deadlines, graded assignments, quizzes, course readings

SQL can be a huge resource for business analysis, so this particular course focuses on that application of the language. Folks can get a free trial for this course, which is led by Daniel Egger, Executive in Residence and Director at the Center for Quantitative Modeling at Duke University. There are assignments graded by your instructors and your peers to ensure you’re moving through the course and taking in the information, but you will receive a certification upon completion.

How SQL Can Be Useful in Your Career

Sure, SQL is a technique that is widely used by programmers, software engineers, and other folks in the tech space, but learning how to store and manage data within a relational database is a skill that can be particularly useful in other fields, as data tends to inform a lot of different decisions that folks make in their day-to-day workflows.

Programmer.

For some apps or websites, large amounts of data need to be stored in databases: Think of how Facebook stores not only personal user data, but data about friends, posts, content, and interests.

Traditional programming languages (like Ruby or Python) don’t understand these databases, which is why many programmers learn SQL in addition to coding languages that help them build apps or websites.

Developers and programmers are the most obvious students for SQL, and it’s a common topic that’s covered in coding studies.

Analyst.

For analysts — particularly in business settings — SQL is becoming an industry-standard skill rather than a nice-to-have. 

It’s important for folks in this job title to understand data very, very deeply and to be able to draw conclusions and create reports around that data. When this information exists within a relational database, they can both develop an improved understanding of data flows then communicate those findings with database administrators or become less reliant on those administrators to access the data themselves.

Business analysts or those who work in the statistics, finance, or banking industries have to back their decisions with data, so SQL plays an important role in ensuring that data is legitimate.

Marketer.

Marketers regularly use Excel or other spreadsheet programs to house data and findings from a range of channels. Everything from email marketing campaigns to paid social activations to organic content efforts give marketers data. As Excel With Business puts it:

“Imagine you had an Excel spreadsheet that contained every possible bit of data you have about your customers – what plans they’re on, how often they’ve bought from you, when they signed up, what marketing campaign they saw when they signed up, every action they’ve taken on your website or within your application… what could you do with that data?”

Today’s marketing is data-driven in order to better understand customers and how to reach them most effectively. Knowing how (and where) all of that data is organized and queried can help marketers more effectively cross-reference data, conduct research, and perform analysis on the impact of their marketing efforts.

Administrator.

A lot of companies — especially those who have a large amount of data or employees or information to store — have database administrators on the staff. These folks store critical company info, but they’re also responsible for creating and coordinating the data systems that analysts use to make strategic business or tech decisions.

Typically, database administrators study IT or information systems, but they’re highly technically trained to manipulate that data, add permissions, run tests, and perform quality control. Learning about SQL is an integral part of being an administrator because of the sheer amount of information they typically hold, creating a need for databases that can work for them. 

Designer.

Graphic designers, user experience designers, and other types of creative professions can really benefit from learning SQL or other programming languages that can help breathe life into the pieces they’re designing.

Being able to build the physical web or app pages in addition to creating the framework for them is becoming much more of a desirable skill in the trade; in fact, 51% of design jobs require at least one web development skill.

Journalists or copywriters.

Journalists don’t just write stories; they do the back-end research ahead of time and typically do their own distribution. That’s a lot of data to sift through, and it’s important to keep all of that in check because stories tend to develop.

A number of journalistic organizations around the world are leaning to SQL to maintain or access large, organized databases. In fact, The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists named SQL among their list of “Nine essential tools” for data journalism.

Conclusion

If data informs anything you do in your job title, or you’re regularly accessing databases of data, learning SQL could help you stand out and level up in your current position, or attain a better one. It helps streamline processes and makes storing data more efficient.

While there are a lot of different courses to consider if earning a certification in SQL studies is important to you, our App Academy Open curriculum gives you the foundational elements of SQL and helps relate them back to other programming languages or technical functions. The best news? It’s totally, completely, entirely free — and always will be.

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Written by Courtney Grace

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