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How to Learn SQL for Free

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Previous marketing experience. Check.

Experience with Microsoft Suites. Check.

Knowledge of SQL a plus...

After a tedious job hunt, you’re tired, stressed, and come across another job posting with these required credentials. You meet every criterion except that last one. You know it’s the exact leverage you need to be a competitive candidate.

Many recruiters prefer a basic knowledge of SQL for reporting tasks. SQL is a database scripting language that is surprisingly manageable to learn. Follow these steps to master it in the comfort of your home - for free.

See also: Top 10 Resources for Learning Online Programming for Starters

1. Watch Online Tutorials

There are numerous free online resources to choose from for learning SQL such as W3SchoolsSQLCourseLearn Code the Hard Way, and The Schemaverse. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, use a user-friendly site like W3Schools which offers simple yet comprehensive guidelines with plenty of hands-on examples.

Dedicate some time to familiarize yourself with basic SQL functions and syntaxes. Use interactive learning features to see how changing SQL functions affects data output. Focus on understanding the logic rather than memorizing the functions; once you grasp the fundamentals of SQL, you’ll be able to use them to build reports, analyze data, and more.

2. Practice Using Reporting Tools

Reporting tools are an effective and quick way to analyze data and use SQL in practice. They embed powerful visualizations like graphs, charts, tables, and parametric options to demonstrate how you can use SQL functions to get the desired data and display.

Because reporting tools are commonly used in many workplaces, using them now will help reduce on-the-job training time for your potential employer later - another leverage that can help you land a job. The good news is most business reporting tools are offered free-of charge to download, install, and use, which means you can use them to fine-tune your SQL skills, too.

Actuate iHub (BIRT)

Actuate recently released a free reporting tool called OpenText Actuate Information Hub (iHub) which requires minimal installation and configuration. In addition to having a comprehensive Quick Start Guide, it’s one of the most user-friendly reporting tools available on the market with extensive, aesthetic visualizations. Actuate also provides demo videos to give you a feel of what their SQL reporting services are all about.

Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services Express (SSRS)

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is another popular reporting tool created by Microsoft. Since SQL Server express edition is free and easily integrated into ERP softwares, many companies use it to meet their business reporting and data analyzing needs. You can also install a free sample database AdventureWorks to your SSRS, specifically created for beginners to practice SQL without going through the hassle of building their own database.

And should you feel ready to create your own set of data, read through Microsoft’s free comprehensive online tutorial to learn how to create tables, parameters, and complex scripts.

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3. Troubleshoot in Tech Forums

There will come a time when you just can’t get the correct columns and graph displays to show up. You can post your SQL questions in open tech forums like Eclipse Community Forum or Stackoverflow; their heavy site traffic is enough to ensure a speedy answer, and professional developers roam through these domains on a daily basis to answer user-specific questions.

Whether you search for “how to extract last name only with T-SQL” or “how to join two tables with no common attributes” - Google will likely pull up well-established tech forums where the answer already lies.

See alsoWhat is The Best Programming Language to Learn to Find a job

Learning SQL can be quite exciting - be diligent, resourceful, and consistent in your endeavors. Take advantage of the free resources available online to land the job you want. Follow our tips and you’ll be a SQL pro in no time.

Now back to that job post...

Knowledge of SQL a plus. Check.

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