Best Online Courses #16

Introduction to Databases and SQL Querying and Advanced Databases and SQL Querying on Udemy by Rakesh Gopalakrishnan

Courses on Udemy are a dime a dozen, but finding good courses is like filtering the wheat from the chaff, and finding good free courses is like finding a needle in a haystack. Or to put it another way, it’s just plain hard to find good free courses on Udemy period.

Thankfully, these two courses from instructor Rakesh Gopalakrishnan are in that small number of good free courses and in fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better pair of courses anywhere that covers what they do! The self-explanatory titles do a lot to give you an idea of what they cover but absolutely don’t cover the whole gamut: the first course provides a very good overview of SQL in general (in particular Microsoft’s T-SQL dialect), along with some core SQL concepts (joins, date functions, and string functions), but most importantly, it picks up where Caleb Curry’s Udemy course Database Design left off. Which is to say that it covers the all-important topic of moving past database theory and actually running SQL statements in an RDBMS (relational database management system), specifically Microsoft’s SQL Server. The second course quickly moves on to some intermediate & advanced topics, including views, triggers, stored procedures, functions, and quite a bit more. Needless to say, if you make sure to follow along and run all of the queries on your own local installation, you’ll come away with an excellent “corner to corner” overview on almost every important SQL-related topic that you might run into as a back-end developer or database administrator.

Gopalakrishnan’s approach to these courses is a very good one, as he carefully introduces each new topic and building on what he’s previously covered, and not only screencasts all of the SQL statements that he writes from scratch, but also covers important features of SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio), Microsoft’s internally-developed database administration program for SQL Server databases. It’s this in-depth coverage of SSMS that provides one of the greatest values to the course, as not only does it let you explore the level of detail & features packed into the application, it also provides an excellent counterpoint example to what you can expect from other similar applications (which you might alternately use in a real-world job position), like Workbench for MySQL or pgAdmin for PostgreSQL.

Suffice it to say, these two courses from Gopalakrishnan should absolutely be your second and third on your journey to learning SQL (the first should be Caleb Curry’s “Database Design” which I previously highlighted). The fact that they’re free on Udemy is just icing on the cake. You probably don’t even need to learn too much beyond these courses before getting a job, because of how well they cover real-world usage of a database administration program (i.e. SSMS), and you’re likely to learn the rest of what you need to know “on the job”.

Conclusion: This pair of courses is a must-do for anyone looking to get deeper into working with relational databases and/or back-end web development. If you don’t use Windows, find a way to set up a Windows virtual machine on your computer, because a ton of the value of the course is in learning SSMS (which runs only on Windows) and not just T-SQL and SQL Server (which as it turns out, can run on Linux and macOS now in 2021!).

Rating: 5 out of 5