Back to articles list Articles Cookbook
9 minutes read

Learn SQL for Data Analysis With

Find out the SQL learning path geared specifically towards the needs of the data analyst.

When I was in high school, I planned to go to college and major in interior design. I had no background in technology, and I thought people who stared at computer screens all day were nerds. Learn SQL for data analysis?? That thought never occurred to me.

Well, like many 17-year-olds, I changed my mind and ended up at a business college. But even during those college years, I never stepped foot in any type of computer science classroom.

It was not until after college, when I started my first job, that I was introduced to SQL. Fifteen years later, I’m so grateful for that exposure. Learning SQL for data analysis was the first stepping stone that paved the way for my career.

Whenever I encounter someone embarking on a new career, I always tell them that the most important thing is to have a plan or roadmap. It’s OK for it to change, but make sure each step you take is rooted in a plan with an end goal. If your end goal involves becoming a data analyst, I recommend our article on the roadmap to becoming a data analyst.

Looking for a way to learn SQL for data analysis? Read on!

The Importance of Learning SQL for Data Analysis

I’ve been a data analyst for 9 years and, by far, the one skill I use most is SQL. Hardly a day goes by without writing any SQL queries. I do not use a data visualization tool, or even Excel every day. Even when I do, the data comes from an SQL database.

SQL, short for Structured Query Language, is a programming language used to pull data from a database. It can also be used to store and update existing data. If you’re new to SQL, check out our article “What is SQL?” to learn more about its history and applications.

It is also the foundation on which all other data analytics skills are built. Yes, some tools allow users to create reports or explore data, but they all have limitations. The flexibility of being able to mine your data via SQL queries is unmatched. There are many other reasons; I won’t go into the details here. You can read more about them in our article “Why Should Every Data Analyst Know SQL?

OK, if that argument isn’t enough to convince you to learn SQL, maybe this is: anyone can learn SQL for data analysis, no matter your background or career. We have all the steps you need to master it. From SQL Basics to more advanced courses about window functions, we have a course for you.

Let’s take a look!

The Courses

When browsing through the different courses on, you see each course is marked as either basic or advanced. This gives you a good idea of which courses are right for you. In addition, each course introduction has a breakdown of any prerequisite knowledge before beginning the course.

Some courses exist for multiple database systems. For example, the Creating Basic SQL Reports course has a version for PostgreSQL, SQL Server, and MySQL. Each has nuances in how data is stored. If you are unsure about which one to choose, choose the one that does not specify a database system. These courses use the standard syntax that applies to most SQL databases.

Once you’re in the course, you can browse the course contents to look at what each section has:

Learn SQL for Data Analysis With

You do not have to go in order, either. If there is a topic you are eager to learn, you may jump straight to that section.

Every course on is interactive. You learn something and then apply it immediately by solving a practice problem. The best way to learn is by doing, and these courses provide plenty of opportunities to reinforce your learning with practice exercises that resemble real-life scenarios.

When you interact with the practice problems, your answer is run against a real SQL database. Yet there is nothing to install on your computer! You are asked to write an SQL query; when you run it, you get an error statement if there is an error in your code:

Learn SQL for Data Analysis With

You can then make adjustments to the query and try again. Once it is correct, a green message lets you know you’re ready to move forward:

Learn SQL for Data Analysis With

If you get stuck, don’t worry! You may ask for a hint or even a solution.

Learning Path for SQL Data Analysis

Let’s take a high-level look at the courses we’ve selected for learning SQL for data analysis. This learning path has been created specifically with SQL data analysis in mind.

SQL Basics

As the name suggests, the SQL Basics course encapsulates all the most important SQL syntax topics such as SELECT, WHERE, JOINS, GROUP BY, ORDER BY, and HAVING.

If you are brand new to SQL, this course is a great place to start. Even if you’ve learned SQL in the past, this is a great course to use as a refresher if it’s been a while. The course starts with single table queries and progresses to working with multiple tables using different types of JOINs and other SQL topics.


The course How to INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE Data in SQL is for anyone interested in data cleaning with DML commands. “DML” stands for “Data Manipulation Language,” and these are the commands used to manipulate data in existing tables in a database.

This course covers the INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements used to modify data in a database directly. These types of queries are essential to loading data into a database or transforming already existing data.

You need a solid understanding of SQL basics to use these statements. You cannot safely DELETE data until you have a solid understanding of how to SELECT it!

Standard SQL Functions

The Standard SQL Functions course focuses on the SQL statements used in data processing. These are SQL standard functions including numeric functions, data and time functions, NULLs, and CASE statements, that exist in most SQL databases.

You also practice using different aggregate functions. The benefit of understanding these functions is the ability to transform query results into formatted reports. For example, you may want to modify your text to make it more human-readable or format numbers to specific decimal places to make your reports more legible.

This course assumes you already know the basics of SQL. In fact, there is an introductory quiz to make sure you have the foundational knowledge needed to be successful.

Creating Basic SQL Reports

This intermediate-level course, Creating Basic SQL Reports, begins to build on your existing SQL knowledge. You start learning how to break down complex logic and how to structure long SQL queries. It also goes deep into the GROUP BY clause so you have a full understanding of complex data analysis in SQL. After completing this course, you’ll be able to use one query to pull and analyze multiple key metrics for your organization.

Window Functions

In the Window Functions course, you learn all about window functions such as OVER(), OVER(PARTITION BY), RANK(), LEAD(), and LAG(). These let you compute aggregates for specific groups of rows and make complex aggregations much simpler.

Window functions are more complex than aggregate functions, but they are just as essential. They allow the data analyst to compute things such as year-over-year metrics, running totals, and moving averages.

GROUP BY Extensions in SQL

After you master the GROUP BY function, you learn the more advanced extensions of it in GROUP BY Extensions in SQL. This includes ROLLUP, CUBE, and GROUPING SETS. ROLLUP and CUBE let you add totals and subtotals to your queries. GROUPING SETS allows you to compute multiple GROUP BYs in a single query, resulting in a shorter and more readable query.

Practice, Practice, Practice

In addition to courses, offers many ways to reinforce your learning through practice. Let’s take a look at some of these in more detail below.

Each practice course is based on real-world examples. They also focus on one business domain for you to practice problems that are most relevant to you. These courses contain problems you can expect to encounter in real-life data analysis.

Let’s take a look!

Customer Behavior Analysis in SQL

This course is designed for marketing analysts focused on understanding customer behavior. As a marketing analyst, much of your work will revolve around the customer lifecycle funnel.

The key to any improvement in the business is identifying the weakest areas in the funnel to optimize them. In this course, each chapter focuses on a different part of the customer journey, from registration to paid conversion, product engagement, and finally churn. Here, you learn to write queries to calculate different conversion rates and time-between metrics.

Revenue Trend Analysis in SQL

This course is great for anyone working in the finance domain or wanting to identify and understand revenue trends. You’ll use a combination of SQL and Excel to perform analyses.

This course focuses on analyzing revenue and comparing different time periods to one another. You also learn how to break down and compare revenue across different product categories. After completing this course, you’ll be able to create multiple types of revenue reports.

Basic SQL Practice: A Store

Built on data from a fictional store, this course is helpful for anyone who wants to practice their SQL skills. You’ll likely work with sales data at some point in your career, so these examples are relevant across many different industries and businesses.

The course includes 169 exercises grouped into sections by topic. Each section begins with a review of the syntax; the rest are interactive exercises designed to test your understanding.

Basic SQL Practice: Run Track Through Queries!

Need a break from standard business examples to have a little fun? This course utilizes data from running competitions. You find out the winner of the 200-meter dash and analyze the performance of different athletes.

Monthly SQL Practice

Each month, you have the opportunity to continue your practice by joining our Monthly SQL Practice track. You can work not only on this month’s challenges but also on those from prior months. These courses allow you to practice a wide variety of skills on different data sets. The practice alternates by month between basic and advanced and across different business domains. Need to demonstrate your SQL skills while applying for a new job, or during your studies? Check out these ideas for the best SQL projects.

Learn SQL for Data Analysis!

There you have it! A look at some of our many courses on how to learn SQL for data analysis. Select a course based on your skill level, business domain, or both!

No matter what course you decide to start with, do not stop there. As with anything in life, it’s important to continue practicing, so be sure to get started at the very least with the Monthly SQL Practice track.