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An SQL Basics Primer for Non-IT Professionals

You don’t need to be an IT professional to understand SQL. Our quick primer of SQL basics is perfect for beginners without any computer science or programming background.

If you’ve ever tried to learn a new software program, you know it takes more than just a few minutes. But it doesn’t mean you can’t learn it! The same is true if you want to learn SQL and databases. Even if you don’t have an IT background, you can do it. It just takes a little bit of time and effort.

This is exactly why I am sharing this awesome SQL Primer resource with you. It explains the very basic concepts of SQL so well that anyone from any industry can comprehend it without being overwhelmed. This solution provides the necessary knowledge that you can build upon, whether you are going through upskilling, onboarding, or planning to learn SQL to upgrade your CV.

Download: SQL Primer PDF

If you are reading this article, you’re probably just starting out on your journey with SQL. Before you even enroll in our SQL Basics course (which is the best practical way to learn SQL that I’ve come across), it is crucial to understand why almost every professional who interacts with data in one way or another would benefit from learning SQL.

SQL Is Not Only for IT Pros

In the past, mostly only IT people used SQL on a daily basis. Things have changed! As I write this article in late 2023, even a basic understanding of SQL increases your chances of getting a better job in virtually any corporate environment. Why?

In today's data-driven world, the database industry is expanding so rapidly that more non-IT professionals need to learn to operate databases. Positions in marketing, finance, healthcare, retail, HR, etc., all commonly list SQL as a “nice-to-have” or even a mandatory skill.

SQL Basics Primer for Non-IT Professionals

Over the last few years, the world has changed significantly in terms of how we interact with data. The data-driven approach to doing things and making decisions has proven to be so effective that companies were left with a pretty obvious decision to make: keep up with data-driven trends or let your competition take over. As a result, the data industry exploded with new job titles, technologies, and tools to handle the ever-increasing volume and complexity of data.

So, if you are asking yourself, “What’s all the fuss about data?” the answer is simple: it's a battle for survival. And so we see more professionals with no IT background learning to retrieve and analyze data from relational databases. One of the major “aha” moments after being introduced into the domain of databases is the realization that the most efficient way to manipulate data is using SQL.

Actually, though, this isn’t really a revelation. SQL was created over 50 years ago with one purpose – to help us talk to databases. Why do I say “talk”? Because when you see an SQL query, it almost looks like a sentence. You can get a general idea of what data is requested from the database. See for yourself:

SQL Basics Primer for Non-IT Professionals

You can grasp the idea of this query without any prior knowledge. That's because SQL is a declarative language based on regular English. “Declarative” simply means you tell the database what you want it to do (not how to do it). The key takeaway is that SQL is very intuitive and easy to understand; it has proven to be an efficient way of “talking to a database”. If you want to see more examples of how SQL is used, these 20 Basic SQL Query Examples for Beginners are just for you.

Back to the SQL Primer

The topic of databases seems so exciting that I was almost tempted to give you a lecture about it, but I will leave that job to the SQL Primer. This short resource was designed by IT professors and database gurus to help you quickly understand SQL. Why am I so enthusiastic about this primer? Well, I’ll tell you.

SQL Basics Primer for Non-IT Professionals

I was introduced to the world of relational databases fairly recently. Being a non-IT person, at first it all seemed so complex and overwhelming that I felt lost; I didn’t know where to start. I wish there had been something simple yet effective to help me get started. Something that would have helped me to get a basic understanding of the concept and map out my future steps in the gigantic industry of databases.

Now that I've been around for a little while, I've learned a lot about the data analysis relational model and SQL’s role in it. However, that wasn’t easy. I started learning SQL Basics without quite having a clear understanding of how to use it to its fullest potential, so to speak. I didn’t finish the course and settled for using simple commands in a limited set of software.

Eventually, I had to start from scratch and understand how the industry operates. I was going through the blog, article by article, tutorial by tutorial. I was thinking, couldn't there be material where I could find all the explanations in a simple manner, without a need to study for hours? And, guess what, there is!

How I Found Out About SQL Primer Guide

A year after I started my journey with IT, I found this awesome SQL Primer guide. My first thought was, “Oh gosh, I wish I had learned about this sooner; it would have saved me hours of studying!” I mean, seriously, this guide has everything a newbie might need to get a basic idea of how SQL and relational databases work. The SQL Primer covers the following topics:

This may seem trivial to IT professionals, as understanding these topics seems to come naturally to them. I feel like my IT colleagues have probably covered this even before getting their first jobs. But for me, this was a revelation. Finally, someone managed to explain the very basics of SQL to me.

SQL Basics Primer for Non-IT Professionals

I’ll never forget the feeling of being introduced to the world of SQL and databases with no prior IT experience whatsoever. This is why I am sharing this SQL Primer with you. Yes, there is nothing fancy about it. Nevertheless, it is a good starting point, considering its simplicity and comprehensiveness. That is exactly what someone like me, an IT newbie, would benefit from at the beginning of their journey.

Okay, I’ve Studied the SQL Primer. Now What?

One of the best courses, and the one that I chose myself, is the SQL Basics course. It is cool for several reasons:

  • Even after you learn the basics of how databases function, it may still seem quite challenging to install all the software and organize the SQL-friendly environment for yourself. However, with the SQL Basics course, you don’t need to do any of that. All you need to do is simply open your browser and log in to your com account.
  • The course is highly interactive. You start writing simple queries right from the start. You are learning by doing, which is proven to be one of the best learning approaches.
  • In each exercise, you will have to deal with challenges based on real-world scenarios. By the time you finish the course, you will learn to intuitively apply SQL commands that are the best fit for your purposes.
  • This course actually teaches a lot! Over 129 practical exercises, you will learn to retrieve information from a database, build basic reports, work with JOINs and subqueries, and understand LIKE, AND, OR, IN, BETWEEN, and other operators.

This course is so well-structured that, for some of us, this knowledge would be enough to satisfy our everyday work activities. However, if you need to learn SQL at a professional level, I recommend the SQL from A to Z track. This is a set of courses that teaches everything you need to know about SQL to land a job in data analysis, database administration, data science, database engineering, etc.

SQL Basics Primer for Non-IT Professionals

The track was crafted by the SQL expert Agnieszka Kozubek-Krycuń. If you doubt her expertise, I suggest you visit a few of her computer science lectures at the University of Warsaw.

New Opportunities Await After Learning SQL

Mastering SQL is a strategic choice that can unlock numerous opportunities and help you stand out in the job market. As the demand for experts in data-related areas is growing, those who are already skilled in SQL often have higher salaries than those who aren't.

SQL Basics Primer for Non-IT Professionals

And guess what? Learning SQL is incredibly straightforward! With a bit of effort and dedication, you can quickly grasp its concepts. If you want to improve your learning experience and make it fun and easy, here are some resources for you:

If you, however, are genuinely committed to becoming a specialist, our All Forever SQL Package might be the perfect fit. With this package, you will get lifetime access to all existing and upcoming courses, including monthly challenges and practice sets. Check it out!

Now that you have a clear view of the path that lies ahead, what are you waiting for? Kickstart your SQL education today with and open up to a data-driven future!