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Learn Databases: Best Courses, Certifications, and Resources

Sunayana Samantaray - February 22, 2021

If you have ever used iCloud or Google Drive, then you know something about databases. In the digital age, data has emerged as one of the most valuable commodities for personal and professional use. The world of big data has opened up a number of job opportunities in the IT sector. So, are you ready to learn databases?

If you’re interested in a career in information technology or computer science , you can learn databases to compete for top jobs in tech . To help you learn the ropes, we bring you this all-inclusive guide. Let’s dig in.

What Are Databases?

Databases are essentially storage containers used to store, access, and edit information. They are a fundamental part of modern organizations of all sizes. Knowing your way around them can lead to a career as a data scientist, analyst, developer, designer, manager, project manager, or administrator .

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You will be expected to master whatever set of data science skills is required for specific data roles. If any of these IT fields interest you, then use the resources in this article to learn databases.

What Are Databases Used For?

Databases are primarily used to efficiently store data and information in large numbers. You can also use them to access data, edit unstructured data, and delete old or new information.

Individuals and companies in almost every industry use databases. Businesses use them to store their prized data and to ensure information security. Police departments use them to identify criminals through fingerprint, biometric, and image data. Schools use them to keep track of their student performances and information.

Types of Databases

In binary terms, there are physical data warehouses and digital databases like the cloud. But to fully understand database management systems (DBMS) and their use, you will need a more detailed breakdown. Below are four types of databases.


These object-oriented databases store the data in one central place. Users from different locations can access the data using a number of different operating systems.


Commercial databases are bought by companies to manage large amounts of data. They usually contain subject-specific data that users can access through commercial links.


Cloud database storage is one of the most widely-used and accessible DBMS in today’s day and age. You can store your data using either a private or public cloud. You essentially pay for the storage capacity, access to data, and bandwidth.


These are a kind of customized and hierarchical database. They organize data in a manner similar to the rows and columns of an Excel spreadsheet. This method makes it easy to perform data management queries across multiple tables.

Learning Databases

What you will learn depends on which type of database you plan on working with. Learning relational databases, for example, requires SQL skills for performing essential database management tasks. You will also need to know the differences between the differences between MySQL and SQL Server , two DMBS for managing relational databases.

In general, learning databases will open many doors for you and many paths to specialization. It’s just a matter of finding the courses you need and preparing for and passing certification exams using online resources.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Databases?

The time it takes to learn databases depends on your interest and background knowledge. If you want to become a database engineer, for example, you will need to have engineering , developer, and design skills.

The most crucial skill is knowledge of a programming language. Depending on your commitment and previous experience, it will take between a couple of months and a year to learn a new language.

How to Learn Databases: Step-by-Step

  1. Research areas of interest. The first step is to find out what interests you about the subject of databases. Think also about which types of industry jobs you are well-suited for.
  2. Learn SQL. Most career trajectories in big data require knowledge of SQL, so aim to master the fundamentals early on. It is of utmost importance that you know SQL inside and out. If you plan on working with NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB, you will need to learn a different set of skills.
  3. Enroll in courses. Enroll in database courses. You can take courses on things like network databases and application programming. Choose the courses that best suit your interests.
  4. Practice. There is no better way to really grasp databases fundamentals than by engaging in actual work. You can practice what you learned using open-source and free software. Choose a project that interests you and get started. If you’re looking for exciting project ideas, check out this site .
  5. Take certification exams. Enroll in certification programs and ace the test.
  6. Apply for jobs. Build your resume with the certifications and skills you have acquired, and start looking for the job of your dreams.

The Best Databases Courses and Training

Person using macbook pro with a coffee mug and pens next to it.
You can work as a data analyst if you master databases.

Databases have become an integral part of business success. This subject is not easy to learn, so it is vital to commit yourself to learning databases. Below are the best courses, books, resources, and certifications you can get to learn this subject.

Best Online Databases Courses

Online courses are a great way to learn the skills required to succeed in tech . There are hundreds of online courses available for learning databases. Below are our top picks.

Data Ethics: Managing Your Private Customer Data

  • Provider: LinkedIn Learning
  • Prerequisites : None
  • Cost : $29.99/month or $299.88/year (one-month free trial available)
  • Time: 1 hour 6 minutes

A key aspect of using customer data is ensuring privacy. Data privacy is a field that has quickly become one of the most in-demand skills in almost every industry. Learning how to manage data privacy is an extremely lucrative skill, and we recommend it for everyone interested in databases.

In this LinkedIn course, you will master the fundamentals of data ethics. You will learn the major privacy challenges, the differences between private and public data, and individual and group privacy.

This course will prepare you to make informed and ethical decisions surrounding using, selling, and sharing data. We highly recommend taking this course to learn the value of customer privacy. Your duties towards the customers and how to pursue your business goals while adhering to high ethical standards are also topics covered here.

Introduction to Databases

  • Provider: NYU (edX)
  • Prerequisites : None
  • Cost : $448.20
  • Time: 4 months, 6-8 hours/week self-paced

For those wanting to do a MicroBachelors Program in Databases, New York University offers this amazing program through edX. This course will teach you everything you need to know about relational databases and relational database management systems.

This course specifically focuses on SQL. It will teach you how to use the open-source relational database MySQL. You will learn how to apply queries in SQL and apply concepts of entity integrity constraint and referential integrity constraint. Likewise, you will create, edit, and delete data in an SQL database.

This course will also teach you how to sketch conceptual data models and apply storage procedures using a commercial relational DBMS. This is a great course for anyone who wants a professional certification and college credit at the same time.

The Ultimate MySQL Bootcamp: Go from SQL Beginner to Expert

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Prerequisites : None
  • Cost : $15.99 (subject to change)
  • Time: 20 hours on-demand

Through hands-on projects, this SQL Bootcamp will teach you how to create and interact with databases using MySQL. Previous programming experience will help, but is not required. To succeed in this course all you need is a computer and the willingness to learn.

You will learn how to write complex SQL queries and build web applications using NodeJS and MySQL. You will also learn how to model real-world data and answer company performance questions. This is a great bootcamp for mastering SQL, which is the standard language for managing databases.

Best Free Databases Courses

If you can’t or don’t want to pay for courses, we’ve got you covered. Just because these courses are free doesn’t mean they’re inferior. There are plenty to choose from, but you can start with these three.

Databases: Relational Databases and SQL

  • Provider: Stanford Online (edX)
  • Time : 2 weeks, 8-10 hours/week self-paced
  • Prerequisites : Basic understanding of computer science concepts
  • Price: FREE

The first in a five-part series, this database course is organized by Stanford University. It covers everything you need to know about relational databases and SQL. Although there are no prerequisites, a basic background in computer science is expected. You can take all five courses for free, with the option to pay for a certificate of completion.

This course, offered by one of the most prestigious universities in the world, covers both introductory and advanced concepts. You will learn how to create indexes for increasing query performance. You will also explore database triggers, modeling and theory, and the XML model for semistructured and self-describing data.

Learn SQL Basics For Data Science Specialization

  • Provider: UC Davis (Coursera)
  • Time : 4 months, 5 hours/week self-paced
  • Prerequisites : None
  • Price: FREE

The University of California, Davis provides this course to teach you SQL basics. It includes how to use SQL commands and how to assess and create datasets. You will also learn how to use the collaborative data bricks workspace, create an end-to-end pipeline, and perform statistical analysis. In addition, you will develop a project proposal, present your findings, and make recommendations.

This course is especially great for those who want to implement SQL in a data science context. By the end of the course, you will be able to do query strings, data analytics, and predictive analytics. Additionally, you will gain fluency in SQLite and Apache Spark. All these skills are essential for using databases to enhance business performance.

Introduction to Database Queries

  • Provider: NYU (edX)
  • Time : 5 Weeks, 6-8 hours/week self-paced
  • Prerequisites : None
  • Price: FREE

The University of New York also offers a free edX course on databases. In this course, you will learn the basics of relational DBMS and how to issue queries to retrieve and change data.

This is a beginners course for those wanting to learn more about how to query data with SQL. It is part of the university’s Databases MicroBachelors Program, and you can pay $166 for a certificate of completion.

Best Databases Books

You can also learn about databases in books. There are plenty of books on this topic that will provide the theoretical knowledge you need to develop IT skills . Below are our top picks.

An Introduction to Database Systems , C.J. Date

An Introduction to Database Systems by C.J.Date

Date’s textbook provides an introduction to the database systems used in today’s industries. This is a great book to stay updated about current trends in database systems. You will learn how to manage databases efficiently and see what’s on the horizon. This text can be an invaluable resource as you start applying what you learn towards real project work.

SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation in SQL , John L. Viescas and Michael J. Hernandez

SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation in SQL by John L. Viescas and Michael J. Hernandez

Viescas and Hernandez provide a step-by-step guide to SQL queries. You will learn how to solve SQL problems, write the queries, and perform logical evaluation. This book has a high rating and is praised for its clear and concise explanations. Overall, it is a fantastic guide to learning databases through an SQL lens. Once you’re finished with this text, you’ll be ready to tackle your next database-related project.

Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems , Martin Kleppman

Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems by Martin Kelppmann

You need to be aware of changing database technology, their pros and cons, and how to maintain them. This is what Kleppmann’s book offers, providing a comprehensive guide to the current state of databases and their features, from PostgreSQL to MongoDB. You will learn how to better use the tech that already exists, including aspects like scalability, consistency, and fault tolerance.

MongoDB: The Definitive Guide: Powerful and Scalable Data Storage , Shannon Bradshaw, Eoin Brazil, and Kristina Chodorow

MongoDB: The Definitive Guide: Powerful and Scalable Data Storage by Shannon Bradshaw, Eoin Brazil, and Kristina Chodorow

MongoDB is a document-based, distributed database that stores data in JSON-like documents. Considered a NoSQL database program, it is designed for modern application development. This text provides guidance on how to work with MongoDB, perform write operations, create complex queries, index collections, aggregate data, and much more. It is a superb aid for database developers and system administrators.

Databases Certifications

If there’s one thing that can prove your skills, it’s certifications. Getting certified in databases is an absolute must. The certification you get will depend on your preferred job roles. Below are the best database certifications.

Microsoft SQL Server Database Administrator Certifications

Microsoft certifications are the industry standard for many roles in IT. They offer four certifications for anyone who wants to become a database administrator . The exams will test you on the different tasks that can be performed on the Microsoft SQL server, including querying, administering, and implementing.

Microsoft SQL Server Database Engineer Certifications

Microsoft also offers four SQL server database engineer certifications. You should choose the one that best matches your skills and level of interest. For some of them, you may want to learn SQL or try a database design bootcamp before you enroll.

The certification exam will test you on designing database solutions, designing business intelligence solutions, and implementing data models.

Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5.7 Database Administrator

Oracle University offers some of the best IT certification programs. They offer admin certifications for different skill levels, with more experience and knowledge required the higher you go. They test you on your overall MySQL database admin skills, including your ability to install, optimize, and monitor MySQL servers efficiently.

Keep in mind that Oracle also offers database developer certifications , if that’s more your speed.

Best Online Databases Resources

There are plenty of places online with software solutions to continue learning about databases. We give you a taste of these resources below.


Airtable free and open-sourced database software

Airtable is a cloud-based database software that provides pre-built database templates. You can refer to these templates while managing, storing, and tracking databases for your projects. The free plan comes with unlimited databases, 2 GB of file attachments per database, and two weeks of history. If you like the product, you can upgrade to Plus for $10/month or Pro for $20/month.


PostgreSQL is an open-source relational database system that offers features like user configuration settings, data importing and exporting, data indexing, and version control. You can use PostgreSQL with Python and JSON . One of the best things about the software is its large support community. PostgreSQL is preferred by many due to its focus on extensibility and SQL compliance.

Should You Learn Databases?

In today’s age, the business, education, and even non-profit world would come to a halt without data. The existence of databases has enabled automated and accurate predictions for almost every business. So the better question is: Why are you not learning databases already?

If you are tech-savvy, or if the collaboration of data, science, and business intrigues you, then waste no time to start learning databases. Skilled and knowledgeable database professionals are in high demand in virtually every industry. The resources in this article will help you learn the fundamentals and could be your ticket to a career in the industry.

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Sunayana Samantaray

About the author: Sunayana is an experienced content writer. She has written about topics such as career changes, education, tech, sustainability, business, and data science. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Business and Human Resource Management from the University of Oklahoma.

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