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Learn Database Programming: Best Courses, Books, and Resources

Ryan Manchester - October 05, 2022

Databases are essential to programming, which is why you should learn database programming. A database is where all the data related to your application is stored. If you’ve built any kind of app, you’ve interacted with a database.

As a full stack developer, backend developer, or front end developer, you have had to create, update, and delete data through the use of frameworks. Exploring how to learn database programming is useful, regardless of how you build. Read this guide to learn database programming and see how you can harness these skills in your coding process.

What Is Database Programming?

Database programming is the practice of designing and maintaining a database for an application with code. Best practices for database programming include establishing relationships between different datasets and testing for errors and duplicate records. Retrieving instances of data from the database is another key responsibility in database programming.

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Retrieving, also known as querying, specific data from a database is done through the SQL programming language. SQL (pronounced “sequel”) is short for Structured Query Language. This is how data is created, updated, retrieved, and deleted from the database. To learn more about SQL in-depth, refer to this guide to learning SQL .

What Is Database Programming Used For?

Database programming is used to create and maintain an app’s database. This means storing and updating data to avoid duplicate entries of records. In larger programs with multiple tables of data, drawing relationships between these tables is also involved.

All developers interact with a database to some degree. Learning database programming can be effective in organizing your app’s data and keeping the app running efficiently. Once you understand where database programming is used, you can use it to your advantage. Database programming has a number of use cases including the following.

Building a Database From Scratch

Building a database from scratch includes creating all necessary tables and relationships between tables. Doing so ensures the organization of the entire database into smaller pieces. Database programming is used here so that the database has the specifications that suit the app.

Creating New Records Without Duplicating

By using SQL to query the database, we can search for existing instances of data, thus updating it rather than creating a new instance. You can use database application, database design, database theory, and other skills to accomplish this.

An example would be a database for your app’s users. A field for a user may be their address. If that user moves, it will make sense to simply update the entry with the new address rather than creating a new record altogether. This keeps the database organized and reflective of the state of the app.

Retrieving and Deleting Records

We’ve taWe’ve talked about how to appropriately create and update entries with database programming. We can also retrieve specific data points and display them to the user by using SQL. We can also use SQL to delete records in the case of a user deleting an account or no longer offering a certain product.

Why Learn Database Programming

You should learn database programming because it is beneficial to your career development. Database programming is essential to learning full stack or backend development. Front end programmers could also benefit from understanding how the data they are trying to access is stored.

Learning database programming deepens your understanding of the app-building process. Knowing what goes into creating and maintaining a database strengthens your programming skills and builds stable, scalable apps. Once you know how to learn database programming, you can learn new skills and create better apps.

Database Programming Languages

The best database programming languages include SQL, R, and Python. You should learn these languages used in database programming if you want to start a career in this field. Most programmers use them on a regular basis for many different reasons. Read below to see an expanded list of database programming languages.


SQL is at the top of this list of database programming languages because it is so commonly used. Many IT professionals use this language to interact with database management systems and regional databases. Learning SQL terminology is vital if you want to learn this language and excel as a database administrator or programmer.

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Python is another database programming language that most people in IT should know. It has many different uses and can be used in everything from software architecture to statistical computing to relational database management systems. This popular programming language is a must if you want to learn database programming.


PHP is a server scripting language that is mostly used for web development. However, it is also an important database skill because it can help you interact with and manipulate databases. Many online courses teach PHP for database programmers, so make sure it’s on your list of database programming languages.


This popular language is one of the best languages used in database programming. It is a multi-purpose language that is used in everything from database administration tasks to game development. C# is most often used along with SQL.


R has become one of the most commonly used database programming languages. It can help you manage and organize data, which is important for database systems. It is used for database application, database design, and other advanced concepts.

How to Learn Database Programming: Step-By-Step

The first thing to do before beginning to program a database is to learn about database conventions. Knowing what a database is, how it can be organized, and its role in storing data helps you. Consider the steps below to see how to learn database programming the right way.

Know What a Database Is and How It’s Used

Having some familiarity with databases and their role in manipulating data is useful when beginning to learn about programming. This database schema guide covers the organization of databases in depth. Some other topics you should try to learn include database design concepts, Amazon Web Services, and database theory.

The best database management bootcamps are a great way to learn these skills in a short time. Other ways to learn about databases include online courses and free resources and websites. You can also start working on real projects to experience databases hands-on.

Be Familiar With SQL

This query language is the standard for querying databases. Knowing how SQL queries a database is essential to debugging backend-related errors in your app. Most database courses will teach SQL, but learning on your own is also a great pathway.

Once you learn the basics, you should learn advanced SQL query techniques. Advanced queries will help you code faster and write cleaner lines of code. Hands-on practice will help you learn database programming and use SQL to your advantage.

Build an App With a Database

The best way to learn database programming is to dive into projects. Building an app is a full stack approach to creating a database and using the framework’s conventions to query the database. Knowing and being able to read SQL is a big help in debugging apps.

You should create a daily coding practice for yourself by building a bit off your app every day. This will bring your beginner knowledge to advanced-level knowledge. The more you practice, the faster you will grasp how to learn database programming. You can also use your practice app as part of your portfolio.

Learn Your Frameworks Query Methods

After familiarizing yourself with SQL, learn the methods included in a framework like Ruby on Rails. These methods provide quick and efficient ways to query the database from your backend. Everyone from business analysts to database administration experts should know these skills.

Your understanding of computing needs to be quite high before you dive into frameworks query methods, so make sure you learn database programming and its basics first. Make sure you have SQL skills and know database fundamentals.

The Best Data Programming Courses and Training

Database programming is a broad topic, but we’ve identified the essential database programming courses and resources for you. There is some overlap in what to start learning first, so make sure you choose the right database programming training. Below is a list of courses and database programming tutorials to help you start your learning journey.

Online Database Programming Courses

The best online database programming courses will help you learn everything you need to know about relational databases, database programming languages, and even critical thinking. Read below to learn more about online database programming courses and decide which ones you should take.

The Complete SQL Bootcamp 2022: Go from Zero to Hero

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Cost: $84.99
  • Audience: Beginner

As the title of the course suggests, no previous experience with SQL is required for this online database programming course. Here, you’ll learn how to use SQL to query a database managed by the open source framework PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is a popular database management tool meant for scalable production. Learning SQL with PostgreSQL can open more possibilities in a career search.

Design Databases With PostgreSQL

  • Provider: Codecademy
  • Cost: Plans from $39.99 per month
  • Audience: Beginner

PostgreSQL has become the industry standard for database management. Hosting sites such as Heroku require a higher-level database, so learning PostgreSQL and SQL makes sense. You’ll have created a production-level relational database by the end of this course. This is one of the best online database programming courses for database design.

Introduction to Software, Programming, and Databases

  • Provider: Coursera and IBM
  • Cost: $39.99 per month
  • Audience: Beginner

This beginner course is a great choice for complete code newbies. You will learn the basics of database development along with software engineering fundamentals. It only takes 10 hours to complete, so it is a good place to start if you want to take online database programming courses.

Free Database Programming Courses

Along with paid options, there are fantastic free database programming courses out there. These can help you learn everything from the basics of coding to advanced SQL techniques. Read below to learn about the best database programming courses online free.

Databases and SQL for Data Science

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Audience: Beginner

Powered by IBM, this beginner course teaches the basics of databases and SQL. It is intended as an introductory course and is part of a few other data science courses offered by IBM, one of which is also listed above. Learn how to design and query databases using SQL and Python.

Learn Python 3 From Scratch | Python for Absolute Beginners

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Audience: Beginner

In this free video course from Udemy, you will learn Python 3 and all the skills you need to move on to more difficult courses. You will learn how to write basic code and apply it to databases. This is one of the best free database programming courses if you want to learn Python.

Full Stack Ruby on Rails

  • Provider: The Odin Project
  • Audience: Beginner

If you want to code with Ruby on Rails, this free course is a great place to start. You’ll learn the basics of coding with Ruby and JavaScript, and you’ll also complete three lessons on databases. The Odin Project is known for its accessible database programming courses online free.

Database Programming Books

Database programming books can teach you everything you need to know about how to learn database programming. Books aren’t as popular because they cannot be updated as easily as websites and online courses, but they are still a great option. If you like to read ebooks or physical books, check out the list of the best database programming books below.

SQL Database Programming

In this in-depth look at programming a database, author Chris Fehily covers the basics and complex queries. This ebook also covers many database management tools such as Oracle cloud infrastructure, SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. Once you learn the basics, Fehily shares tips to avoid common SQL pitfalls and some time savers.

SQL QuickStart Guide

Praised as one of the best beginner SQL ebooks, this guide is a simplified approach to database management and query. Walter Shields has written this book with the beginner in mind but indicates anyone wanting to deepen their database knowledge will benefit. Anyone can finish a successful project after reading this.

Learn SQL (using MySQL) in One Day and Learn It Well

As the title explains, this ebook will help you get a MySQL database up and running in one day. Written for complete beginners and experienced programmers alike, Jamie Chan takes a hands-on approach to learning about database programming. If you want a database programming book that will help you learn fast, this is a good one to try.

Online Database Programming Resources

The best online database programming resources will help you learn database programming from anywhere in the world. They include free websites, tutorials, and online communities. Take a look at the list of resources below to see how to learn database programming online.

Database Programming

Here, tutorial provider Tutlane offers a collection of options to learn database management tools. Choose from SQL Server, MySQL, or MongoDB, to name a few popular ones. These tutorials allow you to choose the framework that fits your programming needs once you have the SQL basics mastered.

SQL Tutorial

W3schools has put together this tutorial to cover using SQL with a variety of databases. These include Oracle, SQL Server, and PostgreSQL. This tutorial is complete with interactive questions so you can practice along the way.

SQL and Databases

Learn database management basics and SQL with freeCodeCamp. You’ll have created a database and performed basic queries using the MySQL database in four hours. This course was created with the beginner in mind and even covers how to install MySQL for both Mac and Windows.

Should You Learn Database Programming?

Yes, you should learn database programming, especially if you want to work on large projects. You can learn these topics through online degrees, computer science bootcamps, and free online resources. Once you know ​​how to learn database programming, you can get a job in the industry and work for top tech companies.

Database programming is an inevitable reality in modern web applications. Every programmer would walk away a stronger developer with deeper database knowledge. With so many database management tools available, you’ll be able to find one that compliments your programming style.

Learn Database Programming FAQ

When should I learn database programming?

You should learn database programming when you want to get a job that requires those skills. If you want to know when you should learn database programming, assess your current skills and goals. You can learn database programming whenever you want, but it depends on your needs.

Why should I learn SQL and database programming?

You should learn SQL and database programming because they are vital skills if you want to work with data. Advanced SQL queries will help you tackle complicated database issues and get a job in tech. If you’re wondering why you should learn SQL and database programming, ask peers which skills they use on a daily basis.

Is database programming hard?

No, database programming is not hard, unless you are completely new to coding. Anyone with basic programming and data science skills will be able to tackle these skills. Once you learn SQL database programming, you will find that it isn’t that hard.

How long does it take to learn database programming?

It can take a couple of days to learn database programming, but it depends on your prior knowledge and experience. If you want to go deeper and become a master at database programming, it could take weeks. Database programming is multi-faceted, but most developers find mastering the basics deeply enhances their programming.

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Ryan Manchester

About the author: Ryan is a technical writer at Career Karma, where he covers programming languages, technology, and web development. The Texas native earned his Bachelor's of Music Composition from the University of North Texas. Ryan is currently pursuing further education in web development, aiming to graduate from Flatiron School with a certification in full stack web development. Since joining the Career Karma team in November 2020, Ryan has used his expertise to cover topics like React and Ruby on Rails.

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