Working with a greenfield project means you are starting from scratch. It is common to be a part of a team that has to make the choice of what type of database to use.
If having access to available data when a transaction has been completed is important, you are likely using a structured query language (SQL) database.
SQL Server is one of the more common SQL databases that could be used to store relational data. This article takes a look at what SQL Server is, what it’s used for, and how to learn using it. In addition, there are listings of courses and resources you can use to obtain a better understanding of SQL Server.
What is SQL Server?
SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) created by Microsoft in 1989. It uses SQL under the hood to build schemas, tables based on those schemas, and uses queries to perform actions on those schemas when called. It stores relational data using the tables that are created when the schema was created.
It was designed in part to compete with Oracle and MySQL.
What is SQL Server Used for?
The database is a vital component for any full-stack application. Data, without database service, cannot be safely stored to make data persist when a user leaves a page and returns to it later.
SQL Server database is used to store data in tables with typed columns. With this particular database, it is necessary to let the database know what type of information that the table should consist of — its type.
This allows data to persist when a page refreshes or see that a user is authorized to look at a particular page.
Learning SQL Server
It’s important to learn any relational database structure if you want to become a backend developer, machine learning professional, or a database administrator.
Relational databases can be confusing because there are many types. Also, the types are built over SQL, but they all have their own version of SQL.
SQL Server uses the Transact-SQL, Microsoft’s flavor of SQL, to structure their queries.
How Long Does It Take to Learn SQL Server?
You have an advantage here if you already know SQL — it’s just a matter of thinking about the language in Microsoft’s unique way, which is not too different from what you might already know. If you don’t know how to write SQL queries, expect to take longer to learn how to SQL Server.
All in all, your experience may vary depending on the time and consistency in your practice.
How to Learn SQL Server: Step-by-Step
- Learn Basic Database Fundamentals. Understand what table, schema, row, column, primary/foreign keys, database normalization is.
- Install the latest Microsoft SQL Server version on your machine. Choose the version that pertains to you — for most this will probably be the free edition (Note: There are different versions).
- Transact-SQL Basics. Know how to write basic select, insert, update and delete queries.
- Transact-SQL Advanced Queries. Be able to use subqueries, develop procedures, triggers, and functions.
- Connect. Connect your MS SQL Server to an API and frontend application.
The Best SQL Server Courses and Training
Everyone learns a little bit differently. Compiled here are some of the best MS SQL tutorials and training that could be found. Many of them use some of the more popular frameworks that employ this database for their projects. Some have a fee, but there are a few that are free as well. This list is in no particular order.
Online SQL Server Courses
Here are some of the best courses available online that teach Microsoft SQL as part of the course:
- Self-paced video lectures and notes
- Prerequisites: None
- $11.99–$134.99 (Buy when on sale!)
Phillip Burton’s query and administration courses take a comprehensive look at how to construct an SQL Server so you can get one up and running in no time. The first course, Querying Microsoft SQL Server with Transact-SQL, will get you started with a basic understanding of constructing queries using Microsoft’s version of SQL. The second course, SQL Server Database Administration, expands on the first course and will assist you in constructing a database.
- Prerequisites: Windows computer required (to run software)
- $12.99–$44.99 (Buy when on sale!)
Brewster Knowlton teaches a comprehensive course so you can learn how to complete SQL queries using T-SQL language.
Free SQL Server Courses
- Prerequisites: None
A free tutorial using MS SQL. This covers the basics you need to know about it to get started on a backend to your full-stack application.
- Prerequisites: basic understanding of how to use a computer
Philip Gibson walks us through a quick introduction to Microsoft SQL where he will walk through how to install SQL Server, create a table, and create a database.
SQL Server Books
There are several books to assist in your Microsoft SQL adventure as well.
This book on the 2019 version of MS SQL is not necessarily for beginners. It introduces new concepts for the 2019 version and assumes you have previous knowledge of other versions. I list it here to give you the opportunity to download it as an e-book from Microsoft for no cost. All you have to do is give Microsoft your contact information.
This is the ultimate introductory guide on how to get started with MS SQL 2019. There are hands-on examples and exercises all throughout the book. Includes information about the latest machine learning features!
Online SQL Server Resources
This is a list of some of the decent resources that are available to you to learn SQL Server or to refer to later as you gain more experience.
Here is a link to the documentation and getting started resources section. Always a great first resource when you learn a new technology.
This resource offers tutorials, quickstarts, and other resources to help you work with SQL Server on Linux Operating Systems.
Why Should You Study SQL Server?
Studying SQL Server will benefit you if you plan to become a Windows developer or want to work for a company that uses this SQL Server as a part of its solution stack. Some of the companies that use SQL Server include:
- Stack Overflow
What you study of course is completely dependent on your needs. Take a look at the job openings in your area to see if it would be worth learning to make you more competitive in the job market when it comes to looking for jobs.
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