The Best SQL Certifications & Programs to Grow Your Coding Skills (2023)

Coding for Beginners
Written by:
Courtney Grace
Published on:
August 10, 2023

Explore the top SQL certifications and programs available right now. This guide will help you choose the best one to enhance your database management skills.

Anyone who works with – or wants to work with – large data sets needs to know how to manage that data, including how to sort it, analyze it, and create effective queries to quickly find the information they need. And it’s not just database administrators who need to know these things. Across industries, more and more employers are looking for applicants who understand at least basic SQL. But what is SQL? What sorts of SQL certifications are out there – and how can you use them to advance your career?

We’ll cover the basics of learning SQL, including what it is, how it works, who it’s for, how to get SQL certified, and the best SQL certification programs you can start taking online today.

What is SQL?

SQL, or Structured Query Language, deals with relational databases that hold a lot of data. SQL allows the user to add, delete, modify, and update records within that database. SQL is used across fields that have to manage large amounts of data, including e-commerce and healthcare.

Why is SQL an Important Skill?

SQL is one of the most commonly used database languages across industries today. The sheer volume of data handled by many companies requires knowledge of SQL for tasks such as filtering and sorting, complex queries and algorithms, and making sense of data.

An SQL programming certification can open many doors for you when seeking a career across a wide range of fields.

Who Can Benefit the Most from an SQL Certification?

SQL transcends job titles. Like other programming languages such as HTML, SQL  isn’t just for developers and coders anymore. Anyone who works with large amounts of data can benefit from an SQL certification.


For some apps or websites, large amounts of data need to be stored in databases – think user profiles, financial information, or documents – and traditional programming languages like Ruby or Python aren’t designed to manage those databases. This is why many programmers learn SQL in addition to coding languages that help them build apps or websites.

Data Analysts

SQL is used by data analysts for data manipulation and analysis. Because it’s so accessible and intuitive, SQL helps analyze complex levels of data quickly. SQL certification for data analysts also helps them integrate data management into frameworks such as Python for additional functionality and communication abilities.

Business Analysts

SQL certification for business analysts – or those who work in statistics, finance, or banking – is important for ensuring that data is legitimate. These professionals need to understand data at the atomic level so they can draw conclusions and create reports around that data. When this information exists within a relational database, they can develop an improved understanding of data flows and communicate those findings with database administrators, or become less reliant on those administrators to access the data themselves.


Marketers regularly use Excel or other spreadsheet programs to house and track data. Everything from email marketing campaigns to paid social activations to organic content efforts gives marketers data. Today’s marketing is data-driven to understand who the target customers are and how to reach them most effectively. Knowing how (and where) all of that data is organized and how to sort through it effectively can help marketers optimize their efforts.


Database administrators manage enormous amounts of information so that analysts across fields can make strategic business or tech decisions.

Database administrators are usually trained in IT. However, learning SQL is an integral part of being an administrator because of the sheer amount of information they typically manage.


Graphic designers, user experience (UX) designers, and other types of creative professionals can benefit from SQL database certification to help breathe life into the pieces they’re designing.

Along with languages such as Python, Java, and C++, UX designers need to know SQL to get hired for top jobs.

Software Testers

SQL certification for testers is important because they need a deep understanding of how databases work, as well as how to write effective queries to retrieve data. Among other things, data testers test applications that interact with databases to make sure data is accurate and efficient so it can be easily retrieved and updated.

Journalists & Copywriters

Good journalists do enormous amounts of research before writing their stories — and sometimes they do their own distribution as well. That’s a lot of data to sift through, and it’s important to keep all of that in check. They need to keep track of sources, dates, times, locations, story ideas, deadlines, and more.

A number of journalistic organizations around the world are leaning toward SQL to maintain or access large, organized databases. MIT recommends SQL as an important skill for journalists to learn.

Finance Professionals

SQL certification for finance professionals is increasingly important because financial data is stored in databases. Knowing SQL can help finance professionals retrieve and manipulate the data they need. SQL also helps them effectively analyze large amounts of data to generate important insights.

Learn More: Coding in Finance: How to Learn & 5 Great Finance Coding Jobs

The Best SQL Certifications

If you want to learn SQL – which we here at App Academy highly recommend – there are a few points to consider when selecting a program:

  • Cost
  • Course length
  • Learning method (self-taught vs. virtual classes)
  • Your career goals
  • Level

We’ve collected a list of what we consider to be among the best SQL learning programs out there right now. They range from beginner to advanced, so there’s bound to be something for you!

6. SQL for Data Analysis: Weekender Crash Course for Beginners

This class by UDemy focuses on SQL for people who work in data analysis, including marketers and business analysts. Students earn a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

  • Course Length: 3 ¼ hours
  • Learning Method: Self-guided
  • Focus: MySQL
  • Level: Beginner

5. Learn SQL

Learn SQL offers dozens of SQL certifications that you can choose based on your pre-existing level of SQL knowledge and target skills. Their two most popular courses are SQL from A to Z (level: basic; length: 84 hours) and SQL Basics (level: basic; length: 10 hours).

  • Course Length: 10 to 84 hours
  • Learning Method: Self-guided
  • Focus: Standard SQL syntax; SQL for SQL Server; PostgreSQL; MySQL
  • Level: Beginner to advanced

4. The Complete SQL Bootcamp: Go From Zero to Hero

This course is meant to be a general overview of SQL for absolute beginners. Students earn a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

  • Course Length: 9 hours
  • Learning Method: Self-guided
  • Focus: SQL; PostGreSQL with Python
  • Level: Beginner

3. Oracle’s Database PL/SQL Language Reference

Oracle’s database is absolutely massive, so you have to know what you’re looking for. However, with the option to instantly download resources like readings, tutorials, and videos, you can hang on to them and study at your pace.

  • Course Length: N/A
  • Learning Method: Self-guided references with downloadable PDF or HTML files
  • Focus: SQL for Oracle
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced

2. Managing Big Data with MySQL

This SQL certification is from Duke University through Coursera. The course is part 4 of 5 of their longer “Excel to MySQL: Analytic Techniques for Business Specialization” track.

  • Course Length: 32 hours
  • Learning Method: Self-guided
  • Focus: SQL; MySQL; Teradata
  • Level: Beginner

1. App Academy Open

Quite frankly, we think our App Academy Open program is the best way to learn SQL. You get access to our entire curriculum for free! The program is arranged into modules so you can focus on what you want to learn and track your progress. While App Academy Open doesn’t offer a certification, it does give you access to all the skills you’ll need to put SQL to work in the real world.

  • Course Length: Completion of the entire curriculum typically takes about 12 months at a pace of 10 hours per week
  • Learning Method: Self-guided course with interactive curriculum; live chat with other students via Discord
  • Focus: SQL; SQLAlchemy
  • Level: Beginner to intermediate

Start Developing Your SQL Skills with App Academy

When you’re ready to take your career to the next level — or launch your new career in data science — App Academy has the program you’re looking for. App Academy gives you real-world training in coding languages, including SQL. Take our online quiz to learn which program is right for you, sign up for a live online info session to learn more, schedule a 1:1 call with one of our team experts, or submit a request with our convenient online form.

And, if you’re ready to dig in deeper, start exploring our programs to see which one might be a good fit for you!




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