Top 10 SQL Books for Beginners and Advanced Learners in 2023 – IQCode

Best Books for Learning SQL

SQL is a powerful language used in managing databases. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, reading SQL books can help you master the language. This article highlights some of the best SQL books available in the market.

Why Learn SQL?
SQL is a valuable skill for data scientists, data analysts, software developers, and database administrators. It is an essential language used in managing vast amounts of data.

What Makes the Best SQL Books?
The best SQL books include clear explanations of SQL concepts, are easy to read, have comprehensive examples, and provide practical exercises for readers to apply what they learn.

SQL Books For Beginners:
1. “Getting Started with SQL” by Thomas Nield
2. “SQL All-in-One For Dummies” by Allen G. Taylor
3. “SQL in 10 Minutes” by Ben Forta
4. “SQL Queries for Mere Mortals” by John L. Viescas

Intermediate SQL books:
5. “SQL Pocket Guide” by Jonathan Gennick
6. “T-SQL Fundamentals” by Itzik Ben-Gan
7. “Murach’s SQL Server 2019 for Developers” by Joel Murach and Bryan Syverson

SQL Books For Experts:
8. “SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Techniques for Database Developers” by Anthony Molinaro
9. “SQL Performance Explained” by Markus Winand
10. “SQL for Smarties: Advanced SQL Programming” by Joe Celko

Learning SQL is essential for managing data. Reading the best SQL books can help you master the language.

Q.1: How long does it take to learn SQL?
A: It depends on your dedication and the complexity of the topics covered. However, with consistent practice, you can learn SQL in a few weeks.

Q.2: Is SQL enough to get a job?
A: Yes, SQL is a valuable skill that can help you land job positions such as data analyst, software developer, and database administrator.

Q.3: Should I learn Python or SQL first?
A: It depends on your career path. If you want to work with data, learn SQL first. If you’re interested in machine learning or web development, start with Python.

Q.4: What is the salary of a SQL developer?
A: According to Payscale, the average annual salary of a SQL developer is $76,013.

Additional Resources:
– SQLZoo
– W3Schools SQL
– LearnSQL

Exploring SQL: The Powerful Query Language

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is still the most widely used query language for database communication, despite being around for quite some time. Its benefits include modifying database tables and indexes, adding, modifying, and deleting rows, and retrieving subsets of data for transaction processing and analytics applications.

Originally designed by IBM in the 1970s, SQL’s ability to run queries that retrieve, insert, update, and delete was groundbreaking and has influenced future technologies such as RESTful APIs and CRUD. This article will highlight some great SQL books to help you quickly learn more about SQL and become an indispensable programmer or data analyst.

Reasons to Learn SQL

There are several reasons why learning SQL is beneficial:

  • DATA ANALYSIS: SQL is used by data analysts to find trends, draw conclusions, and report insights about data.
  • JOB OPPORTUNITIES: The job market for consultants and data analysts is growing as more data is accumulated and managed.
  • PRACTICAL USE: Learning SQL can help professionals effectively gather and store data, allowing them to make important decisions.
  • CAREER ADVANCEMENT: SQL is a timeless skill that can be used throughout a career, making those who master it valuable to any company.

What Makes a Great SQL Book?

When looking for the best SQL books, it’s important to consider some criteria for evaluating them. Many books found online simply rehash information that can easily be found on the internet. Here are some things to look for:

  • A clear, logical progression of topics
  • Easy-to-understand language and explanations
  • Practice exercises and problems to reinforce learning
  • Engaging writing style
  • Reader-friendly formatting for self-study
  • Bonus points for a fun, conversational tone


SQL is a query language used to work with databases. If you want to start your career with SQL, there are many books available to help. Beginner-level SQL books offer examples of databases that work well with SQL, such as MySQL, Oracle, and MongoDB. More advanced books can help you master SQL and avoid common errors. With practice, you can learn to make the most of SQL queries. Depending on your experience, there are beginner and advanced options to choose from.

Recommended Books for Beginners to Learn SQL

1. Getting Started with SQL
– Author: Thomas Nield
– Edition: 1st
– This book is suitable for those who are new to SQL.
– Provides practical examples without assuming prior knowledge.
– Demonstrates how to create a practice environment using SQLite.

2. SQL All-in-One For Dummies
– Author: Allen G. Taylor
– Edition: 2nd
– Covers various topics such as XML, data security, query optimization, etc.
– Requires some technical knowledge but not necessarily in database administration.

3. SQL in 10 Minutes
– Author: Ben Forta
– Edition: 4th
– Suitable for programmers, business analysts, and anyone who needs a quick introduction to SQL.
– Covers essential topics in 22 lessons and provides full-color code examples.

4. SQL Queries for Mere Mortals
– Author: John Viescas
– Edition: 4th
– Focuses on constructing complex queries with ease.
– Updated with the latest topics and provides sample databases for various platforms.

Recommended Intermediate SQL Books

1. SQL Pocket Guide
Author: Jonathan Gennick
Edition: 3rd edition

2. T-SQL Fundamentals
Author: Itzik Ben-Gan
Edition: 3rd edition

3. Murach’s SQL Server 2019 for Developers
Author: Joel Murach

Are you an entry-level programmer or an experienced database administrator? Looking for a quick reference guide to SQL? Then ‘SQL Pocket Guide’ by Jonathan Gennick is the perfect book for you. You’ll find information on a myriad of database servers, as well as implementation differences between platforms. The T-SQL Fundamentals book by Itzik Ben-Gan is not only for beginners, but also covers optional topics with practical examples. Murach’s SQL Server 2019 for Developers by Joel Murach is for programmers looking to improve their Microsoft SQL Server skills or novices aiming to get better at SQL coding. Learn everything from designing tables and implementing data integrity to utilizing refined query techniques and working with database features.

Expert-Level SQL Books

1. SQL Cookbook: Query Solutions and Techniques for Database Developers
By Anthony Molinaro, 1st Edition
This book is perfect for experienced developers who want to take their SQL skills to the next level. The author covers advanced SQL concepts such as window functions, database-specific features, and PostgreSQL’s GENERATE_SERIES function. With SQL Cookbook, you’ll learn how to parse strings and utilize SQL to promote inter-row calculations.

2. SQL Performance Explained
By Markus Winand
This book is highly recommended for developers and data scientists who want to learn more about how databases run SQL queries, query engines, and indexes. Markus Winand covers these essential topics in great detail and describes notions and code in all major databases, including PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server.

3. SQL for Smarties: Advanced SQL Programming
By Joe Celko, 5th Edition
This book presents tips, strategies, and guidance for creating useful, sometimes complicated, SQL statements with the help of ANSI standard SQL. It covers topics ranging from database design and normalization to data scaling optimization and set operations. With SQL for Smarties, you’ll learn about ISO-11179 rules, common query patterns, SQL programming principles, and design flaws in DDL.

Top SQL Books for Learning and Improving Your Skills

If you are interested in improving your SQL skills, here are some great book recommendations. SQL can be challenging at first, but with the right resources, you can quickly learn and excel in this language. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced programmer, these books can help you take your skills to the next level. Having a strong understanding of SQL is crucial for anyone working with databases.

How Long Does It Take to Learn SQL?

It takes approximately 10-15 days to have a good grasp of the basics of SQL and around 1.5-2 months to become proficient in SQL.

// It is important to note that the time to learn SQL can vary depending on a variety of factors such as prior knowledge and experience with databases and programming languages.

Is SQL Sufficient to Land a Job?

Yes, it is. Learning SQL is crucial if you are looking for your initial job in the data field. SQL is the most important skill required for a data analyst job.

Which Should You Learn First: Python or SQL?

If you’re looking to start a career in data management, start by learning SQL. SQL is a vital tool for retrieving data from relational databases.

Salary Range for SQL Developers

A beginner-level SQL developer can expect an annual salary of approximately $3,900. With more experience, the salary can exceed $8,000 per year.

// Example code for SQL developer salary calculation:

int experienceYears = 3;
double salaryPerYear = 5200.50;
double totalSalary = experienceYears * salaryPerYear;
System.out.println("Total salary for " + experienceYears + " years of experience is $" + totalSalary);

Note: Salary may vary depending on the location, industry, and company size.


Find useful resources below to practice and master SQL:


  • SQL Interview Questions

  • SQL Joins Interview Questions

  • SQL Server Interview Questions

  • SQL Queries Interview Questions

  • SQL Projects

  • SQL IDEs

  • Difference between SQL and PLSQL

  • Difference between SQL and NoSQL

  • SQL Commands

  • SQL Cheat Sheet

  • Features of SQL

  • Characteristics of SQL

  • SQL Server Architecture

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