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SQL where to start?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by msk, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. msk

    msk New Member


    I'm wanting to get into SQL I have never touched it before and I know nothing about it. Where would be the best place to start? Is starting with something like MS SQL 2008(MCTS Certification) Exam 70- 432 - Microsoft SQL Server 2008 - Implementation and Maintenance a good start?

    All I'm really looking for is where does one start with SQL to get a foot in?

  2. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Heading straight into a SQL cert with no practical experience is going to do your nut in.

    At the very least, you need to get your hands on a SQL box.
    I seem to remember when I first started out there were some websites where you could type in SQL commands to see what happened, so that might be a start - but it doesn't give you a heads up on all the management tools.
    MS used to do an action pack for registered partners for about £200 which had a copy of SQL Server in it, and now I get mine from TechNet. There used to be a trial version of SQL 2000 that you could play around with for a few days.

    Sorry, I'm sounding a bit vague here aren't I?

    Personally I'd try and learn the language first and get a grip on using it. That's something you can do at home, providing as I say you've got something to try it out on.

    The problem with the certs is (or used to be), they also cover lots of management tasks like backups, synchronization, replication and all kinds of other tasks that you are never going to come across unless you work in an environment where it is actually deployed (and you're allowed to get your hands on it).

    So, look for a decent book on SQL and get hold of a box to practice on.
    I'm afraid I'm about six years out of date...
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  3. Safe

    Safe Bit Poster

    Certifications: BSc, A+, ECDL, PRINCE2, ITIL
    WIP: MTA
  4. Safe

    Safe Bit Poster

    The intro section will be of much use for you.

    Also as Jonny said, you can actually try out bits of code, this site allows you to try a few things out.
    Certifications: BSc, A+, ECDL, PRINCE2, ITIL
    WIP: MTA
  5. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

    I know for SQL that you can buy a retail developers edition that is the same as enterprise edition with the exception it's got only one licence/connection limit. I bought one but never used it.
    Certifications: A+ | Network+ | Security+ | MCP | MCDST | MCTS: Hyper-V | MCTS: AD | MCTS: Exchange 2007 | MCTS: Windows 7 | MCSA: 2003 | ITIL Foundation v3 | CCA: Xenapp 5.0 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Administrator on Windows 7 | MCITP: Enterprise Desktop Support Technician on Windows 7
    WIP: Online SAN Overview, VCP in December 2011
  6. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
  7. welshwaynejack

    welshwaynejack Bit Poster

    I did quite a bit of SQL during my undergrad degree. I found the most fully comprehensive book on the subject being SQL in a Nutshell which basically everything or nearly everything and can be found on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/SQL-Nutshell-OReilly-Kevin-Kline/dp/0596518846/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297371476&sr=8-1 .

    If you have Access you can play around with some basic SQL commands but if you want to really have a crack then Oracle or SQL server are good shoats...I personal like SQL but it can be a bugger to get your head round if your looking at the more advanced commands...
    Certifications: Bsc Computer and Information Systems
    WIP: Msc Computer Forensics
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Summary :-

    SQL Express - Free MS DB and Tools
    Northwind and Pubs - Free MS example DB to practice queries.
    W3Schools - Free online tutorial

    Full explantion :-

    There are many free RDBMS systems, SQL Express and SQL Compact are free, as are HSQL, SQLite, MySQL, PostgresSQL, Firebird, Apache Derby, OracleXE, Sybase ASE, DB2 Express to name a few.

    There is no need for a deadicated box, MS SQL Express, SQL Compact, SQL Standard and SQL Developer can be installed on a Windows client OS. Embedded (or Compact Edition) databases can be good as they are designed to run off just a few files.

    Install MS SQLExpress if on windows, make sure to install both the DB and the Management Tools.

    Northwind and Pubs are two older but popular example DB's from microsoft.

    No certification is not the answer to where to start, there are two certification tracks for MS SQL, one is administration focused the other development focused, having no experience you should not go for either.

    Get a good book, read some websites, play with some software, write some DDL/DML, read the SQL standard, basically anything but certification.

    SQL is a rather old imperative language, so its quite different to a lot of more modern stuff.

    SQL is a domain specific computer language (DSL), like all computer languages you should start by learning basic language syntax.

    In SQL you usually start with the main DML commands like SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE otherwise known as CRUD operations. Its common to have to mix in some DDL if you have no example DB to practice on, things like CREATE DB, CREATE TABLE, DROP TABLE etc.

    W3Schools is an online tutorial which will cover the basics as already mentioned.

    After you learn the basic syntax and have seen some examples you will need some Relational Theory, at the very least an appreciation of 3NF or Third Normal Form, ACID properties, and Transactions, etc.

    Later on you'll get into more advanced topics like joins, aggregate functions, correlated subqueries, query optimisation, indexes, triggers, cursors, stored procedures, temporary tables, variables, batch etc.

    Then you probably want to know some admin basics/theory like what the re-do/transaction log is and how to perform a backup.

    Best of luck ! :)
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011

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