Microsoft SQL Server is one of the most powerful Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMSs) in the world and it is absolutely logical the fact that many people are looking for the best way to learn SQL Server. By learning SQL Server, you acquire a competitive advantage in the job market. Read on to find out my suggestion on what is the best way to learn SQL Server.
A Little Bit of History: Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMSs)
A RDBMS is a Database Management System (DBMS) based on the relational model which was invented by E. F. Codd. A database is an organized collection of data. This collection may include tables, functions, views, stored procedures, queries, and more. The data is organized in such a way that based on the relational model, each tables can have primary keys as well as foreign keys that reference other tables and so on.
SQL Server has many powerful features with which you can do just about anything that has to do with data management. That is why SQL Server is one of the leading data platforms worldwide.
SQL Server Versions and End of Extended Support
Currently, at the time of writing (updated Dec 2020), the SQL Server versions that are officially supported by Microsoft are:
- SQL Server 2012 (End of Extended Support: Jul 12 2022)
- SQL Server 2014 (End of Extended Support: Jul 9 2024)
- SQL Server 2016 (End of Extended Support: Jul 14 2026)
- SQL Server 2017 (End of Extended Support: Oct 12, 2027)
- SQL Server 2019 (End of Extended Support: Jan 01, 2030)
Prior to Start Learning SQL Server
However, prior to start learning SQL Server (or any other RDBMS), the first thing you must ask yourself is if you know the basic database principles. If yes, then no problem, you can start learning SQL Server. If not, then I would recommend first learning the necessary database principles prior to start learning SQL Server.
Getting Started with SQL Server
Let’s say you are aware of the basic database principles. The first step in learning SQL Server is to install it. In order to do so, you can download the latest SQL Server Express Edition and the latest SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).
As soon as you install SQL Server Express Edition, you can connect to the database engine with SSMS. In another article of mine, I talked about SQL Server Management Studio.
Right after you connect to SQL Server database engine, you can start working with SQL Server. For example you can create: databases, tables, functions, stored procedures, view, and many other database objects. Also, after you create your database, you can insert data and process it using SQL and Transact-SQL.
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Best Way to Learn SQL Server: My Suggestion
Even though for each person the best way for learning SQL Server might be different, here’s a generic “framework” I would recommend for those who are just getting started:
- Download and install SQL Server Express or SQL Server Developer Edition (Note: SQL Server Developer Edition cannot be used in Production Environments. It can be only used for development/testing purposes)
- Download and install the latest SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).
- Enroll to my online course on Udemy titled ““SQL Server Fundamentals – SQL Database for Beginners”“.
- Read tutorials and start practicing!
- Read blogs:
- Watch webcasts:
- Other resources:
Learn more about SQL Server – Enroll to our Online Course
Do not miss to check out our Online Course titled “SQL Server Fundamentals (SQL Database for Beginners)” .
In this beginner-level course, you will learn how to install SQL Server Database on both Windows and Linux, and how you can start doing basic tasks in SQL Server, using its free client tools SQL Server Management Studio, and Azure Data Studio.
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Check also: Our eBooks on SQL Server
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Artemakis Artemiou is a Senior SQL Server Architect, Author, a 9 Times Microsoft Data Platform MVP (2009-2018) and a Udemy Instructor. He has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry in various roles. Artemakis is the founder of SQLNetHub and TechHowTos.com. Artemakis is the creator of the well-known software tools Snippets Generator and DBA Security Advisor. Also, he is the author of many eBooks on SQL Server. Artemakis currently serves as the President of the Cyprus .NET User Group (CDNUG) and the International .NET Association Country Leader for Cyprus (INETA). Moreover, Artemakis teaches on Udemy, you can check his courses here.