How Long Does it Take to Learn SQL – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 6-8 months

The Structured Query Language is one of the oldest programming languages used in data analysis and other research activities. For this reason, understanding SQL is an on-demand skill, especially for people getting into the job market as programmers, computer and data analysts.

However, not everyone starts on the job market with a subtle background in knowing the language. This is where taking online classes for SQL comes in handy. Depending on how soon you need to have at least some solid theoretical and practical knowledge, you will need to have an overview of how long it can take you to master the language. This guide will break it down for you so you can plan accordingly.

The R programming language is also invented on the similar lines of SQL language. Both are modeling languages. R is a language and environment for statistical computing and graphics. Its open source and comes under GNU license. While SQL has wide usage in databases, the R language is used for data analytics and specially for data mining.

How Long Does it Take to Learn SQL

How Long It Takes to Learn SQL

Just like any other learning process, determining how long one takes to master an aspect cannot be entirely fixed at a specific time. This is because people have different levels of understanding and modes of study. However, with a few directions and a content structure, one can predict the maximum time that can be used to complete a lesson.

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The best way to study SQL by starting simple, where you get an overview of the language and understand some standard terms, then watch a few tutorials. This will take you approximately a week to a month, depending on the time you put into the study daily.

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After you have a basic overview, you can then get a free SQL database to help you do a bit of practice on your own for a week or so then now register for an online course. Most online SQL courses take between 6 days, depending on the level you are at, to several months. These online courses have structured outlines to help you plan your time. Others will give you a completion date so that you have a clear timeline by when you should be done.

If you have decided to learn the SQL language then we highly recommend that you also start learning the R programming language to improve your skills in the field of data mining.

Why It Takes This Long to Learn SQL Language

How long you take to master your primary SQL language will depend on a few factors. These factors include:

Your SQL level

If you are a beginner, you will probably take longer than someone who already has a fundamental knowledge of the language. This is because, for a beginner, you will have to start from the foundation of the language before you can get to other technical aspects of the same. It will thus take you longer before you catch up with your advanced colleagues.

Full time or part-time student

The time you take per day for your classes will play a big part in how fast you clear it. One who is only taking a lesson a day will take longer compared to someone who has time to complete two or three lessons in a day.

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Basic vs Advanced Content

The content you study determines how much time you need to master it. Someone at the fundamental level may take a shorter time to complete a lesson as at this level, you mostly deal with understanding basic terms and applications of data mining. However, as you advance, you will need more time to understand more complex servers and databases. For more advanced level of skills, the R programming language can be considered by database administrators.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. This is very helpful. The explanation about the duration of mastering SQL is very clear and an easy way to plan my studies.

  2. Sorry to break it to you, but SQL and R are not similar at all. SQL is a query language for managing data in a relational database, whereas R is a language for statistical computing and graphics. They serve different purposes and comparing them is inaccurate.

    1. I think the post writer meant that just like SQL, R is also a modeling language, even though each serves different purposes. I see the comparison as valid.

  3. This post is really insightful. I’m planning to learn SQL, and it gives me an idea of the time and effort needed to master it.

  4. The post is quite interesting, and I appreciate the insights into how long until one can learn SQL. It’s certainly a good reference for those looking to start learning the language.

    1. Indeed, the post provides a good understanding of the time required to learn SQL. It’s helpful.

  5. The post is quite helpful, but it might benefit from some visual aids to help readers understand the topic better.

    1. I absolutely agree. Visual aids such infographics and charts can really help understand and memorize the information.

  6. The post is very informative and to the point. I highly appreciate the writer for their in-depth knowledge and clear explanation. This is very helpful for beginners. PS. Could you recommend some good online classes for SQL?

    1. You can check edX, Coursera, and DataCamp. They all provide online SQL courses with certifications. Happy learning!

  7. This post is so boring, people should not waste time reading such uninteresting content. I can’t believe someone would be interested in such a boring topic.

  8. I’m not sure if I agree with the post about the time to learn the SQL language. I think the time needed to learn a programming language depends on many factors and the duration stated in the post can vary greatly.

  9. This is a good starting point for beginners. But I think it fails to give a more technical explanation of the subject. I believe everyone starting out should also understand the specifics of the data language.

  10. I think the post has provided a good overview of how long it takes to learn SQL. The factors that affect the duration are also valid and important to consider when planning to learn the language.

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