A Practical Introduction to SQL

Online Campus


Past Locations for this Workshop Series

A Practical Introduction to SQL | Online

Online Campus


Past Locations for this Workshop Series

About this workshop series

SQL provides powerful but reasonably simple tools and concepts for analysis and processing of data. We’ll cover the use of queries to combine data from a variety of tables, as well as for analysis and workflow tasks. This workshop will take absolute beginners through the basics of SQL to an ability to write queries with confidence.


Session I: Basics of database setup and single table queries

  • Basics of setting up a database, loading data into it, and exporting results out
  • Basics of running simple queries
  • Running a variety of queries against a single table, to filter, transform, reorder, group, and analyze data
  • Debugging procedures

Session II: Using JOIN to combine data from two tables into a single table

  • Conceptual underpinnings of JOIN
  • Use of simple joins to combine tables
  • More advanced usage of joins, filtering, grouping, and transforming results of joins
  • Strategies for using joins to perform more complex analytic and workflow tasks

Session III: Using subqueries to bring data and analyses into a query - Use of simple subqueries in query expressions - Strategies for using simple subqueries - Use of correlated subqueries

Session IV:

  • Strategies for using joins and subqueries to perform complex tasks
  • Basics of query optimization (indexing)

Prereqs & Preparation

Basic technical aptitude and orientation to computers, and curiosity to learn new tools. Willingness to learn about a text-based / principle driven analytic tool with little real GUI support, and determination to push through the natural frustration of confronting new concepts.

We will be pausing to let students run and write queries of their own, so students should bring laptops with an installed SQL implementation (MySQL, Postgres, SQL Server; Access is strongly discouraged). Instructions for installing MySQL will be distributed prior to class.

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