How Long Does it Take to Learn SQL? Subreddits Threads Say

Hi guys. We talk a lot about SQL on our site. It happened completely by accident. Nevertheless, this hard skill is of interest to many people, many want to master it perfectly and ask a logical question - is it difficult to get this skill, which is required in almost every position in IT, regardless of work experience and type of activity.

Today we will answer this question. I will share with you my personal experience, tell you how long it took me and at what level during this period of time I mastered the query language, and I also consider it necessary to cite the experience of other beginners as an example. I am not going to invent examples, but I will share with you links to Reddit threads that are very useful, from my point of view, which I recommend you read. After reading the threads and this article, you will form your own opinion and decide for yourself whether you should learn SQL and whether you need it at all.

My Experience

So, I will answer immediately for the impatient. If asked to rate how difficult it is to learn SQL, I would answer 6/10, where 1 is easy and 10 is impossible hell. Now, for those who are ready for a more detailed explanation, I will tell you in more detail.

I started learning SQL in my last year at university when I realized that I wanted to do data science. I opened Linkedin and just read the job requirements. Literally every job required SQL. And it is not surprising, because everyone and everywhere works with databases now. I do not want to explain what SQL is and why it is needed - I think if you are reading this, then you clearly understand what it is (if not, you can read it at the link).

To make it easier for you to understand what I'm going to talk about, I made a small diagram for you, where I divided all SQL topics into blocks at my discretion. Do not be afraid of unfamiliar words, I just want to explain everything in detail.

SQL - Roadmap

SQL - Roadmap

For many, the concept of complexity implies the period for which one or another material can be understood. The beginner section (green) will require no more than 12 hours of lessons. By classes, I mean both lectures (that is, theory) and practical tasks - tests and, most importantly, building queries on my own (without this, the material will not be assimilated). In 10-12 hours, you will learn all the basics of the query language, you will be able to get simple data sets and indicate the conditions for which data you need. This is a very important block on which all further training will be built. This is the foundation.

Next, I grouped a few very important blocks into a section for beginners. I would take about 15-17 hours for it. At this stage, you will learn how to sort data, group it according to some common features, and also learn how to manipulate databases - add data, delete them and create new tables and databases. For 10% of vacancies, this knowledge will be quite enough for comfortable work, however, if I were you, I would not stop here.

On the average level, I would take another 10-12 hours. Here you will learn how to interact with several tables from the database at once, add new information to tables, and also change already saved data. After obtaining these skills, you will open up many more opportunities thanks to only one skill to merge tables. Having confidently mastered this block, I think that for 90% of vacancies requiring knowledge of SQL, you would have successfully passed the test tasks and interviews.

I would recommend that everyone go through the last stage, but it all depends on you and your career aspirations. If you are getting a job as an accountant or manager, then your skill should be enough for now, but if you are at least a little connected with databases or data in general, then this block is mandatory for you. Consider that it is like a tie in your suit - you can do without it, but with it it is much more solid and elegant. I spent about 12-15 hours going through the topics in this block. In total, we have the following time frames:

SQL - Roadmap

SQL - Roadmap

In total, it took me about 47-56 hours of both theory and practice to learn SQL. I will say right away - these are pure study hours, no tea breaks, lunch and sleep are included here. The knowledge gained during this time was enough for me to get a Hacker Rank skill certificate and also to find my first job in IT.

Remember that we are all different and learn things differently. Someone is faster, and someone is slower, so I can’t give universal answers whether SQL is difficult. SQL is intuitive and if you know English, then there will be no problems for you to learn and remember its syntax. The logic of the query language also becomes clear after the first self-built queries.

There are several topics that can break the head of a beginner - Joins, Group by, Subquery, With, Operators, but each of them, with proper explanations and approach, is learned sooner or later. It just needs more practice.


As I promised, I want to share with you worthy threads that I advise you to pay attention to. Here people share their experience in learning SQL and how long it took them to get their first job or to pro level. Some of the threads I cited may seem old to you, but I can assure you that SQL has not changed since then and all threads are still relevant.

I also want to say that feel free to write such questions in private messages to the participants of the threads, if you see fit. This is what Reddit is for, to connect such communities of people. In the IT community, like nowhere else, people help each other, especially beginners, and can even advise you on resources you should start with. (If you do not want to write to someone in private messages, then you can feel free to write to our community with a request for help in selecting material for study. Our members will always help and prompt. We also have a separate article dedicated to SQL training materials, so that you don't have to go far). So here's the list of threads:

    πŸ“Œ How hard is SQL compared to Python and R?

    πŸ“Œ Why so many interviews??

    πŸ“Œ Is SQL hard to learn?

    πŸ“Œ Sometimes, SQL is extremely hard for me, and I'm going crazy

    πŸ“Œ For every "data analyst" position I have interviewed for...


In this article, I tried to figure out with you how complex SQL is and whether it is complex at all. On my own behalf, I want to say - if you came here to make sure that SQL is complex, and you should not spend time on this, throughout the article looking for another excuse, then, alas, you are wrong. Everyone can do this, otherwise only a few would know the query language. The main thing is to start correctly and with good educational material, which, by the way, we talked about here. I strongly advise you to read it, this is one of our first articles.


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