10 Best SQL Books You Need to Read in 2024

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10 Best SQL Books You Need to Read in 2024

Ramya Shankar
Last updated on July 13, 2024

    Through this article, we will help you understand what SQL is and the need for learning SQL. Also, we will introduce you to the top SQL books that both beginners and professionals can read to master SQL. Structured Query Language (SQL) is the standard query language for relational databases.

    Developed by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce at IBM, SQL is used to access, retrieve, manipulate, and manage records in relational databases . With databases being the backbone of many businesses and companies, learning SQL will help you pursue a successful career.

    What is SQL?

    SQL stands for Structured Query Language, and it is the standard language for working with relational database management systems (RDBMS). Some popular RDBMS are Oracle, SQL Server, MS Access, Sybase, MySQL, and Postgres. Earlier, SQL was referred to as Structured English Query Language (SEQUEL).

    With SQL, you can access data stored in relational databases and perform operations on that data. Following are some key actions that you can perform by using SQL:

    • Creating new databases.
    • Executing different queries against a database.
    • Creating tables in a database.
    • Inserting records or data in a database’s table.
    • Deleting records from a table.
    • Creating stored procedures and views in a database.
    • Updating the existing data in a database.

    SQL is based on a tuple of relational calculus and relational algebra. It consists of four different kinds of statements that are informally called sublanguages and are as follows:

    1. Data Manipulation Language (DML)

    The language or commands allowing users to insert, delete, or update data stored in a database is called data manipulation language. The three DML commands are INSERT, DELETE, and UPDATE.

    2. Data Definition Language (DDL)

    This sublanguage helps to generate the schema or structure of a database. There are four DDL commands: CREATE, DROP, ALTER, and TRUNCATE.

    3. Data Query Language (DQL)

    The DQL command enables users to retrieve data from a database. SELECT is the only DQL command.

    4. Data Control Language (DCL)

    Commands used to grant or revoke access rights or permissions are referred to as DCL commands. The two DCL commands are GRANT and REVOKE.

    Why Learn SQL?

    Today, from small-scale online stores to large enterprises, every business utilizes data to carry out its activities. Global companies, like Amazon and Facebook, use SQL to manage and store their data in a database . Therefore, these organizations demand an administrator - database administrator - that can handle their databases effectively and efficiently.

    Databases have become the backbone of many IT and non-IT companies, and the standard language to communicate with RDBMS is Structured Query Language (SQL). Therefore, with the rising demand for database administration professionals, working as an SQL developer is incredibly beneficial.

    Besides being an SQL developer, you can get many other job roles, such as data scientist, business analyst, software engineer, quality assurance tester, researcher/educator, and so on, with the help of SQL skills.

    10 Best SQL Books for Beginners and Professionals

    Below is the list of our cherrypicked SQL books that can assist you in developing SQL and database skills.

    1. SQL - 2 Books in 1: Beginner’s Guide & 7-Day Crash Course

    SQL: 2 Books in 1: Beginner's Guide & 7-Day Crash Course, How to Quickly Learn Structured Query Language Programming, Server Administration, Computer and Database Management Step-by-Step

    Author: John Russel

    SQL - 2 Books in 1: Beginner’s Guide & 7-Day Crash Course is a perfect source to learn SQL from scratch in less time. It is specially developed for newcomers to structured query language. This book teaches you how to generate SQL queries and also highlights the benefits and significance of SQL in developing end-to-end projects.

    The author has incorporated small and simple exercises to help the readers understand SQL concepts effectively. In addition, this book discusses the following topics:

    • Efficient techniques to learn SQL in just 7 days.
    • Importance of SQL in today’s market.
    • Eight different ways of utilizing SQL.
    • An efficient technique to create the first database for neophytes.
    • Detailed instructions on downloading and installing Oracle and MySQL on a desktop.
    • The finest approaches to ensure data security in a database.
    • A comprehensive guide and proven strategies to develop SQL programs in just 7 days.

    This book is available in Kindle and Paperback formats.

    About the Author: John Russel is a leading author and has contributed his skills in writing several books on Python programming , data science, and SQL.

    Publisher: Published Independently
    Paperback Print Length: 256 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    2. Head First SQL

    Head First SQL: Your Brain on SQL -- A Learner's Guide

    Author: Lynn Beighley

    Head First SQL is an interactive and informative book for learners to develop SQL skills. This book is for those who have a basic understanding and practice of writing simple SQL queries and wish to explore more about relational databases. The author has described the basics of SQL in the initial parts of the SQL book.

    Later, she introduces you to the most fundamental INSERT and SELECT queries and then moves to advanced-level topics, like transactions, indices, and joins in databases. This book also helps you understand how to have great control over data stored in a database.

    After reading this book, you will be able to query, join, and normalize data in a database like an expert. You can read this book in Kindle and Paperback formats.

    About the Author: Lynn Beighley is a fiction writer. She holds a master's degree and worked for many years at Yahoo! Also, she has written many training courses and best-selling books.

    Publisher: O’Reilly
    Paperback Print Length: 607 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    3. SQL Practice Problem

    SQL Practice Problems: 57 beginning, intermediate, and advanced challenges for you to solve using a “learn-by-doing” approach

    Author: Sylvia Moestl Vasilik

    This SQL book is ideal for experienced developers who have experience developing SQL queries using SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and SELECT commands. Alternatively, this book serves as a refresher for those who know the basics of SQL and wish to challenge themselves with advanced SQL problems.

    In this book, the author has included 57 beginner-, intermediate-, and advanced-level challenges to help you test your knowledge of SQL. Moreover, you learn SQL through a ‘learn-by-doing’ approach using this book. SQL Practice Problem offers:

    • An introduction to setting up Microsoft Server Management Studio and Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition.
    • 57 practice problems with targeted hints.
    • A short discussion section, questions and answers, and effective programming tips.

    You can purchase this book in Paperback and Kindle formats.

    About the Author: Sylvia Moestl Vasilik is well-known for her two books, SQL Practice Problems and Weigh Every Day .

    Publisher: Createspace Independent Pub
    Paperback Print Length: 127 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    4. Oracle PL/SQL Programming

    Oracle PL/SQL Programming: Covers Versions Through Oracle Database 12c, Sixth Edition

    Author: Bill Pribyl and Steven Feuerstein

    As its name suggests, Oracle PL/SQL Programming includes all PL/SQL concepts in detail. In addition, it primarily focuses on the functionalities and capabilities of PL/SQL. Before reading this book, one must have strong knowledge of scripting SQL queries.

    Also, this book is one of the finest guides by the Oracle community. The authors have penned down hundreds of code examples in this book. In addition, they included high-grade coding approaches and effective practices to solve problems. This book helps you to understand:

    • Clear instructions for running, tracing, testing, debugging, and handling PL/SQL programs.
    • Brand-new functionalities of Oracle Database 12c Release 1.
    • Optimizing PL/SQL code’s performance by using features like function result cache.
    • Utilizing packages, functions, procedures, and triggers to develop easy-to-maintain PL/SQL applications.

    You can buy this book in Paperback and Kindle formats.

    About the Author

    Bill Pribyl has primarily used PL/SQL to write TCP/IP networking clients, real-time commodity price loaders and transcendental functions, and tnsping callouts. He holds a degree in Physics from Rice University.

    Steven Feuerstein is one of the world's leading experts in Oracle PL/SQL language. He has written more than 10 books on PL/SQL. Steven spent 5 years with Oracle and 13 years with Quest Software. He later worked with Dell. Also, he was the first person to receive ODTUG's Lifetime Achievement Award (2009).

    Publisher: O’Reilly
    Paperback Print Length: 1392 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    5. Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel

    Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel

    Author: Gordon S. Linoff

    Number 5 on our list of the best SQL books is Data Analysis Using SQL and Excel. It is a perfect guide for data analytics. Additionally, this book describes the usage of SQL and MS Excel for carrying out data analysis. It includes not only basic SQL concepts but also data science topics.

    The author has mentioned the fundamentals of SQL required for data mining and an introduction to Excel for presenting results. After reading this book, you can:

    • Understand and leverage analytic approaches compatible with SQL and Excel.
    • Present data in Excel charts and analyze and interpret data in a table.
    • Utilize market basket analysis to comprehend the purchasing behavior.
    • Avoid typical pitfalls in data analysis.

    This book is available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

    About the Author

    Gordon S. Linoff is the co-founder of Data Miners, Inc. He has more than a decade of experience in applying data mining techniques to solve business problems in marketing and customer management relationship.

    Publisher: Wiley
    Paperback Print Length: 800 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    6. SQL Cookbook

    SQL Cookbook- Query Solutions and Techniques for All SQL Users, Second Edition (Grayscale Indian Edition)

    Author: Anthony Molinaro

    SQL Cookbook is an excellent guide for individuals who are aware of the basics of SQL, mostly DDL, DML, DCL, and DQL commands. Also, it is among the best SQL books for beginners and intermediate-level learners. The SQL book primarily highlights the procedure for developing complex and intricate SQL queries.

    Moreover, it will help you learn how to prepare, manipulate, group, and report data stored in a database. The author of this book has penned down his favorite SQL features and queries. SQL Cookbook will help you become familiar with:

    • Robust database-specific functionalities, like Oracle’s MODEL clause, GENERATE_SERIES function of PostgreSQL, and PIVOT and UNPIVOT operators of SQL Server.
    • The process for pivoting rows into columns, facilitating inter-row calculations using pivoting, reverse-pivoting columns into rows, and pivoting a result set twice.
    • Creation of histograms, generating running-totals and subtotals, summarizing data into buckets, and performing aggregations over the range of values.
    • Data warehouse techniques.
    • Using SQL to parse through the words, characters, or a string’s finite elements.

    SQL Cookbook is available only in Paperback format.

    About the Author

    Anthony Molinaro is well-known for his three SQL books, namely SQL Cookbook, SQL Cookbook 2e, and Curso de SQL/SQL Course.

    Publisher: O’Reilly
    Paperback Print Length: 540 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    7. SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide

    SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner's Guide to Managing, Analyzing, and Manipulating Data With SQL

    Author: Walter Shields

    This book explains the fundamentals of SQL in a user-friendly way and by using straightforward language. In addition, this book is one of the best sources to learn SQL. SQL QuickStart Guide is ideal for:

    • Job seekers wishing to hone their SQL skills and boost their resumes to land high-paying jobs.
    • Decision-makers, business owners, and managers looking forward to managing data-driven business insights.
    • Professional developers aiming to boost their skills and build up mastery in SQL.
    • Anyone wishing to shape their career in data-driven technology.

    You do not require any prior experience in coding to learn SQL from the book. This SQL book talks about:

    • A database’s fundamental structure.
    • The use of SQL to fetch and comprehend data stored in databases.
    • Complex and simple SQL queries.
    • How to develop efficient SQL queries.

    SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide is available in Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback formats.

    About the Author

    Walter Shields holds more than 18 years of experience working with SQL and databases. He has worked with various organizations, including Target Corporation, NYC Transit Authority, and NYC Administration.

    Publisher: ClydeBank Media LLC
    Paperback Print Length: 256 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    8. Microsoft SQL Server 2016: A Beginner’s Guide

    Microsoft SQL Server 2016: A Beginner's Guide, Sixth Edition

    Author: Dusan Petkovic Microsoft

    SQL Server 2016: A Beginner’s Guide is one of the ideal SQL books for beginners and intermediate-level learners. As its name indicates, this book introduces you to the fundamentals of relational database management systems (RDBMS).

    Moreover, the author has introduced learners to developing Transact-SQL statements, managing system administration and security, executing intricate and straightforward database queries, utilizing robust business intelligence tools , and performing a full-text search.

    The SQL book also talks about XML, JSON, and spatial data in detail. Microsoft SQL Server 2016: A Beginner’s Guide is a perfect self-study and classroom SQL textbook. This book is available only in Paperback format.

    About the Author

    Dusan Petkovic is a professor in the department of computer science at Polytechnic in Rosenheim. In addition to Microsoft SQL Server 2016, he has published 7 more computer books.

    Publisher: McGraw Hill Education
    Paperback Print Length: 896 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    9. SQL for Data Analytics

    SQL for Data Analytics- Perform fast and efficient data analysis with the power of SQL

    Author: Benjamin Johnston, Matt Goldwasser, and Upom Malik

    SQL for Data Analytics is yet another comprehensive SQL book that is ideal for learners of all levels. This book is user-friendly and consists of numerous practical examples, clearly helping you understand SQL concepts. In addition, this book introduces you to various statistical approaches to analyzing data and ways to carry out text and geospatial analysis.

    The book on SQL will help you learn how to identify trends and unlock in-depth insights for understanding data. Moreover, you will gain experience working with text data, geospatial data, and time-series data. In addition, this book will help you get familiar with:

    • Using the WINDOW function to carry out advanced statistical calculations.
    • Preparing data for analysis by using SQL queries and subqueries.
    • Importing and exporting data via a text file and PL/SQL.
    • Enhancing the performance of SQL queries by optimizing them.
    • Analyzing unique SQL data types, such as time data and geospatial data.
    • Debugging SQL queries that do not run.

    You can buy this book in Paperback and Kindle editions.

    About the Author

    Benjamin Johnston is a senior data scientist at one of the world's leading data-driven companies. Also, he possesses more than 10 years of experience in designing and developing medical devices.

    Matt Goldwasser is a manager of a data science team at T. Rowe Price. Formerly, he was a data science manager at OnDeck. He holds a master's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Cornell University.

    Upom Malik is a data scientist and holds 6 years of experience in the technology industry. He holds a master's degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Duke University.

    Publisher: Packt Publishing Limited
    Paperback Print Length: 386 pages

    You can buy this book from here .

    10. SQL All-In-One For Dummies

    SQL All - In - One For Dummies, 3ed

    Author: Allen G. Taylor

    Our last pick for the best SQL books is SQL All-In-One For Dummies. This SQL book talks about the fine details of SQL and its real-world applications. Consequently, it is an excellent guide for everyone, from database administrators to application programmers.

    The author has divided the content of the book into eight different sections. The first section deals with the fundamentals of SQL, whereas the second section introduces you to relational database development. In the third section, you will learn various concepts of SQL queries, and the fourth section defines data security.

    Additionally, the author describes everything about SQL and Programming in the fifth section and SQL, XML, and JSON in the sixth section. Furthermore, the seventh section consists of an overview of database tuning, and the final section comprises a glossary and reserved words.

    You can buy this book in Paperback and Kindle editions.

    About the Author:

    Allen G. Taylor has over three decades of experience in the computer industry. He has penned more than 20 books on computer programming. Also, he is a frequent national speaker who speaks on databases, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

    Publisher: For Dummies
    Paperback Print Length: 768 pages

    You can buy this book from here .


    All the SQL books mentioned above are good enough to help you develop or hone your SQL skills. However, you may get confused about selecting the one according to your level of knowledge. If you are new to SQL, we recommend SQL Beginner’s Guide & 7-Day Crash Course, SQL All-In-One For Dummies, and Microsoft SQL Server 2016: A Beginner’s Guide as the ideal choices.

    However, if you possess good knowledge of SQL but have little experience working with it, you can choose SQL Practice Problem or SQL Cookbook to hone your SQL skills. In addition, Oracle PL/SQL Programming will guide you in creating advanced-level SQL queries. SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide is ideal for anyone desiring to build a career in any data-driven technology. Finally, Head First SQL is recommended for those having little practice in writing SQL queries.

    People are also reading:


    The best SQL books for beginners are: 1. Head First SQL 2. SQL Cookbook 3. SQL QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide 4. SQL All-In-One For Dummies.

    As its name suggests, SQL Practice Problem is an ideal book if you want to practice the learned concepts of SQL. It consists of 57 challenging problems targeted at all levels of learners.

    Learning SQL may take around 2 to 3 weeks as it is an easy language.

    The average salary of a SQL developer is $89K per annum in the United States. In India, the average salary is around INR 4.5 lakhs per year.

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