Michael J. Swart

March 3, 2010

Start learning about SQL Server

Filed under: SQLServerPedia Syndication — Michael J. Swart @ 9:58 am

Takeaway: I provide a list of free or near-free resources that novices can look to for an introduction to SQL Server.

I’ve often written articles about topics that are new or interesting to me. What I mean is that I’ve often avoided writing about the basics (e.g. what tables, row or columns are. What a SELECT statement is). A lot of this attitude is from feedback I got once. Someone told me once that most of my articles fell into one of two categories: The category knew that already or the category don’t care. So I’ve always tried to write articles that fall in the category relatively novel or the category relatively relevant*.

But there’s a huge need for 101 level information. I’m thinking about new developers. And I’m thinking about people just getting started in the I.T. industry. This post is for you guys.

But why re-invent the wheel? I’m just going to stand on the shoulders of giants and point you the best sites (in my opinion) for getting started. The best part is that at this level, this information will often be relevant for years. For example, compare the usefulness of a Notification Services article versus that of a SELECT statement article.

T-SQL 101 articles by SQL Server Magazine

Biggest advantage: Tailored to the greenest SQL Developer.

This series is a set of 10 articles written by Bill McEvoy in 2008.

By far the most comprehensive kick start I’ve come across. The only downside is that it’s not free. Personally, I use Google for my table of contents on this series. But the last article http://www.sqlmag.com/article/tsql3/t-sql-101-stored-procedures.aspx has a nice set of links to the previous lessons as well.

(Update May 2010: There’s a $16 downloadable version of this content now at http://sqlmag.com/go/left-brain/tsql)

Pinal Dave’s site SQL Authority

Biggest Advantage: Breadth of topics.

Pinal Dave is a SQL Server MVP who is one of the most prolific bloggers I know. He never shies away from any topic (complicated or uncomplicated).

He’s organized his web site nicely, but I like to browse his intro to topics found here.

SQL University

Biggest Advantage: Comprehensive and good start for SQL admins.

Remember those giants I told you about? The ones whose shoulders I’m standing on? Jorge Segarra (aka SQL Chicken) is one of those guys. He came up with the idea of SQL Server University. A great home base for getting started as a DBA. There is little overlap between this info and the T-SQL 101 articles because of the target audience. T-SQL 101 is aimed at new SQL developers, while SQL University is aimed at new DBAs.

What do you think?

Am I missing any good beginner resources? Leave a comment below. I’ll consider updating this article to include it.

* relatively relevant I love the sound of that phrase. Must try to use it more.


  1. Wow thanks for kind words and the recommendation to my blog, I really appreciate it!

    Comment by Jorge Segarra — March 5, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  2. Hey no problem! I’m glad to recommend it. It’s a project that could use a lot more exposure.

    Comment by Michael J. Swart — March 5, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

  3. Free SQL tutorial and a great way to jumpstart learning:


    Comment by Miriam — March 9, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  4. Thanks Miriam, I checked it out and you’re right.

    Comment by Michael J. Swart — March 9, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

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