6 Best SQL Programming Books Ranked by Reviews

Every programming language has at least one purpose. In the case of Structured Query Language, or SQL, it’s to provide structure and management to databases, allowing users to retrieve necessary data with minimal issue. Because SQL has a very specialized purpose, experienced programmers might find themselves without a hint of knowledge about the language. As hardware continues to improve, companies are constantly looking to ensure that their software can keep up — and this language happens to be a very useful tool for doing so. Any programmers looking to delve into databases simply must check out the 6 best SQL programming books based on Amazon reviews.

Since this language finds use alongside others, this list will cover certain “compilation” books that cover multiple languages as long as SQL is given a heavy focus. Each item on this list will be chosen based on their total number of reviews as well as their average rating.

The 6 Best SQL Programming Books Ranked by Amazon Reviews

6. SQL Practice Problems by Sylvia Moestl Vasilik

Though it’s not a full resource for learning the language, SQL Practice Problems offers readers a chance to — as the tagline implies — learn by doing. It includes 57 problems at varying skill levels while providing online videos and programs that can be used while solving those problems. Reviewers were quite pleased with the results, with the only major issues being compatibility and installation. If your computer can handle the provided programs, these practice problems are a great way to become an SQL master.

This book’s Amazon listing warns that used copies might not contain important resources. If you are unable to find a brand-new physical copy, you might want to get the digital version instead. This warning applies to any programming-related resource, so be mindful of resellers and make sure each book’s digital copy is properly formatted.

Reviews: Out of 492 total reviews, 69% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $27.49 Paperback, $9.99 Digital

Buy now on Amazon (Digital) or AbeBooks (Paperback)

5. Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript (5th Edition) by Robin Nixon

Instead of covering just SQL, Robin Nixon’s offering covers PHP and JavaScript and even includes use of jQuery, HTML5, and CSS. This is far from a resource used to solely master SQL. To make up for this, it provides readers with vast amounts of knowledge necessary to build their dream website. It’s not just great for figuring out how to use SQL, but also for learning how SQL can be used alongside other languages.

While a newer edition of this book is available, much of what this one teaches can still apply to modern-day programming. The only complaint amongst reviewers is how it doesn’t go very in-depth with any language. Much like the practice problems, Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript is best used as supplementary material while diving into resources tailored towards deeper looks at SQL itself. Also be warned that not many newer copies of this book are available, and the price can wildly fluctuate between used copies. If you’re simply unable to afford this one, consider the newer edition instead.

Reviews: Out of 501 total reviews, 79% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: ~$55-$100

Buy now on Amazon or AbeBooks

4. SQL All-in-One For Dummies (3rd Edition) by Allen G. Taylor

SQL All-in-One For Dummies is an incredible library for aspiring SQL programmers. It contains 8 books that cover different aspects of the language, from concepts and security to alternate formats and optimizations. Some reviewers criticize its clarity, noting that — despite the vast resources within the book — it still has some confusing aspects and questionable statements. Even so, there are few resources out there with this level of pure concentration on SQL and its aspects.

Some reviewers noted problems with their physical copies being damaged. Luckily, it’s possible to get a digital version on Amazon. Depending on sale prices, the physical copy might still be cheaper, but it’s an option you might wish to take if you want to avoid risks.

Reviews: Out of 785 total reviews, 72% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $39.99 (Paperback), $24.00 (Digital)

Buy now on Amazon (Digital) or AbeBooks (Paperback)

3. Learn SQL (using MySQL) in One Day and Learn It Well by Jamie Chan

Jamie Chan’s offering in teaching SQL doesn’t hide its intentions whatsoever. This book is meant to be a primer for beginners, aiming to teach them the language in just a single day. Actual results may vary, of course, with some reviewers criticizing the lack of clarity or reasoning behind the material. It’s still a lot more accessible than previous choices on this list, and the low price means you’ll be risking very little by at least giving this book a try.

Reviews: Out of 897 total reviews, 70% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $11.67 (Paperback), $2.99 (Digital)

Buy now on Amazon (Digital) or AbeBooks (Paperback)

2. SQL in 10 Minutes (4th Edition) by Ben Forta

Like the previous item on this list, SQL in 10 Minutes aims to teach beginners the language in a very short amount of time. While it still might not hit the goal it’s reaching for, Ben Forta’s offering has more positive reviews overall, with many readers citing it as a fantastic introduction. There is a newer edition available, but you’re unlikely to go wrong with this one regardless. Any beginner should consider checking SQL in 10 Minutes, especially if they pair it with one of the other books on this list.

Reviews: Out of 985 total reviews, 72% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $23.99

Buy now on Amazon (Digital) or AbeBooks (Paperback)

1. SQL QuickStart Guide by Walter Shields

The SQL QuickStart Guide tops off this list as yet another resource for beginners. It’s perhaps one of the most popular ones as well, with numerous reviewers praising it as another fantastic introduction to the language. It’s perhaps a bit redundant when compared to previous items on this list, but it manages to include its own extras like digital resources and even a free audiobook version. This guide provides itself as “the best SQL book for beginners in 2022,” and it’s not difficult to see why. If you’d prefer to get expert-level information from somewhere else, you won’t need another beginner’s resource outside of this one.

Reviews: Out of 1,357 total reviews, 72% gave this book 5 stars

List Price: $24.99 (Paperback), $34.99 (Hardcover), $9.99 (Digital)

Buy now on Amazon (Digital) or AbeBooks (Paperback)

What to Look For When Choosing the Best SQL Programming Book Based on Reviews

Since SQL is focused solely on databases, you’ll want to consider any resources that might cover this topic. Even if their main focus isn’t on SQL, you’re likely to learn new ideas that can be applied to the language. You’ll want to make sure your material isn’t outdated, of course, but SQL has not received many updates in the past few years. Unlike other languages, you won’t miss out on much if you decide to go with books released half a decade ago.

For those looking to utilize their new SQL skills alongside other languages, consider checking out the best Python books and the best HTML books as well!

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