Best Way to Learn SQL Server

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Microsoft SQL Server is one of the most powerful Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMSs) in the world. With SQL Server (and Azure SQL Database) you can do just about anything with your data. You can store it, organize it, retrieve it, process it and transform it to useful knowledge.

Many people interested in starting working with SQL Server, ask what is the best way to learn SQL Server.

Learning SQL Server is an ongoing process that involves many steps and methods.

However, prior to start learning SQL Server (or any other RDBMS), the first thing you must ask yourself is if you know the basic database principles. If yes, then no problem, you can start learning SQL Server. If not, then I would recommend first learning the necessary database principles prior to start learning SQL Server.

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Let’s say you are aware of the basic database principles. The first step in learning SQL Server is to install it. In order to do so, you can download the latest SQL Server Express Edition and the latest SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

As soon as you install SQL Server Express Edition, you can connect to the database engine with SSMS. In a previous post I talked about SQL Server Management Studio.

Right after you connect to SQL Server database engine, you can start working with SQL Server. For example you can create: databases, tables, functions, stored procedures, view, and many other database objects. Also, after you create your database, you can insert data and process it using SQL and Transact-SQL.

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Even though for each person the best way for learning SQL Server might be different, here’s a generic “framework” I would recommend for those who are just getting started:

  1. Download and install SQL Server Express or SQL Server Developer Edition (Note: SQL Server Developer Edition cannot be used in Production Environments. It can be only used for development purposes)
  2. Download and install the latest SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).
  3. Read tutorials and start practicing!
    1. Tutorial: SQL Server Management Studio
    2. Tutorial: Getting Started with the Database Engine
    3. Tutorial: Build an app using SQL Server
  4. Read blogs:
    1. The SQL Server and .NET Hub
    3. SQL Server Blog
    4. SQL Server Database Engine Blog
    5. MSSQL Tiger Team Blog
  5. Watch webcasts:
    1. The SQL Server and .NET TV
    2. Microsoft Cloud Platform YouTube Channel
    3. Channel 9
  6. Other resources:
    1. Read SQL Server Technical Documentation on Microsoft Docs
    2. Read SQL Server ebooks

Read also: What is SQL Server Management Studio

Check also: My eBooks on SQL Server

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About artemakis 7 Articles
Artemakis Artemiou is a Senior SQL Server Architect, Author, Software Developer and a Microsoft Data Platform MVP. He has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry in various roles. Among other, via his initiative, Artemakis authors and publishes eBooks on different topics on SQL Server. Artemakis currently serves as the President of the Cyprus .NET User Group (CDNUG) and the International .NET Association Country Leader for Cyprus (INETA). Additionally he is the founder of the SQLArtBits initiative that aims to provide the technical community with simple, yet powerful and high-quality SQL Server tools. Currently, the highlights of these tools are DBA Security Advisor and In-Memory OLTP Simulator. Artemakis's official website can be found at Artemakis's blogs can be found at: and