Database Training Resources: An Annotated Bibliography

Database Training Resources

1.     Coursera/Stanford “Introduction to Databases”

Introduction to Databases from Stanford University was one of the first Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by Coursera in 2011, and has remained consistently popular. The course covers database design and the use of database management systems for applications. The course begins with the fundamental theory of database design, including the relational model and SQL. It moves on to cover contemporary issues in database management including JSON and NoSQL systems.  The course uses PostgreSQL, SQLite, and MySQL. The course is comprised of video lectures, assignments, and exams. Discussion forums and the possibility of local meet-ups support learning.

Keywords: MOOCs, Stanford, database, SQL, NoSQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and MySQL

Audience: beginner – intermediate database users

2.     Coursera/University of Washington “Introduction to Data Science”

This MOOC is called “Introduction to Data Science” but the first of its two major units is devoted to databases. This includes an introduction to MapReduce, and Hadoop, as well as an SQL programming assignment. The course is comprised of the same materials as “Introduction to Databases” above, and has the same support system. As with “Introduction to Databases”, the added benefit of completing “Introduction to Data Science”, over and above the learning, is the opportunity to earn a formal certificate of recognition of the knowledge acquired, which may be useful to those hoping to apply their knowledge of databases professionally.

Keywords: MOOC, University of Washington, video lectures, assignments, exams, peer-support

Audience: beginner-intermediate database users

3.     Quackit

Quackit offers a simple introduction to databases. Topics covered include: What is a Database?, Database Management Systems, and Creating a Database. The language used is extremely simple. Topics are covered in single page tutorials that include images as aids. The difficulty of the material reaches as far as relational database design. There are neither quizzes nor revision materials.

Keywords: database, lesson

Audience: beginner database users

4.     Database Learning

This introductory course on databases presents its information in a series of html pages organized according to chapter headings. The material covers Database Analysis and ER Modeling, SQL, Normalization, Relational Algebra, Concurrency, Transactions, Implementations, Programming with SQL, and Metadata, Security, and the DBA. The tutorial is an adapted textbook, and reads as such. The material will suit those who prefer to learn in this fashion.

Keywords: textbook, databases, SQL

Audience: beginner database users, autodidacts

5.     Developer Fusion

Developer Fusion contains a useful section on databases with a number of resources. The site offers a database of tutorials for advanced database users, dealing with somewhat esoteric, professional-level topics in database management. Other useful offerings include a library of useful code, indexed by topic and purpose, free e-books on database management topics, podcasts, an extensive forum and jobs board.

Keywords: forum, tutorials, e-books, podcasts

Audience: advanced-professional database users

6.     Udemy‎

Udemy hosts a library of user-generated video tutorials. These are somewhat like MOOCs, in that they consist in courses of video lectures, accompanied by user forums. Searching “Database” and setting the price filter to free can access the free courses on database design. The database design courses are “Introduction to MySQL Database”, “Develop Database Application Without Manual Coding”, and “MySQL Database for Beginners”. The best of these is MySQL Database for Beginners. The disadvantage of these courses compared to the MOOCs already featured is their lack of built in revision and examination.

Keywords: tutorial, user-generated, forum, MySQL

Audience: beginner-intermediate database users

7.     Webyog Top 10 things to monitor on your MySQL

This is a guide to best-practice database administration. It includes some important advice for first-time database administrators setting up their databases.

8.     Anchor

This tutorial teaches you to create a simple MySQL relational database. The single page guide walks you through all the steps to create a one-to-one, one-to-many, and/or many-to-many database, providing the necessary code and explaining how the database is built at each step. The guide is a great way for intermediate users to move from database theory to actually building a first sample database.

Keywords: MySQL, tutorial, one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-many, guide

Audience: intermediate database users

9.     Saylor “Introduction to Modern Database Systems

This is a MOOC without the pedigree of the three big offerings listed above. The course makes use of free materials stored around the web and pieces them together to form a cohesive course. The course itself, therefore, consists of a series units comprised of lectures, readings and assessments, which are all links to outside websites. Surprisingly, it really does scan like a total course, and the links to materials provide a sort of compendium of database related resources around the web.

Keywords: MOOC, course, lecture, exam, revision

Audience: beginner – intermediate database users

10.  Dream in Code

This short tutorial walks readers through creating a basic database in MySQL: creating a table and inserting some arbitrary values. This could be a good resource for those who have completed one or more basic tutorials and want a bit of supervised practice applying their new knowledge. The tutorial contains helpful screenshots of the MySQL command line, as well as all the necessary code.

Keywords: tutorial, web page, simple database

Audience: intermediate database users

11.  StackExchange

Programmers/StackExchange is a huge forum devoted to topics in programming. Given the nature of forums, there is no single authoritative thread about database design, but a tag-based search (accessed through the “tags” tab) reveals more than 1000 threads related to databases. Professional programmers use the forum and topics range from beginner to advanced to professional level, though Stack Exchange is probably strongest in the beginner to advanced section. Stack Overflow is another Stack Exchange community devoted to professional level programming topics. Stack Overflow is also searchable using tags.

Keywords: forum, Stack Exchange, Stack Overflow

Audience: beginner – professional database users

12.  Tekstenuitleg

Don’t let the mouthful of a title put you off. This course is one of the best and clearest non-MOOC tutorials in this list. The tutorials cover topics from basic to intermediate level in clear language, with neat, legible presentation. It begins with the theory of databases, and moves through all essential topics for an intermediate user, including one-to-many, many-to-many, and one-to-one relationships, database normalization, normal forms etc.

Keywords: database design, theory, webpage, tutorial, normalization, SQL

Audience: beginner-intermediate database users

13.  Microsoft

The Microsoft SQL Server pages contain a library of useful resources for beginning users of SQL Server. Among these resources is a particularly good hour-long video lecture “Introduction to Database Design”. The remaining topics address more specific topics within SQL Server. This is also the address to download SQL Server, for those who don’t yet have it.

Keywords: SQL Server, SQL, database design

Audience: beginner-advanced database users

14.  Quora

Quora is another online forum that is particularly strong in programming topics. Many of the questions posed have a somewhat philosophical bent, such as “Is reality a database? however, there are also many questions that address everyday topics such as “In what situations should one use a given database over another?”, or big topics such as “Have any NoSQL databases become viable replacements for SQL databases yet?”

Keywords: forum, database design, database administration

Audience: advanced – professional database users

15.  Geek Girl’s

Geek Girl’s guide to plain English computing has a great collection of resources for beginning database users. There are two tutorial collections: Databasics and Databases from Scratch. Databasics covers basic theory, terminology, and a guide to creating your first database. Databases from Scratch is a more applied course, and is specific to design and design issues with databases. The site also contains a useful encyclopedia of database terminology, with highly informative explanations for each entry.

Keywords: Microsoft access, tutorial, database dictionary, encyclopedia

Audience: beginner – intermediate database users

16.  My Digital Life “How to Back-Up and Restore MySQL Databases”

This course provides a guide to what is likely to be a common issue for database beginners: back-up and restoral of databases. The course is specific to MySQL. It covers a range of ways to back-up database – structure only backup, data only, and text file backup – and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Keywords: back-up, archiving, restoring, management

Audience: beginning database users

17.  Tuts+

Tuts+ has a great library of tutorials for database users of all levels. There is a good beginners course on “Relational Databases for Dummies”, as well as a range of courses devoted to specific topics in database usage. One other useful tutorial for intermediate or advanced database users considering creating their first real database is the “20 MySQL best practices”, which covers common traps and mistakes, and provides a guide for creating a more efficient database by avoiding them.

Keywords: Tuts+, tutorials, guides

Audience: beginner-advanced database users

18.  SQL Server Curry

SQL Server Curry is the blog of three SQL Server administrators and trainers. The blog topics are mostly in the form of tutorials addressing specific, professional level topics in SQL Server. The tutorials are comprehensive, with easy to read code and helpful screenshots. The blog is regularly updated. The blog is devoted to SQL and SQL Server, though occasionally diverts into comparisons with other systems.

Keywords: SQL, SQL Server

Audience: professional database users

19.  Microsoft Virtual Academy

Microsoft is not usually the first company that comes to mind in connection with high quality free training resources; however, this database fundamentals is good enough to rival all but the best MOOC offerings in this list. This is a module based course covering: core database concepts, relational concepts, creating databases and database objects, DML statements and SQL Server administration. The 5 modules are each comprised of around 20 minutes of video lectures with PowerPoint slides, a free e-book, as well as an option to test your knowledge with an exam.

Keywords: SQL, SQL Server, Microsoft, video lecture, exam, test

Audience: beginner-intermediate database users

20.  Search SQL Server

SQL Server is a huge library of resources for SQL Server professionals. The libraries include tutorials, free e-books and guides, white papers, and blogs. The tutorials cover advanced topics in SQL Server, such as performance improvements in large databases, best practice procedures, data integrity etc. The free e-book “Consolidate SQL Servers” is a particularly valuable resource, as it is a comprehensive user guide to SQL Server for beginners to advanced users.

Keywords: SQL Server, administrator, administration, professional

Audience: professional database users, some resources suitable for beginner-advanced database users

21.  Redis

Redis is a key-value store database. It is best suited to datasets containing very simple data structures, but which require complex operations (it offers an enormous library of commands). This makes it ideal for real time data collection and analysis of data series with a predictable size, such as financial market analytics. The Redis website also offers and interactive tutorial, reminiscent of Codeacademy, to facilitate the acclimatization of new users.

Keywords: key value, NoSQL

Audience: NoSQL database users with the requirements outlined above

22.  Kristoff Kovacs’ comparison of NoSQL databases

This resource is for those who have already decided a NoSQL database is suitable for them but are not sure which database to use. Kovacs compares the following NoSQL databases: Cassandra, Mongodb, CouchDB, Redis, Riak, Couchbase (ex-Membase), Hypertable, ElasticSearch, Accumulo, VoltDB, Kyoto Tycoon, Scalaris, Neo4j and HBase. The table compares programming language, type of license, and protocol for each of the NoSQL databases. Kovacs also summarizes the important features of each database, an archetypical project for which each database would be most suitable, and a list of generic tasks at which each database is superior.

Keywords: NoSQL databases, comparison, big data

Audience: beginner NoSQL database users

23.  MongoDB

Mongo is a cross-platform, NoSQL, database system used for storing documents. It is the most popular NoSQL database system by number of users. Mongo documents are grouped into collections and stored in a binary JSON format. This allows for a greater degree of freedom in the definition of document attributes: there is no need to define in advance whether an attribute will be a string, integer etc. Documents in Mongo are grouped into collections, performing a similar function to tables in a relational database. These features combined make Mongo a particularly good choice for SQL/PostgreSQL users wanting to avoid the restrictions of predefined attributes.

Keywords: NoSQL, database, JSON

Audience: big database users

24.  MongoDB University

Mongo University offers a small collection of courses/classes and certifications for Mongo users. Despite the limited range, the courses are seriously good. They are run like MOOCs, meaning they are available a few times a year. Course offerings include: Mongo for developers, Mongo for Database Administrators, and Mongo Advanced Deployment and Operations. Courses offer a certificate of completion. MongoDB University also offers certification exams, which are not free.

Keywords: MongoDB, NoSQL, MOOC, certification

Audience: professional users of Mongo

25.  Riak

Riak is an open-source, distributed key/value, NoSQL database. Riak’s best feature is its durability: it can tolerate substantial hardware failures without losing data, meanwhile remaining available for read/write operations. The Riak website also includes a great series of tutorials for new users, divided into tutorials for developers and users. The tutorials have helpful images and include all necessary code.

Keywords: NoSQL, database

Audience: NoSQL database users who need reliability

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