Decision Time: SQL
Writing this a good bit late but whatevs…
So as my Learn SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization (UC Davis, Coursera) began to wind down, it came time to decide, what’s next?
I realized that I really like SQL. And even though not all the classes in the Learn SQL Specialization were wonderful (looking at you Spark), I decided I wanted to go on and learn more advanced skills in SQL and wanted to explore where it might take me professionally. But I had trouble finding “advanced” SQL classes. Yeah, I had read that you can learn the first 30% of SQL quickly and then the other 70% takes a lifetime. But where to continue? All the other SQL classes I found spent a lot of time on the basics I (thought I) already knew.
These thoughts were passing through my head (there’s a lot of room for movement up there) around Black Friday (the friday after American Thanksgiving, a day known for absurd sales). Datacamp was offering a year membership including access to all their classes, evaluations, everything, for USD99 for a year. Hard to pass up. And they have a data engineer career track. Kind of exactly what I was looking for. This should teach me advanced SQL stuff right? So I went for it.
So far I’m four classes into a 25 class track. I’ve finished “Data Engineering For Everyone,” “Introduction to Data Engineering,” “Streamlined Data Ingestion with Pandas,” and “Writing Efficient Python Code.” The final 21 courses cover more Python, shell, bash, Airflow, PySpark, AWS Boto, database design, Scala, SQL Server and MongoDB. I don’t necessarily know what all those things are, but they sound fun.
So far I have enjoyed Datacamp. The evaluations have humbled me. The classes are more standardized structurally than Coursera, which is nice, I know what to expect, but it does take away from some of the surprise. The assignments in class are mostly fill-in-the-blank into code, so they can be easy to finish without entirely knowing what you’re doing. Datacamp offers “projects” though, which I am assuming are more open-ended. After a few more classes I’ll jump in and try one out. I’ll tell you when I do…
(I’m realizing now, a few months after deciding that I needed “advanced” SQL classes, that there are options, they are just not called “advanced.” See my more current SQL post for my more current thoughts on this)