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How I Landed My First Analyst Role? And How You Can Do It Yourself? My 101 SQL Learning Guide

Well, not a long time ago (almost 4 years to be more precise), when I was an account strategist in Google, I started to think about my next career move.

At some point, when I felt that professionally I'm familiar enough with industry I've worked in, I had more time to invest in my professional development.

My daily tasks helped me realise that there was one part in my role that I enjoyed significantly more than the other ones - the analytical part!

During my day-to-day job, I've analysed huge data sets for several customers in the advertising industry (clients who I've been managing together with my POD = teammates). Mostly, using Google Sheets or Excel (and some internal tools I can't really write about ;)).

For a while, I realised that a huge portion of my tasks could be done faster and easier using automation or more advanced analytical tools.

Google, being one of the top working places in the world, really empowered self learning among us, and encouraged creative thinking when it helps the teams reach their targets and help the BoB grow.

And that's exactly why and when I decided to learn SQL by myself.

At that point, I took several online courses (free of charge), some internal trainings and luckily, I could practice what I'e learned and get some 'hands on' experience as well during my time in Google.

So, I hope some of you reading those lines, are looking for a way to improve your daily work, automate your reports and learn some new skills. So - I truly believe you'll find the next few few tips super helpful!


Ready to start? Let's review my tips and learning guide recommendations

The 'Why'

First of all, I believe you should take the learning period as a test for yourself -

  • Do you find SQL a possible solution for existing problems you're facing?

  • Does your next career role requires SQL as a skill?

  • Are you eager to learn a new skill that will help you with better analysing your data sets?

Those are just some examples, if you answered 'yes' to at least one of them - you're in the right place!

The 'When'

Well, that's not really a question anymore! Whether you're looking for your next role or already looking to improve your technical knowledge, SQL is a really good way to start! SQL isn't as complex as other programming languages (Java, Python...), and it's quite easy to learn the basics thanks to amazing online free resources.

The 'How'

The online web is PACKED with SQL a beginner, you may find it hard to focus and to choose the right course for yourself.

That's why in my opinion, you should set some goals of milestones (the order also matters) :

  • Understanding the history & a bit of the theory behind SQL.

  • Learning SQL basics - mainly syntax and simple Joins.

  • Learning Advanced SQL - complex Joins, working with Nulls , window functions etc..

  • Learning the business side & finding a use case to practice on.

  • Learning for an interview - SQL interview questions (I guess we will have a separate post dedicated to this topic by itself).

Hands on is a must - at any point you feel ready to do so, I recommend trying to work on a small project -

Some ideas for your first hands-on project:

  1. Recreate a report you already pull out in Excel/Google Sheets

  2. Connect with NGOs for a free project

  3. Create a project using free online dataset

  4. Or - ask in our Facebook group to get some ideas and inspiration :)


Nicole Herszkowicz - BI Analyst

Data-Queens, Co-Founder

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