Essential SQL has launched as an entirely free series dedicated to Learning SQL. The brainchild of Kris Wenzel, the site is passionate about helping "non-techie" people to overcome their fear of learning SQL.
Wenzel says he is trying to reach people that don't have a software development background, yet need to work with information.
"I've found over the years there are many tools being used by folks in IT, HR, and finance that rely heavily on databases — yet most users are held captive to pre-canned dashboards and reports that answer 80% of the problem, but don't take them all the way. Yet, if they knew some SQL, they could further tap into their data to achieve their goals," he said.
It is not too bold a suggestion, he says, to think that there might also be some developers that could really use some SQL training as well. He says that although SQL isn't hard to learn, it can be very difficult to know where to start, and the learning curve can be quite steep. "I want to create a community where anyone feels comfortable asking questions and is comfortable spending time on lessons, knowing what they are learning is relevant, not esoteric."
The foundation of this website is a series of lessons that are still developing. One lesson a week is released and the lessons are written in a conversational style and supplemented with approximately 15 minutes of video. Wenzel tries to shoot for three to four segments of 5 minutes each with a conversational style where people are encouraged to ask questions. Right now the lessons mainly focus on basic standard SQL using SQLite (which is simple to install and can run on both Windows and Apple OSx).
Wenzel has a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan. He had theoretical database training in college, but really didn't get started with SQL until around 1995.
"I have experience designing and developing databases in both Oracle and MS SQL Server. When I'm not working full time as a DB Manager, I'm usually coding in C# or learning more about MS SQL Server," he said.