Getting Started

The 8 Week SQL Challenge is proudly brought to you by the Data With Danny virtual data apprenticeship program to celebrate the launch of the Serious SQL course!

What is the 8 Week SQL Challenge?

My idea was to create a community which supports all data professionals who were specifically starting on their SQL learning journey.

I also wanted to help everyone start crafting their own personal branding, online presence and a personal portfolio of data projects - and so the 8 Week SQL Challenge was born!

For the next 8 weeks - I challenge you to:

  • Dedicate yourself to learning SQL
  • Share regular updates on social media about what you are learning
  • Actively participate in the 8 Week SQL Challenge Slack community, ask questions and join in the discussion to help others
  • Get started on your own GitHub Pages personal website and project portfolio

How can I get started with the challenge?

  1. Register for the 8 Week SQL Challenge
  2. Introduce yourself on the official Slack channel
  3. Share an update on LinkedIn using the dedicated #8WeekSQLChallenge hashtag
  4. Start your SQL learning journey!

Here’s an example post you could share on LinkedIn - please feel free to improvise and personalise your post as much as you like!

When does the 8 Week SQL Challenge actually start?

In all honesty, the challenge has no official start or end date!

You can literally start the 8 Week SQL Challenge anytime you like :)

I will be releasing weekly case studies for the next 8 weeks starting from May 1st - make sure you register to receive new posts updates and other announcements about the 8 Week SQL Challenge!

I’m ready to start the challenge - what should I learn first?

There is no one single correct answer for this question but here are a few suggestions!

What else can I expect to find on this website?

On this main 8 Week SQL Challenge website - you’ll find the following content:

  • Weekly interactive SQL case studies
  • Comprehensive curated list of free SQL learning resources
  • Community announcements and live events

I’ll also be sending out regular emails too to all participants who register for the 8 Week SQL Challenge to keep you updated when new case studies and other posts are published!

What is Serious SQL?

Serious SQL is an online course that I’ve created - it is the very first part of the Data With Danny virtual apprenticeship program.

I’ve really put my heart and soul into the Serious SQL course and I truly believe that it will make a huge difference on your data journey!

Serious SQL is currently on sale for $29 and $19 for students from the standard price of $49 and $29, but only for a limited time so don’t miss out!

Here are a few reasons why I think Serious SQL is perfect for anyone starting their data and SQL learning journey - I’ve created this course to help beginners and experienced practitioners alike!

Course Datasets

Learn SQL by doing through multiple realistic end to end case studies that closely represent the sort of work we perform in a data analytics role and includes datasets and case studies from the following domains:

  • Health analytics
  • Marketing analytics
  • People analytics
  • Financial markets
  • Fast moving consumer goods
  • Digital marketing

Topics Covered

Cover many core SQL skills and techniques required for data analysis from beginner to advanced levels including:

  • Where filters and ordering data
  • Group by aggregates
  • Identifying and dealing with duplicate data
  • Common table expressions and subqueries
  • Summary statistics
  • Exploratory data analysis
  • Complex table joins
  • Entity relationship diagrams
  • SQL reverse engineering
  • Data problem solving techniques
  • All the window functions
  • Case When Statements
  • Recursive CTEs
  • Cumulative aggregates
  • Simple, weighted and exponential moving metrics
  • Historical vs Snapshot data analysis techniques
  • Temporary tables, database views and materialized views
  • Interpret SQL optimizer execution plans
  • String transformations including Regular Expressions
  • Date and Timestamp manipulation including timezones
  • Different types of table indexes
  • Impact of indexes on simple table operations
  • Loading raw data
  • Table schemas and data types

Additional Bonus Content

  • Gain familiarity with popular programming tools such as Docker, Markdown, GitHub and the command line interface (CLI)

  • Learn how to setup your own GitHub Pages project portfolio page with a guided step-by-step guide

  • Full access to complete solutions for all case studies included in the 8 Week SQL Challenge with full explanations

Course Setup

All database and SQL interface infrastructure are Docker based and I’ll help you get setup for Docker Desktop on Windows, Mac and Linux systems - Docker is simply a must-have skill if you want to move into data science and machine learning!

Installation and setup of all required data and systems is super fast and will run on all machine types that support Docker Desktop including Windows, Ubuntu and all Macs including the latest generation of Apple M1 Macs.

Dedicated Support

We also have dedicated Q&A threads for each separate course tutorial as well as a dedicated SQL Support Forum where all students enrolled in the course can share their SQL problems for direct assistance - even if its for data or problems that are not included in the course.

Serious SQL is currently on sale for $29 and $19 for students from the standard price of $49 and $29, but only for a limited time so don’t miss out!

Will you be providing case study coding solutions?

If you’d like to see the complete code solutions and detailed explanations for all case studies and a whole lot more, please consider joining me for the Serious SQL course - you’ll get access to all course materials, case study solutions and I’m on hand to answer all of your additional SQL questions directly!

Serious SQL students get access to complete solutions for each case study, they will be made available directly inside the Serious SQL course player after the case studies are published here so everyone has a chance to try and solve the problems before solutions are provided.

Complex sections identified by students will also have specific video explanations to cover key problem areas - join me to get customised support and in-depth explanations for the parts which you find most challenging.

I’m nervous about sharing stuff on LinkedIn - what should I do?

I totally understand this as I was in exactly the same position - scared out of my wits and never bringing myself to post anything!

The secret is to start posting regularly and aim to help others with your posts. That was the one single thing that really helped me grow on LinkedIn!

Remember the following tips for LinkedIn posts to maximise your reach:

  • Avoid sharing direct links in posts as reach is depressed for external and post shares - add the URLs after by editing your original post

  • Be sure to keep your first 2-3 lines catchy and snappy - you only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention in this digital world

  • Sometimes it helps to post an eye-catching picture - we humans process visual information much more efficiently than reading

  • The initial like:view ratio is the main determinant for your post reach, reshares also help boost overall view counts

  • Limit your amount of hashtags per post to 3-4 and aim for tags with lots of followers or specific community hashtags (like #8WeekSQLChallenge or #DataWithDanny or #66DaysOfData) - you can check the counts by clicking on the hashtag on LinkedIn (#Data #Analytics #DataScience #BigData are my go to tags for reach!)

  • Resharing other people’s posts is a good way to help promote their content but will usually generate low view counts for your post, this is normal

  • Join in the conversation and regularly comment on popular influencers’ posts

You might laugh at that last point - but trust me! This really works because this is pretty much how I became friends with many data superstars like Eric Weber, Ben Taylor and Kate Strachnyi :)


Final Thoughts

If you found any of these 8 Week SQL Challenge case studies helpful or valuable - please consider supporting me on Ko-fi!

The 8 Week SQL Challenge is proudly brought to you by me - Danny Ma and the Data With Danny virtual data apprenticeship program.

If you would like to contribute to the 8 Week SQL Challenge website or volunteer as a data community mentor - please get in touch with me anytime. I always enjoy meeting amazing people who have the same drive and motivation to help others!

You can reach me directly in the official Slack Channel or find me on social media:

Thank you so much for being a part of the 8 Week SQL Challenge and I really wish you the best of luck for your learning experience!

From your friendly data mentor,
Danny :)