Best SQL Courses for Banking and Finance (2024)

In FinTech by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:

SQL is a rather versatile language that finds applications in most sectors of the economy. That should not come as a surprise given that SQL is essentially all about working with data and in the modern world, everyone generates data. For the banking and financial services industry, this is especially true as billions of transactions are generated daily and all that data has to be understood.

SQL is still a highly desirable skill for many roles within finance specifically and the tech world generally. You’ll find SQL as a listed requirement for more jobs compared to other mainstream programming languages. With the advent of data science and analysis, this trend has only strengthened further. This is a language that you need to know to operate effectively in the modern workplace.

In order to help you master SQL, I have shortlisted the following handful of courses from a vast sea based on quality, relevance, brand value etc. Essentially, this is the list of courses that I would pick for myself. Here is the list of my top picks.

1. Learn SQL Nanodegree Program from Udacity

Why take this course?

This is one of the most comprehensive SQL training programs available online that will take you from beginner to advanced level in a matter of weeks. In addition to the quality content, there are a few small projects to explore that should help you better understand what you learned from a practical perspective.

You will start with an introductory course that will teach you to execute core SQL commands to define, select, manipulate, control access, aggregate and join data and data tables. You will also know hot to use subqueries, window functions, , partitions to complete complex tasks, cleaning data, optimize SQL queries and writing advanced JOINs to enhance performance.

You then move on to the management of relational and non-relational databases. This includes subtopics like building normalised, consistent and performant relational data models, using SQL Database Definition Language to create data schemas, applying SQL Database Manipulation Language to migrate data, understanding the differences between relational and non-relational databases and so on.

Udacity provides plenty of value-added services to its users as well. You get access to technical mentors and Resume/ LinkedIn profile reviews. It’s a pretty full-service program where almost everything you need to get desk-ready seems to be taken care of.


  • Time to Complete: Should take around 2 months depending on your weekly commitment.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand.
  • A complete SQL learning experience that covers almost everything you need to get desk-ready.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now

2. Excel to MySQL: Analytic Techniques for Business from Duke University

This course is focused mostly on the business side of things. You will be framing business challenges as data questions and then use powerful tools like Excel, tableau, MyQSL to analyse data, create models, prepare forecasts, design visualizations and communicate that information to stakeholders. If that is your use case, then read on ahead.

Data driven companies use data analytics to increase profitability and competitiveness. You are essentially unlock hidden potential that is not otherwise visible to using data. This is what makes business analysts valuable and that is the focus of this course. You will learn the benefits of embracing data culture and learn how big companies like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb using big data.

The next module covers data analysis using Excel. You will create a practical model used by a bank to evaluate credit car application and another model to maximize profits. This hands on and practical experience goes a long way in giving learners the confidence they need to approach these problems in the real world.

No amount of data crunching can be useful unless you can present it to stakeholders and decision makers in a useful way. You will learn to visualize the data and communicate it effectively using Tableau. You will also learn to manage big data using MySQL. Relational databases, entity-relationship diagrams, and execution of query and table and aggregation statements.


Duration120-150 hours
FormatFully online and on-demand

Preview Course/ Enroll Now

3. MicroBachelors Program in Data Management with Python and SQL from Southern New Hampshire University

Why take this course?

If you are looking for more than just the basics, then this is the course for you. As the name suggests, this MicroBachelors program has more in common with a full college undergrad program than an introduction. However, you still get it in a highly digestible, beginner friendly package that you can complete fully online and at your own pace. That strikes the perfect balance between convenience and learning in my opinion.

The course has two modules and focuses on using SQL and Python for data management. Data management allows analysts to asses the health of a business and plan for the future by spotting patterns that are not visible to others. Its a rapidly growing filed and good Python and SQL experts will find themselves to be in high demand.

The SQL module covers preparing digital data storage using the relational model, SQL queries, reading and developing database schema, applying normalization to a dataset, understanding how to export data to existing schemas and SQL joins, troubleshooting SQL code, resolving integrity constraints etc.

This is an expertly taught, advanced course and you will receive a formal certificate on course completion and clearing the exam. Use this opportunity to build your CV or LinkedIn profile.


  • Time to Complete: Should take around 6-8 months.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand via edX – an eLearning platform founded by Harvard and MIT.
  • A highly detailed SQL course designed for serious learners.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now

4. Modern Big Data Analysis with SQL from Cloudera

Why take this course?

This is a beginner friendly SQL course that focuses on modern usage of SQL. Databases today are so big that they have to be stored on clouds and distributed clusters. This course focuses on querying these databases using the newer distributed query engines SQL engines like Hive, Impala, Presto and Drill.

The course starts off by building a foundational understanding of SQL is all about covering topics like database and table design, features of SQL to work with big data systems, and exploration of some databases and tables using a virtual machine environment. Then you’ll move on to analysing big data with SQL engines like Hive and Impala. By this point, you should be able to explore, filter, sort results and combine multiple tables etc.

Lastly, you move on to managing big data in clusters and cloud storage which is whole different ball game. You’ll learn how to manage big data sets, how to load them into clusters and cloud storage, how to apply structure to that data so that you can run queries on it using distributed SQL engines. You’ll also focus on choosing the right data types, storage systems, file formats and the right tools for the job.

You round up things with several practical projects that involves hands-on peer graded assignments applying what you learned in each course. Cloudera is a leader in the data space. They have plenty of real-world experience working with the financial services and other industries and they even offer industry certifications. This expertise and real-world experience shines through in this course rather well.


  • Time to Complete: Should take around 48 hours to complete depending on your skill level.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand via Coursera’ excellent eLearning platform.
  • A beginner friendly SQL course that focuses on modern data usage; created by an industry leader.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now


5. SQL Basics for Data Science from UC Davis

Why take this course?SQL-Courses

This is one of the most popular SQL courses out there and that is partly due to its excellent quality and beginner friendly approach to learning. However, just because it is beginner friendly does not mean it does not cover the advanced topics in exquisite detail. UC Davis, as always, has created an excellent offering with this one.

The course starts off with a primer in the fundamentals of SQL and working with data. You will be taught to write simple SQL queries that gradually go up in complexity, create new tables and move data into them, filter and pare down results, work with different types of data like strings and numbers, common operators, structure and relationships in real world data and so on.

Data wrangling, analysis and AB testing with SQL is then covered. You will learn to covert timestamps, perform optimal JOIN, run quality checks, segment and analyse data, use case statements to execute conditional logic, covert a query into a scheduled job etc. Lastly, you move onto distributed computing with Spark SQL. You will gain an understanding of when and how to use Spark as an engine that combines data and AI technologies.

The course wraps with a capstone project that gives you the chance to apply your knowledge and skills to practice important SQL querying sand solving problems with data. Its as close to the real thing with you having to choose a dataset, develop a project proposal, uncover analytics and make sense from the patterns. Only on successfully completing all these courses and projects will you be awardee with the completion corticate that should go a long way towards your CV building efforts.


  • Time to Complete: Should take around 80 hours to complete depending on your skill level.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand via Coursera’ excellent eLearning platform.
  • Another beginner friendly SQL course that focuses on big data and data analysis.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now

Related Articles

About the Author

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav (LinkedIn) started his finance career as an intern in Citi’s Institutional Clients Group in 2009, eventually ending up as an Associate Director at Standard Chartered Bank’s Corporate & Institutional Banking division a few years later. By 2016, he was an independent consultant helping FinTech start-ups in London with product development and launch. Gaurav also helps banks with their digital banking initiatives and advises PE & VC firms with investments in the financial services and FinTech sectors. Gaurav writes on topics ranging from EU banking regulations and tradional finance to Blockchain startups and the future of banking itself! He has an Engineering degree in Computer Science and an MBA with a double major in Finance and Marketing. He is also a Certified Financial Risk Manager.