5 Best Books to learn SQL and Database design in 2024

Published in
9 min readJun 30, 2020
image_credit — Database Design and Management

Hello guys, if you want to learn SQL and Database design in 2024 and looking for the best SQL & DB Design books then you have come to the right place. Earlier, I have shared the best SQL and database courses, best Websites to learn SQL, and today, I am going to share the best online courses to learn Database design and SQL in 2024.

Database design and modeling are some of those topics which rarely get the attention they deserve, especially at the start of the project, but once things have gone out of hand, then everybody talks about them.

Comments like — this database is designed poorly, the schema is not performing well, you cannot add a new column easily, etc. becomes very common.

The most problem with database design is that it is mainly done by application developers like Java or C++ developer who knows SQL, but they are not expert on how to design tables and schema.

Database admins or DBAs know database and SQL better than application programmers, but they mostly focus on the admin part of the database, preferably on application part like designing tables and relations between them, which is left to the application developer.

This leads to the creation of a poorly designed database that crumbled with exposure to the real world in production, because of that SQL and Database design are also one of essential skills for programmers who want to crack coding interviews. Good knowledge of SQL and Database design goes a long way in software development

When you design a database poorly, it works well on QA but the first hit comes when performances start going down once real data is inserted, and the second and final blow comes when the requirement evolves, and you find it hard to cope with that.

You suddenly found that just adding one or more columns has required your modification in a lot of places and its breaking constraints etc.

In this article, I’ll share some of the best books to learn database design and also mention some online courses like SQL & Database Design by Kirill Eremenko on Udemy to teach you the basics of database design.

Top 5 Books to Learn Database Design and SQL in 2024

The database design and modeling are essential for programmers of all levels and languages to understand this core piece of information because no matter where you are working, you will more or less work with the relational database.

Here is my list of books that will help you to both learn and master this topic once and for all. Some of the books focus on a particular database vendor like SQL Server, but you can still learn some important lessons there, which are applicable to other databases as well.

1. Database Design for Mere Mortals

Database Design for Mere Mortals is the perfect introduction to relational database design for the novice and anyone needing a refresher. With his many years of real-world experience designing relational databases, Michael J. Hernandez, the author of the book, shows you how to analyze and improve existing databases, implement keys, define table relationships and business rules, and create data views,

— real-world examples
— easy to read

— didn’t go deep on indexing, applying primary/foreign key and applying constraints to prevent the integrity of data
— not enough discussion of the various normal form and when they should be used

If you want, you can also combine this book with the SQL & Database Design by Kirill Eremenko on Udemy, which is also very affordable and you can get in just $10 on Udemy flash sales.

In short, Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design 3rd Edition by Michael J. Hernandez is an excellent book to learn database modeling and design from scratch.

2. Beginning Database Design Solutions

This is another excellent and one of the best books to learn data modeling and database design. This book explains database design, which is very important because a poorly designed database can be a headache in the long term.

The Beginning Database Design Solutions by Rod Stephens has the best advice on normalization, common database design patterns, and common design pitfalls you need to avoid.

It tells how to plan a database’s structure so that the database will be robust, resistant to errors, and flexible enough to accommodate a reasonable amount of future change. It also explains how to discover database requirements, build data models, and refine those models to improve the database’s effectiveness.

The book also covers both MySQL and Microsoft Access, but even if you are using a different database, no need to worry much, concepts discussed in this book apply to all significant databases. You can also combine this book with Learn SQL using MySQL and Database Design course by Tim Buchalaka on Udemy to learn some MySQL-specific database design tips.

The Beginning Database Design Solutions by Rod Stephens is full of examples and exercises which not only teach you how to do stuff but also challenge you to apply your knowledge and solve problems. The exercises will push you to think through scenarios, which eventually help you to get better at designing a database.

3. Six-Step Relational Database Design

This is another excellent book to learn relational database design. The best part of the book is that it has some case studies which teach you from the start like the client’s requirement to design a relational database.

It covers essential design theory, database modeling, and follow-up with implementation. The book is also quite readable, so you don’t need to read one chapter many times to understand it.

As the name (Six-Step Relational Database Design: A step by step approach to relational database design and development Second Edition by Fidel A Captain) suggests, it teaches you to go from requirement to a fully functional database in just 6 steps.

I also recommend you to combine this book with Database Design Fundamentals for Software Engineers course on Educative, a text-based interactive coding and learning platform. This course has some nice diagrams to teach you normalization and other key database design concepts.

4. SQL Anti patterns: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Database Programming

It’s not just enough to learn best practices, it’s equally important not to repeat the “bad practices” or antipatterns that cause problems.

If you don’t avoid those bad practices, you will end up with nothing even if you are doing good with other design stuff.

The book contains several practical pieces of advice on common patterns which many of us use without knowing how much harm they do.

No matter, whatever platform or programming language you use, whether you’re a junior programmer or a Ph.D., The SQL Antipatterns: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Database Programming by Bill Karwin will show you how to design and build databases, how to write better database queries, and how to integrate SQL programming with your application like an expert.

5. Pro SQL Server 2008 Relational Database Design and Implementation

One of the fantastic books to learn how to design databases that perform well. This book is a must-read for any SQL Server developer or anyone who just wants to learn how to develop databases.

It covers all essential topics, including normalization, security, and how to protect the integrity of data using constraints and triggers.

The most important thing about this book is fun to read. Unlike other books on database design and implementation, you don’t need to read a chapter multiple times to digest the concepts.

It also provides tips and tricks to solve many business problems, and each chapter ends with a best-practice summary. If you want, you can also combine this book with an online course like Why Physical Database Design Matters from Pluralsight for more active learning.

The only drawback of Pro SQL Server 2008 Relational Database Design and Implementation by Louis Davidson, Kevin Kline, Scott Klein, and Kurt Windisch is that it is centered around SQL Server, So, if you have been using Oracle or MySQL, you might find some discussion irrelevant, but in general, you will love this book, irrespective of which database you are working on.

6. Grokking the SQL Interview

If are preparing for Software developer interviews and you need SQL related questions not just queries but also database related questions from other topics like indexes, joins, group by, aggregation, and window functions then you can also checkout Grokking the SQL Interview book to prepare better.

This book contains frequently asked SQL and Database questions from essential topics like

1. SQL and Database Phone interview questions

2. Joins in SQL

3. SQL Query Questions

4. Indexes

5. Group by and Aggregation

6. SQL Date and Time Questions

7. Stored Procedures

8. Triggers and Views

9. Transactions

10. Window Function and CTE

11. Deep Dive on popular SQL Questions

If you are preparing for SQL interviews then I highly recommend you to go through these questions before your telephonic or face-to-face interviews, you will not only gain confidence and knowledge to answer the question but also learn how to drive Coding interviews in your favor.

This book is one of the specially designed book to prepare you for SQL interviews by answering popular questions. You an also use discount code friends20 to get 20% discount now.

That’s all about some of the best books to learn about Database design and modeling. A good database design goes a long way in keeping your data safe and then retrieving it easily.

If you want to learn how database design and modeling is essential, I suggest you read Why Physical Database Design Matters, the course is focused on SQL Server, but the advice given is applicable to all databases in general.

My other book recommendations and resources for further learning:
The Complete SQL Bootcamp
Top 5 Courses to learn Microsoft SQL Server
5 Best Books to Learn and Master SQL
Top 5 Courses to learn MySQL Database in-depth
5 Free SQL Books For Beginners and Experienced
Top 5 SQL and Database Courses for Programmers
Top 4 Books to learn Oracle PL/SQL Programming
5 Free Oracle and SQL Server Online Courses
Top 5 Advanced SQL Books for Experienced Programmers
Top 5 Courses to learn PostgreSQL for beginners
10 Books to Prepare Technical Programming/Coding Job Interviews

Thanks for reading this article so far, if you like these books, then please share them with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions for feedback, then please drop a note.

P. S. — If you prefer online courses more than reading books then you can also check out SQL for Beginners: Learn SQL using MySQL and Database Design for Programmers and Database admins. It not only help you to learn SQL but also Database design.




I am Java programmer, blogger, working on Java, J2EE, UNIX, FIX Protocol. I share Java tips on http://javarevisited.blogspot.com and http://java67.com