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SQL Introduction Tutorial

Let’s explain SQL (Structured Query Language) to a complete beginner using real-life scenarios.

Imagine SQL as a language that allows you to talk to a computer to organize, manage, and retrieve data from a giant electronic filing cabinet. This electronic filing cabinet is a database, and it stores information in a structured way, just like a well-organized library or a spreadsheet.

Here are some real-life scenarios to help you understand SQL better:

  1. Library Catalog:

    • Think of a library with thousands of books. SQL helps the librarian search for books easily. You can ask SQL questions like, “Find me all the books published in 2021” or “Show me all the books written by a specific author.” SQL will go through the catalog and give you the results you want.
  2. Online Shopping:

    • When you shop online, you want to see products, their prices, and descriptions. SQL helps the website display this information to you. When you search for a product, SQL is behind the scenes, finding and showing you the relevant items.
  3. Social Media Friends:

    • On social media, you have many friends. SQL helps you find your friends by searching for their names. You can also use it to see all the posts from your friends from the past week.
  4. Bank Transactions:

    • Banks use SQL to keep track of your transactions. When you check your account balance at an ATM, SQL helps fetch your recent transactions and calculate your balance.
  5. Airline Reservations:

    • Airlines use SQL to manage flight bookings. When you book a flight, SQL ensures there are available seats and keeps your reservation until you pay.

In these scenarios, SQL is like a magic language that understands your questions and retrieves the answers from the database. Here’s how SQL works in simple steps:

  • SELECT: When you want to see something from the database, you use the SELECT statement. It’s like asking a question.

    Example: SELECT book_title FROM library WHERE publication_year = 2021

    This statement says, “Show me the titles of books that were published in 2021.”

  • INSERT: When you want to add new information to the database, you use the INSERT statement. It’s like adding a new book to the library catalog.

    Example: INSERT INTO shopping_cart (product_name, price) VALUES ('Smartphone', 599.99)

    This statement says, “Add a Smartphone to my shopping cart with a price of $599.99.”

  • UPDATE: When you want to change existing information, you use the UPDATE statement. It’s like updating a book’s information in the library catalog.

    Example: UPDATE friends SET city = 'New York' WHERE name = 'Alice'

    This statement says, “Change Alice’s city to New York in my friends list.”

  • DELETE: When you want to remove information, you use the DELETE statement. It’s like removing a book from the library catalog.

    Example: DELETE FROM shopping_cart WHERE product_name = 'Smartphone'

    This statement says, “Remove the Smartphone from my shopping cart.”


SQL is a powerful tool that helps organize and manage data in various applications, making it easier for people to interact with information and databases efficiently. Just like learning any language, you can start with the basics and gradually learn more as you go along.

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