SQL for Beginners

  • course details
  • Dates and time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, Oct. 2 – 25
  • Location: Online, instructor-led live sessions
  • Number of sessions: 8 sessions over 4 weeks
  • Instructional fee: $1,195, reduced fees available (see Cost section below for details)
  • Format: Zoom videoconference

This certificate course introduces relational database systems using MySQL. Many of the concepts will be transferable to other database technologies. No previous knowledge of database systems is required.

You are encouraged to bring your own data or project ideas to class sessions. These will be used throughout the program to fuel practical implementations of the concepts learned in class. Data may take any format, such as excel, csv, xml or others. During the program, you will take your own data and convert it into a relational database with a web-based frontend.

What you will learn

  • Understand the general methods and theories of database design
  • Apply relational database methods and theories to practical real-world problems
  • Connect a web frontend to a backend relational database

Who should attend

Working professionals, engineers, managers and those moving into a database role or whose role has expanded to include database technologies, including those who wish to utilize relational database technologies in their own area of work.

Course content

A typical course covers the following:

  1. Intro Session: Program overview, capstone starter, cohort introductions and relational algebra
  2. Entity relationship modeling, logical data modeling
  3. Transforming the logical data model and entity relationship models to a physical model, including tables with relationships and keys using CREATE, DROP, INSERT, SELECT and DELETE
  4. Database normalization, denormalization
  5. Common indexing methods
  6. Advanced querying techniques, including JOINs, aggregate functions and GROUP BY
  7. Connecting a web-based front-end using Python to the backend database
  8. Capstone presentations

Capstone projects are chosen by you at the beginning of the program (in alignment with the needs of your employer). Combination of the in-class training and the application of course concepts synthesized with real-world capstone project applications will help accelerate and increase your knowledge depth. You will receive one-on-one reviews of your database project with the instructor.

Student materials

Course materials will be provided in PDF format. In addition, you will need:

  • Software available to download for free
    • MySQL Community Server
    • MySQL Workbench
    • Python 3.9 with associated libraries


Ben McCamish received his Ph.D. from Oregon State University and is currently scholarly assistant professor at WSU Vancouver. His research areas include databases and information retrieval using game theory techniques to improve dynamic database effectiveness. Some of the related courses he teaches include Introduction to Databases and Information Retrieval. He also serves on the WSU Data Analytics Curriculum Committee.


The instructional fee is $1,195. There are limited number of seats available for employees of small businesses with fewer than 150 employees ($598), non-profits and educational institutions ($299), and for current WSU students ($120) and employees ($299). All instructional fees are per person and include a nonrefundable administrative fee of $75. See registration for details.

The registration fee is the same regardless of residence.

Meetings and format

The course is delivered via Zoom videoconference with live instruction. To attend, you need a computer with webcam, microphone and high-speed internet.

Each Zoom session allows for live interactions with the instructor and other students via chat, web conferencing or phone, all in real time. Assignments and other materials will be available online through a web-based learning management system.

Certificate completion

Earning the certificate requires the following:

  • Attending at least six of eight classes
  • Completion and presentation of capstone project
  • A score of at least 80% on a multiple-choice test (open book and offline). The test will be available at the end of the seventh class.