How to Learn Database Design

Discover how to learn database design, either by taking online courses or attending a database design bootcamp. Learn about database design jobs.
20 min read

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There are many types of database models, the most common of which is the relational database. A relational database organizes data into tables and uses primary keys to identify each data set. Relational databases typically use Structured Query Language (SQL).

Database designers organize data according to the database model they are using. They must understand the relationships among different datatypes in the database model, and they must be fluent in SQL or another database query language. According to Payscale, the average database developer salary was $77,730 per year as of March 2022.

To qualify for a job as a database developer, database administrator, or database engineer, you should know SQL. It might be a good idea to learn another programming language as well, such as Python, R, Java, or C#. It is useful to understand how to find relationships among different data types and organize the data efficiently.

You can learn these skills by taking online courses or attending a coding bootcamp. This guide explores how to learn database design on your own or through a bootcamp. Students who prefer a traditional approach might consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in database management.

Coding Bootcamps

Database design bootcamps are hard to come by, but many web development and data science bootcamps teach SQL. Coding bootcamps provide an intensive learning experience that usually lasts 3-6 months full time. Part-time programs take longer to complete. The average bootcamp cost $13,580 in 2021.

Coding bootcamps prepare you for a specific job, such as web developer. If you take a web development bootcamp, you will likely learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with SQL.

If you want to be a database administrator, you should ask the bootcamp provider how much time the program spends on SQL. You will want to get as much practice as possible using this language.

Find the Right Coding Bootcamp For You

Online Courses

Independent learners can find plenty of database design and SQL courses online. Some of them are even free. However, most online courses that charge a fee are still much less expensive than attending a bootcamp. Online courses typically cost between $20 and $200, although some are more expensive.

Most online courses allow you to progress at your own pace. The course description should indicate the required time commitment. Many online courses use videos for instruction, but some are text-based, and some combine video and text.

These five courses can help students learn database design and SQL.

  • Database Design: This Udemy course teaches students about the different types of database keys, data types, relationships, and normalization. The course contains 8.5 hours of on-demand video and costs $34.99.
  • Database Design and Basic SQL in PostgreSQL: The University of Michigan offers this course through Coursera. It teaches students to use SQL in the PostgreSQL environment. It takes 14 hours to complete and costs nothing if you can complete it within the seven-day free trial. It costs $39 per month after the trial.
  • Database Design and Management: This 2.7-hour video teaches database design with ERD. Students learn about relationships, keys, triggers, database view, and stored procedures. This is a free YouTube video.
  • Database Design: This free course from Datacamp teaches students to design databases in SQL. The course has four chapters:
    • Processing, storing, and organizing data
    • Database schemas and normalization
    • Database views
    • Database management
  • Database Systems Concepts and Design: Georgia Tech offers this free course through Udacity. The course teaches database application development methodology using a real-world case. It takes approximately 16 weeks to complete.

Online Courses vs. Bootcamps

Pros Cons
Online Courses
  • Many prestigious schools such as the University of Michigan and MIT offer online courses.
  • Most online courses are self-paced to easily fit into your daily schedule.
  • Online courses are usually cheaper than bootcamps, and some are even free.
  • You may not get any teamwork experience with an online course.
  • Online courses require a great deal of self-discipline.
  • There may not be an instructor around to answer your questions or help with career services.
Coding Bootcamps
  • Coding bootcamps cost much less than a bachelor's degree.
  • Coding bootcamps teach you everything you need to know to be job-ready within a few months.
  • If you take a coding bootcamp, an instructor will help you if you don't understand something.
  • If you take a full-time coding bootcamp, you will have to take time off work to complete the bootcamp.
  • You typically have to log in at a certain time and attend classes live.
  • Coding bootcamps usually cost more than online courses.

Coding Bootcamps to Learn Database Design

Coding Dojo

  • Location: Remote, Bellevue, Boise, Chicago, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley
  • Program Cost: Starting at $8,745
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time, Self-Paced

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
Evening & Weekend options

Coding Dojo has two bootcamps that teach SQL: the software development bootcamp and the data science bootcamp. The software development bootcamp teaches full-stack web development with three stacks: Python, MERN, and C#. Both the Python stack and the C# stack include instruction in MySQL.

The data science bootcamp dedicates three weeks to work on databases using SQL, SQLAlchemy, and SQLite. Students learn to use SQL with Python, learn intermediate SQL queries, and how to extract, transform, and load data.

General Assembly

  • Location: Remote, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, the District of Columbia, and other major cities
  • Program Cost: $3,950
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time, Self-Paced

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

General Assembly offers a data science immersive and a software engineering immersive. The data science immersive requires 12 hours of pre-work in the form of online tutorials. It consists of five units:

  • Data science fundamentals
  • Exploratory data analysis
  • Classical statistical modeling
  • Machine learning models
  • Advanced topics and trends

The software engineering immersive covers front-end development, full-stack development, front-end frameworks, and APIs. General Assembly has placed more than 12,000 graduates in high-tech careers. The bootcamp provider has over 19,000 hiring partners, including IBM, Macy's, Samsung, and Twitter.

Hack Reactor

  • Location: Remote
  • Program Cost: $17,980
  • Learning Format: Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
Evening & Weekend Options

Hack Reactor offers a software engineering coding bootcamp that takes 12 weeks to complete full time or 36 weeks part time. This bootcamp trains students to become software engineers. They learn how to code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Hack Reactor students have access to the career services team, which helps them find their first job in web development or coding. The bootcamp provider has over 7,000 alumni, and 84.3% of graduates earn an average of $80,000 per year.


  • Location: Remote, Culver City, Irvine, Los Angeles
  • Program Cost: $15,000
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services

Sabio has two full-stack web development courses: one that focuses on .NET and one that focuses on Node.js. Both bootcamps teach client-side frameworks, database architecture, APIs and tools, and soft skills, including teamwork. Graduates have not only the technical skills to succeed but confidence and a problem-solving mindset as well.

Students must either pass a technical assessment or complete a one-month pre-work course before enrolling in the .NET or Node.js bootcamp. Sabio's deferred tuition program allows graduates to wait until they find jobs before they have to start making payments.

The Data Incubator

  • Location: Remote, New York City, San Francisco, the District of Columbia
  • Program Cost: $10,000
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Accepts GI Bill®
Career Services

The Data Incubator offers three programs: data science fellowship, data engineering fellowship, and data science essentials. The data science essentials course is a good starting point for those with limited data science skills.

This eight-week program teaches students to extract, clean, and analyze data from large data sets. Students learn to use Python to solve business problems. The course covers NumPy, pandas, and Scikit-learn. Students learn object-oriented programming, data transformation, classification, and clustering.

The Tech Academy

  • Location: Remote, Portland, Salt Lake City
  • Program Cost: $11,600
  • Learning Format: In Person, Online
  • Time Commitment: Full Time, Part Time

Career Services
CIRR Verified
Evening & Weekend Options

The Tech Academy has several coding bootcamps, including a software developer bootcamp, a game developer bootcamp, a mobile app developer bootcamp, a JavaScript developer bootcamp, and a data science bootcamp. The data science bootcamp is probably the best choice for someone who wants to be a database developer.

According to data from the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, 61% of graduates from The Tech Academy’s online bootcamps were employed within 180 days of completing the bootcamp. These professionals reported a median salary of $60,000.

Get the Qualities You Want in a Bootcamp

We use icons to make browsing bootcamps easy for you. Use this breakdown to quickly identify program qualities you are looking for.

Accepts GI Bill®

Accepts the GI Bill® as funding for tuition.

Also Available In Person

This online bootcamp also offers in-person options.

Career Services

Offers career services to help you land your dream job after graduation.

CIRR Member

This bootcamp is a current member of the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting. Learn more at

Evening & Weekend Options

Bootcamps are offered during convenient evening and weekend hours.

Job Guarantee

Employment is guaranteed as soon as you finish your bootcamp.

Money-Back Guarantee

Tuition is refunded if you don't land a job within a given time frame after graduation. Visit the bootcamp website for terms and conditions.

Start for Free

No deposit is required to get started. Begin your bootcamp for $0.


Bootcamp Ranking Guidelines

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

Our Methodology

The Bootcamp Team at BestColleges has collected data for over 150 bootcamps to help you find the best bootcamp.

At BestColleges, we believe the best bootcamp is the one that fits your schedule, your learning needs, and your career aspirations. That's why we often present our recommendations in alphabetical order -- because the real best bootcamp is the bootcamp that's best for you.

At this time, our recommendation round-ups feature only immersive bootcamps designed to prepare students for job placement upon graduation.

To be included on our lists, bootcamps must meet the following criteria:

  • Must offer at least one bootcamp in the United States.
  • Must offer at least one bootcamp that is a minimum of 4 weeks long.
  • Must require at least 15 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is part time.
  • Must encourage at least 10 hours of work per week if the bootcamp is self-paced.

Pricing disclosure: The prices listed were collected from product websites in 2022. However, given the dynamic, fast-paced nature of the tech space, prices are subject to change throughout the year. To get the most up-to-date information about pricing, contact providers directly.

Methodology for Recommending Cheap Bootcamps:

  • The bootcamp must meet all of the general criteria listed above.
  • The bootcamp must cost less than $8,000 if it is offered full time, and less than $5,000 if it is offered part time. These numbers were chosen based on data collected by BestColleges in 2020 that determined the average cost of a coding bootcamp is $13,580.

Database Design Jobs

Once you know how to manage an SQL database, you will have a good shot at landing one of these database design jobs: data analyst, SQL developer, or database administrator.

Data Analyst

Data analysts collect, clean, and interpret data sets in order to answer a question or solve a problem. Once they have gathered the data, these professionals put it into easy-to-understand charts and graphs. They may also enter information into databases.

Average Annual Salary (March 2022)

SQL Developer

SQL developers make changes to data using indexes, views, tables, and stored procedures. They must work with developers and work well as part of a team. They may also be expected to teach others how to use SQL. SQL developers organize and maintain data systems. They need to be able to troubleshoot problems and find solutions.

Average Annual Salary (March 2022)

Database Administrator

Database administrators make sure that their companies' databases run well. They design and build databases based on user needs and ensure their organizations' data is secure. These professionals design databases that enable users to find the information they need quickly and easily. They also upgrade and perform maintenance on databases as needed.

Median Annual Salary (May 2022)

Frequently Asked Questions About Learning R Programming

Is database design easy to learn?

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While small databases are fairly simple to design, large databases can become very complex. When you start learning database design, you will likely work on small projects in the beginning to keep the design process simple. It's a good idea to start with a small relational database when you first start learning database design.

Learning database design with SQLite may be easier than learning MySQL or other types of SQL. SQLite creates a simple database that is great for practicing simple queries.

Where can I learn database design for free?

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Online courses that are free or offer free trials include Database Design and Basic SQL in PostgreSQL from the University of Michigan, the Database Design and Management - Full Course YouTube video, the free Database Design course from Datacamp, and Database Systems Concepts and Design from Georgia Tech.

Any of these courses makes a good starting point for learning database design. Try looking for more free courses or browse some free coding bootcamps to continue your database design education when you finish.

What is the best way to learn database design?

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Since coding bootcamps don't focus exclusively on database design, you might get more out of an online course that teaches only SQL or database design. Of course, this depends on your career goal. If you want to become a software developer, a software development bootcamp may be your best option.

Coding bootcamps give you a structured curriculum that prepares you for a specific job. Bootcamps can offer a great way to learn new skills if that's what you're looking for. On the other hand, if you just want to learn SQL, you're probably better off looking for an online SQL course.

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