Intro to Relational Databases + SQL

Workshop Overview

Relational databases are the world’s most popular tool for storing digital information, populating everything from billion-user web applications and large enterprises to tiny embedded systems.  This course will teach you how to design, create, and query a relational database, using the industry-standard Structured Query Language (SQL).  We will take a hands-on approach, working as a group and individually to build a database powering the operations of a hypothetical web/mobile startup.

Class exercises will use the Postgresql relational database management system (RDBMS) running on cloud-hosted Amazon Web Services instances.  Postgresql is a powerful open-source RDBMS that is widely used to power Web and mobile applications.  Very little of the class material is specific to Postgresql. Most of what we learn will apply to any modern RDBMS, including MySQL, SQLite or Microsoft SQL Server.

Lunch will be provided.


At the end of this workshop, students should be able to:

  • Use entity-relationship modeling to build a logical database schema
  • Install a Postgresql database on a cloud-hosted server
  • Build a physical database schema using SQL Data Definition Language
  • Use foreign keys to enforce data integrity
  • Load data into a database interactively and in bulk
  • Query a database using SQL SELECT statements
  • Use joins to create queries that span multiple tables
  • Manipulate data using SQL UPDATE and DELETE statements
  • Improve performance using indexing
  • Understand what the most critical security considerations are when exposing a database to users
  • Understand what people mean by NoSQL, and when to consider using it

You can find a more detailed course outline here.


  • Students will find it easier to understand relational database concepts if they have some basic familiarity with spreadsheets.
  • We will be using text editors and command-line terminal applications to create, populate and manipulate our database.
  • All Windows and Macintosh machines have plenty of built-in and/or freely available text editor and terminal options, and previous experience is not required. However, students may wish to brush up a bit on the available options in advance of the class.

What to Bring

  • A laptop (OS X, Windows or Linux, it doesn’t matter)
  • All participants will need Amazon Web Services accounts, as database development will be done on AWS virtual machines. The virtual machines we are using are free of charge, but AWS signup does require a credit card


This workshop will be held at Betamore’s campus on the 4th Floor at 1111 Light Street, Baltimore, MD 21230. For parking + directions visit:

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REFUND POLICY: Please let us know at least 7 days before the scheduled event if you cannot make it by emailing us at No refunds will be issued within 7 days.

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