How to Learn PostgreSQL

Do you ever wonder how enterprise-level data storages work? The scale of enterprise products requires powerful and fast data storage solutions. The database needs to be wide enough to handle a large volume of data ingress and egress and fast enough to maintain the minimum wait time for each operation. PostgreSQL is one such DBMS solution — it helps store and operate on structured data easily.

In this guide, we talk about how to learn PostgreSQL and what resources you can use to master it.

What You Need to Know About PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is a relational database management system with varied use possibilities. It is a full-fledged database management solution, with powerful querying capabilities. PostgreSQL is considered one of the most user-friendly SQL variants and unlike PostgreSQL which is an object-relation database, PostgreSQL is a fully relational database. This means it does not contain complexities like table inheritance and function overloading. Some of the key concepts that you will need to learn on your journey to learning PostgreSQL are:

  • Table Inheritance. One of the most striking features of PostgreSQL is its ability to implement object orientation in database programming. You can follow any OOPS concept to make your workflow easier, which includes inheriting tables to create child tables easily.
  • User-defined Types. Apart from the pre-defined data types, PostgreSQL supports creating user-defined types. This helps in boxing and unboxing database objects from and to any application easily.
  • Views. Apart from storing and querying data, you might also need to build views on top of it. These are not permanent tables, rather they are a virtual, custom combination/modification of existing data.
  • Nested Transactions. Transactions in PostgreSQL support sub-transactions that need to be completed compulsorily to complete the parent transaction. This gives developers finer control over how transactions are carried out in their applications.
  • Tablespace. Tablespaces in PostgreSQL allow database administrators to define locations in the file system where the files representing database objects can be stored. Once created, a tablespace can be referred to directly by its name when creating database objects. This helps developers in controlling the physical disk layout of their application’s database.
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These are only a few of the many things the technology offers. As you learn more about PostgreSQL, you’ll become aware of more things you can use to help speed up your application’s development.

Skills Needed to Learn PostgreSQL

To learn PostgreSQL, it is favorable to have a basic understanding of database management.

Expertise in databases is certainly not needed to understand PostgreSQL, but having a preliminary understanding of the concept will help you easily get started. Having prior experience with any other database management solution is a bonus.

Why You Should Learn PostgreSQL

If you are looking to build applications, you need to know how to store data in applications. On top of that, you need to know how to simultaneously ensure enterprise-level security and reliability. PostgreSQL is one of the most common alternatives for storing real-time application data, so it is an added advantage if you know how PostgreSQL works to build applications faster.

If you are looking to process and analyze data for analytics purposes, PostgreSQL is one of the best available alternatives. Due to its powerful querying capabilities and organized structure, it is easy to store and operate on large volumes of data. Also, considering the huge community backing PostgreSQL, it is only wise to learn PostgreSQL in the long run.

How Long Does It Take to Learn PostgreSQL?

The answer to this question depends on your current knowledge of database management. If you have some prior experience in designing and building databases, one to two weeks of dedication should be sufficient to master the concepts of PostgreSQL. If not, you can expect a time of two to three weeks to cover the topics in all its depth.

All in all, you can expect to devote six to eight hours daily for a period of one to two months to get a good grip on the technology. Mastering any technology is no easy task, and the same goes for PostgreSQL. To start building real-life applications that utilize PostgreSQL as their primary data store, you can expect to spend about two to three months working on the ins and outs of the technology.

Learning PostgreSQL: A Study Guide

You will find plenty of PostgreSQL learning resources online. With so much information available, you may be wondering where exactly you should start. We have compiled a list of five learning resources to help you learn what you need to know about the PostgreSQL platform.

PostgreSQL Wikibook

  • Resource Type: Written tutorial
  • Price: Free
  • Prerequisites: None

The PostgreSQL Wikibook is one of the greatest ways to start your PostgreSQL journey, as recommended by the PostgreSQL organization themselves. The Wikibook has a collection of chapters on the language’s concepts, grouped together under three tracks — fundamentals, special topics, and extensions.

The three sections are organized in increasing levels of difficulty, which helps in navigating through the learning process. The Wikibook ensures you do not miss out on any concept of the database management solution.

PostgreSQL Tutorial by postgresqltutorial.com

  • Resource Type: Written Tutorial
  • Price: Free (Online)
  • Prerequisites: None

Having covered all topics involved in PostgreSQL in adequate detail, this tutorial stands as a strong starting point for beginners. The length and depth of the content offered in this tutorial are commendable. It also mentions a list of advanced tutorials to take up after completing this one, thereby serving as a one-stop solution for your PostgreSQL learning journey.

Learn PostgreSQL by freecodecamp

  • Resource Type: Video Course
  • Platform: YouTube
  • Price: Free
  • Prerequisites: None

This one is from freecodecamp, one of the top content houses on technical subjects. The course contains adequate content and is ad-free, which means that learner satisfaction is one of the top priorities of freecodecamp.org. If you’re willing to take your first step in the world of PostgreSQL, it will be advisable to start with this course.

PostgreSQL Tutorial by TutorialsPoint

  • Resource Type: Written Tutorial
  • Price: Free (Online)
  • Prerequisites: None

Instead of organizing content in the form of a planned course, this tutorial is arranged as a glossary of important topics. It covers most of the basic topics in PostgreSQL and is a good resource to refer to once you have had an initial understanding of the subject.

The amount of content on each topic is sufficient for beginners to comfortably understand the basics of PostgreSQL. Towards the end, the tutorial talks about how you can connect PostgreSQL with applications written in popular programming languages like C++ and Java.

‘Mastering PostgreSQL 13 – Fourth Edition

  • Resource Type: Book
  • Price: $39.99 (Amazon)
  • Prerequisites: Prior experience with PostgreSQL

This book is one of the top PostgreSQL resources, recommended by postgresql.org themselves. Starting from the very basics of databases, this book will take you on a gradual learning adventure, and cover advanced features like performance tuning and monitoring.

This book is for PostgreSQL developers, database administrators, and professionals who want to implement advanced functionalities and master complex administrative tasks with PostgreSQL 13. Some level of understanding of PostgreSQL, as well as some hands-on experience, is recommended for the best learning experience.

Communities for People Studying PostgreSQL

Communities are an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn PostgreSQL. By joining a community, you can quickly find help. You can also learn more about how other people use PostgreSQL, which may inform how you use the tool.

Below we have created a list of some top communities for people studying PostgreSQL that you may want to look at in more detail.

PostgreSQL Community

Run by the PostgreSQL team, the PostgreSQL community is a hub of knowledge. You will find a list of resources to connect with the folks working with PostgreSQL and a collection of sites where you can post your questions and get answers from experienced users. There is also a user group directory. You can use this directory to find people using PostgreSQL for the same purposes as you.

PostgreSQL Discourse

PostgreSQL has a dedicated discourse community for users to ask and answer questions. The questions are sorted by their difficulty as well as activity on the platform. This serves as a great resource for folks who are new to the language and are looking for a targeted platform for resolving their queries.

How Hard is It to Learn PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an easy DBMS solution to start using. You can easily put together a simple application with a powerful data store using PostgreSQL within the first or second week of learning. But to build more complex applications and write advanced queries, you will need to devote a month or two to fully understand the fundamentals of the technology.

Additional features like joins and advanced queries may not be needed very frequently, but it is worthwhile to learn them as well, as they add a layer of power and ease of development to your application.

Will Learning PostgreSQL Help Me Find a Job?

PostgreSQL is a highly sought-after database skill in the professional industry. Employers hiring for software development & database administration positions often list PostgreSQL as an essential skill. Most major corporations use PostgreSQL in some of their software products. To help you understand the value of learning PostgreSQL for your career, we have compiled a few job and salary statistics.

  • Salaries. PayScale reports that jobs that involve PostgreSQL pay, on average, $92,723 per year. Positions that use this skill include software engineer, software developer, lead software engineer, and database administrators.
  • Industry Growth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developer positions will grow at a rate of 22% between 2019 and 2029. A lot of these roles will involve PostgreSQL, while a considerable number of these professionals are likely to use relational database management systems similar to PostgreSQL.

Conclusion: Should You Learn PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is a relational database management system that makes it easy for corporations to host and manage powerful and reliable database instances. Using PostgreSQL, secure, high-traffic applications can be developed and launched quite easily.

PostgreSQL is extremely beneficial for you if you see yourself working with the LAMP/LAPP stack in the future. If you are looking to learn SQL as the querying language, taking up a course or a book that uses PostgreSQL concepts to teach SQL would be a wise choice. This would make sure that you are grasping the theoretical as well as practical concepts of the toolchain well.

With ever-growing salaries, strong career growth projections, and a relatively easy learning curve, PostgreSQL holds the potential to add a lot of value to your career.

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