freeCodeCamp Database Design Full Course

As many of you know, my technical roots are in databases, SQL, and full stack web development.

I’ve spent a lot of time creating videos on YouTube over databases. For example, I have a 51 part video series on Database Design. 

Who or What is freeCodeCamp?

Recently I was reached out to by freeCodeCamp. For those who don’t know, freeCodeCamp is one of the most popular online learning platforms for software development. freeCodeCamp is a nonprofit organization that brings people from noob to developer through their online curriculum.

freeCodeCamp came to me to talk about potential collaborations. I’m happy to say that we came to agreements and decided that we would aggregate my database design series into one long, undivided video! As a result, the Database Design Full Course was born.

Time series for Database Design Full Course:

⌨️ (0:00:00) Introduction
⌨️ (0:03:12) What is a Database?
⌨️ (0:11:04) What is a Relational Database?
⌨️ (0:23:42) RDBMS
⌨️ (0:37:32) Introduction to SQL
⌨️ (0:44:01) Naming Conventions
⌨️ (0:47:16) What is Database Design?
⌨️ (1:00:26) Data Integrity
⌨️ (1:13:28) Database Terms
⌨️ (1:28:28) More Database Terms
⌨️ (1:38:46) Atomic Values
⌨️ (1:44:25) Relationships
⌨️ (1:50:35) One-to-One Relationships
⌨️ (1:53:45) One-to-Many Relationships
⌨️ (1:57:50) Many-to-Many Relationships
⌨️ (2:02:24) Designing One-to-One Relationships
⌨️ (2:13:40) Designing One-to-Many Relationships
⌨️ (2:23:50) Parent Tables and Child Tables
⌨️ (2:30:42) Designing Many-to-Many Relationships
⌨️ (2:46:23) Summary of Relationships
⌨️ (2:54:42) Introduction to Keys
⌨️ (3:07:24) Primary Key Index
⌨️ (3:13:42) Look up Table
⌨️ (3:30:19) Super key and Candidate Key
⌨️ (3:48:59) Primary Key and Alternate Key
⌨️ (3:56:34) Surrogate Key and Natural Key
⌨️ (4:03:43) Should I use Surrogate Keys or Natural Keys?
⌨️ (4:13:07) Foreign Key
⌨️ (4:25:15) NOT NULL Foreign Key
⌨️ (4:38:17) Foreign Key Constraints
⌨️ (4:49:50) Simple Key, Composite Key, Compound Key
⌨️ (5:01:54) Review and Key Points….HA GET IT? KEY points!
⌨️ (5:10:28) Introduction to Entity Relationship Modeling
⌨️ (5:17:34) Cardinality
⌨️ (5:24:41) Modality
⌨️ (5:35:14) Introduction to Database Normalization
⌨️ (5:39:48) 1NF (First Normal Form of Database Normalization)
⌨️ (5:46:34) 2NF (Second Normal Form of Database Normalization)
⌨️ (5:55:00) 3NF (Third Normal Form of Database Normalization)
⌨️ (6:01:12) Indexes (Clustered, Non-clustered, Composite Index)
⌨️ (6:14:36) Data Types
⌨️ (6:25:55) Introduction to Joins
⌨️ (6:39:23) Inner Join
⌨️ (6:54:48) Inner Join on 3 Tables
⌨️ (7:07:41) Inner Join on 3 Tables (Example)
⌨️ (7:23:53) Introduction to Outer Joins
⌨️ (7:29:46) Right Outer Join
⌨️ (7:35:33) JOIN with NOT NULL Columns
⌨️ (7:42:40) Outer Join Across 3 Tables
⌨️ (7:48:24) Alias
⌨️ (7:52:13) Self Join

What to Expect From this Course?

This course, being eight hours long, is obviously quite a large commitment. In all honesty, though, the time will be well invested. This course will be relevant as long as SQL is a thing. It focuses on the fundamentals that make you a better developer. By the end of this course, you will understand the foundation of databases including keys, relationships, normal forms, and joins.

Where do Databases Come in?

The reality is that databases power nearly all applications. Every fancy website and awesome app will likely interface with a database at some point. Databases are how we store information about you, your preferences and settings, app activity, etc. SQL (structured query language, the language used to talk to a database) is one of the most popular languages and is often used in parallel with other programming languages. This means that even if you end up focusing on C++, C#, or Python (as examples), you still need to know how to work with a database.

Database Design for the Full Stack Developer

There has been a surge of “full stack developers.” A full stack developer is a developer that, rather than mastering one technology or language, has a decent understanding in numerous. The full stack developer is a master at building applications from beginning to end. This is most often heard in the context of web development. A full stack web developer is someone who designs the database, creates the data layer API to interface with that database, builds the entire backend, designs the web page with HTML and CSS, and develops JavaScript to make the page dynamic or to call the API. 

A lot of full stack developers underestimate the skills required in database design and development. As a result, they introduce serious issues into the application like bad design, untrustworthy data, and security flaws. This course would be ideal for the full stack developer because it looks at databases at the core level. What are they? Why are they useful? How do we design them? How do we aggregate data from multiple tables using joins

Obviously this course is useful for more than just the full stack developer, but I’d highly recommend it if you are one or hope to be one 🙂.

Data Integrity

The core of database design is understanding integrity. Data integrity at it’s core is simply being able to trust our data. This means that data is correct, there is no duplicate data, and we can expect it to stay that way. Data integrity is why we use a database like MySQL, SQLServer, Oracle, Db2, SQLite, etc. Because with a database, we can set rules that force integrity.

The types of integrity are:

  • Entity integrity – Each row has a unique ID or something similar to enforce uniqueness. This is known as the primary key.
  • Data integrity – The values for a particular column are legit thanks to data types or constraints.
  • Referential integrity – Related tables are connected through references.

In order to protect our data’s integrity, we must use multiple tables. You’ll see why in this course. As a result, we need to figure out how to say these tables are related. This is done with foreign keys which are foundational for referential integrity. When we retrieve data from our database, we can bring data from multiple tables in to one master view using joins


Relationships describe the various ways data can be related. For example, a class can be taught by multiple professors and one professor can teach multiple classes. This is an example of a many-to-many relationship. Each type of relationship has a specific way to be designed in a database. This course will clearly describe how to design the three types of relationships: one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many

Database Normalization

Once we have the foundation of database relationships, we begin to look at database normalization. This consists of multiple normal forms, which are essentially a series of rules that, if broken, throw our data integrity into question. The first three normal forms are the most important and consist of the first normal form (1NF), second normal form (2NF), and third normal form (3NF). Those names are easy enough to remember.


A big section that a lot of database design courses leave out or avoid is the section on joins. It’s easy to break data up into multiple tables, but nobody wants to explain how to put it back together when you need to retrieve data from your database to use in an application. The easiest way to aggregate data from multiple tables into one view is through the use of joins. There are numerous types of joins and they all have different rules on what rows are valid to be added to the view and what rows are not based on a join condition. Typically the join condition will associate a foreign key to a primary key of another table (we talk about all of this in the course). 

What’s next?

I encourage you to watch the course. Heck, why not do it one sitting? It could be done in one work day! 

I see more collaborations with freeCodeCamp or Quincy Larson (the founder of freeCodeCamp) in the future so stick around! In the meantime, why don’t you leave a comment saying what you would like to see between me and freeCodeCamp?

8 Replies to “freeCodeCamp Database Design Full Course”

  1. Hi Mr Caleb, good day. I am just about to get this course on youtube.
    Honestly the time kinda made me blink twice.
    But then, I asked myself why someone will aggregate an 8- hour long video tutorial?
    The only reason I came up with is that your knowledgeable and want to share that knowledge.
    Thank you very much for such hard work.
    I’m still quite far from learning database, but when the time comes, this video will be my best friend.
    Someday when I get a great developer job, I will be coming to pay for this course…lol
    Cheers, happy coding, and happy tutoring

  2. Hi Caleb,

    Thanks for this! I’m a self-taught database developer and while I was able to figure things out throughout my career, this course will certainly help fill the gaps, so I’m looking forward to going through it.

    One thing I am looking for right now is how to handle data encryption, like for saving password hashes, sensitive data (i.e. Social Security Numbers, Banking Information) in a MySQL database.

    If you can point me in the right direction, maybe some articles or courses you know about, that would be great!

    Thanks again!

    1. Hey there! I think once you have a pretty solid foundation databases and SQL, a lot of this will fall into place. For example, in MySQL there are numerous ways to do encryption. In general, whenever it is possible you want to do one way encryption. This is best for things you never need to know the value of (such as
      passwords). When it comes to very sensitive stuff, I lean on the side of not storing this data at all. In my opinion, the annoyance of using a third party or not storing anything too sensitive outweighs the risk of a data breach that comes back on you. For example, you can often use 3rd party payment processing systems rather than developing your own. They deal with the credit cards and you have to pay them money, but you are freed from that stress as well. Hopefully this helps.

      As for resources, any good SQL book should have a chapter or two on encryption. Many programming languages do encryption as well. 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for wonderful and clear database course. I will give you feedback once I complete the course. You are a wonderful teacher.

  4. Thanks, Calleb! I’ve just recently completed watching (and learning!) your course. It will help me to understant more and work better on many data applications and services. I work on analytics, not coding. But I needed this course anyway.

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