Next running

30 Mar - 11 May 2020
5:00pm-6:30pm Mon/Thu


San Francisco



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Most software engineers use database systems, but few understand them. It is not surprising, then, that database related issues are a common cause of application failure, and that misuse of databases frequently impedes engineering team productivity.

Our course aims to provide practicing software engineers with a firm understanding of the architectures of database systems and the trade-offs that they make. We hope this will help our students make better choices when deciding between database systems and their features, to better utilize their chosen technologies and to more effectively debug any issues.


  1. Lab: Parsing SQL Queries
  2. Logging for Atomicity and Durability
  3. Introduction to Database Systems
  4. Sorting, Hashing and Single Table Queries
  5. Lab: Implementing a Query Executor
  6. Joins
  7. Lab: Implementing Joins
  8. Indexes
  9. Lab: Implementing a Database Index
  10. The Relational Model and Query Optimization
  11. Concurrency
  12. Distributed Databases

Projects and exercises

This course involves a significant practical component: implementing a simplified relational database management system from scratch. Most classes will cover some amount of theory, which you will then directly apply to your own DBMS implementation. In addition, the optimization portion of the curriculum involves anticipating, reasoning about and optimizing query plans for a handful of given queries, in what is one of our most popular and illuminating exercise.

Assumed knowledge

This course assumes confident programming abilities, and some familiarity with computer architecture. Working familiarity with at least one relational database management system is also highly advised.

Available sessions

30 Mar - 11 May 2020
5:00pm-6:30pm Mon/Thu
San Francisco

This course will next be taught by

Oz Nova

Oz is the lead instructor at Bradfield, and most frequently teaches Algorithms and Data Structures, Computer Architecture, Databases, Operating Systems and Distributed Systems. Prior to co-founding Bradfield, he worked for a decade as a software engineer and engineering manager, including as CTO and Co-founder of Topguest (acquired by Switchfly) and