Most of the time, the freshers/ CS students devalue the importance of learning algorithms and data structure considering it as irrelevant, complicated, or a waste of time. We all probably remember the big fat MIT publisher book of “Introduction to Algorithm” in our second semesters. However, the reality is going to hit us sooner or later when we go for our placements. Most of the tech fortune companies, especially FAANG ( Acronym for Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix & Google) often ask problems related to Data Structure & Algorithms to check the cognitive & problem-solving abilities of the candidates. In this article, we will uncover that why every programmer should learn Data Structure & Algorithms. You will be amazed to see how impactful it is to boost your programming skills/ careers.

What is an Algorithm? 

Informally, an algorithm is a self-contained step-by-step set of instructions/tasks to be performed in order to solve a problem. They are essentially a solution. It’s a misconception that people often attribute Algorithms to the tech community, nevertheless, they are practically available everywhere and involved in all aspects of your life intertwined with technology. From a technological perspective, let’s see a problem of factorials and solve it using an algorithm/code

Find the factorial of (n)

Initialize fact = 1
For every value v in range 1 to n:
    Multiply the fact by v
fact contains the factorial of n

Here is an algorithm/code to find the factorial of a number in C++

int factorial(int n) {
    int fact = 1;
    for (int v = 1; v <= n; v++) {
        fact = fact * v;
    }
    return fact;
}

What are the data structures?

On the other hand, the data structure is an orderly arrangement of data in computers to use it the most efficient way. It’s like the hands for the algorithm to allow storing, organizing & retrieving data on the system. Usually, a data structure store objects and allows the manipulation based on two different types: 

How to clear your fundamentals 

It’s no brainer that Algorithms & Data Structure are a vast field and one can find no ways/permutations to solve a problem. The first thing you need is to clear all the basics in your hindsight. Even the ones who have completed their graduation still need to clear all the concepts to get into High-Paying Jobs. Although you won’t be implementing a tree again or use recursion in their jobs. There are multiple books, YouTube Videos, and online resources to clear all the fundamentals. Moreover, I’d suggest you to enroll in GUVI’s latest Data Structure & Algorithm Course, which features all the concepts under one platform. It’s an affordable solution and it will save you a lot of time discovering resources. 

Cover your tracks with the following topics 

  • Data Structure: Clear your basics of linked lists, arrays, binary trees, hash tables, graphs, queues, stacks, heaps and various other fundamentals, 
  • LOGIC & MATH: You’ll need to know various mathematical concepts from a number of different areas if you want to achieve proficiency in algorithms. Start learning about finite-state machines, set theory, regular expression, bitwise operations, solving linear equations, essential combinatorics concepts such as combinations, permutations, and pigeonhole principles. 
  • CS ARCHITECTURE: Please learn how data presentation, boolean algebra, digital logic designs, computer arithmetic, floating-point representation, Cache design & more. Don’t forget to learn about C & Assembly language. 

How is Data Structure & Algorithm connected? 

Programming is becoming a high-in-demand skill for any software developer as technology is rapidly advancing and transforming itself. With the evolution of Smart TVs to IoT devices: AC, Lights, and whatnot, all are nowadays configurable with command-line prompt. 

It’s where Data Structure & Algorithm play a core role for any software development behind improving the efficiency & problem-solving capability for any code. That’s one of the reasons biggest tech giants look for candidates with a mindset to solve the typical technicalities with algorithm designing. Ergo implementing cost-effective processes. 

Both Data structures & algorithms are interrelated & complement each other. Simply put, an algorithm is applied to a data structure whereas using the right type of data structure helps to drastically improve the overall performance of an algorithm. 

Following are the main categories of algorithms in relation to data structure: 

  • INSERT- To insert an item in a data structure, this algorithm is applicable. 
  • SORT- To sort things in a specific order. 
  • SEARCH- Just as the name implies, the algorithm helps in finding the right data. 
  • UPDATE- The Update algorithm is beneficial for updating an existing item. 
  • DELETE- To delete an item off the structure. 

Benefits of Learning Data Structures & Algorithms

Despite its importance, many students consider DSA an unnecessary module in their curriculum. However, DSA cultivates logical thinking and makes you a better programmer. It’s a skill that will help you throughout your career. Here are some more points why you should consider taking GUVI’s Data Structure & Algorithm Course. 

1. To write the logical statement

This means that a programmer can write the correct code if they knew both data structures and algorithms.

  • if-then-else statement: If-Then statements are a type of variable logic that enables the output of the variable to be conditionally determined. For all If-Then statements, the conditions are defined as well as the actions that should occur when those conditions are met. Therefore, the guarantee is that at least one of the two statements is true and will execute.
  • Loop Statements: As the term ‘loop’ suggests, they perform similarly, if not the same action multiple times consecutively. It makes them an essential aspect of every programming language there is. There are so many different types of loop statements based on the desired outcome. However, there are for core types that are:
  • For
  • Repeat/until
  • While/do
  • Infinite looping

2. To solve real life problems

The following is more associated with Data structures rather than Algorithm. Here you need to manage and keep everything in such a structure that you can reach it fastest way possible.

Let’s take an example of a library to summarise it vividly. if you need to find the MIT foundation book on Algorithm from a library, you will go to the CS section first, then programming, and then the algorithm section. ( Unless someone has intentionally moved them to Fiction/Horror, ;p) If the library does not have an organized manner and is just distributed randomly, it will take a mental toll for you to find a specific book from heaps of books.

“Who is putting all the Algo Books in the Horror Section”

Systematic application of data structure optimise the memory. With apt approach like we can use linked lists vs arrays ( if not particular about data type) to clear off the memory of the code.

3. To cultivate Creativity & Innovation

Engineers who are proficient in Data Structure and Algorithms tend to approach coding problems differently. More than often, a bug is mainly a symptom of an underlying condition and developers try to fix the symptoms than to reach the actual cause. A DSA professional will look at the bigger picture rather than looking at the problem with syntax and coding perspective. DSA knowledge is a good baseline to gauge a candidate’s ability to problem solve, think analytically and organize information. A programmer with the above skills can troubleshoot the code more efficiently. A developer needs in-depth knowledge to suffice such structural changes on a deeper level in a program to save time and costs for the company.

summing up

To conclude, a sound understanding of data structure & algorithm helps in understanding the nature of the problem at a deeper level and thereby better understanding of programming as a whole.

GUVI’s Course Data Structure & Algorithm is curated under the guidance of IIT-M professors and Industry leaders. The course is the latest edition to GUVI-Pro, An affordable solution to 100+ tech courses, Globally-recognised certification programs & award-winning practice platforms.