There are many reasons why you should learn algorithms and data structures. To maximize your programming skills, learning DS and Algorithms is a no-brainer.
Asides the fact that it fuels you with the confidence you need to approach tech job interviews without any feeling of uneasiness, it broadens your scope of thinking beyond the conventional way.
Ideas rule the world. From the nicely built mahogany furniture positioned in your sitting room to the car(s), you have in your garage and everything artificial you can see around you – it all starts as an idea conceived in your mind. As you can imagine, the wide divide that exists between a conceived idea and the physical manifestation of the idea is most apparently figuring out specific steps needed to be followed to see to the fruition of these ideas: these steps could be regarded as ALGORITHMS.
What Is An Algorithm And Data Structure In Detail?
In very basic terms, the specific way with which a set of instructions to accomplish a task is outlined is known as an algorithm.
Imagine you want to build a house, a building you imagine to be one of the world’s wonders of the century. Unrealistic, right? Understandable! But as long as the thought of impossibility can linger, your chances of completing such a grand project depend on how efficiently every instruction(program) or step required to complete it are followed and carried out.
As programs are written, the memory space of the computer is usually reduced by the data that needs to be stored or processed – as the case may be. However, things can get a bit clumsy when programs are written without a proper architectural structure.
Take for instance you want to store a list of nearly identical data, like the names of workers in your office. Storing that data with variable names can be messy and difficult to work with and, as you can imagine, would require a data structure; an array or list.
The word “data structure” is a technical term that describes how computer programs organize data so that you can easily store and retrieve information. As you read above, programs could easily get messy when data is habitually stored in variable names, and as such, to overcome this problem, a data structure is needed to handle complicated data.
How Data Structures and Algorithms Are Related:
The computer has a format as to how it receives data and how it should be represented as information, otherwise, it cannot be manipulated(DS). Algorithms, as it relates to data structures, are a way to process or manipulate data, albeit in line with the format of a data structure. Feel free to conclude: Data structure defines how data should be stored and algorithms outline how data should be processed.
Why You Should Learn Algorithms And Data Structures
A coding instructor once noted:
“The Holy Grail of programming is thinking about the fastest set of instructions that could solve a specific problem”, and this, I find unarguably true due to the never-ending streak of problems that programmers encounter on a day to day basis.
Programming as I presume you know involves solving problems by giving a sequence of instructions to the computer to complete a specific task or solve a specific problem. These instructions could take on many permutations with regards to how the programmer would prefer to instruct a computer, and how long it could take for the instructions to yield the desired result. This pretty much explains why having a solid grasp of the foundations of data structures and algorithms is indispensable
Learning Data Structures and Algorithms can help in the following ways:
1. Escaping the Trap of Libraries:
Many programmers are used to the idea of using well-designed libraries to approach programming problems or complete specific tasks, which are great! However, these libraries at their core do not go beyond the scope of tackling the specific set of problems it was designed for. For this reason, learning Data Structures and Algorithms concepts would help in thinking about solutions to problems beyond the scope of what is offered by these libraries.
2. Stumbling New Design Paradigms:
Learning Data Structures and Algorithms helps you as a developer working for a tech firm stumble on a new algorithm design paradigm. This saves a lot of computational resources for the firm. Here is a quote to drive home this point: “Every program depends on algorithms and data structures, but few programs depend on the invention of brand new ones,” – Kernighan & Pike
3. Manipulating Data:
At the core of every software is a data structure. Almost at every turn in our experience of computing, data has to be processed to generate information. This involves manipulating data in these structures with the perfect algorithm that fits the bill. Having a good knowledge of DS and Algorithms is valuable to help you have your way around problems that could emanate from this.
4. Learn Algoritms As A Skill:
On the flip side, algorithms and DS do not fall into that category. It is a skill necessary for you as a programmer or developer to help you deduce the complexity and help you tell which is more efficient, a good reason why you should learn algorithms.
These are a few reasons why you should learn algorithms.
To maximize your programming skills, learning Data Structures and Algorithms should be a no-brainer. Asides the fact that it fuels you with the confidence you need to approach tech job interviews without any feeling of uneasiness, it broadens your scope of thinking beyond the conventional way.
It makes you a zeitgeist who foresees algorithmic trends and patterns and puts you in front and in charge of the wheel.