In the journey of programming, every programmer comes across a point where they want to solve a problem in a more efficient way. While finding a way out of this, they eventually come to know about the term Data Structures and Algorithms. Now before jumping on how to start learning Data Structures and Algorithms, let us first know what the term Data Structures and Algorithms actually means.
Data Structures and Algorithms. As the name suggests, it is a combination of two separate yet interrelated topics – Data Structure and Algorithms.
In this journey to acquire a good grasp of DSA and become efficient in it, every programmer faces a big challenge “How to start learning DSA?”. In this article, we will be focusing on everything about Data Structures and Algorithms and how to begin your journey of DSA from scratch.
What is Data Structure?
A data structure is a particular way of storing and organizing data in our devices to use the data efficiently and effectively. The main idea behind using data structures is to minimize the time and space complexities. An efficient data structure takes minimum memory space and requires minimum time to execute the data.
What is an Algorithm?
An algorithm is a process or set of well-defined instructions that are typically used to solve a particular group of problems or perform a specific type of calculation. To explain in simpler terms, it is a set of operations performed in a step-by-step manner to execute a task.
Why Should You Learn Data Structure and Algorithms?
Before moving to the question of “How to start learning”, first, let us look at why we should learn Data Structures and Algorithms.
Every basic, as well as advanced, software and internet service, even searching a topic on the internet, all use one or other data structure or algorithm to implement. So in order to understand how any automated software or service works, it is a must to learn about data structures and algorithms first.
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5 Steps to start learning Data Structures and Algorithms
Let us now move to the most important question “How to start learning Data Structures and Algorithms?“
This procedure may vary from person to person. But here we are trying to provide a general solution to the problem. A beginner can follow the step-by-step process as given below to get started with Data Structures and Algorithms:
1. Getting to know the topics:
The most important step is to find out the topics and the best resources for those. Before starting to learn about Data Structures and Algorithms first get an idea of what are the things you need to learn and the available resources for them. When divided into parts, namely data structure and algorithm one may follow the below topics in-order while starting to learn Data Structures and Algorithms:
- Linked List
- Graph etc.
- Dynamic Programming
- Advanced Algorithms
2. Finding the best resources for learning Data Structures and Algorithms
Once you have known what you have to learn, it is now time to find out from where you have to learn. You can learn Data Structures and Algorithms from various text, video, or hybrid types of resources such as:
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3. Learn the Fundamentals of Data Structures and Algorithms properly:
After gathering all the topics and resources, it’s time to start learning Data Structures and Algorithms. To learn about any algorithm and data structure, the most crucial step is to learn the fundamentals first. Without learning the basics properly we cannot implement them properly and also cannot move to advanced applications.
Based on the chosen resources, spend a lot of time learning about the fundamentals of each data structure and the basics of algorithms. Make sure to practice at every step to help solidify your learnings.
4. Master data structures and algorithms one by one:
Once you have become well versed with the fundamentals of Data Structures and Algorithms, it is now time to learn about the Data Structures and Algorithms in depth, i.e., know about the various detailed applications of Data Structures, learn about various complex algorithms, and how to implement them in problems.
Here as well you need to keep practicing at every step, to make sure to solidify your Data Structures and Algorithms learnings. You can also try to attend various coding competitions and challenges to practice and test your learning so far. Here’s a list of the Top 50 coding questions and challenges that you can try out.
5. Consistency is the key:
Every monument is built brick by brick by working on a daily basis consistently, and so is the case for Data Structures and Algorithms. You must try to learn at least 1 new topic every day and solve at least 1 new problem related to it every day. Making this a practice for each day every day will help you master Data Structures and Algorithms in the best possible manner.
Make sure to give coding challenges at regular intervals as well. You might face challenges in solving even 1 problem in the beginning, but at the end, it will be all worth it.
What are the best platforms?
Now we have learned about resources. But there is one more crucial step – practicing the problem. We need some platform to practice and implement our knowledge. PrepBytes has the perfect solution for that. We have built the PrepBytes Practice Portal exclusively for that reason. There are numerous problems available in the practice section. Moreover, you have the facility to filter the problems based on the type of data structure or algorithm or even difficulty.
We tried to discuss the Data Structures and Algorithms Road Map. We hope this article gives you a better understanding of the above question. Prepbytes also provides a good collection of Foundation Courses that can help you enhance your coding skills. Want to make sure you ace the interview in one go? Join our Placement Program that will help you get prepared and land your dream job at MNCs. Mentors of Prepbytes are highly experienced and can provide you with basic, in-depth subject knowledge for better understanding.