Learn Data Structures Online, prep for technical interview

5 Important Tips For Learning Data Structures Online

Pratik Singhal

Pratik Singhal

Founder PrepForTech, Ex SDE-2 @ Amazon

Table of Contents

5 Important Tips For Learning Data Structures Online

Data structures and Algorithms are the most critical topic which different companies use to test your knowledge in the interviews. Whether you are a fresher or you are an experienced person applying for the role of a senior developer, you will have to clear the online coding round and multiple on-site whiteboard coding rounds before you land that coveted job .

To clear the coding rounds, you need to have excellent command over data structures and algorithms and have great problem-solving skills. Therefore, it is not just important to learn the different data structures and algorithms. You should also learn how to apply the various data structures and algorithms that you have studied.

Here are the 5 most important points which you must consider while learning data structures and algorithms online :

Make a structured plan

The most important thing before you start learning data structures and algorithms online is to make a formal plan. Depending on your goal and the amount of time and knowledge you already have, you need to decide on the topics that you will be covering.
For example, if you have an interview within 3-4 days, it’s best to skim over a variety of questions instead of covering theory for each data structure. If your goal is to clear interviews of FAANG companies and you have 2-3 months, then it’s better to cover each topic in detail.

Aim To Implement Everything You Learn

The biggest mistake people do while learning data structures and algorithms online are covering large no of problems in a short period.  In this goal of covering all the problems, they just understand the solution, but don’t implement it.
Following this kind of approach while solving problems leads to poor retention of problems and lack of depth in understanding. To reduce this gap in knowledge, aim to implement every algorithm/problem-solution that you learn. 

Calculate Time & Space Complexity

We have seen many students underestimate the importance of calculating time and space complexities. Your aim should be to understand the time and space complexities of every algorithm/data structure that you learn and know how it is calculated.
If you are very good at estimating time complexities, you will save a lot of time during the interviews by discarding sub-optimal solutions yourself. 

Divide problems into different patterns

When you practice questions online on websites like Leetcode, try to solve a variety of questions by dividing them into set patterns. In almost all the cases, problems of a topic can be divided into few set patterns with a few key observations/techniques.
This way, even if you see a new problem during the interview, you will have a better chance of solving it and even if you are not able to solve it entirely, then also you will make better progress on it compared to other candidates.

Solve Variety Of Problems

Try to solve as many problems as possible which use multiple different types of algorithms and programming paradigms. This way, you would know various approaches to solve a problem and would also know where to apply each method. For example, while you are solving the maximum sum subarray problem, try to solve it using both the approaches: Divide and Conquer, Kadane’s Algorithm 

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