How to master DSA or Data Structure and Algorithms?

Harpreet Kaur

Harpreet Kaur

Table of Contents

Data Structure and Algorithm is the core ingredient that secures your career in IT. Anyone wishing to apply to a top tech company must prioritize learning Data Structure and Algorithms. It is the center of discussion in the online coding and interview rounds.

The understanding of DS & Algos fundamentals helps developers in solving real problems. Companies look for candidates who have an understanding of real market scenarios, their problems, using available data and programming skills to solve them accurately.

Aspiring developers can’t afford to skip DSA in their preparation. It is neither easy nor very difficult to make your mind fluent in Data Structure and Algorithms. 

So, Before diving into the guiding pool, let’s understand what exactly is DSA and why it is important to learn in order to crack the top companies like FAANG.

What is Data Structure and Algorithms or DSA?

Data Structure and Algorithms is a branch of Computer Science that contains a set of programs to be executed in order to get the desired output.

Data Structure is a location used to store and organize data in a system. Every organization has a defined set of data structures that they use whenever required to avail the results.

Whereas, Algorithms are the set of programming instructions to solve problems using data accurately. Algorithms are used to perform certain tasks like search, sort, insert, update and deliver the items in a data structure.

3 best reasons to study DSA

Freshers tend to devalue the importance of learning Data Structure and Algorithms. They try to skip it as it seems complicated to them. But DSA is the important ladder to make your career in the programming world. Here are the 3 best reasons why you should study Data Structure and Algorithms.

  1. To crack Big tech interviews: If you really want to make it to the Big tech product-based companies, then DSA must be at your fingertips. It gives you the ability to solve problems that are actually useful to reach, sustain and grow in your career. Data Structure and Algorithms combine developers’ programming and problem-solving skills, making them capable of handling complex problems of the companies with less time and resources. The recruitment process involves 3 stage coding tests and interviews. If your dream is to crack big tech interviews, then learning DSA is important.

  1. Higher Pay Packages: Programmers with the instinct of DSA are more prone to higher pay packages than other developers. The reason lies in their capabilities to implement their expertise in solving companies problems, saving their time and resources. Companies prioritize candidates who are masters of programming and think out of the box to design algorithms that can secure companies resources. 

  1. DSA is everywhere: Data Structure and Algorithms are everywhere, we use dictionaries to find desired words from the lengthy data of words. Students find their roll number from a long list of data numbers. These are the basic examples but by gaining the DSA fundamentals, you’re capable of solving more complex problems. If you’re facing issues while solving problem statements, think of them as solving some real world problems.

3 Step Roadmap to get better at DSA

Mastering Data Structure and Algorithms is not easy but with the right strategies it is achievable in less time.

If you’re a newbie and still understand the importance of learning DSA , you have to look for step by step guidance to kickstart your prep.

Here’s the roadmap to make you clear on where and how to start with Data Structure and Algorithms.

  1. Deeply grasp theoretical concept

As you know, Data Structure and Algorithms is a wide concept and it takes time to understand all the topics. Due to its detailed nature, don’t try to only focus on easy ways to learn it. Take each and every topic seriously and dig deep inside it. Enroll in coding bootcamps to learn most common structures like arrays, linked lists, binary trees, hash tables, graphs, stacks, queues, heaps and so on. 

Understanding fundamentals in detail will help you in creating a strong base in your programming skills. These fundamentals are Data Structures, variables, tools, syntax and many more. Pick one language at a time and be selective with the resources you use in learning. Use visual content to understand the concept and reading materials like books to learn the concept from all perspectives.

  1. Create patterns to solve problems

Your programming mastery is useless if it’s not helping you in solving problems. There are multiple approaches to solve a single problem. But the best one beats time complexity. 

The best way to solve a problem is to create logical patterns in your mind.  These patterns will help you out in understanding the core problem and how to pursue it with a clear understanding of what solution you want to achieve. It works like creating notes of lengthy books which make it easy to glance at when needed. Else you can use pen and paper to understand the logic before actually beginning to code. 

Algorithms work on the accuracy of solutions. Highlight the key information in the problem statement and frame the possible route you can take, go with the method which saves time and work on every possible condition around it. Also, think of the situations where your solution might fail to execute. 

It is easy to code if you know the solution in mind. So, train your mind to understand every problem in detail and identify all the logic behind it.

  1. Competitive programming improves speed:

You know programming and you’re accurate with your output. The next step to crack interviews is to increase your speed and generate bug-free results in a short span because you might face an on-site whiteboard coding interview.

There are ways to enhance your programming speed. The best one is participating in competitive programming which gives a clear vision of how companies structure their coding assessments during recruitment. 

It will help you in understanding the importance of time and space complexities and make you a desirable candidate for major product-based companies. 

The more you practice, you become faster and more focused, helping you to stay calmer while solving complicated problems on the spot during interviews.

Some websites offer competitive programming like Hackerrank, Leetcode, GeeksforGeeks, Letscode, Codeforces, and so on.

Here are the basic yet most vital steps to get better at DSA, master the problem-solving skills, and ultimately crack the interviews of big tech companies. Focus on the things you can control through your hard work and continuously work on building a skill set. The aim should be to evaluate your past performance and get better with each problem you solve. Consistency is the key to gaining expertise and achieving your goals.

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