Although computer programming was once seen as a skill reserved for geeks and computer nerds, it’s now regarded as an essential ability for 21st century learners and is becoming a key component of many curriculums, even in primary schools. And as it is becoming essential to learning programming basics in school itself, you need to be ahead of those basics to prove yourself especially, if you are a budding CS engineer.
Thinking logically is undoubtedly essential and sharpens the chances of getting a elite job even if you are not studying in a Tier-1 college. Learning programming languages and CS basics is a part of your curriculum but what will boost your resume will definitely be thorough knowledge of Data Structures and Algorithms.
Learning Data Structures : When and Why?
While it is never too late to learn, but beginning early is always a boon. Learning data structures and algorithms during high school or in first year might be the best time to begin as it’ll prepare you to make your placement interviews a cakewalk when you reach third year.
Benefits of beginning at high school or First-Year:
- Just Coding is not enough, efficient Programming is the need of hour : In your batch of 100, everyone knows how to code in C++ – then how would you stand out? Answer is simple, Be Efficient. To know how to code is basic and rising above the basics will add-up to you, everywhere. So start learning, how to use data structures and algorithms efficiently alongwith programming languages like C, C++, Java etc
- Better the algorithms, better the programmer : Learn to think before you learn to code. It is said in the industry that once you learn “how to think”, switching between different languages is just a matter of little time. So, concentrating earlier on thinking process is ought to give you an edge
- Getting a Job off-campus might get easier : This is one of the most important aspect and numerous Geeks prove this fact. There are loads of students who have got great jobs just by learning the concepts in the right manner and at the right time. Geeks on the top prove this fact and can help you choose your way.
- The art of Competitive Programming : Competitive programming helps you to compete students all over the world to prove your programming skills and can immensely be helpful to get you a job through contests. But what you need to be is excellent in efficient coding and applying right data structures and algorithms at right place. ACM-ICPC provides a wonderful platform for engineers to showcase their coding skills and progress ahead.
- Smart people and smart codes are always appreciated : Good communication skills, impressive personality, nice college may all go into vain if you are not smart enough to analyse and efficiently solve a given problem in an interview. So, be smart physically and mentally too.
- Right combination of Programming Language and Data Structures is a Big Plus : While you are focusing on data structures and algorithms, please make sure to be well verse be at least one programming language like C++. Efficiently coding in one/ two programming language is sure shot the right track.
Consider a simple Interview scenario :
Interviewer : Perform sorting on array of N elements
Interviewee : Ok, I can do it using Selection Sort
The next question you are expected to be asked is :
Interviewer : Can you do it in a better way?
Interviewee : Thinks… Yes I can
Interviewer : How?
Interviewee : I can use QuickSort. As its time complexity is better than Selection sort in average and best case O(n log n)
Interviewer : What if all the elements of Array are already sorted in same order.(worst case of QuickSort)?
Interviewee : Then we might use Insertion Sort because in Insertion Sort, if element at position i is greater than all elements after it, no movements happen. So the outer loop will loop through all the elements without going inside making time complexity as O(n)
and so on…..
It can easily be observed here that practically being well verse with DS and Algos will make you prepared for future interviews and competitive programming challenges ahead.
How to Start ?
Getting started in learning a programming language isn’t as daunting as it sounds, nor is it ever too late to learn. You can begin with free, open source sites. Some links that may help you:
- Learning Data Structures and Algorithms
- How to begin with Competitive Programming?
- C , C++, Java, Python
How Geek Classes* may help you?
While lot of students can learn on their own using e-learning, there would be a bigger lot who love to learn with fellow Engineers in a competitive yet healthy environment.
GeekforGeeks has started initiative of class room learning through Geek Classes to help young high schoolers and budding Engineers to enhance their technical skills.
Benefits can be many fold :
- Direct Interaction with Industry People : The advantages of learning directly from Industrial Professionals can be twosome. One, you’ll get to know a new way of learning from trending industry trends aspects and two, you’ll simple learn how to code efficiently.
- Collaborative learning with fellow Programmers :Unlike individual learning, collaborative learning capitalize on evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring each other’s work and getting more and more ways to do one task. More specifically, this model enhances the knowledge can be created within geeks where they actively interact by merely sharing.
- Personal attention and Progress Tracking : If you are amongst those who might need personal attention to improvise, then land up straight in Geek Classes
- Internship to add up your skill set : Of course you join the classes to learn but what if you get an opportunity of “On the Job Learning” too. Yes, at Geek Classes we try to offer internships to students as well, so as to increase their learning diameter. Interns at GeeksforGeeks are now working in firms like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, PayTm etc.
*Currently Geek Classes are held in Noida only. We are in-process to begin on-line tutorials soon.
When in doubt, Ask an Expert
So while the thought of coding may make you a little nervous, it’s not something to shy away from. Even having a little bit of an understanding is better than having none at all. Plus, it allows you to communicate with actual programmers, gives you an understanding of what it takes to program something and makes you better overall.
If you still have queries, you may please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Call Ayushmaan at 8375042560 to help you!!
- Some important shortcuts in Competitive Programming
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