If you’re interested in learning programming, knowing data structures and algorithms is a must.
With multinational companies creating very extensive applications to meet the needs of this information age, storing data properly has become a necessity.
This is because modern companies leverage this data to make informed decisions as well as present the right solutions to their customers.
These companies, therefore, need to be able to efficiently store data, in order to easily process it and retrieve the necessary information.
Let’s take the example of two programmers. One is a bad programmer and the other is a good programmer.
A bad programmer simply looks for a way to make his code run, while praying for as few bugs as possible.
He or she simply writes the code, clunky or not, they simply focus on the code running with little thought to the efficiency of the written code.
“It works”. That’s what a bad programmer thinks after successfully compiling their application.
A good programmer, on the other hand, looks for the most efficient way to solve the problem.
In my early years as a programmer, I kept wondering why my Java instructor was wasting our time forcing us to implement our LinkedList data structure.
Why couldn’t we simply use the LinkedList Class, already available in Java, like it was meant to, in order to make our lives easier, I thought.
It’s only later when I started advancing in software development, that I got to understand the importance of having a better understanding of data structures.
A data structure is a memory location that can be used to store data to subsequently perform efficient operations on them and an algorithm is an outlined systematic approach or procedure to accomplish a specific action.
Data structure is the fundamental building block of computer science and necessary for the design and development of efficient software.
To put it simply, data structures enable users to store information more efficiently for easy retrieval and an algorithm is essentially a formula that solves a particular problem.
Understanding Data Structures and Algorithms
Imagine having a bunch of files scattered around your office. There may be room for all the scattered files but the challenge arises when you need a specific file from the stack of scattered files.
Not only that, imagine needing to look for files containing some specific information. Looking through every scattered file would be a herculean task.
For this reason, we all use some form of organizational system in our offices, homes, and our daily lives.
Maybe a cabinet, folder, or binder to store specific files. In real life, we can use these devices and use the dictionary method to help identify each file.
Let’s say we’re looking for a file by the name “Priority”. We can shorten the time necessary to find this file by simply grouping our files by the first letter.
Then we can arrange files starting with the same letter, by the letter which follows, and continue to do so with subsequent letters.
This process is easier and cuts down the time necessary to find any information. It’s been used in our dictionaries and offices for years because of its efficiency.
Now, imagine how many videos are uploaded to YouTube daily, or even how much information companies like Facebook collect and store daily.
Without an organizational system, this becomes impossible. This is why most companies in recent years place a huge emphasis on data structures.
Why learn data structures and algorithms
Although most programming languages continue to increase the libraries programmers can use in their development, your specific situation may require some more efficiency.
Granted you can always import multiple classes and manipulate some methods to accomplish your desired task, but this doesn’t make you a good programmer.
A clunky code simply leads to problems in the future as well as increased run-time. Most large companies always strive for speed as it’s a huge competitive advantage in multiple industries.
Understanding data structures will enable you to identify the best approach to storing a company’s complex data and even implement the most efficient system from scratch.
Modern software development or SaaS companies, place a huge emphasis on potential employees’ level of understanding of data structures.
Sometimes even more than the programming languages. To stay competitive in the corporate sector, you need to be equipped with a full understanding and implementation of data structures.
Creating nodes and looping through constants may seem complex especially if you’re new to programming, but with the right materials and constant practice, this knowledge will become one of your greatest assets as a programmer.
As a programmer, if you want companies to throw the big bucks at you, then mastering data structures and algorithms is the key.
Why learn data structures on YouTube
With platforms like Udemy available online, you might wonder why you need to learn on YouTube.
Because YouTube is the number one video streaming platform worldwide, it’s the go-to for most video content consumers.
With the application already installed on most smartphones, accessing video content only takes a tap of a button.
Additionally, some content can easily be downloaded inside the YouTube application, for offline access.
The best part is that YouTube content is completely free for all users everywhere. This doesn’t mean that paid content is inferior in any way.
Paid content from my point of view comes with some perks especially since software development courses on platforms like Udemy include quizzes and other resources that enable formative assessment.
Some online course platforms, including Udemy, also include free courses for learners.
From my point of view, free courses are not inferior especially if you find the right course for your specific field or need.
This article outlines some of the best YouTube channels for data structures and algorithms. Bear in mind that most of these I’ve tried in the past and are recommended because I found them very useful.
I’m recommending them based on my own experience with some of them, and others based on my research.
Best data structures and algorithms course on youTube
If you’re like me and you don’t like long lessons, this course is the right one for you. It’s divided into 17 separate videos to make them easier to consume.
From LinkedList data structure implementation to dynamic array and tree data structures, this tutorial provides a clear explanation with examples of the data structures.
Feel free to check their channel for other lessons as their lessons have been a blessing to me and many others.
Another great lesson series on Data structures and algorithms is from the channel Caleb Curry.
His series also includes 17 unique videos that guide learners from the basics of data structures and algorithms to advanced stages.
The series will take you through data structures, algorithms, big O, and time complexity, searching, sorting, classes, objects, graphs, trees, and many more.
He is one of my favorite software development YouTubers and always a go-to, whenever I need some form of revision on a topic.
Looking to learn as much as you can about data structures and algorithms? This course essentially covers everything you need on the topic from A-Z.
It is a course from Treehouse which was made free for Freecodecamp. What you get from this course is a full 5-hour plus lesson on Algorithms and data structures.
The video is divided into three sections that can easily be accessed using the time codes provided in the description.
The first two hours of the course introduce you to algorithms, the next two introduce learners to data structures and the last hour teaches sorting and searching algorithms.
Individual concepts have been purposefully simplified to make them easier for any beginner to understand.
Another from Freecodecamp is the data structure from easy to advanced course. This is an 8-hour course meant to carry learners from the basic to advanced.
It’s scary to think you’d need to sit down for eight hours to understand the concepts being taught but the video comes with time codes that will enable you to jump to specific sections.
So fear not, as you can close and continue from any section of the video simply by keeping note of that section.
The course is taught by a Google engineer so you can be assured that he knows what he’s talking about.
Try going through this course and you most definitely won’t regret it. Don’t take my word for it, simply look at the reviews from the close to 2k comments on the page.
The course provides training on implementing various data structures and algorithms and also covers interview room questions.
If you’re applying for any jobs in programming, this course will also help you answer some of the most common interview questions on data structures and algorithms.
If you’re a C or C++ programmer, this may just be the right course for you to learn data structures.
It’s a 42 series course covering topics ranging from Linked List implementation to trees and graphs.
You should note that a basic understanding of the C programming language is essential to fully understand this course.
Another series from Freecodecamp, the data structures full course is an almost 10-hour full course on data structures.
A relatively new course, compared to the other courses on this list, this course provides training from A to Z of data structure.
You should note that this course will be using C and C++ and as such some prior understanding of the basics of these courses is a requirement.
Another great channel for learners who want to learn data structures and algorithms.
This channel provides 112 video lessons on various concepts from understanding the concept of arrays and implementing LinkedList to trees and graphs.
It breaks down these concepts and explains them from the basic level. The first lesson breaks down arrays by explaining what arrays are, how to declare and implement arrays, and how arrays are stored in memory.
Learn how to implement an insert, delete, reverse and even reorder for a LinkedList. It is worth checking out if you’d like to master data structures and algorithms.
This 13-part video course on data structures and algorithms provides a breakdown of the concept of data structures.
The course is taught by YK Sugishita, a former software developer at Google. His lessons are well-explained to enable new programmers to follow along.
The course covers an introduction to Classes, Objects, Arrays, recursion in LinkedList implementation, Trees, Stacks, Queues, and many more.
His lessons aren’t too long but packed with great insights to keep you thinking.
The Bottom Line
There are many channels available on YouTube for learners looking to learn data structures and algorithms.
The channels outlined in this article are only a few but some of these I personally recommend as they helped me get a better understanding of the concept and get some assignments submitted in time.
Understanding data structures is key especially if you want to make it in this industry. Some employers care more about your understanding of data structures than they do about how well you know a programming language.
Scalability is always the key in this age of technological competition and scalability is what recruiters are looking for.
You don’t need to spend any amount of money buying a course on Udemy or any other course marketplace if you don’t want to or you’re not in the position to.
Simply try out some of these free courses on YouTube and build yourself up as an irreplaceable asset in whichever organization you find yourself in.