10 Best and Efficient Ways to Learn Algorithms for Beginners
In computer science, an algorithm usually means a small procedure that solves a problem. Algorithms are the basic part of programs. If you want your program to solve any problem, you must follow algorithms. That's why algorithms are so important in computer programming.
If you are a beginner and want to learn algorithms, you must start from the basics. You can start with understanding the fundamental concepts behind the algorithms. Then you should implement them on your own. There are many ways to learn algorithms. I have tried a lot of different things to learn algorithms from the ground up. In this article, I shared my experience about the best ways of learning algorithms for a beginner. Hope that might be useful to you.
- Reading Books: Books are the best resources to learn something in the exact and detailed way. It also helps you to learn at your own pace. Take a good book on algorithms and try to cover the theoretical concept behind the algorithm. After that, you must implement the algorithm in your program. If you fail, don't worry, the book is there. Just go through the algorithm again and try to understand that.There are plenty of good books on algorithms. You can check this list of books to find your one.
- Online Courses: Online courses are good for learning algorithms from anywhere. There are lots of good online courses out there. You can take the algorithm courses provided by Coursera. You can take the courses from Udemy too. They also offer a number of good online courses from reputed instructors.Moreover, other courses from MIT, Harvard and Stanford University can be followed. All of these courses offer self-paced learning. So you can learn them in the way you like.
- Video Tutorials: Video tutorials are very good resources to understand and implement specific algorithms. You can anytime search for video tutorials on Youtube. There are numerous tutorials on almost every algorithm. You can understand the algorithm first by watching a video on it and then implement it. Or if you are stuck with implementing an algorithm, you can search for the specific algorithm, choose a tutorial and try to figure out your mistakes.
- Solving Problems: Solving problems with the algorithm is the best way to understand and learn algorithms. If you use algorithms to solve real-world problems, you will get a deep understanding of the algorithms. When you solve a lot of problems using various algorithms, you'll achieve a great grip on them. So you should start solving problems as much you can. You can find a lot of problems on the internet. First, go through the problem statement and try to figure out what algorithm is required to solve the problem. Try to solve the same problem using various algorithms. For example, you can traverse a graph using both BFS and DFS. This strategy will help you understand the implementation of algorithms better.There are a good number of online judges where you can find plenty of problems. You can solve them and get the verdict if it is correct or wrong. You can go to online judges like UVA, A2oJ, SPOJ, and Timus to solve problems.
- Competitive Programming: Another good way to get a deep understanding of algorithms is to participate in various online contests. It requires you to understand problems and implement algorithms in a limited time, which means you must devise an algorithmic solution in a short time. This will greatly help you to use algorithms for real-life problems.You can go to CodeForces, Hackerrank, and Topcoder which are the most popular contest programming platforms and participate in various contests.
- Visualizing Algorithms: If you are the kind of learner who loves to learn anything using visualization, you can learn algorithms by using visualization. There are many online algorithm visualization tools which help you understand the algorithms from the ground on.
- Blog Sites: You can read blog posts on various algorithms on the internet. There is a great number of personal blogs on algorithms out there. You may find them useful too.You can visits sites like Petr Mitrichev's blog - Algorithm problems for dummies or hackerEarth-blog for this.
- Asking Questions on Online Forums: If you stuck with any problems with implementing algorithms, you should ask specifically about the problem on various online forums. There are expert people who are willing to help you to solve the problem. Various online forums like Topcoder-forums, Quora, etc. are useful places to get help for your problem.
- Making a Working Schedule: Practice makes a man perfect. To master the art of algorithms, you must practice algorithms regularly. For this purpose, you have to maintain a fixed schedule. For example, you may solve an algorithm a day or one in a week. Whatever you do, you must maintain the schedule and try to be regular.
- Practice! Practice!! Practice!!!: There is no other way to master anything without practice. The more you practice the more you understand and learn something. So there is no other way to learn algorithms without practice. If you fail, don't worry, just stick to the problem and try again. You must be successful.