Learn Data Structures: The Best Courses and Resources
Data Structures and algorithms are crucial elements in the software development process. The use of data structure enhances the accessibility and management of information. If you’re trying to pursue a career as a developer or you’d like to become a data scientist, you should try to learn data structures.
Understanding how data structures works will help you become more efficient at solving problems with algorithms. In this article, you will find relevant resources that guide you through the process of learning data structures.
What Are Data Structures?
The use of data structures is a discipline that involves the collection and organization of data to improve the accessibility and management of information. It is used in different fields across data science, computer science, and IT.
Data structures are a key element of Internet indexes, databases, and programming, the application of these structures varies depending on the task. It is important to mention that some programming languages work mostly with data structures instead of algorithms.
There are four different types of data structures, and each one has a different use. These are linear, tree, graphs, and hash.
Linear data structures work with arrays and lists, while tree structures work with space positioning and heaps, hash structures work with a distributed hash table and hash table, and graphs are non-linear data structures.
What Jobs Use Data Structures Skills?
Having data structure skills can help you pursue a career in different fields, from data science to computer science. This skill could help you with several job opportunities in the tech sector. Below are some of the jobs that require data structure skills.
- Data Architect. A data architect’s role is to manage a company’s database system and provide structural solutions within the dataset. This way, they make sure the accessibility of information is efficient. Data architects work alongside database administrators and data analysts.
According to PayScale, the average salary for data architects is $119,000, and it’s also one of the most in-demand skills in the tech industry.
- Data Scientist. Data scientists perform statistical and analytical processes to datasets to find meaningful insights. This discipline has several applications in different fields, such as healthcare, finances, marketing, and business management.
- Software engineer. Software engineers that develop data-driven programs, cloud-based systems, or similar applications must be proficient at data structuring. Most of the programming languages they use work with data structures. According to PayScale, the average salary of a software engineer is $86,599.
- Data Engineer. The data engineers’ role is to discover patterns inside the database system and develop algorithms to improve its performance. They must be proficient in SQL programming language so that they can design and modify the database system. According to Glassdoor, the average salary of Data Engineers is $137,000.
Steps to Learn Data Structures
If you’re trying to learn data structures, you need to invest some time in your preparation. You should learn some fundamental disciplines like data science, algorithm design patterns, and other technical skills. Below are the steps to learn about data structures.
1. Learn the Basics of Data Structures
The first thing you need to know is the basics of data structures. You should understand the fundamental types of structures, such as linear, graphs, hash, and tree structures.
This way, you will be able to dive into more complex data structures like bipartite graphs, which although rarely used in software development, are still relevant.
2. Learn About the Algorithm Design Pattern
The algorithm design pattern is a crucial aspect of data structures. It’s important to understand that implementing algorithms shouldn’t be something you learn to the letter. It is not about memorizing algorithms step by step, it is more about trying to reason and find solutions for yourself.
It is crucial to understand the ideas inside the algorithms and learn how to think logically. Before thinking about the details of the algorithm, try this: practice some cases in your notebook.
Think about the best possible solutions and implement them. If it worked, it means you understood the algorithm’s nature by reasoning instead of memorizing steps in your mind. If it didn’t work, you can reread your book and find the root of the problem.
3. Data Structure Visualizations
The best way to learn about data structures is to visualize them. Some sites offer handy data structure visualizations that help you understand how they work.
With these visualizations, you will not only learn about data structures but also about algorithms and how you can implement them.
4. Apply Your Knowledge to Programming Languages
When working with data structures, you will probably have to work with different programming languages like Python, SQL, or Java. It is important to understand how these coding languages work.
It would be a good idea to begin by learning Python. There are great resources out there that you can use to learn these programming languages. You can start by taking a coding bootcamp or reading some useful books.
5. Practice Online
Now, it’s time to practice. There are many websites where you can find datasets or helpful information to implement your data structure skills. Some of the most outstanding ones out there are Leetcode and HackerRank.
Both of these websites have optimized categories to manage data structures. You can practice case studies about data security, math problems, and database issues. This is a great way to develop your skills.
The Best Courses to Learn Data Structures
Learning data structures is a good idea if you’re trying to land a job in data science or any other tech profession. If you’re interested in learning how data structures work, you could start by taking a course.
Below, we’ve compiled some of the most relevant courses you should take in your path of learning data structures.
Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java
Java is one of the coding languages that require you to use data structures for certain projects. That’s why it is important to know how to implement common data structures with this programming language. This is a very short-term Udemy online course that takes around 16 hours and costs $11.99.
Data Structures and Algorithms Specialization Program
This Coursera course is provided by the University of California in San Diego and the National Research Institute Higher School of Economics. It is a more in-depth course that will guide you through data structuring and algorithms’ fundamental techniques. This course takes about six to eight months, and it will help you solve complex data structure problems.
Data Structures and Algorithms Nanodegree Certification
This course is provided by Udacity, and it’s focused on practice. On top of giving you the theoretical knowledge you need, you will also practice with over 100 case studies and data structure and algorithm problems. In this course, you will learn about advanced algorithm techniques as well.
This Udacity course takes about four months and costs $1,356. You can either pay upfront or pay in month-to-month installments.
MicroMasters Program in Algorithms and Data Structures
This course offered by edX by the University of California and is employment-oriented. It means that the course is designed to help you find a job after you finish it. They will train you to understand data structure fundamentals and algorithm design. The course also guides you through the process of getting a job, helping you successfully show your skills in job interviews.
This course takes around nine months and costs $1,080. One of the most outstanding benefits of this program is that it’s self-paced.
In this course, you will learn about programming patterns and more than 10 data structure types. You will also practice with coding problems.
Python for Data Structures, Algorithms, and Interviews
This Udemy course teaches you about data structures and algorithms applied using Python. As a programmer, you will very likely interact with Python at some point. This is a very commonly used coding language that uses data structures.
In this course, you have both sides: technical and non-technical training. You will learn about linked lists, stack queues, search algorithms, deques, and graph algorithms. It costs $11,99 and takes 16.5 hours.
Why Learn Data Structures?
Having data structure skills can give your resume a big boost. Not only does it provides you with logical thinking, but it also helps you find better programming solutions. You can work as a software developer, data scientist, or data architect. You will probably work alongside database administrators and other professionals in the data science field.