If you ask any CSE, ITE, or any other student aspiring to build a career in the IT domain about the most critical subject in their course, I can safely predict that most of the answers will be the same: Data Structures and Algorithms (DSA). Of course, being in this domain, no one can even start rolling through the curriculum without learning at least one programming language, but the case of DSA is entirely different. It mostly doesn’t matter which language you pick for solving problems in the test or the interview. What matters the most is whether you can solve the problem or not. It is where Data Structures and Algorithms come into play.

All of the big names that we hear in the corporate world, especially the product-based ones, are devoted to developing software that enhances user experience and customer satisfaction. It has to be done optimally, considering the time and space complexity. In-depth knowledge of data structures used to store the data and algorithms used to manipulate the data are essential to provide an optimized solution.

We need to keep in mind that the products developed by these companies are used by millions, if not billions of people globally, and pushing even a tiny optimization to the system might help keep an additional few million in their banks. That’s why they don’t mind inflating the compensation for the employees who have sound knowledge in DSA compared to their counterparts who lack behind. Companies know the current investment of a few thousand is much less than their future returns earned in millions.

Why is DSA important for coding interviews?

We have already gone through a factor why DSA is a critical factor when selecting candidates for an interview. Various other reasons make it an essential skill for students in this domain to master:

  • Interviewers aptly use questions related to DSA to assess the problem-solving and analytical skills of the candidates. These questions usually have binary answers: either you will be able to code out the solution, or you won’t. Hence, it becomes easy to assess the candidate, leaving no room for doubt owing to the absence of a partial answer.
  • A wide variety of questions of multiple difficulty levels of the same question are available, which can pose an efficient tool to gauge the depth of knowledge of the candidates.
  • Efficient use of DSA paves the way for formulating elementary solutions for problems that otherwise would be complex to solve, leading to the wastage of time and computer resources. Companies don’t want to hire someone who would spend a day or two over a problem that can be solved in a couple of hours and hence opts for the candidates already possessing the required level of knowledge in DSA.

These points are enough to understand why having a proper grasp of DSA is essential for being a CSE student. Programming languages will change. The one in trend now might be irrelevant a decade later. But with adequate knowledge of DSA, no matter what language you choose, your problem-solving skills will remain the same, and only the syntax will change depending on the language you are using.