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5 algorithms every developer should know

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  • 4 min read

There are so many algorithms developed to solve some of the common problems. Being a developer, it becomes necessary that you have knowledge of some of the basic algorithms, which helps you in making good choices while selecting the data structures or algorithms for your project. The five basic algorithms that you should learn about are:

Read this article to gain a basic understanding of what are these algorithms.

Also read: How to split python strings?

Sorting Algorithms

Sorting algorithms help you sort out your data in a particular order and are one of the essential steps in the data science field. Using sorting algorithms, you can sort the data (numerical or alphabetical) in ascending or descending order.

There are various types of sorting algorithms that you should know:

  • Insertion sort
  • Selection sort
  • Quick sort
  • Merge sort
  • Bubble sort
  • Heap sort

These sorting techniques depend on various factors, such as the size of data and the time consumed.

Common usage of these sorting algorithms can be seen in e-commerce websites where you can sort by price (low to high or high to low), and popularity.

Searching Algorithms

Searching Algorithms are used to find and retrieve a specific element from your list or array, or any other data structure. There are various searching algorithms that you can use:

  • Linear search
  • Binary Search
  • Depth-First Search
  • Breadth-First Search

There are many applications where the searching algorithm is used. For example – you use google search to find information.

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You should choose the searching algorithm by keeping in mind the various factors such as the size of data, time and complexity.

Greedy Algorithms

Greedy algorithms are those algorithms where while building up a solution, the algorithm picks the most beneficial step available at the moment to find the most optimized way for solving a problem. It works in a top-down approach and never checks if the earlier decision made was correct or not.

Some of the Greedy Algorithms are:

  • Dijkstra’s Algorithm
  • Huffman Coding
  • Job Sequencing Problem
  • Kruskal’s Minimum Spanning Tree
  • Shortest Job First Scheduling
  • Selection Sort
  • Fractional Knapsack problem

The most common example of the usage of a greedy algorithm is GPS Navigation System, which shows you the shortest and fastest path from the source to the destination.

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String-based Algorithms

String matching algorithms play a very vital role in various real-world applications. They are used to search a string within another string. You can do string matching by using regular expressions or by using some algorithms such as Knuth-Morris-Pratt (KMP) Algorithm, and Naive Algorithm.

Elementary usage of string matching algorithms would be when you press CNTRL + F to find a particular word in the whole document. Another very common usage of string-based algorithms is spam filters. A spam filter looks for certain words inside the mail, and if found the mail is identified as spam.


Hashing is the most widely used technique to find the appropriate data by using the key. It uses the Dictionary or HashMap, or HashTable data structure, where every value is mapped to a key. It converts the data into a fixed-length “hash value”.

Hashing is generally used in routers to store IP addresses. Cryptographic Hash Functions are used in password verification while logging into any system. When you put your password for login, the hash function generates a hash and sends it to the server for verification.

These were the basic five algorithms that a developer should know.

Also read: How to convert list to string in Python?

Chetali Shah

Chetali Shah

An avid reader and an engineering student. Love to code and read books. Always curious to learn new things :)