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What are Data Structure Algorithms? Real Life Examples of Algorithms

Shailendra Chauhan  8 min read
03 May 2023

What is DSA?

We all recall childhood memories when we learned basic skills to fulfil our needs and wants, with a list of instructions given by our parents and teachers. We may not have realized it, but these instructions were algorithms shared with us, regardless of our academic backgrounds. We acted upon the instructions, and no matter how we received and interpreted them, we accomplished our aspirations. Data is versatile and can take many forms, from a single value to an elaborate set. We refer to groups of data values as "data items", which may be a set of data or a single entity. Structuring the information through logical or mathematical models creates efficient forms called data structures, making it easy to store, access and manipulate this otherwise fragmented collection of values.  Some data structure real life examples such as stack of plates, queue of students will demonstrates a better understanding of data structures. This session is the answer to the question , 'what is DSA'. It is the acronym for Data Structure Algorithm.

Interesting facts about algorithms

When we learn about algorithms, we respect Al Khwārizmī, The Father of Algorithms and a pioneer of the Hindu-Arabic numerals. However, the concept of the algorithm was first implemented by Ada Lovelace while working on Charles Babbage’s first general-purpose computer. One should know what is DSA, before beginning to work with data structures.

Data structure real life example

The Data structure is formulated by combining the elementary data type available in the programming language. There are various types of data structure pertaining to other languages. The choice of the types of data structure depends on various considerations. The data structure should reflect the relationship between data items. Secondly, it should be simple enough to access and process data. Based on these considerations different Data structures are constructed. All types of data structure has own features and processes for serving a purpose.

An algorithm example in everyday life is to arrange a group of books on a shelf in a particular order. The books are arranged using algorithmic steps. Additionally, an algorithm is used to search for a book among the arranged books on the shelf. The book shelf in this context can be considered as a data structure real life example.

The concept of Algorithms

An algorithm is a structured and gradual presentation of instructions to execute a specific task or obtain a solution. Generally, algorithms computerize a solution efficiently and accurately. The instructional and sequential guidelines facilitate the operation of the hardware and software. 

Regardless, algorithmic reasoning is an inseparable element of our lives. An alarm clock that wakes us up, a recall of the facial identity, a simple process to cook breakfast, an aptitude to follow the public transport routine, a traffic signal that alerts us on the roads, etc., are real-time examples of algorithms and now an essential competence. Thus, every activity we do, surfing the internet, an online search, offline problem-solving in Mathematics, etc., is driven by an algorithm that runs behind the scene. However, the word “algorithms” is the most popular and extensively used term in the IT sector for its approach covers a crucial process to work out a well-defined repetitive problem.

Next we can find the answer for 'what is algorithm in data structures'. An algorithm is an explicit computing mechanism that takes value/s (input) and gives the result/s (output). An algorithm is accurate if it produces well-defined results for each value received. A floorplan directs an architect to his future action, and so does an algorithm for a programmer.

Algorithm Example

The algorithm finds the average of 3 numbers.

  • Start
  • Read the value of N1, N2, N3
  • Define Sum = 0, Average = 0.0
  • Sum = N1 + N2+ N3
  • Average =Sum /3
  • Print Average
  • Stop

Properties of an Algorithm

  1. 3C’s Property– An algorithm is Compact, easy to Convert into a program code, and cost-effective.

  2. Distinctness- The instruction in an algorithm is clearly defined, unique and conclusive.

  3. Determinate– Each instruction in the algorithm determines a specific objective leading to a finite number of instructions to obtain the desired output and then comes to a halt.

  4. Singularity– Each algorithm emphasizes the inputs received from the user and produces the outcomes accordingly. Thus, for every input/s from the user, the algorithm computes the results based on a user-defined logic.

  5. Self-directed– An algorithm is scripted in an English-like yet user-friendly language. Algorithms use functional blocks such as if, else, do, repeat, etc., but do not require any expertise in a computer language and can be actioned independently of its resources.

Advantages of Algorithms

  • An algorithm helps to understand the process, the inputs, and the possible outcomes.

  • An algorithm breaks down complex operations into finite simple processes and facilitates the programmer to convert them into functions.

  • An algorithm features expandability in understanding the problem. It analyses the situation with relevance to the real world.

  • An algorithm ensures efficiency in writing a computer program.

  • It is easy to debug or detect errors in an algorithm.

  • An algorithm assures optimization of memory space.

  • An algorithm provides multiple ways to solve a problem and thus facilitates the user to choose the fastest algorithm (with the lowest time complexity).

Disadvantages of Algorithms

  • Algorithms are not suitable to solve complicated problems.

  • Algorithms may be time-consuming

  • Expressing repetitive tasks, conditional statements, and complex mathematical formulas, in an algorithm may be difficult.

Types of Algorithms

A problem can be solved using multiple options depending on the availability of resources (inputs), the expected output, and the time required to convert the input into output. Based on the method used, algorithms are classified as under.

Brute Force

The brute Force Algorithm is straightforward and may be the most time-consuming method to solve a problem. The algorithm is useful for a large set of data. The algorithm explores every possible outcome and confirms that the outcome in each case is correct. For example – a candidate in standard tenth has a wide scope of subjects to study ahead. S/He can choose either of the streams with a combination of subjects and pursue her/his higher education. However, the process will be extremely time-consuming if the candidate chooses to study all the subjects.

Recursive Algorithm

The term Recursive means Repeating. The algorithm is also called an iterative algorithm and can be executed by following a certain set of instructions unless the base condition is achieved, or the desired goal is obtained. The algorithm is broken into simple instructions and generally uses looping commands such as for, if, while, repeat, etc. An algorithm to find a factorial of a number is a recursive algorithm.

Sorting Algorithms

The sorting algorithm is used to sort the given input in either ascending or descending order. A programmer chooses either of the sorting techniques such as Bubble sort, Shell sort, Insertion Sort, Quick Sort, Heap Sort, etc. depending on the volume of the data and the time required to sort it.

Randomized Algorithms

Randomized algorithms assume a random number as an input and calculate the potential outcomes. Depending on the outcome, alternative ways to solve the solution can be considered. On TV programs, we often observe connecting with random individuals in a public place and questioning them about a trending topic and concluding it as a People’s Voice.

Searching Algorithms

Searching algorithms are used to find the location of the input within the available volume of data. A programmer selects the best suitable searching mechanism to detect and return the location of the input to be traced in the set of data. Some of the popular search algorithms are Linear search, Binary Search, etc.

Hashing Algorithms

Hashing algorithms are used to authenticate the data. The algorithms mingle with the set of input data and convert it into unreadable. These algorithms provide security to the data. The most widely used hashing algorithm is the fifth version of the Message Digest, MD5.


This session is an explanatory answer to the question 'what is DSA'. Algorithms are an integral part of our lives. Though not everyone is a programmer, these simple chunks of instructions build confidence in the minds of the user and assist him to execute a task. In the age of the Internet, we will soon have schools teaching A for algorithms, and B for binary, to empower the kids with a clear vision for their careers and lives.


About Author
Shailendra Chauhan (Microsoft MVP, Founder & CEO at DotNetTricks)

Shailendra Chauhan is the Founder and CEO at ScholarHat by DotNetTricks which is a brand when it comes to e-Learning. He provides training and consultation over an array of technologies like Cloud, .NET, Angular, React, Node, Microservices, Containers and Mobile Apps development. He has been awarded Microsoft MVP 8th time in a row (2016-2023). He has changed many lives with his writings and unique training programs. He has a number of most sought-after books to his name which has helped job aspirants in cracking tough interviews with ease.
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