Top 5 topics for Competitive Programming for Beginners

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Competitive Programming is a skill, an essential one indeed. In the last decade, programmers across the globe started tremendously practising Competitive Programming. Throughout the year, millions of competitions are organised around the world, the most well-known and prominent of which is the ICPC. Beginners often face the problem of not knowing where to start. In this vast world of algorithms and concepts, you must begin with the essential concepts for a better grasp. Here are the top 5 topics that are important for a beginner. 

Data Structures

Have you ever thought of how the computer so effortlessly retrieves millions of data that we store in the disk? Data Structures is the answer to that. Data Structures is a way of organizing the data effectively for future use. Primarily there are two data types – Primitive and Abstract. The primitive Data types include int, char, double, and float to name a few. Before you begin coding, it is of utmost importance to understand and differentiate each to use them. The abstract data type mainly is a set of data on which various operations can be performed. Arrays, stacks, queues, and lists all come under this category. All these are linear data structures with several operations defined for each. In the Array Data Structure, a collection of items of the same type are stored together. Using the Data Structures, the efficiency of the program as well as the algorithm can be improved drastically. This is why you must get your DSA concepts crystal clear.

Functions and Loops

Let’s be honest, none of us are interested in reading hundreds of lines of code, right? Imagine writing the same code a number of times till a particular condition is satisfied – it’d be rather exhausting . That’s where the functions and loops come into use. A Function is a block of code that accomplishes a particular task. The main advantage of this is reusability. Once the function is defined, it can be called and used multiple times. Most programming languages have built-in function modules that otherwise would take many steps to accomplish. Remember using print() and main() modules? These are examples of built-in functions. Loops help the programmers to make their code short and crisp. Most of us would have used the ‘for’, ‘while’, and ‘if’ loop while coding. Thus, by using loops programmers can execute a code and repeat it as many times as required. 

Time and Space complexity 

Even though your code might take only a few seconds to execute, the code must run as fast as possible. For this, it is important to understand the time complexity. While doing Competitive Programming, it is desired to keep the complexity under the desired notch. The space complexity determines the amount of memory taken up by your code. The execution of the code must be well within favourable bounds. The best thing about this is you don’t need a compiler for calculating. All you need is a pen and paper for calculating the complexity of your code. 

Searching and Sorting

Have you ever sorted prices from low to high in an e-commerce website such as Amazon and Flipkart? Let’s take a look at how these work here. The data that you provided might not always be in order. In such circumstances, sorting and searching processes can be used. Using different search algorithms such as linear search or binary search, you can find a particular element in the list. A sorting algorithm sorts the list into a particular order, making it easier to locate an element in the list. These algorithms help us in real-life situations such as the above-mentioned e-commerce websites. Thereby, these are important in both real-world applications as well as in competitive programming. 

Number Theory

The problems in Competitive Programming quite often involve mathematics. So an aspiring competitive programmer must know the basics of Number theory as well. Computation using Fermat’s Little Theorem, Sieve of Eratosthenes and Euler’s Totient Function are some of the basic topics in number theory. Having a good grasp of these will help you understand advanced problems as well. 

Well, this is just a drop in the vast sea of Competitive Programming. But these are the very essentials you need to know before you step into the world of programming. You can watch these concepts here. Happy Learning!

Well, that’s all for now coders. Now that you all know what to learn, keep coding!

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