6 Best Data Structures and Algorithms Courses Online (Updated 2021)

Struggling to understand concepts like recursion, binary search trees, and Big-O Notation? Here are the best data structures and algorithms courses online. 

6 Best Data Structures and Algorithms Courses Online (Updated 2021)


In my undergrad, there was a particular class that had an unusually high repeat rate. 


You guessed it…


Data structures and algorithms. 


If you’ve ever taken a data structures and algorithms course in college, you likely relate to the struggle. The concepts covered are so foreign and unlike regular programming topics that they force your brain to adopt a new approach to problem solving. 


I was very happy when I submitted my last assignment in that class and never had to think about working with “Linked Lists” again. 


But you don’t have to be like me. Below I've created a list of some of the best data structures and algorithms courses online that can help you master this area, whether you’re currently enrolled in a related college course or you're tackling these topics for the very first time. 


These awesome resources explain data structures and algorithms in a refreshingly simple way, and they include multiple examples that you can reference when doing your own assignments or working through practice problems.


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.


What are the Best Data Structures and Algorithms Courses? 

Here are the best data structures and algorithms courses online to enroll in this year:


1. Data Structures and Algorithms (San Diego Coursera)


Computer science legend Donald Knuth once said “I don’t understand things unless I try to program them.”


Do you also learn better that way? 


If so, this data structures and algorithms course on Coursera is for you. 



You'll learn from a diverse team of instructors that includes world-leading experts in theoretical and applied algorithms at UCSD and a former software engineer at Google. 


While many MOOCs focus on theory, this specialization is a mix of algorithmic theory/practice/applications with software engineering.


You will learn algorithms by implementing nearly 100 coding problems in a programming language of your choice.


Program Syllabus: 

  • Course 1: Algorithmic Toolbox 
  • Course 2: Data Structures
  • Course 3: Algorithms on Graphs 
  • Course 4: Algorithms on Strings 
  • Course 5: Advanced Algorithms and Complexity
  • Course 6: Genome Assembly Programming Language

You will learn:  

  • How to sort and search data
  • How to break a large problem into pieces and solve it recursively
  • When it makes sense to proceed greedily
  • How dynamic programming is used in genomic studies

In addition, you'll find the answers to the following questions: 

  • What is a good strategy for resizing a dynamic array?
  • How priority queues are implemented in C++, Java, and Python?
  • How can you implement a hash table so that the amortized running time of all operations is O(1) on average?
  • What are good strategies to keep a binary tree balanced? 

This specialization contains two real-world projects: Big Networks and Genome Assembly.


You will analyze both road networks and social networks and will learn how to compute the shortest route between New York and San Francisco. 


Afterwards, you will learn how to assemble genomes from millions of short fragments of DNA and how assembly algorithms fuel recent developments in personalized medicine.


This is an intermediate level course, so before enrolling you should have a basic knowledge of at least one programming language out of C++, Java, Python, C, C#, Javascript, Haskell, Kotlin, Ruby, Rust, Scala.


You should also have a basic knowledge of discrete mathematics, including proof by induction and proof by contradiction. 


Key course features: 

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online courses

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible Schedule

  • Set and maintain flexible deadlines.

Intermediate Level

Approximately 8 months to complete

  • Suggested pace of 6 hours/week.

English

  • Subtitles: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish.

=> Enroll in the UC San Diego Data Structures and Algorithms course.


2. Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java


Looking to work with data structures and algorithms in Java? Then check out this popular Udemy course


This course goes over the theory of how things work, but only to the extent you need to understand the implementation covered. 


You will learn: 

  • The strengths and weaknesses of a variety of data structures, so you can choose the best data structure for your data and applications
  • How to code an implementation of each data structure, so you understand how they work under the hood
  • How to ensure that your applications perform efficiently when sorting large datasets

This course also spends a lot of time exploring what's available in the Java Development Kit (JDK), so that you can familiarize yourself with tools and libraries that will make your life easier. 


Overall, the course is targeted towards developers who have some knowledge of Java (or another OO language) and are looking to understand data structures and algorithms at a deep level. 


Key course features: 

  • 16 hours on-demand video
  • 2 articles
  • 1 downloadable resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion


=> Enroll in Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java here.


3. Mastering Data Structures & Algorithms using C and C++


This highly-rated course on Udemy focuses on the applications of data structures and algorithms in C and C++. 


The class is taught by Abdul Bari, a professional programmer and educator with over 20 years of experience in the computer science and information technology fields. 


Disclaimer: This is one of the longest data structures and algorithms courses you'll find online. It contains over 58 hours of detailed content.


However - have no fear - each data structure is clearly presented on a whiteboard and then discussed, analysed and implemented with practical line-by-line coding.


Course Syllabus:

  1. Recursion
  2. Arrays Representation
  3. Array ADT
  4. Linked List
  5. Stack
  6. Queues
  7. Trees
  8. Binary Search Tree
  9. AVL Trees
  10. Graphs
  11. Hashing Technique

Key course features:

  • 58.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 article
  • 237 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

=> Enroll in Mastering Data Structures & Algorithms using C and C++.


4. JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures Masterclass


The JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures Masterclass breaks down months of computer science and interview prep material into 20 hours of video. 


You'll learn from Colt Steele, a developer and bootcamp instructor who is also one of the top web development teachers on Udemy. 


As Steele explains, the course is based directly on the last semester of his in-person coding bootcamps, where he taught students that went on to land 6-figure developer jobs at companies like Google, Salesforce, and Square.


In the course, you'll start by learning how to analyze your code’s time and space complexity using Big-O notation. 


Then you'll be guided through the ins and outs of recursion, common programming patterns, and a 5-step approach to solving any difficult coding problem.


After working with various searching and sorting algorithms, you'll  switch gears and implement your own data structures from scratch, including linked lists, trees, heaps, hash tables, and graphs. 


Finally, you'll learn to traverse trees and graphs, and cover Dijkstra's Shortest Path Algorithm.


Reasons to consider taking this course: 

  • It's interactive - you'll get a chance to try every problem before you see the instructor's solution
  • Every single problem has a complete solution walkthrough video as well as accompanying solution file
  • It covers helpful tips and tricks for solving common problems, but you'll also focus on building an approach to ANY problem
  • It's full of animations and beautiful diagrams

Key course features: 

  • 21.5 hours on-demand video
  • 32 articles
  • 80 downloadable resources
  • 85 coding exercises
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

=> Enroll in the JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures Masterclass.


5. Data Structures and Algorithms Specialization


This course by the University of Colorado Boulder teaches the fundamentals of data structures and algorithms with a focus on data science applications. 


It's particularly geared towards learners who are interested in programming applications that process large amounts of data, and are familiar with the basics of programming in python. 


Program Syllabus:

  • Course 1: Algorithms for Searching, Sorting, and Indexing
  • Course 2: Trees and Graphs - Basics
  • Course 3: Dynamic Programming, Greedy Algorithms

By the end of the course you will be able to: 

  • Organize, store and process data efficiently using sophisticated data structures and algorithms
  • Design algorithms and analyze their complexity in terms of running time and space usage
  • Create applications that are supported by highly efficient algorithms and data structures for the task at hand
  • Explain fundamental concepts for algorithmic searching and sorting

This is probably the most advanced data structures and algorithms course on this list. Prospective students are advised to have a solid knowledge of calculus theory (derivatives and integrals) and probability theory (distributions, expectations, and moments). 


Also note that the courses in this specialization can be taken for academic credit as part of CU Boulder’s Master of Science in Data Science (MS-DS) degree offered on the Coursera platform.


Key course features: 

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online courses

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible Schedule

  • Set and maintain flexible deadlines.

Approximately 3 months to complete

  • Suggested pace of 9 hours/week.

English

  • Subtitles: English.

=> Enroll in the CU Boulder Data Structures and Algorithms course.


6. Master the Coding Interview: Algorithms + Data Structures


Master the Coding Interview is the perfect course for self-taught developers who are hoping to land their dream job, but have to get over the hurdle of data structures and algorithms interview questions. 


The course is designed to boost your confidence in tackling data structures and algorithms topics and help you get on the same level as someone with a computer science degree. 


You will learn about the following technical topics:


1. Big O notation


2. Data structures:

  • Arrays
  • Hash Tables
  • Singly Linked Lists
  • Doubly Linked Lists
  • Queues
  • Stacks
  • Trees (BST, AVL Trees, Red Black Trees, Binary Heaps)
  • Tries
  • Graphs

3. Algorithms:

  • Recursion
  • Sorting
  • Searching
  • Tree Traversal
  • Breadth First Search
  • Depth First Search
  • Dynamic Programming

A key advantage of this Udemy course is that it also addresses helpful non-technical topics, such as how to get more interviews, what to do before, during, and after a coding interview, and how to negotiate your salary. 


Which brings us to this golden nugget... 

Q: Why did the programmer quit his job?

A: Because he didn't get arrays.

                                       (a raise)


When you enroll, you'll gain access to a private online chat community with thousands of developers and be taught by an industry expert who has experienced coding interviews as both an interviewee and an interviewer.


Key course features:

  • 19 hours on-demand video
  • 52 articles
  • 4 downloadable resources
  • 1 coding exercise
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

=> Enroll in the Master the Coding Interview online course here.


Final Thoughts


Thanks for reading this post, I hope you've found it helpful! Of course, the course(s) you decide to take will depend on your current knowledge, the amount of time you can devote to learning, and your preferred programming language. 


Working with data structures and algorithms can seem intimidating at first, but with the right resources and enough practice, it'll eventually start making sense...


...and you might eventually start enjoying it :)


All the best!


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