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Why Do Interviewers Focus On Data Structures and Algorithms?

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Data structures and algorithms are crucial for technical interviews as they reflect a candidate's problem-solving abilities, understanding of core principles in computer science, and capability to optimize code and handle large-scale systems. Proficiency in these areas also shows adaptability to new concepts and good communication skills.

You cannot build a software product without using a data structure. And you cannot scale a product without writing optimized code(logic/algorithm).

Why data structures and algorithms?

If you're applying for a Software Development Engineer (SDE) position, it's highly probable that you'll have to take part in a DSA round at some point.

Many companies prioritize DSA, including startups, fast-paced startups, and tech giants like FAANG (FaceBook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google). It is a crucial requirement for those who are interviewing with them. They use DSA to test your problem-solving skills. This is their way to test your coding knowledge.

Companies believe that if you are a good problem solver, you're a good coder.

Despite the introduction of new programming languages each year, the DSA skill remains unchanged.

For example, they are not interested in knowing the answer/algorithm if they give you a question. They are interested in your approach to the question and thought process. The thought process is a way to analyze a problem and come up with approaches to solve a problem.

During interviews, employers expect you to showcase your problem-solving abilities by breaking the issue into smaller parts and presenting sub-optimal solutions. They are interested in your thought process when approaching a problem.


Interviewers often focus on data structures and algorithms during technical interviews for several reasons:

  1. Problem-solving skills.
  2. Core concepts
  3. Efficiency and scalability
  4. Problem-solving approach
  5. Adaptability and learning skills
  6. Technical communication

Data Structures and Algorithms

ggorantala Twitter

Gopi has a decade of experience with a deep understanding of Java, Microservices, and React. He worked in India & Europe for startups, the EU government, and tech giants.


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