Should iOS Developers Learn Data Structures and Algorithms?
Yes, having the knowledge of Algorithms and Data structures is important in making efficient and highly performant iOS apps. It is worth noting that you can make some basic iOS apps without knowing much about Data Structures and Algorithms.
There are many already developed algorithms that are useful for iOS app development, meaning you don’t have to start from scratch. You can also make your own algorithms depending on the needs of your iOS app features.
Some of the popular data structures include arrays, linked lists, trees, stack, queue, edge, sorting, and hashing. These data structures are commonly used to implement the logic that improves the user experience of many applications.
Think of music player apps, video and music streaming apps, navigation apps, search apps, and many others, all these use a combination of data structures such as queue, linked list, graph, stack, sorting, etc. to provide search functionality, play the next song or video automatically, connect places, etc.
If you want to make a difference as an iOS app developer in your career and stand out from the rest of the competition, you need to know and use Data structures and Algorithms.
BENEFITS OF DATA STRUCTURES AND ALGORITHMS
There are a lot of benefits to understanding and working with Data structures and algorithms when developing iOS applications and other software, here are some of them
When solving a software problem, there are a lot of ways you can go about it, however, not all the ways are efficient and scalable. Data structures and algorithms help developers to implement efficient solutions that minimize performance issues.
If you are an iOS application developer working with a huge set of data, you will need to implement an algorithm that works without issues even if the data grows extremely large.
Imagine you wanted to search for an element in a sorted array, you may iterate over the array and compare each element to your target element and if you find your target element, you will return it. This will work without problems for thousands upon thousands of records.
But when your records get to millions upon millions, you are going to get performance issues, your code will slow down and if you have no idea about algorithms, you will have hard times solving this problem.
However, if you use Binary Search algorithm, you can get your target element quickly even if you have billions or trillions of records. This is an efficient and optimal solution.
If you plan on working for any big tech company as an iOS app developer, you need to know data structures and algorithms. Many big tech companies will ask questions on data structures and algorithms during interviews.
If you understand Algorithms and Data structures, you are halfway to passing your interview with many tech companies.
It is no surprise that a book like CRACKING THE CODING INTERVIEW has a section dedicated to Algorithms because they are important for developer interviews, ranging from basic to trickiest algorithms.
MAKES YOU A BETTER DEVELOPER
Working with algorithms will help you to become a better developer, and you will be able to implement efficient and optimal solutions. It’s like unlocking a whole new world of great software performance and possibilities. I explained more about this in the article Tips to Become a Better Developer
IMPROVE PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS
Learning data structures and algorithms will enhance how you solve everyday challenges, not only when developing iOS applications, but in your everyday life ultimately.
In the book ALGORITHMS TO LIVE BY: THE COMPUTER SCIENCE OF HUMAN DECISIONS, the author talks about how computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives from finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, organizing your inbox, and more.
Algorithms are a form of mental exercise that strengthens your mental muscle, once you start using algorithms, you will always be pushing yourself to find better ways of doing things.
You will be constantly seeking to implement the most optimal and efficient solutions to problems. You will not be satisfied with using a solution that just works but one that works efficiently.
DO I NEED SWIFT FOR DATA STRUCTURES AND ALGORITHMS?
Although Swift is the language of choice for developing iOS and other applications for Apple devices, you don’t need to know Swift for Algorithms and Data structures, you can use nearly any programming language that you are comfortable with.
Ultimately, you don’t have to learn Swift for Data structures and algorithms, you are better off using Python.
But if you are already familiar with Swift and you do not want to learn another programming language, you can still use your already existing Swift knowledge for Data Structures and Algorithms.
Although you can make some basic iOS apps without intentionally using data structures and algorithms, you need to learn algorithms and data structures to make iOS apps that are efficient and performant.
Many iOS apps will require the implementation of data structures and algorithms to provide great features and functionality to users.