Once people encounter the word “algorithm” they often abandon online courses. They believe that algorithms involve trying to think through and visualize complex flowcharts and hundreds of lines of codes. It may even be so dire that they imagine flying lines of zeros and ones in air. In reality, algorithms are a simple concept. Algorithms are the foundation of every autonomous system. You can hardly find a gadget that does not encapsulate algorithms in their software or firmware.
An algorithm is an instruction flow that solves a problem. Programmers write algorithms that instruct the computer how to perform its required tasks. Algorithms are found everywhere around us and are used by everyone in their daily lives. Any cooking recipe is an algorithm. A do it yourself (DIY) project is an algorithm, too. Thinking of algorithms is not the complex task that many people imagine it to be.
Algorithms usually run in a sequence: You must do this first, then this second, and this third. Learning how to put actions into sequential order is a necessity to start building good algorithms. This type of logical thinking is key in learning to code.
Try to think of a way you can detect an even number from a set of numbers. Solving that puzzle will result in an algorithm. Prime numbers are another riddle you can use an algorithm to solve since determining whether a number is prime, especially if the number is large, requires plenty of computation. Next, try thinking of ways to solve other problems or riddles that you face. You will soon see that you are progressing well.
You can begin by coming up with solutions that are not feasible or efficient but that can serve the purpose. In the case of our prime number example, that may include making a list of prime numbers and then using that list to try to determine larger numbers. You could also try dividing by some select numbers, dividing by all the lower numbers, and so on until you reach a good algorithm design. You can see as you consider and discard ideas that you are getting better through practice and repetition.
Algorithmic thinking is one of the main skills that is in high demand for today’s job market and is highly sought-after by hiring entities. Kids can work on their algorithmic thinking by continuously solving programming problems. They can practice by using RoboGarden’s Hour of Code activities to enhance their thinking abilities. It is never too late to learn programming and algorithmic thinking. Start your learning journey with Robogarden now. Register for free.
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