7 Types of Algorithms Every Developer Should Know

Grant Darling
10 min readNov 16, 2021

So you decided to learn algorithms but you don’t know where to start? Well, you came to the right place. Today, we are going to break down the 8 most important types of algorithms and how they work.

Understanding these 7 types of algorithms is going to be a huge advantage when going into tech interviews and when writing highly efficient and scalable software.

Although there is a lot more to these algorithms than what is mentioned here, this is a great place to start and get a general understanding.

With that said, let’s begin!

1. Recursive Algorithms

The first type of algorithm I want to talk about are recursive algorithms. Simply put, recursive algorithms are algorithms that call themselves.

Every recursive algorithm must meet at least two conditions:

  1. It has a base case to return so the algorithm does not go into an infinite loop by calling itself
  2. A call to the function within the function body

Recursive algorithms can be a little tricky to wrap your head around at first but I promise they get easier with a little bit of practice.

Recursive Function

Here is a really simple recursive function in python:

def recursiveSumUpTo(number): 
if number == 0: # base case
return number return number + recursiveSumUpTo(number - 1)
result = recursiveSumUpTo(5)
print(result) # returns 15 (5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 0)

If you don’t fully understand right away, don’t worry! It takes everyone a little while to understand recursive algorithms. However, once you understand them, they are a powerful tool to have in your programming toolkit.

A really cool thing about recursive algorithms is that anything that can be done with a loop, can be done recursively.

There are times that iterative algorithms can get really complicated and the recursive version is much simpler. If you’ve ever learned how to use a LinkedList data structure or done functional programming, you probably know how handy recursive algorithms become!

Grant Darling

web developer based out of Toronto, Canada. www.thecodebytes.com

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