Programming & Tech

Sorting Algorithms: What Are They and How to Use Them

By
Fiverr Team
|
August 25, 2021
algorithms

Manually sorting lists can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if there are large lists to sort through. Sorting algorithms are written in coding languages and put the elements of a list or “array” in a certain order.

Sorting algorithms have two huge benefits: organizing the data faster so that it can be used and also reducing human errors. Business owners and managers are likely to use sorting algorithms every day without even knowing. If you’ve ever sorted customers by surname or age, it’s a sorting algorithm that enables you to do that.  

Let’s take a closer look at what sorting algorithms are and how to use them.

What Is a Sorting Algorithm?

Sorting algorithms are a method of organizing data in a certain order and can be used to organize messy data to be easier to use. Therefore, developing a strong understanding of sorting algorithms and how they work is a crucial fundamental of computer science.

The sorted data is usually in numerical or alphabetical order, often referred to as lexicographical order. The term "lexicographical" refers to the mathematical rules of sorting. Allowing characters other than A-Z makes the sort non-alphabetic, therefore falling into a broader category called lexicographical.

What Is a Sorting Algorithm Used For

Ensuring that lists are organized can be crucial to performing many tasks. For example, removing or merging duplicate entries from large portions of data by sorting the lists based on unique criteria and leaving only the duplicate entries in a group. Another example, sorting two large lists to find out where they differ; by sorting the lists in ascending order, it’s easy to spot the differences in each list.

Common Sorting Algorithms

Various sorting algorithms use different methods to sort arrays. If you’re wondering, what is the fastest sorting algorithm? It all depends on the scenario and size of the array.

Here are the most common sorting algorithms:

  • Selection Sort is one of the simplest sorting algorithms and is only used to sort lists between 10 to 20 elements. The Selection Sort gets its name from selecting the current smallest element and then swapping it into place. This process happens continuously by finding the smallest element in the array and swapping it into the correct position until the list is sorted.
  • Bubble Sort: this algorithm sorts lists by allowing the lowest or highest values to the top and then sorting the list by comparing adjacent values and swapping them into the correct order.
  • Merge Sort: this type of algorithm is usually used when the length of the array is very high. The list is split into two halves and is sorted by a recurring algorithm. After each half is sorted, the list is then merged back together.
  • Insertion Sort: used for sorting a smaller array of around 10 to 20 elements. An Insertion Sort compares a key element with the previous element. If the algorithm finds that the previous elements are greater than the key element, it moves the previous element into the next place.
  • QuickSort: Similar to the Merge Sort, the QuickSort algorithm is a divide and conquer algorithm. It chooses an element as a pivot and then partitions the list with all elements less than the chosen pivot to the left and places the elements greater than the pivot to the right.

The Importance of Sorting Algorithms for Your Business

Sorting algorithms can help to sort database information, customer data, and financial reports. It’s important to understand how sorting algorithms are beneficial to your business and the right ones to use when performing certain tasks that may require sorting larger portions of data.

To ensure that you’re getting the most benefits from sorting algorithms, it’s essential to work with an IT professional. Check out the Fiverr marketplace today and hire an expert developer.

Fiverr Team
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