Difference Between Algorithm and Pseudocode

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Difference Between Algorithm and Pseudocode: In a programming language, both algorithm and pseudocode play an important role. Where an algorithm is considered the foundation of the programming language pseudocode is used to make the programming language more human-friendly. The major difference between algorithm and pseudocode is that pseudocode is a method of writing an algorithm and an algorithm is a step-by-step description of the procedure of a task. 

Here, we will first read what is algorithm and pseudocode in brief then we will discuss the difference between algorithm and pseudocode on various factors.

Difference Between Algorithm and Pseudocode

Although there are various similarities between algorithm and pseudocode, there are a few differences between the two which are explained in the table provided below:

Key Differences Between Algorithm and Pseudocode

Algorithm Pseudocode
It is a step-by-step description of the solution. It is an easy way of writing algorithms for users to understand.
It is always a real algorithm and not fake codes. These are fake codes.
They are a sequence of solutions to a problem. They are representations of algorithms.
It is a systematically written code. These are simpler ways of writing codes.
They are an unambiguous way of writing codes.  They are a method of describing codes written in an algorithm.
They can be considered pseudocode. They can not be considered algorithms
There are no rules to writing algorithms. Certain rules to writing pseudocode are there.

The Difference Between Algorithm, Pseudocode, and Program to know more about these topics.

What is an Algorithm?

In the programming language, algorithms are a procedure to solve a given problem with step by step description of the solution. The steps are carried out in a finite amount of time. The problems of complex nature can be solved by a simple step-by-step description of an algorithm. 

The algorithm will have a well-defined set of steps. Problems are solved with a specific solution. Natural languages, flow charts, etc can be used to represent an algorithm. Candidates can check out Prim’s Algorithm to know more about Algorithm.

What is a Pseudocode?

Pseudocode is also known as fake codes. It is used to give a simple human-friendly description of the steps used in an algorithm. It is an informal description. It is often used to summarise the steps or flow of the algorithm but it does not specify the detail of the algorithm. It is written by the system designers so that aligned codes and requirements can be understood by the programmers. 

Pseudocode is used to plan an algorithm. They are not used in complex programming languages. As we have seen the algorithm and pseudocode, let us now see the major differences between the two in the next section.

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