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A Comprehensive Guide on Data Structure

Data are messy. Handling data with utmost care and attention is significant to avoid confusion in the long run. Whether you are working on an advanced project with tons of data involved or merely on a medium-sized project with a limited amount of data, securing and managing data must always be a priority for a programmer. Understanding data structures and algorithms, writing code becomes second nature.

What are data structures?

As the name suggests, data structures are a particular way to store and organize data in a fashion to access them – anytime, anywhere. When storing data, a similar data element is put together under a specific group. The characteristic of the data structure depends upon how we store the data and the options available to access the data when required.

Need for data structures

The primary goal of data structuring data is to store data in a particular way to make them accessible at any point in time. Depending upon the project’s needs, it is crucial to store data rightly. Best of all, data structures also play a vital role in designing algorithms. A sound data structure basics and an understanding of how an algorithm works helps in solving complex problems, plus saving time while we perform storing or managing data. Perhaps, data structuring improves the program performance and makes the code cleaner and efficient.

Choosing the proper data structure helps in saving strenuous efforts too. Like for instance, your project involves storing a sequence of values without repeatability, then opting for a set data type makes more sense than choosing a list, array, or tuple. Why? Because the set filters out the repeating values and stores unique and ordered elements.

Types of data structures

Based on the data usage and how we store a data structure, we can fit data into categories – primitive data structures and non-primitive data structures. Let us review each one of them in brief:

Primitive data structures

It is the most basic and sophisticated form of representing data containing data. Mainly, they store a single value, and we keep simplified data here. The four primitive data types include:

Integer

Integers represent the numerical values used in mathematics. You can store positive and negative signs, including zeroes.

Float

Float is similar to the int data type, with the only difference being that you can store floating-point numbers as well.

String

When there is a need to store text, go with the string data type. This data type allows storing a collection of characters enclosed in single or double-quotes.

Boolean

Boolean is a type of data with two values – True or False. Based on the value you choose, the output will be the actual values of the expression.

Non-Primitive data structures

The data structure contains the same or the different types of elements. Unlike primitive data structures, here, the values are in the group. The most popular non-primitive data types include:

List

The type of data type used to create a sequence of elements. When working on data structure in Python, you can create a list separated by a comma.

Lists are mutable. That’s means once created. You can modify it whenever you need.

Tuple

As a list, a tuple is the data type used to create a sequence of elements using parenthesis.

Tuples are immutable, and that’s means once created. You cannot make modifications.

Dictionary

Dictionary is a type of data used to store key-value pairs. You can create a dictionary containing a key and a value separated by a colon.

Set

A set is a type of data type where we want to store ordered elements with no repetition of the same value. When storing unique elements, it is always preferable to use a set data type.

The Bottom Lines

The choice of programming language is trivial when learning data structure. However, if you are a newbie and just started programming, starting with the C programming language will be a great head-start. Unlike many other programming languages, including Java or Python, C has comparably fewer built-in functions. Understanding and mastering the basic concepts of C language data structure will unlock your potential to know what goes behind the scenes. Perhaps you can choose to learn the data structure in Java or Python after covering the Java data structure basics.

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