A data structure is a collection of rules or guidelines that helps to organize and store data in such a way that it can be easily accessed, managed, and utilized. If you are working with a large amount of data then you have to use certain data structures otherwise it will slow down your application.
The data structure is an important topic when you are learning computer programming as it gives you the basics of how to handle large amounts of data by using different strategies.
Why data structures are important?
Data structures are important for programmers because they allow you to measure things in a simple way. When you start learning data structures you will see why it is important to structure data properly. Array and hash are two common data structures used in programming. They are useful if you have a lot of values (elements) and you need to keep them in one place so that you can access them. For example, suppose we have two numbers, one is a number and the other is an object with the values of x and y in the location element of an array.
Data structures will help you organize the information in your memory. When you have a lot of random data floating around in your head, it can be hard to make sense of it. A good data structure helps reduce the amount of information you need to process in order to understand what’s important. As you learn more about data structures, you will find that there are many applications for them in architecture, computer science, design, and many other fields.
How are data structures used?
Data structures are used to store, manipulate and retrieve information in a concise and efficient way. Most often, when programmers are reading data from a file (‘storing’ it), they are working with a binary ‘tree’ representation of the data. A Data Structure is a group of related objects that have common properties.
Some examples of how data structures are used include the following:
- Storing data – Data structure is used when you want to store or retrieve data in a convenient way. Operations on the representation are referred to as operations on data structures. The representation may include lists, queues, tree structures, and so on.
- Managing resources and services – Memory allocation is essential in low-level software such as web browsing where bandwidth can be an issue, and in higher-level software such as databases it enables efficient data access.
- Data exchange – Data structures make it possible to communicate information among different programs and systems in a secure and efficient way. As the Internet has grown, so has the need for efficient and secure transfer of information. TCP/IP communication protocol was designed to help deliver data across networks using simple, busy techniques such as those used by file transfer utilities.
- Sorting – Sorting is important for nearly every application you will build. Sorting data in a particular way improves the quality of your results and reduces the time it takes to retrieve the right information.
- Indexing – An index is a numerical index that can be used to locate a particular element in a data structure. An element can be a value, a word, or something more abstract such as a position in an array.
- Searching – Searching is a key concept in computer science. It’s used to find items in a database or text file. The goal of a search is to find some indicated location in the data set that matches your criteria.
Why should we organize the data?
Organizing data into structures that make it easier to work with is one of the main principles of data structures – not only in programming but in almost every other form of human communication and industry. Data structures help you express complexity in a simpler form and use less memory in the process. If you’re not familiar with data structures, you might be confused by the term.
Example 1 – Library as a Data Structure
What will happen if we haven’t addressed the data properly.
Let’s imagine you went to one big library. You want to read a particular book.
Imagine the situation that the library hasn’t organized the book in any order it means the library hasn’t organized the books based on any category. In reality that might be a chance to the library might have 10 or 15 lakhs of books right from this huge collection.
Have you even find the book which you want to read. If it is not organized properly it’s impossible, right? This is the reason library books are categories in some order.
So for example fiction books are all in one place and nonfiction books are all in some other place. Something like that even inside the fiction and nonfiction category books should be arranged based on alphabetical order in such a case. It will be easier to find the books. It does not matter the library having a huge number of books. If the label books are it somewhat that if it’s in like this way. Even if the library hasn’t think rows of books on marriage this is the importance of organizing things.
If it’s in like this way, it will be easy for the customers to pick the right book they’re interested in.
Example 2 – Dictionary as a Data Structure
Dictionary is the perfect example for the subject.
Let’s imagine you want to search for some words from the dictionary. Let’s take the word apple. This means you want to know the meaning of the apple. If you see the big study there are lakhs efforts within it, right? So how you will search for the word apple from the huge number of good collections in the dictionary.
It’s quite simple. You can directly go to the location. The words start with that A. And then you have to go to next let it be something that means A and then P correct. I assume that in the dick study words are random wondered then how you will find the word called Apple.
For more than lakh of the words, it’s impossible right. So words must be organized in some way the dictionary to find the one initiating not only in library or dictionary organizing that thinks is quite normally never a day to day activities.
Example 3 – Home as a Data Structure
At your home, we will keep the dressing scenario in the dressing room and the grocery scenario in your kitchen, right?
Just for instance imagine he kept watch somewhere and you don’t know where it is? Now where you will search for your watch? Will search in the kitchen? No, right? We will search for it in the dressing room, not in the kitchen. Because normally these kinds of things we will keep it in your dressing room or even a property cupboard. So are organizing things is more important, so that we can manage things quickly.
Like this way, the data structure is also the same concept. It’s a concept of organizing the data in a computer so that data can be used efficiently. And the most important thing you should understand is data structure it’s not a technique it’s a skill or we can say like it’s a piece of knowledge but you know what I mean. It is not about only storing or organizing the data. It’s also about choosing the right get us up to in place.
It’s not a technique it’s knowledge. Both are completely different. Storing the data into a data structure may be a technique. But choosing the right data structure for your situation is a skill. It will come from experience. Choosing the wrong data structure is somewhat similar to choosing a white marker to write it on the whiteboard. Hope you understand.
So the key point is data structure is important to store the data, But the way of storing the data is more important than storing the data.