Data structures, at a high level, are techniques for storing and organizing data that make it easier to modify, navigate, and access. Data structures determine how data is collected, the functions we can use to access it, and the relationships between data.
Data structures are used in almost all areas of computer science and programming, from operating systems to basic vanilla code to artificial intelligence.
Data structures enable us to:
Manage and utilize large datasets
Search for particular data from a database
Design algorithms that are tailored towards particular programs
Handle multiple requests from users at once
Simplify and speed up data processing
Data structures are vital for efficient, real-world problem solving. After all, the way we organize data has a lot of impact on performance and usability. In fact, most top companies require a strong understanding of data structures.
Anyone looking to crack the coding interview will need to master data structures.
Non-primitive data structures are not defined by the programming language but rather by the programmer. These include linear data structures, static data structures, and dynamic data structures, like queue and linked lists.