If you are a computer science student and want to learn data structures, this article is for you. Data Structure is the most challenging considered in a computer science degree, and it is also confirmed it is considered the backbone of core computer science subjects. Learning Data Structures and understanding their concepts is very important. In this tutorial, I gave you many real-world examples to learn data structure concepts quickly. First of all, let’s take a real-world example of Data Structures to understand what data structures are? Let’s consider this activity as an example that you entered a room to search for a dress for a party from the dressing cupboard; still, suddenly you see all your dresses are mixed so, first of all; you will separate all your dresses one by one and get a dress you want and place all dresses one by one. Next time you want a dress, you will quickly find where your dress is. The same example you can take in the context of Data Structures if you place your data without any indexing or do not know its address, it isn’t straightforward to find this file again when you want; still, if you will store data properly, for example, you set proper numbering and sort it, you can quickly find your data. The definition of Data Structures from Wikipedia is: “In computer science, a data structure is a data organization, management, and storage format that enables efficient access and modification.” I hope you understand the concept of Data Structures. There are two main types of Data Structures one is Linear and the second is non-linear. In linear, you can store data in the following order. For example, you can store data. You must store data next to the other, but in non-linear, you cannot follow any order. You can store data wherever you want. Let’s take an example from your daily life example. You can store books in the rack. You must follow an order to place these books in a rack. It is an example of linear data structure, and if you want to place your dress in a cupboard, you will hang it at any place in the cupboard; you are not bound to place the second dress next to the previous one. Real-life examples of all core Data Structures are as follows:
The array is a linear data structure; if you are familiar with C++ programming or studied OOP and Programming Fundamentals course, you must be familiar with arrays. Most students commonly use arrays to store data in these courses, and it is the most commonly used data structure in programming languages. Let’s take an example from the above picture. When you have a biscuit packet, all biscuits are placed one after each other array data structure follows the same principle; another example is after the window of room 1, there will be a window of room 2 next to each other. According to Wikipedia: “In computer science, an array data structure, or simply an array, is a data structure consisting of a collection of elements (values or variables), each identified by at least one array index or key. An array is stored such that the position of each element can be computed from its index tuple by a mathematical formula.”
- Linked List:
After the array, the next topic in data structures is Linked List, where each data field has the address of the next. See the above figure. When you hold the hand of another, it becomes a connected circle. If you implement this concept in data structures, it is called a Circular Linked list. If the last node is not connected to the first, then it is called a double-linked list, and the node does not have the address of the previous node. It is called a Single linked list. According to Geeks for Geeks, the linked list is defined as: “In simple words, a linked list consists of nodes where each node contains a data field and a reference(link) to the next node in the list.”
- Stack: Stack is a prevalent concept of data structure used in computer science. Most students have an issue while learning stack and queues in data structures. By understanding these real-world examples, you can differentiate between stacks and queues. When you see a bundle of bundles of books placed on the table when you want the second book first, you must pull out the first book to access the second book; the same principle is followed in all other examples as in the case of trays, pennies, boxes, and coins. According to Wikipedia: “In computer science, a stack is an abstract data type that serves as a collection of elements, with two main principal operations: Push, which adds an element to the collection, and Pop, which removes the most recently added element that was not yet removed.” 4. Queue: The queue is simple to understand because of its name. See the above picture. The first person in line is entertained first, and the procedure continues while all the nodes are entertained. In the data structure, the same concept is implied. It follows the First In, First Out principle. Also, it is called last in Last out. According to Wikipedia: “In computer science, a queue is a collection of entities that are maintained in a sequence and can be modified by adding entities at one end of the sequence and removing entities from the other end of the sequence”.
- Tree: The tree is an advanced and most used data structure when required to search the data quickly. Mainly it is used when data belong to different categories. The above example tree shows the data of women and their friends, and the loop continues. It is used on Facebook to show friend suggestions. According to Geeks for Geeks: “A tree is non-linear and a hierarchical data structure consisting of a collection of nodes such that each node of the tree stores a value, a list of references to nodes (the “children”). It consists of a central node, structural nodes, and sub-nodes connected via edges. We can also say that tree data structure has roots, branches, and leaves connected.” 6: Graph: The graph is an advanced data structure used to address real-world problems in which it represents the problem area as a network like telephone networks, circuit networks, and social networks. Geeks for Geeks: “A Graph is a non-linear data structure consisting of nodes and edges. The nodes are sometimes also referred to as vertices, and the edges are lines or arcs that connect any two nodes in the graph. More formally, a Graph can be defined as A Graph consisting of a finite set of vertices(or nodes) and a set of edges which connect a pair of nodes.”
- Linked List: After the array, the next topic in data structures is Linked List, where each data field has the address of the next. See the above figure. When you hold the hand of another, it becomes a connected circle. If you implement this concept in data structures, it is called a Circular Linked list. If the last node is not connected to the first, then it is called a double-linked list, and the node does not have the address of the previous node. It is called a Single linked list. According to Geeks for Geeks, the linked list is defined as: “In simple words, a linked list consists of nodes where each node contains a data field and a reference(link) to the next node in the list.”