In the previous article, we learned what are data structures and algorithms and their types.

Now, Let us look at the major differences between linear and non-linear data structures.

Linear Data StructuresNonLinear Data Structures
The data items are arranged in sequential order, one after the other.The data items are arranged in hierarchical order.
All the items are present on a single level.Different levels are being formed.
All the elements can be processed in a single run.We cannot traverse all elements in a single run as it contains different levels.
The utilization of memory is not efficient.Different structures utilize memory in different efficient ways depending on the conditions.
The time complexity increase with the data size.Time complexity remains the same.
Example: Arrays, Stack and Queue.Example: Tree, Graph, and Map.


Some of the basic operations that are performed on the data structures are mentioned below.

  • Insertion: insertion means adding a new element or a node into the data structure.
  • Deletion: deletion means the removal of an element or a node from the data structure.
  • Searching: searching means searching for an element in the data structure according to the given key or address. It is considered as successful when the required element is found in the particular data structure.
  • Traversing: visiting each and every node or element in the data structure so that the selected element can be processed.
  • Sorting: arranging the elements in the data structure according to some specific order.
  • Merging: combining elements or nodes of two similar data structures to form a new data structure of the same type is known as merging.

These are some of the basic operations that are performed on different kinds of data structures.

The need and use of data structures in the modern technology world

This is the common question that pops up to beginners. Let’s understand the use and advantages of the data structures.

For software design

Data structures are known to be a major factor in storing and organizing data. So many developers use those data structures for the design of the system software.

Data structures for operating systems

Data structures play a vital role in the operating systems for scheduling jobs, allocation and releasing of memory and storing instructions. To perform the above operations, operating systems use all kinds of data structures like arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues and trees etc. Queues are majorly used in operating systems to perform scheduling processes.

For numerical analysis

Numerical Analysis means designing effective ways to find numerical solutions to complex Mathematical problems in real-life problems. Most Mathematical problems from science and engineering are very complex and sometimes cannot be solved directly. Almost all kinds of data structures are being used for solving mathematical problems. So in solving mathematical problems, data structures play a vital role.

Database management systems

Most of the data organization is done by using the data structures like trees, graphs, and arrays.

These are some of the applications of data structures.

Now let’s know about the advantages of the data structures.

  • Efficiency: by including data structures in your technical grounds, you will get things done in an efficient manner. If a correct choice of data structure is used, it will increase efficiency in terms of time and space.
  • Optimized and scalable code: different kinds of data structures are evolved to solve different kinds of real-life complex problems efficiently based on the conditions.
  • Abstractions:  implementation of the data structures will provide a level of abstraction. The user can’t see the internal working of the data structure, so there is no worry about the implementation, it sees only the interface.
  • Re-usability: data structures can simply increase the re-usability of the code, we can use the same part of the code number of times according to our needs.
See also  Difference between Coder, Programmer, and Developer.


That’s it from this tutorial. Hope you guys found it interesting. We have learned about data structures and algorithms, different kinds of data structures, differences between linear and non-linear data structures, operations performed on data structures, the importance of data structures, and the advantages of data structures.

Happy coding!


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