What Are the Two Non Primitive Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

Non-primitive data structures are an essential concept in computer science and programming. Unlike primitive data types such as integers and characters, non-primitive data structures are more complex and can store multiple values of different types. In this article, we will explore two commonly used non-primitive data structures: arrays and linked lists.


An array is a collection of elements of the same type that are stored in contiguous memory locations. It allows you to store multiple values under a single variable name, making it easier to manage and access the data.


To declare an array, you need to specify the type of elements it will hold and its size. Here’s an example:

int[] numbers = new int[5];

This creates an integer array called “numbers” with a size of 5. Each element in the array can be accessed using its index, which starts from 0. For example, to access the first element, you would use numbers[0].


Arrays support various operations like adding or changing elements, accessing specific elements, finding the length of the array, and more.

  • Add/Change Elements: You can add or change elements by assigning values to specific indices.
  • Access Elements: Retrieve the value of a particular element by using its index.
  • Length: Determine the length (number of elements) of an array using the .length property.

Linked Lists

A linked list is a data structure that consists of a sequence of nodes, where each node contains both data and a reference (or link) to the next node. Unlike arrays, linked lists do not require contiguous memory allocation, allowing for more efficient memory usage.

Node Structure:

In a singly linked list, each node contains two fields: the data and the next. The data field stores the value of the element, while the next field points to the next node in the list.

class Node {
  int data;
  Node next;


Linked lists support operations like adding or removing nodes, accessing specific nodes, searching for elements, and more.

  • Add Node: Add a new node to the list by creating a new instance of a node and updating the references accordingly.
  • Delete Node: Remove a node from the list by updating the references of its adjacent nodes.
  • Search Element: Traverse through the linked list to find a specific element.

The Difference Between Arrays and Linked Lists

The choice between arrays and linked lists depends on several factors. Arrays are beneficial when you know the exact size of your data in advance and need constant-time access to elements. On the other hand, linked lists are more suitable when your data size is dynamic or when you frequently insert or delete elements at different positions.

In conclusion, arrays and linked lists are two essential non-primitive data structures that offer different advantages depending on your requirements. Understanding their characteristics and operations can greatly enhance your ability to solve complex programming problems.

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