What Is Dynamic Data Structure and Explain Its Types?


Scott Campbell

Dynamic data structure is a type of data structure that allows for efficient manipulation of data in real-time. Unlike static data structures, dynamic data structures can change their size during program execution. This flexibility makes them essential in scenarios where the amount of data to be stored or processed is unknown or varies over time.

Types of Dynamic Data Structures

In this article, we will discuss three commonly used dynamic data structures: linked lists, stacks, and queues.

Linked Lists

A linked list is a collection of nodes, where each node contains both the data and a reference to the next node in the sequence. This structure allows for efficient insertion and deletion operations at any position within the list.

To illustrate, consider a simple linked list with three nodes:

  • Node 1: Data = 10, Next = Node 2
  • Node 2: Data = 20, Next = Node 3
  • Node 3: Data = 30, Next = NULL (end of list)

In this example, inserting a new node with data equal to 15 between Node 1 and Node 2 involves updating the ‘Next’ reference of Node 1 and assigning it to the new node. The ‘Next’ reference of the new node would then point to Node 2.


A stack is an abstract linear data structure that follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle. It can be visualized as a stack of plates where only the topmost plate can be accessed or removed at any given time.

Stacks support two main operations: push and pop. Push adds an element to the top of the stack, while pop removes and returns the topmost element. These operations make stacks ideal for tracking function calls, evaluating arithmetic expressions, and handling recursive algorithms.


A queue is another abstract linear data structure that follows the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle. It can be imagined as a queue of people waiting in line, where the person who has been waiting the longest gets served first.

The main operations supported by queues are enqueue and dequeue. Enqueue adds an element to the back of the queue, while dequeue removes and returns the frontmost element. Queues find application in scenarios such as scheduling processes in operating systems and handling requests in web servers.


In summary, dynamic data structures play a crucial role in managing data that changes dynamically during program execution. Linked lists provide flexibility for efficient insertion and deletion operations.

Stacks follow LIFO principles, making them suitable for managing function calls and recursive algorithms. Queues adhere to FIFO principles, making them ideal for scenarios involving waiting lines or request handling. Understanding these dynamic data structures will empower you to choose the most appropriate one for your programming needs.

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