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Introduction to Arrays – Data Structure and Algorithm Tutorials

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  • Last Updated : 22 Sep, 2022
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What is an Array?

An array is a collection of items of the same variable type stored that are stored at contiguous memory locations. It’s one of the most popular and simple data structures and is often used to implement other data structures. Each item in an array is indexed starting with 0.

The dream of every programmer is to become not just a good, but also a great programmer. We all want to achieve our goals and to achieve our goals, we must have a great plan with us. In this context, we have decided to provide a complete guide for Arrays interview preparation, which will help you to tackle the problems that are mostly asked in the interview, such as What is an Array, What is Array in C language, How do you initialize an Array in C, How to sort an Array, etc. We have also covered the topics such as Top Theoretical interview questions and Top interview coding questions in this complete guide for Array interview preparation.

Complete guide for Arrays interview preparation

Complete guide for Arrays interview preparation

We can directly access an array element by using its index value.

Basic terminologies of array

  • Array Index: In an array, elements are identified by their indexes. Array index starts from 0.
  • Array element: Elements are items stored in an array and can be accessed by their index.
  • Array Length: The length of an array is determined by the number of elements it can contain. 

Representation of Array

The representation of an array can be defined by its declaration. A declaration means allocating memory for an array of a given size.



Arrays can be declared in various ways in different languages. For better illustration, below are some language-specific array declarations.


int arr[5];        // This array will store integer type element
char arr[10];    // This array will store char type element
float arr[20];  // This array will store float type element


int arr[5];        // This array will store integer type element
char arr[10];    // This array will store char type element
float arr[20];  // This array will store float type element


/* Static Arrays are arrays that are declared before runtime
and are assigned values while writing the code.
// The syntax of declaring a static array is:
<data type><variable name>[]
    = {<data1>, <data2>,…..<dataN> };
// Example:
int arr[] = { 2, 5, 6, 9, 7, 4, 3 };


int[] arr = new int[5]; // This array will store integer type element

Array declaration

However, the above declaration is static or compile-time memory allocation, which means that the array element’s memory is allocated when a program is compiled. Here only a fixed size (i,e. the size that is mentioned in square brackets []) of memory will be allocated for storage, but don’t you think it will not be the same situation as we know the size of the array every time, there might be a case where we don’t know the size of the array. If we declare a larger size and store a lesser number of elements will result in a wastage of memory or either be a case where we declare a lesser size then we won’t get enough memory to store the rest of the elements. In such cases, static memory allocation is not preferred.

Is it possible to create dynamic array

The answer is Yes. It is possible to allocate memory dynamically. So, dynamic memory allocation is the process of assigning the memory space during the execution time or the run time.

Below are the languages that support dynamic memory allocation:


int *array = new int[5];


// The syntax of declaring a dynamic array is:
// <data type> <variable name> [ <Total Number of elements to be stored in array>];
// Example:
int arr[10]; // Store integer elements
String arr[5]; // Store String type of elements


# list of integers
my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4]
# Empty list
my_list = []
# list of mixed data types
my_list = ["Hello", 1, 5.5]


int[] numArray = new int[] {};


// JavaScript has dynamic arrays: their size is not predetermined, nor the type of data.
 // Create array using literal
var x = ["a", "b", "c"];  
// Create array using constructor
var x = new Array();       
// Create array using constructor with items
var y = new Array("a", "b", "c");


$arr = array("a","b","c");

Why Array Data Structures is needed?

Assume there is a class of five students and if we have to keep records of their marks in examination then, we can do this by declaring five variables individual and keeping track of records but what if the number of students becomes very large, it would be challenging to manipulate and maintain the data.

What it means is that, we can use normal variables (v1, v2, v3, ..) when we have a small number of objects. But if we want to store a large number of instances, it becomes difficult to manage them with normal variables. The idea of an array is to represent many instances in one variable..

Need for Array

Need for Array

Types of arrays: 

There are majorly two types of arrays:

1D array

1D array

  • Two-dimensional array: 2-D Multidimensional arrays can be considered as an array of arrays or as a matrix consisting of rows and columns.
2D array

2D array

  • Three-dimensional array: A 3-D Multidimensional array contains three dimensions, so it can be considered an array of two-dimensional arrays.

3D array

 Types of Array operations:

  • Traversal: Traverse through the elements of an array.
  • Insertion: Inserting a new element in an array.
  • Deletion: Deleting element from the array.
  • Searching:  Search for an element in the array.
  • Sorting: Maintaining the order of elements in the array.

Advantages of using Arrays:

  • Arrays allow random access to elements. This makes accessing elements by position faster.
  • Arrays have better cache locality which makes a pretty big difference in performance.
  • Arrays represent multiple data items of the same type using a single name.
  • Arrays store multiple data of similar types with the same name.
  • Array data structures are used to implement the other data structures like linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, graphs, etc.

Disadvantages of Array:

  • As arrays have a fixed size, once the memory is allocated to them, it cannot be increased or decreased, making it impossible to store extra data if required. An array of fixed size is referred to as a static array. 
  • Allocating less memory than required to an array leads to loss of data.
    An array is homogeneous in nature so, a single array cannot store values of different data types. 
  • Arrays store data in contiguous memory locations, which makes deletion and insertion very difficult to implement. This problem is overcome by implementing linked lists, which allow elements to be accessed randomly.  

Application of Array:

  • They are used in the implementation of other data structures such as array lists, heaps, hash tables, vectors, and matrices.
  • Database records are usually implemented as arrays.
  • It is used in lookup tables by computer.
  • It is used for different sorting algorithms such as bubble sort insertion sort, merge sort, and quick sort.

Top theoretical interview questions



1What will happen if you do not initialize an Array?View
2Why is the complexity of fetching a value from an array be O(1)View
3When should you use an Array over a List?View
4What is a circularly sorted array?View
5Comparing two arrays using hashmap?View
6“What are the advantages of a linked list over an array? In which scenarios do 
we use LinkedList and when Array?”
7How do I iterate rows and columns of a multidimensional array?View
8What is meant by Sparse Array?View
9What are the benefits of Heap over Sorted Arrays? View
10Is there any difference between int[] a and int a[]?View
11Can we declare array size as a negative number?View
12We know that Arrays are objects so why cannot we write strArray.length()?View
13What are the advantages of Sorted Arrays?  View
14What defines the dimensionality of an Array?  View
15How to check array contains a value or not?View
16How to create an array/list inside another array/list?View
17How to get the largest and smallest number in an array?View
18How can I return coordinates/indexes of a string in a multidimensional array?View
19How do I remove objects from an array in Java?View
20How does C allocate data items in a multidimensional array?View
21Get adjacent elements in a two-dimensional array?View
22C++ How to use and pass a 3-dimensional char array?View
23Anonymous Array in JavaView
24 What is the default value of Array in Java?View
25How to copy an array into another array?View
26How to iterate an array in java?View
27How to merge two sorted Arrays into a Sorted Array?View
28Can we make the array volatile in Java?View
29What is the logic to reverse the array?View
30How to get the index of an array element?View
31Can we extend an array after initialization?View
32How to fill elements (initialize at once) in an array?View
33Difference between Array and String in JavaView
34Print all subarrays with 0 sumView
35Equilibrium index of an arrayView
36How to check array contains a value or not?View
37How to get the top two numbers from an array?View
38How to implement 3 Stacks with one Array? View

Top 50 interview coding question

Easy Problems on Arrays




1Peak ElementViewSolve
2Find the minimum and maximum element in an arrayViewSolve
3Write a program to reverse the arrayViewSolve
4Write a program to sort the given arrayViewSolve
5Find the Kth largest and Kth smallest number in an arrayViewSolve
6Find the occurrence of an integer in the arrayViewSolve
7Sort the array of 0s, 1s, and 2sViewSolve
8Subarray with given SumViewSolve
9Move all the negative elements to one side of the arrayViewSolve
10Find the Union and Intersection of the two sorted arraysViewSolve

Medium Problems on Arrays




1Write a program to cyclically rotate an array by oneViewSolve
2Find the missing integerViewSolve
3Count Pairs with given sumViewSolve
4Find duplicates in an arrayViewSolve
5Sort an Array using the Quicksort algorithmViewSolve
6Find common elements in three sorted arraysViewSolve
7Find the first repeating element in an array of integersViewSolve
8Find the first non-repeating element in a given array of integersViewSolve
9Subarrays with equal 1s and 0sViewSolve
10Rearrange the array in alternating positive and negative itemsViewSolve
11Find if there is any subarray with a sum equal to zeroViewSolve
12Find the Largest sum contiguous SubarrayViewSolve
13Find the factorial of a large numberViewSolve
14Find Maximum Product SubarrayViewSolve
15Find the longest consecutive subsequenceViewSolve
16Find the minimum element in a rotated and sorted arrayViewSolve
17Max sum in the configurationViewSolve
18Minimum PlatformsViewSolve
19Minimize the maximum difference between the heightsViewSolve
20Minimum number of jumps to reach the endViewSolve
21Stock Span problemViewSolve
23Find a triplet that sums to a given valueViewSolve
23Smallest positive missing numberViewSolve
24Find the row with a maximum number of 1’sViewSolve
25Print the matrix in a Spiral mannerViewSolve
26Find whether an array is a subset of another arrayViewSolve
27Implement two Stacks in an arrayViewSolve
28Majority ElementViewSolve
29Wave ArrayViewSolve
30Trapping RainwaterViewSolve

Hard Problems




1Maximum IndexViewSolve
2Max sum path in two arraysViewSolve
3Find Missing And RepeatingViewSolve
4Stock buy and sell ProblemViewSolve
5Pair with the given sum in a sorted arrayViewSolve
6Chocolate Distribution ProblemViewSolve
7Partition Equal Subset SumViewSolve
8Smallest Positive integer that can’t be represented as a sumViewSolve
9Coin Change ProblemViewSolve
10Longest Alternating subsequenceViewSolve

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about arrays

1. What is an array in data structure with example?

An array is a collection of items of the same data type stored at contiguous memory locations. Ex. int arr[5] = {1,2,3,4,5};

2. Why array is a data structure?

Arrays store elements of the same type, they are classified as homogeneous data structures. They can store numbers, strings, characters, boolean values (true and false), objects, and so on.

3. What data structure is an array?

 An array is a linear data structure that stores similar elements in contiguous memory locations.

4. What are the types of arrays?

There are majorly two types of arrays:

  • One dimensional array
  • Multidimensional array

5. How is data stored in an array?

An array is a collection of items of the same data type stored at contiguous memory locations or says the elements are stored one after another in memory. An array uses an index system starting at 0 and going to (n-1), where n is its size.

6. Difference between array and structure?

The structure can contain variables of different types but an array only contains variables of the same type. 

7. What are the limitations of an array?

An array is a collection of items of the same data type, That means, in an integer array only integer values can be stored, while in a float array only floating values and character array can have only characters. Thus, no array can have values of two data types.

8. What are the advantages of an array?

There are multiple advantages of array data structure and some of them are:

  • Arrays allow random access to elements. This makes accessing elements by position faster.
  • Arrays store multiple data of similar types with the same name.
  • Array data structures are used to implement the other data structures like linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, graphs, etc.

9. What is the purpose of using arrays?

An array is used when several variables of the same type need to be used, and it can be defined as a sequence of objects of the same type.  

10. What is a multidimensional array?

A multi-dimensional array can be termed as an array of arrays that stores homogeneous data in tabular form. Data in Multidimensional Arrays are stored in row-major order. 


After the discussion, we concluded that arrays are a simple method of accessing elements of the same type by grouping them and we can find the elements efficiently by their indexes and can perform different operations using them. Thus, they are more efficient when it comes to memory allocation and should be used in all modern programming languages. So, this becomes a favorite topic for the perspective of the interview and most of the companies generally asked about the problems on the array. For all these reasons, we must have a good knowledge of it.

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