Data Type

What Does Data Type Mean?

The data type of a value (or variable in some contexts) is an attribute that tells what kind of data that value can have. Most often the term is used in connection with static typing of variables in programming languages like C/C++, Java and C# etc, where the type of a variable is known at compile time. Data types include the storage classifications like integers, floating point values, strings, characters etc.

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Data types define particular characteristics of data used in software programs and inform the compilers about predefined attributes required by specific variables or associated data objects.

Techopedia Explains Data Type

A software program may create many variables and objects that correspond to different program completion aspects. For example, a payroll program may include employee variables such as name, identification/Social Security numbers and contact information, wherein each variable will contain different data types. A Social Security number variable consists of characters, creating an integer data type variable, whereas an employee name variable is solely comprised of alpha characters, creating a character data type variable. Each variable is initialized with a data type during coding to inform the compiler about the expected variable data. Initialization is also necessary because each data type has different characteristics that require preallocated space and memory.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.