Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
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.
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.
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.