Understanding Encapsulation in OOPS with Examples

It is always a challenge for programmers to write lengthy codes while programming. Therefore, the programmers focus on creating small software units or programs that comprise well-defined interfaces and protocols. However, the key challenge in creating such small units is to restrict interference from other units. This challenge is resolved with the help of an object-oriented programming system (OOPS) as it represents objects that have approved interfaces, and there is no hindrance at the time of implementation. 

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This blog will help you understand the concept of OOPS in programming and the encapsulation process in OOPS.

What is Encapsulation in OOPS?

Object-oriented programming or OOPS in Java is a programming paradigm or a methodology that relates to real-world objects. It utilizes the perception of the world and encapsulates data aggregates in the form of objects. OOPS is a collection of various objects that communicate with each other via messages. There are several advantages of object-oriented programming. It enhances team programming because the programmers work in isolation to work on individual units. Since it includes a natural paradigm, it also reduces cognitive load.

One of the most crucial concepts related to object-oriented programming is Encapsulation. It is closely related to data hiding. To understand the concept of Encapsulation better, we have to relate to the natural world paradigm. For instance, when we look at objects around us, a specific object is complete. It resembles its characteristics and properties. It means that the properties or the nature of an object are encapsulated within it. We do not have to look at other objects to figure out the properties of a particular object. However, certain objects have hidden properties that are not visible on the surface. We can see those hidden attributes only when two or more objects interact or communicate with each other. 

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This is the concept of Encapsulation in the real world – objects are independent with specific attributes visible on the front. In contrast, certain characteristics are hidden and can only be witnessed when communication with another object.

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Programmers have used this concept of Encapsulation in programming. They add properties or attributes to objects in isolation. Encapsulation allows several programmers to work on a program independently. It helps in effective collaboration at a later stage. With Encapsulation, you do not have to worry about any other object interfering with your object – you can invite other programmers or objects to interact with your objects in a controlled environment. In the Java language, we have to use language constructs to bring together variables and functions.

In simple terms, Encapsulation refers to hiding the representation of objects within a class. Even if someone makes modifications to specific components of the class, Encapsulation prohibits any changes in the presentation of objects. In Encapsulation, a code binds and manipulates the data. There exists a wall or a shield between the code and the outer representation. 

Once encapsulated, your code should be easily accessible by others. It should not be technical or difficult to operate, and no person can interfere with the internal framework. In programming, Encapsulation keeps all the classes separate and prevents unnecessary interference.

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Encapsulation Framework

The encapsulation framework distinguishes the specification and implementation processes in a class. Specification means the particular messages or services that a class offers to its clients. On the other hand, implementation refers to representing objects within a class and how the objects interact with each other through a proper system. While specification focuses on ‘what,’ implementation refers to ‘how.’

Encapsulation helps in creating abstract data types that can be altered externally. To control Encapsulation, we can declare the variables with different access modifiers. In Java, Encapsulation only protects the name of the object and not the object itself. To implement the encapsulation process, we need to make instance variables private to not be viewed or modified by someone else. The class methods will only allow the users to get and set the value of variables.

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In C++ language, Encapsulation separates the class interface from the process of implementation. However, the definition of the class must include certain aspects of the representation of objects. 

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In Java language, Encapsulation refers to the integration of class interface and implementation in a single file.

Encapsulation examples

The following examples will help you understand the concept of Encapsulation better:

  • In a refrigerator, the inner wires are protected by the outer body that acts as a shield. What we see outside is separated from the inside. It is called Encapsulation. The outer covering prevents any interference with inner wires or buttons.
  • In a steering wheel, too, we rotate the wheel to move the vehicle. What we see is only the independent object with specific characteristics and representation. We are not concerned with the internal implementation of the wheel and cannot interfere with it.
  • Another great example to understand the concept of Encapsulation is a calculator. The users do not have a clue about how a calculator works internally. They know that they will get the desired results if they add values and press a particular function like addition, subtraction, division, or multiplication. Similarly, in the Encapsulation of a program, the users can only see the representation of the objects and not how they are implemented.

What are the Advantages of Encapsulation in OOPS?

The following are the several benefits of Encapsulation in programming:

How is Encapsulation different from Abstraction and Inheritance?

Similar to Encapsulation, the concept of abstraction in programming refers to data hiding. Only essential attributes of an object are visible to the user. At the same time, all unnecessary information is kept hidden. The most significant benefit of abstraction is that it reduces unnecessary complexity. In abstraction, only relevant data is made available before the user. It hides irrelevant and unnecessary information. We can understand the concept of abstraction with the instance of a microwave. We put our food in the microwave, press some buttons, and soon we get hot food. We are not concerned with how a microwave works internally, functions, and which wire is supposed to do what, etc.

In Encapsulation, the primary purpose is to protect internal information from unnecessary interference from the outside world. It hides data in units so that others cannot modify it. However, in abstraction, the idea is to keep irrelevant information away from the users and enhance simple usage.

Another significant concept in object-oriented programming is inheritance. It refers to the process in which one class acquires or inherits the property of another class.

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Since object-oriented programming has several benefits, companies prefer developers with OOP skills. The average salary for an object-oriented programming job in India is INR 8,75,000 per year. If you are already working as a software developer, in-depth knowledge of OOP will more likely enhance your career growth. 

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What is object-oriented programming?

Object-oriented programming is a computer programming technique that uses data and objects to build programs rather than using various functions. OOP takes inspiration from real-world entities and focuses on implementing those procedures in programming.

What is encapsulation in OOP?

Encapsulation in object-oriented programming means hiding information to keep it secured from external factors. In encapsulation, the implementation of objects is kept hidden from other programmers, and only the representation of objects is visible. It helps programmers to work independently on a program.

What are the benefits of encapsulation in OOP?

Since encapsulation hides data, it has various advantages. It keeps implementation safe from external modifications. It also reduces technicality and makes it easier for the programmers to maintain the program.

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