Python Tutorial



Python Tutorial

Python Arrays


Arrays, in the expansive universe of programming, are more than mere data containers; they're the bedrock of efficient computation. In Python, a language renowned for its versatility, arrays take on a unique significance. They not only enable organized storage but also facilitate swift data operations. This tutorial aims to provide professionals with an in-depth exploration of Python arrays, detailing their nuances, applications, and pivotal roles in data manipulation and algorithmic processes.


Python, revered for its clean syntax and scalability, offers myriad data structures, among which arrays stand out distinctively. Python arrays serve as a fundamental bridge between abstract programming constructs and real-world applications, such as data analysis, algorithm implementation, and system design.

While Python does not have native arrays in the traditional sense, its list structures emulate them, and the dedicated 'array' module augments their functionality. Coupled with third-party libraries like NumPy, Python's array capabilities elevate to meet complex computational needs. This tutorial embarks on a comprehensive journey, covering the essence, manipulation, and inherent advantages of arrays in Python.

What are Arrays?

Arrays serve as one of the foundational data structures in computer science. Their consistency in type and systematic memory storage makes them highly efficient, especially for operations that demand rapid access to elements. When diving into Python, understanding arrays becomes vital, given their nuanced differences from the more flexible lists. Let’s explore deeper.



These are structured collections wherein every element adheres to a uniform data type. Positioned sequentially in memory, their organized structure facilitates swift access and modification.


Unlike arrays, lists in Python are versatile containers capable of holding varied data types. This flexibility, while advantageous, lacks the strict type uniformity arrays maintain.

Types of Array in Python

Static Array:

Once declared, its size remains unchanged throughout its lifecycle. However, Python generally eschews static arrays in favor of its more dynamic counterparts.

Dynamic Array:

Contrary to static arrays, dynamic arrays can adjust their size according to the data they hold. As elements are added or removed, they can expand or shrink accordingly. Python's lists essentially operate as dynamic arrays.

Characteristics of Arrays

Fixed Size:

A hallmark of static arrays, their sizes are set during their declaration and remain unchanged.


Arrays’ strength lies in their consistent element type. This homogeneity ensures predictability and optimized performance in various operations.

Memory Storage:

One of arrays’ distinguishing features is their allocation in sequential memory locations. This contiguity enhances data retrieval speeds.

Python's 'array' Module

While Python lists offer flexibility, there are times when a stricter data structure is desired. Enter Python’s 'array' module. This module facilitates the creation of arrays closer to those in languages like C or Java. By focusing on type consistency, it provides a more traditional array experience for those situations demanding uniformity.


import array as arr
a = arr.array('i', [1,2,3])

This line demonstrates the declaration of an integer array using Python's 'array' module. Here, 'i' signifies the type (integer), and the subsequent list contains the array's initial values.

Creating an Array in Python or Representation of an Array

Here is an array in python example:


# Creating an array
my_array = [10, 20, 30, 40, 50]
# Accessing elements
print(my_array[0])  # Output: 10
print(my_array[2])  # Output: 30
# Modifying elements
my_array[1] = 25
print(my_array)     # Output: [10, 25, 30, 40, 50]
# Array length
length = len(my_array)
print(length)       # Output: 5
# Adding elements to the end
print(my_array)     # Output: [10, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60]
# Removing elements
print(my_array)     # Output: [10, 25, 40, 50, 60]

Examples of Array Operations


# Creating arrays
array1 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
array2 = [6, 7, 8, 9, 10]
# Concatenation
concatenated_array = array1 + array2
print(concatenated_array)  # Output: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]
# Slicing
sliced_array = array1[2:5]
print(sliced_array)  # Output: [3, 4, 5]
# Finding maximum and minimum
max_value = max(array1)
min_value = min(array2)
print(max_value, min_value)  # Output: 5 6
# Sorting
sorted_array = sorted(array1)
print(sorted_array)  # Output: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
# Reversing
reversed_array = array2[::-1]
print(reversed_array)  # Output: [10, 9, 8, 7, 6]
# Searching for an element
element_to_search = 8
if element_to_search in array2:
    print(f"{element_to_search} found in the array.")
    print(f"{element_to_search} not found in the array.")

Accessing Array Elements in Python


# Creating an array
my_array = [10, 20, 30, 40, 50]
# Accessing individual elements
first_element = my_array[0]
second_element = my_array[1]
print(first_element)   # Output: 10
print(second_element)  # Output: 20
# Accessing elements using negative indices (counting from the end)
last_element = my_array[-1]
second_last_element = my_array[-2]
print(last_element)         # Output: 50
print(second_last_element)  # Output: 40

How to Modify or Add Elements?

Changing Elements:


my_array = [10, 20, 30, 40, 50]
my_array[2] = 35  # Changing the element at index 2 to 35
print(my_array)   # Output: [10, 20, 35, 40, 50]

Adding Elements:


my_array = [10, 20, 30, 40, 50]
# Appending an element
print(my_array)  # Output: [10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60]
# Inserting an element at index 2
my_array.insert(2, 25)
print(my_array)  # Output: [10, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60]

Why use Arrays in Python?

When programming, choosing the right data structure can greatly influence performance, clarity, and efficiency. Arrays, in this context, are not mere placeholders for data but are vital tools tailored for optimization. While Python has several data structures, arrays stand out for their unique combination of efficiency, flexibility, and safety.

Here, we'll dive deep into the intrinsic value of arrays in Python.

1. Efficiency: Speedy Access and Operations

Arrays store elements in contiguous memory locations. This contiguous storage means that when the starting memory location (base address) is known, fetching any element becomes a matter of simple arithmetic. This results in constant time (1)O(1) retrieval, making operations exceptionally fast.

2. Flexibility: Adaptable Size

While static arrays have a fixed size, dynamic arrays (similar to Python lists) can change their size dynamically. As elements are added, the array expands, and as they're removed, it contracts. This dynamic resizing ensures optimal memory utilization.

3. Type Safety: Uniformity with the 'array' Module

Python is dynamically typed, but there are scenarios where strict type adherence becomes crucial. The 'array' module in Python ensures that all elements within the array conform to a specific type, thereby eliminating unexpected type errors and enhancing performance due to uniformity.

4. Utility in Algorithms: Core to Computational Techniques

Arrays play a pivotal role in algorithm design. Many foundational algorithms, from binary search to various sorting techniques like quicksort, are structured around arrays. Their predictable structure and fast access times make arrays an ideal choice for algorithmic problem-solving.

Searching Elements in Arrays

Linear Search:


def linear_search(arr, target):
    for i in range(len(arr)):
        if arr[i] == target:
            return i  # Return the index of the target element if found
    return -1  # Return -1 if the target element is not found in the array
# Example usage:
my_array = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
target_element = 3
result = linear_search(my_array, target_element)
if result != -1:
    print(f"Element {target_element} found at index {result}.")
    print(f"Element {target_element} not found in the array.")
Binary Search:


def binary_search(arr, target):
    left, right = 0, len(arr) - 1
    while left <= right:
        mid = left + (right - left) // 2  # Calculate the middle index
        if arr[mid] == target:
            return mid  # Return the index of the target element if found
        elif arr[mid] < target:
            left = mid + 1  # Adjust the search range to the right half
            right = mid - 1  # Adjust the search range to the left half
    return -1  # Return -1 if the target element is not found in the sorted array
# Example usage (requires a sorted array):
sorted_array = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
target_element = 3
result = binary_search(sorted_array, target_element)
if result != -1:
    print(f"Element {target_element} found at index {result}.")
    print(f"Element {target_element} not found in the array.")

Complexities in Python for Searching Elements in the Arrays

The time complexities for searching elements in arrays depend on the specific search algorithm used. Here are some common search algorithms and their corresponding time complexities:

1. Linear Search:

  • Time Complexity: O(n)

  • Description: In a linear search, you start from the beginning of the array and examine each element one by one until you find the target element or reach the end of the array. This search has a linear time complexity because in the worst case, you may need to check all n elements in the array.

2. Binary Search (for Sorted Arrays):

  • Time Complexity: O(log n)

  • Description: Binary search is a more efficient search algorithm that requires the array to be sorted in ascending order. It repeatedly divides the search interval in half, significantly reducing the number of elements to examine. As a result, it has a logarithmic time complexity.

3. Hash Table (for Unordered Arrays):

  • Average Time Complexity: O(1)

  • Worst-Case Time Complexity: O(n)

  • Description: Hash tables provide constant-time average-case search complexity (O(1)) if there are no collisions (i.e., multiple values hash to the same location). However, in the worst case (with collisions), the complexity becomes O(n), but this is rare if the hash function is well-designed and the load factor is kept low.

4. Binary Search Tree (BST) (for Sorted Arrays):

  • Average Time Complexity: O(log n)

  • Worst-Case Time Complexity: O(n) (if the tree is unbalanced)

  • Description: Binary search trees can be used for searching in sorted arrays. In a balanced BST, the average-case time complexity is logarithmic (O(log n)), but in the worst case (e.g., if the tree is unbalanced), it can degrade to linear time (O(n)).

5.  Other Search Algorithms (e.g., Interpolation Search, Exponential Search):

  • Various specialized search algorithms exist that have different time complexities depending on their specific characteristics and use cases. For example, interpolation search and exponential search are alternatives to binary search, each with its own time complexity and suitability for specific scenarios.

Counting Elements in an Array

Here's a general algorithm for counting elements in an array:


def count_elements(arr, target):
    count = 0  # Initialize a count variable to 0 
    # Iterate through the entire array
    for element in arr:
        if element == target:
            count += 1  # Increment the count if the element matches the target
    return count
# Example usage:
my_array = [1, 2, 3, 2, 4, 2, 5]
target_element = 2
result = count_elements(my_array, target_element)
print(f"Element {target_element} appears {result} times in the array.")

Complexities in Python for Reversing Elements in the Arrays

Reversing the elements in an array typically involves rearranging the order of elements so that they appear in the reverse order. The time complexity for reversing elements in an array is O(n), where "n" is the number of elements in the array. This is because you need to visit and swap every element in the array exactly once.

Here's a general algorithm for reversing elements in an array and its time complexity:


def reverse_array(arr):
    left = 0
    right = len(arr) - 1
    while left < right:
        # Swap elements at the left and right positions
        arr[left], arr[right] = arr[right], arr[left]
        left += 1
        right -= 1
# Example usage:
my_array = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
print(my_array)  # Output: [5, 4, 3, 2, 1]

Extending Elements from Arrays


import array as ar
x = ar.array('i', [1, 2, 3,4,5])
print("The before array extend : ", end =" ")
for i in range (0, 4):
print (x[i], end =" ")
print("\nThe array after extend :",end=" ")
for i in range(0,10):
print(x[i],end=" ")


Python arrays are rich and multifaceted, and become an indispensable tool for any developer. Through this tutorial, we've uncovered the intricacies of arrays, their adeptness in data handling, and the flexibility Python grants in their utilization. As modern challenges in technology demand more efficient solutions, understanding these structures becomes very important.

While the journey of learning never truly ends, this tutorial has laid a robust foundation. We urge professionals to further their expertise, continually seeking avenues to apply and expand their knowledge. And for those aiming to upskill even further, upGrad offers courses tailored to the evolving needs of the industry. Dive deeper, and keep the flame of learning to burn.


1. What distinguishes a list from an array in Python?

In Python, lists serve as dynamic data structures that can store items of varying data types, be they integers, strings, or even other lists. Arrays, on the other hand, when utilized via the 'array' module, insist on type consistency, ensuring that all elements are of a singular pre-defined type.

2. How to declare array in Python?

In Python, arrays can be initiated using the 'array' module. For instance, after importing the module (import array as arr), one can declare an integer array with the syntax a = arr.array('i', [1,2,3]). Lists, however, are Python's default sequence data structure.

3. Method to create a Python empty array?

Lists, which often double as arrays in Python, can be made empty as empty_list = []. For a stricter array definition using the 'array' module, you can establish an empty integer array using: import array as arr; a = arr.array('i').

4. What justifies the use of the 'array' module over lists?

While lists are versatile, the 'array' module is distinct due to its emphasis on type consistency. This characteristic ensures that every element within the array adheres to the same data type. Such consistency is beneficial for specific applications requiring strict data type conformity.

5. Can you add element to array in Python NumPy?

Absolutely! NumPy, a powerful library for numerical computations in Python, introduces the numpy.append() method. This function allows users to seamlessly add elements to arrays, granting them an efficient tool to augment their data structures.

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