Find the first non repeating character in a given string

Objective: Given a string, write an algorithm to find the first non repeating character in it.


String input = " tutorial horizon"

Output: 'u'

String input = "aabbccadd"

Output: No non-repeating character found.


Naive approach: This problem can be easily solved using two nested loops. Take each character from the outer loop and check the character in rest of the string using inner loop and check if that character appears again, if yes then continue else return that character.  Time complexity is O(N^2).

Better approach: Using extra space

  • Iterate the string from left to right.
  • Count the occurrence of each character and store it in a map.
  • Iterate the string again from left to right and check if the character has count = 1 one in the map created in the previous step, if yes then return that character.
  • If none of the character has count = 1 in map, return null.

Complete Code:


First Non Repeating Character in 'tutorial horizon' is: u

3 thoughts on “Find the first non repeating character in a given string”

  1. //O(n*2) complexity.

    public class FirstNonRepeatingChar

    public static void main(String[] args)
    LinkedHashMap map = new LinkedHashMap();
    String input = “aabbccadd”;
    char[] chars = input.toCharArray();
    for(char c : chars) {
    if(map.get(c) != null) {
    map.put(c, map.get(c) + 1);
    } else {
    map.put(c, 1);
    boolean found = false;
    for(char c : map.keySet()) {
    if(map.get(c) == 1) {
    found = true;
    if(!found) {
    System.out.println(“No non repeating character found”);


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