While Apple’s iPhone is attracting a lot of attention, Google Android still commands the largest share of the global mobile device market. Multiple phone manufacturers produce Android phones and tablets, and the Google Play App Store offers millions of apps. For mobile developers, building apps and services for Android can unlock a truly massive audience.
If you’re interested in becoming an Android developer, you’ll need to learn the tools and programming languages that support the platform and build your skills from there. Let’s break it down!
Step One: Study Google’s Development Platform (and Languages)
Fortunately, Google wants as many developers as possible to build high-quality Android apps, and so on Android developer portal offers much of what you need to get started. The Android Developer Portal contains the Android Studio, which is the platform integrated development environment (IDE), complete with authoring tools, a code editor, and an emulator so you can test your applications.
There is a lot of documentation for setting up and configuring Android Studio, along with latest version downloads for Mac and Windows based developers. As you review the Developer Portal downloads and documentation, you may download the Google Play Tools and APIs, which lets you do everything from monetize your apps to access traffic data. Always keep in mind that Google has implemented pretty strict privacy and data controls for apps in the Google Play storefront.
It is also essential to learn the languages that power Android, namely Java and Kotlin. While Java has long been Android’s programming language workhorse, Kotlin has been attracting attention since Google called it a “top-notch” programming language for Android development.
Google launched two years ago Android Basics in Kotlin, a course designed to give mobile app developers the basic knowledge needed to build Android apps in Kotlin. Before you explore that portal, check out the longstanding Google Android Basics Curriculumwhich teaches the fundamentals of building user interfaces, working with databases, and dealing with basic bugs.
Those committed to a Kotlin learning path can also explore Kotlin Bootcamp for programmers, Android Kotlin Basicsand, for those with a bit more experience, Advanced Android in Kotlin.
Google also offers courses for building your Android apps in Javaand that’s in addition to the sheer number tutorials and documentation on Java development.
Step Two: Build Your Android Apps
Whether you want to work as a freelance Android developer or become a full-time executive developing Android apps for an organization, your job prospects will increase exponentially if you come to an interview with a portfolio of previous work.
That’s why it’s always worth building Android apps yourself or participating in Android app development by another group. GitHub has a huge number of open-source repos dedicated to Android apps, many of which need help. Forums and hubs like Reddit can also put you in touch with like-minded Android developers.
Step Three: Apply for jobs
While it is always difficult to determine the exact questions of a hiring manager will ask during an Android-focused job interview, chances are they will examine your skills and experience. For example, they may ask:
- What languages does Android use?
- Which databases are you most familiar with?
- Do you participate in open-source development?
- Describe what an Android framework is and why it is important.
- What is the difference between implicit and explicit intent?
- Define the four essential activity states for Android.
- Describe the data flow in an Android application.
Some of these questions are simple attempts to establish whether you know the basics of Android development; others are much trickier. Depending on the organization, you may also be asked industry-specific questions; for example, a healthcare startup might ask about your experience working with confidential data, while a gaming company might want to know if you’ve ever ported a game to Android before.
Robert Hourie And Cathal McAliskey from tech recruiting firm GemPool previously told Dice that candidates for Android developer roles generally need to have a solid understanding of the following:
- Development experience with Java and Kotlin.
- Experience with Agile/lean methodologies.
- Understanding RESTful APIs.
- Experience with MV or MVVM design patterns.
- Expertise in building and releasing applications for Google Play.
When applying for Android jobs, make sure your resume and application materials use all the keywords (such as “Android,” “Java,” and “Kotlin”) listed in the original job posting. Many companies use automated resume scanners that can delete your resume if those keywords aren’t present.
Your Android resume and cover letter should also include links to your apps, code repositories, and other evidence of your coding mastery. If you have any Android experience, be sure to (briefly) describe how your skills impacted your past companies’ strategies and goals. should definitely mention that.
Step Four: Climb the Career Ladder
Android is constantly evolving, which means you can never stop learning. As you progress in your career, you will also need to develop your ‘soft skills’ such as empathy and communication, as these will enable you to effectively lead teams and secure stakeholder buy-in for larger projects.
Virtually every reputable source (including the US Bureau of Labor Statistics) predicts that the need for software developers and mobile app developers will only grow in the coming years, meaning that the need for Android developers will be there for quite some time to come. Indeed ties in with the average Android developer salary for $125,372 per yearand that can likely increase with experience and specialized skills.
In addition to smartphones, Android is also used in tablets and may eventually make its way to next-generation devices such as augmented reality headsets. In other words, there are many opportunities to expand into new areas, as long as you stay up to date with the platform.