Learning Android development is definitely worthwhile for anyone who is interested in getting into mobile application development.
Android is an open-source operating system from Google which is specially designed for mobile devices. It is the most used mobile OS worldwide, which has consequently created a large demand for Android developers. While Android development may seem as if it is oversaturated due to the sheer volume of Android applications that are seen, there is always a steady demand for Android developers.
Apps are used daily from entertainment to monetary transactions to communication, and it would be impossible to navigate in this day and age without them. Because of this, Android development is not going anywhere, and there is no shortage of businesses looking to hire Android developers. Learning Android development is definitely worthwhile for anyone who is interested in getting into mobile application development.
Android development is done through the use of an Android software development kit. If you are looking to learn how to become an Android developer, the following is a quick guide of everything you should be aware of in order to become a successful Android developer.
There are a number of reasons why you should choose to go for Android development.
Android has a remarkably well-developed library of learning resources that beginners can use to learn Android development. They even exercises that help new developers build their first Android application as well. Generally, thanks to the popularity and high demand of Android developers, there are a plethora of online courses, free and paid Android development certifications, and YouTube videos that lower the barriers to learning.
In addition to this, as previously mentioned, Android is an open-source platform, making it one of the most accessible. This means while there are still certain costs that come with the development and learning process such as coding and assets, choosing Android over other operating systems is easier, and the time investment is worth more once you begin to make use out of it and start to publish apps.
One thing about Android is that it also has a much broader community when compared to other OSs. Because of this, there are many more spaces which facilitate interaction between developers, such as various online forums, which you can also turn to for advice or tips that fellow developers may have for each other. Android’s community on Reddit alone has over 2 million users.
Just as any other app development platform, learning Android requires that you familiarize yourself with certain programming skills. However, one of the benefits of learning Android development is that any beginner developer who already has some basic skill sets can become an Android developer as applying these skills when learning Android helps to expedite the process.
To learn Android development, there are two major languages that aspiring developers should have a good grasp on: Java and Kotlin.
Java is the most used programming language, as well as the most supported one by Google. It is also the basis for Android app development. However, while Java is not necessarily the programming language that is used for most apps that are published today, it is still imperative to understand how it works, as proficiency in Java is necessary to understand the basics for Kotlin, the importance of which is explained below. A guide to learning Java is laid out in this article on our blog: 5 Skills Needed to Become a Java Developer.
Kotlin was developed by Google and introduced as an official language for Android application development, and is thus a replacement of sorts for Java. The two languages are compatible, and it is strongly recommended that programmers who are well acquainted with Java also learn Kotlin.
As a more modern programming language, Kotlin removes some of Java’s redundancies, and offers extensive features that ease the coding process, and reduces the risk of coding errors and crashes. Learning and utilizing Kotlin sets the foundation for all of the following steps taken to become an Android developer.
One of the most important tools for Android development is the knowledge of using tools associated with it. The first tool you need to get acquainted with is Android Studio which is the official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for developing Android apps. IDE is a platform which combines the tools most commonly used by developers into a single, graphical user interface.
Android Studio consists of many features which developers expect of a full-featured IDE. It includes code debuggers, code completion, as well as memory and CPU monitors. These can be used when creating and testing software throughout different stages of its development, and they enhance your productivity by standardizing the process of development. Using Android Studio enables you to write Android apps for different devices such as mobile phones and smart TVs.
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a simple text-based format which encodes structured data for internet-based mobile applications, allowing information to be passed between devices in a way that can be understood consistently. When it comes to Android, developers utilize XML to create different layouts that become the basis for the user interface (UI) of Android applications.
This is an important skill for Android developers to have, as it sets down the foundations for different UI design, similar to setting up the elements of a website. Developers can also make changes to this after the Android app is already running as well.
Android Software Development Kit (SKD) is a set of tools used to create the code for an application, including libraries, debuggers, and emulators. The Android SDKs are units of Java code which allow developers to have access to the different functions of mobile devices, such as the camera and GPS.
While each of these packages which are included may seem overwhelming, Android SDK comes with sample codes and tutorials that let new Android developers know their function, and how they can be fitted together in different ways when creating an Android application.
Application Programming Interface (APIs) are the set of protocols that allow two software components to communicate. These are important for Android development, as a majority of the time, you will need your app to interact with other services and software components.
Most Android app development companies usually offer APIs and let you know exactly how to make query-based requests to a data source for information about entities in that data source. In addition to this, Google itself offers APIs that makes it easy to connect to your own APIs from the created Android app.
For many Android applications, SQLite is the preferred method of storage. It is a lightweight, local database that comes with Android OS to interact with a SQLite database. After you create your SQLite Database, you can upload it to your server and download it so the application’s data can be used across devices.
When an Android application requires large amounts of data, it is often stored in an external database—the cloud the majority of the time—which the application will interact with through APIs and access from there. Most cloud service platforms let you sync data to their database and local device storage which can be cached for offline usage as well.
The essential responsibility that an Android developer carries out is to design and develop applications running on the Android OS, and to integrate them with back-end services.
In addition to having to create brand new applications, Android developers also need to remain on top of monitoring existing Android apps by keeping them updated. This includes continuous evaluation, adding new features and technologies that can be leveraged to enhance the features of the app, and catching any bugs which may potentially hinder their performance.
Along with the software side of things, it is also necessary for Android developers to coordinate with various other cross-functional teams and individuals within a company to analyze, design, and implement new features.
Publishing an Android app after it has been developed and tested can take up to two days, during which it is reviewed and approved by Google before being deployed on the Google Play Store. This makes the process straightforward for the developers as well.
How easy is it to learn Android development as an experienced web developer?
When it comes to building Android applications, if you are already experienced in web development, then many of the ideas and technologies involved in Android app development will correspond to those that you are already familiar with. Many of your existing skills transfer over, which eases the process significantly.
Where should you begin?
After you have gained enough experience in Java, Kotlin, and XML, check out some of the key learning resources available, such as the Official Android Documentation which has tutorials that you can follow until you are confident enough to start work on your own project.