Who is an Android app developer?
How do you become an Android app developer in 2019?
If you are a complete beginner to Android app development then you must have asked yourself this question at some point.
Well, in this post today, we are going to look at how to become an Android app developer in 2019.
But before we get into the step by step guide on becoming an Android app developer, let’s look at 3 reasons why you should learn Android development today.
There has never been a better time to learn Android development.
Below are 3 reasons you should learn Android development.
1. Android is open source and free to use.
The best part about the Android operating system, and why I think you should learn Android, is its feature of being open source.
This means you don’t pay to start using this operating system… so you just start developing anything you want without having to purchase a licence.
Talk of the ease of getting started!
2. Android continues to dominate the global mobile device market.
The number of mobile device users is skyrocketing and the vast majority of those devices are powered by Android.
This sheer quantity of Android users makes learning Android development a smart move.
In fact there are over 1,460,800 apps in Google Play store & growing and everyday around 1.5 million Android devices are activated across the globe.
3. Android app developers are in high demand
Android app development is one of the most promising career paths for IT professionals who like creating.
This is because Android provides an interesting revenue model, so most companies and organizations have a dedicated team of app developers and are even hiring more developers…
After becoming an Android app developer, you can choose to work for a company or freelance… and after that it becomes even easier to develop apps for other operating systems too!
Those are 3 reasons why I think you should learn Android development in 2019…
Okay, now that that is out of the way…
What steps do you need to take to become an Android app developer today?
Well, below I will list the 7 steps that you should take, if you want to become an Android app developer.
1. Learn the Android development tools
When it comes to learning Android development, the Java programming language, the Android SDK, Eclipse IDE + ADT plugin are indispensable.
Unlike iOS, Android development can be done on a PC, Mac or even a Linux machine so you can get started with whatever machine you already have.
And most importantly again, all the tools you need to develop Android applications are free.
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Start by downloading and installing the latest version of Java SE from the Oracle website.
After that click here to get the Android SDK (Software Development Kit) which includes the Android code libraries, Android’s emulator, and some useful command line tools that you’ll need.
Then download and isntall the Eclipse IDE for Java Developers.
Eclipse is a powerful text editor and the mobile development environment of choice for Android developers.
This IDE offers a range of features mobile developers depend on, including syntax highlighting, API documentation and package organization.
And to finish off this step, go back to the Android Developers site for the ADT (Android Development Tools) plugin.
Using ADT together with the Eclipse IDE will make creating Android apps much easier and more fun.
2. Learn the Java programming language
Most Android applications are written in Java, though most recently some have started developing Android apps in Kotlin.
You don’t need a strong command of Java language in order to start learning Android…
…you just need to learn the basics of Java then jump onto Android and learn the rest of Java along the way.
This is because from my experience, the best way to learn Android development is by actually doing.
Android utilizes Java’s object oriented programming model where elements of the program are broken into pieces that mimic “real-world” objects.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive online training program to go from beginner to skilled Android app developer then check out the Android Techdegree course by Team TreeHouse.
This complete track (collection of courses) covers the business, marketing and programming aspects of professional mobile app development.
3. Understand the Android application lifecycle
Even if you’ve written desktop or web applications before, you need to understand that developing apps for mobile devices is a completely different game altogether.
Let me explain why…
This is because, with a desktop application, the operating system manages other applications and their priorities so you don’t have to worry about them.
But with Android, it’s your job to code your application to handle external events.
For instance, what does your Android app do if the phone rings in the middle of a resource-consuming animation?
So you need to understand the Android application development lifecycle to be able to create apps that “play nice with others,” and delivers the best user experience.
4. Learn the Android API
Like we already saw earlier, Android applications are written in the Java programming language.
But to make your life even easier, the Android platform provides a framework API that applications can use to interact with the underlying Android system.
As you develop your application on Android, it’s useful to understand the platform’s general approach to API change management.
It’s also important to understand the API Level identifier and the role it plays in ensuring your application’s compatibility with devices on which it may be installed.
The Android API packages allow you to write code that controls system hardware like the on-board camera,the audio recording feature, Bluetooth functionality, Wi-Fi access among others.
Once you have a strong command of these packages, you will be able to implement your app by getting control of the device hardware and other features of Android devices in your mobile apps.
5. Write your first Android application.
Why are you learning Android app development?
So that you can finally write your own freaking Android app, right?
Then what are you waiting for? … join the party!
Writing your first complete Android App can seem daunting, but the process will be easier and more pleasurable if you choose a topic that you enjoy.
If you want to write a great first app then Keep It Stupid Simple.
I mean, start by building the basic features as you expand the capabilities of your app with each pass.
But most importantly, before you launch your app, debug and test carefully along the way to ensure that your application works in all situations.
Test, test… and then test some more.
Actual testing should be done on a real Android device as well as in the emulator.
Some people forget to test with their actual Android devices only for some bugs to surface later when people install your app… now you know better!
6. Distribute your Android app
After developing your amazing Android (well, your not so amazing app), publish it on the official Google Play Store.
The Google play store is the biggest marketplace for distributing your app.
But Android applications can also be distributed through your own website or through a 3rd party site, such as the Amazon.com Appstore for Android.
However, publishing your app through the official Android Market will set you back a one time fee of $ 25. But unlike Apple’s App Store, Google’s standards for application acceptance are fairly lax so most apps usually get accepted.
You cannot become a professional Android developer without developing apps.
And you cannot be developing Android apps if you don’t publishing them.
SO, I consider the $25 one time fee a no brainer and completely worth it.
It is these apps that you will use as your projects portfolio later on when you are looking for an app developer job.
Most, if not ALL, employers will want to see your past experience.
Just send them links to your apps.
7. Join a Community of developers.
You wanna down this road alone?
Well, think again!
Android app development is a fairly challenging form of programming.
No, really! Learning Android development is hard.
But you know what’s waaay harder? Learning all by yourself.
More often than not, you’ll get stuck, frustrated… wanting to pull your hair when something just don’t work… and you just can’t figure out when the heck is going on… or who is out to get you!
So to remedy this, surround yourself with both other developers who are in a similar circumstance as you, as well as those who are above you in experience and that are willing to mentor and help you.
Find a community where you can learn to code, build amazing apps, and not feel stupid asking questions.
And the first place I make a stop is Stackoverflow.com.
Sometimes I wonder if I could ever really do my job if Stackoverlow.com went down! … just saying.
Then my next stop is Meetup.com.
Just sign for a FREE account and find Androiders (Droiders) in your city.
In fact through Meetup.com I have made some friends and found coders to collaborate on some of my past projects.
You get where I am getting at with this?
Becoming a professional Android app developer is NOT a loners game… you’ve to get yourself out there.
But if you just want to be a mediocre developer then don’t even open the window to your room! 🙁
Well, so far we have looked at who an Android developer really is, why you should consider learning Android app development today and my 7 steps that will make you an Android developer.
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Okay… there you go.
That’s all you need to do to become a professional Android app developer.
Let me also underscore that as much as Android development is a challenging form of programming to learn…
…the personal and financial rewards can be really great.
Plus a very enjoyeable job.
Keep in mind that the career of a professional Android developer involves a lifetime of learning new technologies, trends and best practices.
So learning Android app development is just part of that lifelong journey.
But remember practice is KEY.
The more apps you develop the easier this thing gets.
What challenges are you facing as an aspiring, junior or exprienced Android app developer?
What other tips on how to become a professional Andorid app developer did I miss out on this article?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.