We all coders have been there.
In the void of confusion.
You love coding. New algorithms appeal to your problem-solving mind. You worked on some projects. Had some of yours made from scratch.
But looking at all those great apps; you wonder how you can make a career out of it.
You read about various architectural components, user interfaces, and app bundles. All seems great, but it is easier said than done.
The software base of Android has been growing exponentially since Google acquired the start-up in 2005 for $50 million.
As per statistics, Android remains at the top as per market share.
More than 80% of the smartphone community are Android users. The revenue generated from the Google Play store alone was $24.8 billion in 2018. These staggering statistics indicate that it’s a big ocean of people to cater your Android development skills.
It’s by far the most popular mobile operating system, and as per the increasing demands in the industry, the need for highly skilled Android developers will only increase in the foreseeable future.
I’m aware of that. How do I start?
You’ve already had your projects in which you built your own app or are getting started and familiarizing with the Android environment. At any phase, you have to be equipped with the technical expertise required for being a successful Android developer. These skills will help you become an “Android Warrior.”
Considering a simple analogy, to write a book, you need to be familiar with the corresponding language. The official Android development languages are Java and Kotlin. One should be comfortable with one of these languages, which means, to have a knowledge of their semantics and syntax.
In the process of this familiarization with the language, the fundamentals of Object-Oriented Programming are essential, including familiarization with classes, variables, loops, etc.
Android Software Development Kit (SDK), which is now included with Android Studio, is your first weapon towards development. This serves as a platform for creating your applications. It includes the complete set of design and debugging tools required for the development of any application.
SDK is also useful for testing the application being developed in an emulator and monitor the progress of your application. Code debugger helps in pinpointing the errors in the code and eradicate them. Moreover, to maintain the high performance of an app, it has advanced tools like memory & CPU monitors.
As a developer, providing a seamless and hassle-free experience should be the aim of any application being created. For this, you should consider making it easier for the user for data input, storing data, view groups, and making the app adaptive for different screen sizes.
As for all internet properties, your most valuable asset is data.
Managing this data on your application is important for data testing, rendering, and manipulation. SQL (Structured Query Language) is one of the most widely used languages for Database Management System. Common database engines offered are MySQL, SQLite, and PostgreSQL.
The experience of managing the data through a dedicated database will increase your chances to get hired.
The user data on your application would be extracted from its interaction with the internet. But for interacting with the web, XML (Extensible Markup Language) is used to describe the data.
XML is self-defining, which means that the structure of the data is pre-embedded with data. Hence, it doesn’t require pre-building the structure to store the data. When the data arrives, XML understands the data dynamically through user-defined tags.
These are the minimum set of weapons you would require for forging an Android application.
Although, it is always advantageous to equip more arsenal.
Python, PHP, .NET, and Node.js are some of the back-end languages which are used in full-stack-development. Equipping these additional skills would be hard, but harnessing them would make you more perfect and more attractive to any recruiter.
Apart from being a technical guru about the skills mentioned above, Material Design Language is equally essential before you could publish your app on the Google Play Store. Material Design guidelines are online specifications set by Google to maintain uniformity within their Android ecosystem.
These guidelines cover all the essential elements in any app like element placement, colors, transitions, shades, etc.
How am I supposed to harness these weapons?
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Harnessing these tools for Android development will require hard work, patience, lots of practice, and your willingness to accept failure.
You may not get a perfect application for the first time or the second or even the third time, but you’ve got to keep trying until you bring out your best work.
At this moment, you might very well think that you have a big mountain of technical skills to climb. You might even feel stuck while learning some of these skills. So, let’s get you unstuck!
This learning curve can be made easier by several courses.
Online Courses such as Google Developer Training is a free course at your disposal for Android and web development. It provides video tutorials as well as textual chapter format tutorials which act as a step-by-step learning guide for Android development.
Google Developer Training also provides online certification by Google post completion of the course.
Coursera is another widely used platform for online courses and training. Although most of the courses listed are free, which would help to absorb the required training. For online certification, it demands a course fee.
These certifications increase your visibility to any recruiter guaranteeing your legitimate hard work in Android development. Therefore, increasing your chances of being hired.
Although, if you are one of the individuals who prefer classroom-based instructor-led learning and find the online courses at the comfort of your room to be monotonous, you may enroll into some of the best training institutes for Android development in India.
I’ve transformed into an Android Guru. But what next?
Dive into the future.
Android platform has gone way beyond being just 512×512 pixel touchscreen applications.
The Android platform now includes software for wearables, smart televisions, and cars. Developers all around the globe have been producing robust and intuitive software, creating an all-around ecosystem for the user.
Integration of Artificial Intelligence into applications are common nowadays.
A most common example is chatbots. They conduct human-like conversations with the user ruling out any possibility of human assistance.
Creating these chatbots is made easier for Android developers by Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML) which doesn’t require the composition of any syntax and decrease the complexity for creating chatbots.
They act as an effective way to cater to the customer as they respond instantly with knowledgeable responses. A well-defined algorithm can help to analyze user’s behavior pattern on your application. Further, through machine learning, chatbots can analyze the data and respond more effectively and adequately.
Another major technology getting integrated into smartphones is blockchain, which isn’t a surprise in 2019. Being transparent, it can store a record of every transaction and track the originating and ending point (also known as a node) of every transaction.
Recently, HTC released the first blockchain enabled phone ever, named as EXODUS 1. It features a built-in cryptocurrency wallet with a protected security key which makes sending and accepting cryptocurrencies easier.
Apart from this, already existing technologies like Augmented Reality which is already available through apps like Google Translate, Google Lens, and Ingress, etc. will step-up in the future to provide a richer user experience.
With this brief insight into the future, you are ready to be an “Android Warrior” who can start learning new skills and commence applying for jobs or fly solo and be a freelancer which would upgrade your skills through a variety of problem-solving.
Being a successful Android developer requires building a high-quality application around a central concept without hindering with the ease of usage. Well-written code is like establishing marriage between functionality-driven-complexity and user-required-simplicity; two opposite ends of the same spectrum.