According to Statista, there are over 130 million Android users in the United States alone. If you want to capitalize on the consistent rise in demand for Android-based devices, you should learn how to become an Android developer. You can rest assured that you will have plenty of career opportunities awaiting you.
Becoming an Android developer is a straightforward process if you know where to start. Consider this your complete guide to getting your dream career as an Android developer. It covers everything you need to know, from what it means to be an Android developer to the best resources to help you reach your goal.
What Is an Android Developer?
An Android developer is a software engineer who specializes in creating software for devices using the Android operating system, the latest version of which is Android 11. The two categories of Android developers are Android core developers and Android app developers.
The core developers work for device manufacturing companies to create critical software for mobile phones, tablets, smartwatches, and other devices. The app developer focuses primarily on third-party applications that can run on an Android device and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or other Android app stores.
Android Developer Job Description
Android developers write code for applications that will be hosted on Android devices. However, they don’t just create these apps and move on to their project. They monitor them constantly, ensuring that they are optimized for performance. They also ensure that the Android devices and applications are secure.
When necessary, Android developers upgrade operating systems or applications. Upgrades usually come with more features, more security, and new interfaces or functionality. Android developers read feedback from users and make upgrades based on it.
Android Developer Salary and Job Outlook
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t keep job growth statistics for Android developers, we can refer to the BLS projection for software developers to get a general idea. According to BLS, the demand for software developers is projected to rise by 22 percent between 2020 and 2030. This includes software testers and quality assurance specialists.
These two related careers are also comparable in terms of salary, and both are among the most lucrative professions in the tech industry. According to the BLS report on software developers, the median salary for the whole software engineering field is $110,140. According to ZipRecruiter, the average Android developer earns $112,647 per year.
Top Reasons to Become an Android Developer in 2021
If you’re thinking of chasing a career in Android development and you’re still not sure if it’s the right option for you, below are some reasons worth considering.
- High demand. A projected 22 percent rise in the demand for software engineers over the next decade is impressive, especially when compared to all other occupations. According to BLS, the projected job growth rate for the economy as a whole is just eight percent.
- High earning potential. Earning over $110,000 a year is a big deal. It puts you well above the national average. BLS estimates that the median hourly wage for all occupations is $20.17, which is more than $30 lower than what people in software professions make.
- Promising job opportunities. By 2030, there will be over two million software development jobs in the United States, Android development included. This represents a 400,000 increase in the number of jobs for software engineers between 2020 and 2030.
- Options to freelance. Android developers can earn significantly from freelancing. It’s a great option for those who prefer not to work directly under a single company.
- Potential to go viral. Android application developers can grow their reputation and make a lot of money by creating useful apps. The more useful and engaging the apps are, the more likely they are to go viral.
Android Developer Job Requirements
Android development is one of those few tech disciplines that you can dive into without any strict education or experience requirement. This is especially true for application developers who publish in app stores. However, for those who want to work with tech companies, the following requirements are important.
- Bachelor’s or master’s degree. For junior development roles, a bachelor’s degree is typically preferred. For senior roles, a master’s degree or equivalent experience is required. Keep in mind that tech companies prize skill over formal education, so bootcamp grads and self-taught coders can also secure jobs as Android developers.
- Other hard and soft skills. Apart from knowing programming languages, you need a vivid understanding of things like Git, software development kits (SDKs), XML, SQL, and Android Studio. You also need to be a critical thinker with a creative mind who is always looking for solutions to problems. Communication and analytical skills are also important.
- Business savvy. Business acumen is an important characteristic of every successful Android developer. This is especially so for app developers who rely on their marketing and business strategies to keep their products relevant.
Types of Android Developer Careers
Android development is a versatile field. Even if you specialize in using the Android Software Development Kit (Android SDK), you’ll still be eligible for other development roles. You can branch off into other roles that have just-as-promising career projections.
These specialists provide app design and architectural insight for Android devices. Within a team, they typically take a supervisory role over other developers. ZipRecruiter reports that Android architects earn an annual average of $164,737 in the United States.
Android Application Developer
Android application developers are responsible for creating the apps that run on the Android operating system. This includes, but isn’t limited to, apps on the official application stores. Android app developers earn about $113,166 annually per ZipRecruiter.
Java Application Developer
Since Android developers need to master Java, you can choose to specialize in Java development. These professionals are in high demand, with Java developers earning an average of $105,801 yearly. These developers know how to use the Java programming language, frameworks, and concepts to create mobile applications.
Android Developer Meaning: What Does an Android Developer Do?
An android developer is a programmer who creates, maintains, troubleshoots, and upgrades applications for the Android operating system. While smartphone Android development is the most common, the job description goes beyond developing mobile devices. It includes every device that runs on Android OS. The role involves a number of duties.
Writes Android Code
This one is obvious since it is implied in the job title. As an Android developer, you must be able to write clean code for the Android operating system. This could be coding core applications or third-party applications.
It’s not unusual for software to have bugs even after being officially launched. Android developers fix these bugs and pass the upgraded products on to users. Fixing bugs could involve anything from adding a security patch to identifying possible vulnerabilities that cause glitches in the software.
Some Android developers are also project managers, in which capacity they oversee the entire life cycle of an application, from conceptualization to final launch. They ensure that everything is designed according to specifications and that the project runs on time and on budget.
Essential Android Developer Skills
As with any discipline, certain skills and knowledge will allow you to thrive as an Android app developer.
Navigation Implementation Skills
An Android developer should be able to implement efficient navigation on any software they design for the Android OS. This navigation is what allows users to browse through the content or software with ease. To promote better navigation, you should learn to make apps with an action bar.
Android UI/UX Design Skills
Android developers must know how to design interactive user interfaces that are functional as well. This means all Android software must adapt to modern design standards. If users aren’t interested in the interface of an app, they are unlikely to keep using it.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Android Developer?
Becoming an Android developer may take as little as three months or as much as four years. It all depends on the path you take. Universities may not offer degree programs solely for Android development, but you can take Android development courses as part of a software development, mobile app development, or computer science curriculum.
There are online schools that offer accelerated computer science degree programs, which can be completed in two and a half years. Bootcamps and self-study are also short routes to Android development.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Become an Android Developer?
Yes, you can become an Android developer by attending a coding bootcamp. Coding bootcamps are schools that teach tech subjects like software engineering, data science, and product management. They’ve gained popularity as the go-to option for tech education over the last decade. These bootcamps typically cost significantly less than universities.
Can I Become an Android Developer from Home?
Yes, it’s possible to become an Android developer from home without ever seeing the four walls of a classroom. However, this path requires significant determination and self-motivation. You can learn at your own pace using online courses, videos, books, and articles to understand the fundamentals of Android development.
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After you’ve mastered the required skills, you can start your own mobile development projects and publish them on Google Play. To get started, check out Introduction to Android Development by Pluralsight, The Complete Android Developer Course: Beginner to Advanced by Udemy, or the courses on Google Play Academy.
How to Become an Android Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide
The steps to becoming an Android developer aren’t many, and they are easy to follow.
Step 1: Educate Yourself
Whether you’re opting for a university degree, bootcamp, or home study, getting an education is the first step to becoming an Android developer. You need to learn how to build apps on Android, which means learning everything there is to know about the Android operating system.
Step 2: Create Applications
After you’ve learned all the skills required to become an Android developer, put these skills into practice by developing Android applications. Google allows independent Android developers to publish their applications on the app stores as long as they meet Google’s terms and conditions.
Step 3: Start a Rigorous Campaign
After publishing your app on the app store, you must push it to your target audience. There are many digital marketing strategies you can use to promote your app. This includes social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and a host of other techniques. If you’re successful, you may be able to parlay your success into a development job at a major company.
Best Schools and Education for an Android Developer Career
What are the best education options for an aspiring Android developer? The most popular ways to learn Android development are through bootcamps, community colleges, and universities. The best option for you would depend on your own circumstances.
Android Developer Bootcamps
Android development bootcamps are software development programs that offer accelerated, job-specific training to students. Some bootcamps offer direct programs for Android development. Others offer courses in mobile development or just software development.
Some of the best bootcamps for Android development training are Nucamp, The Tech Academy, Code Fellows, and Treehouse. These bootcamps offer career services, affordable tuition, and flexible payment options.
Android development is not a traditional vocational discipline, but there are some technical colleges that offer certificate and technical diploma programs in information technology subjects. There are not, however, programs specific to Android development.
After high school, you can get an associate degree from a community college in just two years. This degree doesn’t have to be in Android development. An Associate Degree in Software Development, Computer Science, or Mobile Development would do. Some great community colleges for these programs are SUNY Ulster, Scottsdale Community College, and Lone Star College.
Android Developer Degrees
Apart from the associate degree from a community college, you can get a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Software Development, or Mobile App Development from a university. Traditionally, these degrees run for four years. However, accelerated degrees are also available at some schools.
A master’s degree or a PhD may also be an option if you already have a qualifying undergraduate degree. Some great universities for Android development are MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard University, and Carnegie Mellon.
The Most Important Android Developer Certifications
Professional certifications always make an excellent addition to your resume. These certifications validate your skills for your peers and employers to see. Below are some of the most common to consider.
Associate Android Developer | Google
Google allows people to take this certification exam either in Java or Kotlin. Students are required to complete several coding projects before taking an exit interview. Students as young as 13 to 17 years are welcome to take the exam with parental consent. The cost per attempt is currently $149. It is the best and most direct industry-level certification for Android developers.
Certified Solutions Developer: App Builder | Microsoft
This is a series of certifications offered by Microsoft for Android app developers, web developers, and even quality control engineers. The requirements vary and it’s possible to enroll for more than one exam at a time. The cost per exam is $165.
Certified Platform App Builder | Salesforce
Learning how to use Salesforce and getting a Salesforce certification to put on your resume holds a lot of weight in the job market. While it was primarily designed for people who build and maintain applications for the Salesforce platform, any app developer can take the certification exam. On-site exams cost $200 while the online option costs about $100.
How to Prepare for Your Android Developer Job Interview
To prepare for your Android developer job interview, make sure that you’ve brushed up on the latest Android development technologies. It also helps to check out some practice questions.
Android Developer Job Interview Practice Questions
- In Android development, what is the meaning of activity and service? What are the differences between them?
- Define an Android Debug Bridge (ADB) in your own words.
- What techniques would you implement if your app keeps crashing? In what order would you recommend employing these techniques?
- What role does Dalvik play in Android app development?
Should I Become an Android Developer in 2021?
Yes, you should become an Android developer if you’re looking for a profitable technology career in high demand. Android development also comes with a strong potential for job satisfaction. Imagine being responsible for a medical device that helps save lives or a game that entertains billions of people, and you’ll get a sense of the rewards that this career offers.
Android Developer FAQ
Yes, you can become an Android developer without a degree if you attend a coding bootcamp. Most bootcamps run for three to six months, but some last for a year or two. Teaching yourself is another popular way to pursue a career in Android development.
Yes, becoming an Android developer is challenging but not impossible. You will need to learn a combination of technical skills and soft skills. If you don’t have previous coding experience and you’re not technologically inclined, you may face more challenges along the way than experienced programmers would.
Formal education may be required if you want to work as an Android app developer for a mobile app development company. However, this isn’t a clear-cut rule. As long as you understand programming, pay attention to detail, and have the willingness to keep learning, you will stand a chance. Problem-solving skills and collaboration will also help.
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