What Is an Android App Developer? Your 2022 Career Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

With a career as an Android app developer, you can create mobile apps that are used on Android smartphones, tablets, and more. Discover the possibilities in this guide.

[Featured Image] A man works with a laptop and an Android smartphone.

Whether for fun, work, or productivity, we depend upon our phones to help us with our daily activities. We use applications on our smartphones for everything from ordering dinner, creating documents, and even watching movies—and more apps get developed every day.

As an Android app developer, you can create apps used on Android devices. Apps have turned mobile devices into handheld computers and transformed the way people interact. As an Android app developer, you could be part of this mobile revolution by creating apps that are relied upon by smartphone users everywhere. 

An Android app developer is an entry-level position, but certain skills are required to obtain this kind of job. For starters, you’ll need an understanding of programming languages to create the code behind an app. We’ll explore these, along with other skills needed to pursue this career. 

Android programming languages

One of the most notable skills of an Android app developer is their knowledge of different programming languages used to develop apps. Here’s a look at some of the programming languages that mobile app developers use:

Java

For a long time, Java was the official programming language of Android apps. While the preferred language has changed to Kotlin, Java is still a popular language choice of many developers. However, the language is complex and has a high learning curve for beginners. 

Read more: Python vs. Java: Which should I learn?

Due to the popularity of this language, there’s a good support community to help developers troubleshoot problems, and it is widely supported by Google’s Play Store.  

Kotlin

Google declared Kotlin the preferred language of Android apps in 2019. Kotlin is an easier language to learn than Java, as it doesn’t have as much complexity or as many nuances, making it easier for developers to pick up. 

Dart

Dart is an up-and-coming language created by Google. The purpose of Dart is to create apps in less time with more built-in features and easy-to-design graphics. This language tends to focus on the user experience too. With the end-user considered during the development, apps tend to be more user-friendly. 

C++

C++ is still used, but not as an app’s main programming language. Some developers like to use it to build certain pieces of an app, but combining it with other languages can create bugs. While budding developers should be aware of this language, other languages will likely take priority. 

A day in the life of an Android app developer 

As an Android developer, you’ll likely spend time collaborating with colleagues, writing code, troubleshooting tech problems, and working to improve applications. More specifically, daily duties might include: 

- Working with different departments to understand an app’s purpose

- Strategically designing an app’s navigation with a focus on the end-user

- Managing outside data sources and APIs to facilitate app development

- Writing code to make the app function simply, but with purpose

- Testing the app and fixing bugs as they arise

- Reviewing an app with various team members

- Staying on top of trends in the industry

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Read more: What Is C++ (And How to Learn It)

What skills are needed to become an Android app developer?

If becoming an Android app developer sounds like a good career fit for you, here’s a look at the skills you should work to acquire:

Programming languages

It’s advantageous to be proficient in two programming languages, like Java and Kotlin, as you’ll use these languages to write code that makes an app function. You’ll likely need to take classes to obtain this technical skill. 

Additional software knowledge

It’s a good idea to be familiar with the Android Development Kit, which is Google’s app developer toolkit. Also, knowing SDL, a program designed to manage and store data is helpful. Developers should also review the Material Design Guidelines set by Google. These guidelines must be met for an app to appear in the Google Play Store. 

Strong communication skills

Developing an app is a team effort. Depending upon where you work, you might work with other colleagues or clients to build an app. The ability to listen and respond to a person’s needs might seem simple, but it’s a vital part of building an app efficiently. 

Attention to detail

As a developer, you’ll write hundreds of lines of code. It’s a skill that requires attention to detail. If a character or letter is off, the code won’t work. Attention to detail will ensure your code is well-written and ready to test. 

Ability to adapt

The world of mobile apps is constantly changing. New programming languages can emerge, standards might change, and software will evolve. An app developer must be able to adapt.

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Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems: Part 1.

If you’re considering a job in this field, you might be curious about the apps created by today’s developers. There are a staggering 2.56 million Android apps to choose from in the Google Play Store [1].

As you research this career field, you might consider downloading a few of these apps to explore their navigation, aesthetics, and user experience. Here’s a snapshot of some of the most popular Android apps:

1. LastPass

This Android app is a password manager that offers cross-platform support so people can use it with their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. 

2. Podcast Addict

This handy app provides a searchable database for podcasts. Aside from searching for shows, users can also create playlists, download episodes, and receive reminders when a new show drops.

3. 1Weather

1Weather is a weather app with a simple, clean design that provides everything from the forecast to fun weather facts. 

4. Microsoft SwiftKey

This app creates a more user-friendly keyboard on a smartphone or tablet and gives users the ability to customize it. Users can add a number row or a space for emojis, for example. 

5. Google Drive

File sharing and collaboration have become an everyday necessity, which is probably why the Google Drive app is so popular. It makes reading documents easy on a small screen. 

What is a typical salary for an Android app developer?

The average salary for an Android app developer will vary based on the company, location, and job duties. However, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software developers earn an average annual salary of $110,140 [2].

According to Glassdoor, an Android app developer in the US earns an average salary of $98,740.

What is the job outlook for Android app developers? 

With a growing reliance on mobile devices, it’s not surprising to see a promising job outlook for app developers. Jobs growth in software development is expected to grow 22 percent by 2030. According to the BLS, an estimated 409,500 jobs will be added to the economy in this field [2].

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How to start learning Android app development

If you’re ready to dive into the world of Android app development, you need to build the skills necessary to apply for a job. As with most jobs, there isn’t one specific path to take.

You might consider getting a bachelor’s degree in software development, mobile application development, mobile computing, or a similar program. As you look through job advertisements, you’ll notice that many of them do ask for a four-year degree. 

However, you can also consider taking courses in Android app development at your own pace. Coursera partners with many schools and universities to offer online classes and specializations that can help build skills for this career choice. 

Android app development

If you want to pursue a career as an Android App developer, consider learning the basics of developing an app, programming fundamentals in Kotlin, and principles of UI/UI design with Meta's Android Developer Professional Certificate

To hone these skills, there are many different paths but there are online courses, like those offered on Coursera, that can help you get started.

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professional certificate

Meta Android Developer

Launch your career as an Android app developer. Build job-ready skills for an in-demand career and earn a credential from Meta. No degree or prior experience required to get started.

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Average time: 4 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Kotlin Playground, React, Android Studio, GIT, JavaScript, Version Control, Application development, Mobile Development, Linux, Web Development, Bash (Unix Shell), Github, create arrays, create control flow patterns using conditionals and loops, practice using and extending protocols., declare and initialize different types of variables, Web Design, Front-End Web Development, User Experience (UX), Accessibility, Web Application, React (Web Framework), React (Javascript Library), Algorithms, Problem Solving, interview

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Article sources

1. Business of Apps, "App Download Data, https://www.businessofapps.com/data/app-statistics/#:~:text=Today%2C%201.85%20million%20different%20apps,through%20the%20Google%20Play%20Store." Accessed June 22, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm." Accessed June 22, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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