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Guide to Hiring Android Developers

  • What is Android, and how is it used?
  • Why is Android popular, and how will it benefit your business?
  • Roles and responsibilities of an Android developer
  • What skills should an Android developer have?

What is Android, and how is it used?

The first thing you need to know about Android is why the fellows down at the IT department are so big on it. Android is 70% of the world’s mobile phone usage across about 190 countries, a rather sizable user base to tap into. But it’s more than just its market significance. What is this OS all about?

Android is Google’s open-source operating system based on Linux, designed to work primarily on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. However, it is also compatible with Android-enabled TVs through such features as built-in Chromecast connectivity and the Google IDA. On the backend side, Android’s open-source software is Java-based, with a suite of Java applications running in an object-oriented integrated development environment. Moreover, its applications are powered by the Java core libraries and Dalvik virtual machine, the latter being enabled with a JIT compiler.

This pile of digital cogs adds up to a machine that allows developers to build a wide range of applications and games for Android-enabled devices. These applications then allow users to access both basic and advanced functionalities, such as messaging, storage, networking, gyroscopic positioning, and data sharing, including the latest Nearby Sharing feature. Needless to say, Android’s highly versatile environment and scalable software solutions have made it a favorite for developers and users alike. This is why there is a rush to hire Android developers to build and maintain mobile software for companies.

Why is Android popular, and how will it benefit your business?

You are certainly familiar with the age-old conundrum: Android or iOS? Courteous nods, of course, to other virtually absent players like Windows Mobile OS and KaiOS. But there certainly are alternatives to Android, and at least one of them is the favored option in some countries. Yet, Android has continued to dominate the market, and it has remained vital to the success of companies to hire dedicated Android developers. So what gives?

Well, for one, it's hard not to love those sumptuous dessert names Google has been giving each version since 2009's Cupcake (Android 1.5), which featured support for widgets and third-party virtual keyboards. There's also the fact that Android’s most recent versions since Lollipop (Android 5) have offered some pretty excellent aesthetics, especially since it dropped the three-year-old Holo Design and adopted Material Design. These factors go hand in hand with the following benefits to make the OS preferable.

  • Versatility: Remarkable versatility is one of the most notable features of Android—hardly surprising since it is based on the similarly versatile Linux OS. The list of hardware manufacturers producing Android-enabled devices is endless, and the options range from Android watches and TVs to tablets, mobile phones, notebooks, and media players.

    It doesn’t end with the hardware choices, however. Android is perfectly adaptable for a wide range of functionalities, including advanced biometric security systems, satellite and radio connectivity, and even front-end app development. Furthermore, the Android Studio framework supports the addition of backends for more functionality. For instance, a programmer can access Google Cloud Storage features by creating a relevant backend from the Studio, which generates a new application engine as a sub-project. In this sub-environment, our programmer can do two things: first, they can access all the sample activity and code libraries needed to interact with the back-end. They can also build and run their server and client-side code and even deploy their backend code directly from the Studio.

    This means that when you hire dedicated Android developers to build your Android software, they can incorporate any number of the many amazing features and functionalities to produce an app that meets the company’s target UX goals.
  • More Storage Solutions: There are more storage options usable on the Android platform than on any other. Take storage expansion, for example; Android devices tend to have both internal storage and microSD card expansion capabilities. This means cheap and easy expansion of storage capacity, up to as much as 2 terabytes for SDXC cards.

    In recent years, there has been a massive boom in cloud storage, and Android has also been very busy here, with over 1 billion users on Google Drive as of 2018. There is also a ‘cloudful’ of other storage options for the Android OS, including MediaFire, Dropbox, and Mega. These options make it possible for programmers to design mobile software that can leverage a wider range of storage resources.
  • Affordability: Android has become almost synonymous with the idea of budget phones, with dozens of companies producing devices with great performance and affordable prices. By comparison, for instance, the average iOS device will often be almost twice the price of an Android one with similar specs. As such, designing Android apps becomes the winning solution, as you can count on a user base kept partly by the desire for budget-friendly devices.
  • Open-source: Android's open-source nature makes it the software developers' perfect buffet party. Basically, any programmer can access and modify the OS's source code, including its kernel, libraries, key packages, and UI,  and then leverage the modifications to design custom Android features that suit their needs.
    This is the reason there is such a variety of Android experiences, even for the same versions. Programmers have been able to design everything from custom launchers, ROMs, and add-ons to custom Android versions. However, Android wasn't built in a day, and its ecosystem is very complex and composed of many subsystems. To navigate these systems and come out of the other end with a functional product, one has to be skilled at using the Linux terminal and also familiar with shell commands. The need to hire Android developers of a greater professional caliber owes to the nitty-gritty that the programmer must handle.
  • Sizable Developer Community: There is a community advantage to Android that may be a tad tricky for a CTO to navigate. On the one hand, the number of developers working on Android is simply surreal at about 5.9 million worldwide. That's a massive international pool of passive candidates if you are looking to hire an Android developer. Moreover, there are countless Android-based platforms where developers can interact and share ideas. For instance, Google's Developer Groups allow you to connect with over a thousand chapters across 140 countries. For the CTO who knows his way around, communities and forums like this make the hiring less like sieving from an ocean and more like hunting tech talent in a barrel.

    On the other hand, the skyrocketing demand for top-grade mobile software has made it harder to get an Android developer for hire. It seems more professionals are needed to service the demands of the Android ecosystem. Still, 87% of mobile software developers in the world work on Android. This means a massive pool of collective knowledge and experience to draw from. So, suppose an individual programmer runs into a particularly difficult API problem due to Android's ever-present fragmentation, they could certainly tap into insight from other programmers in the ecosystem.
  • Supports Many Programming Languages: True to its very versatile nature, Android supports a number of great options for writing its programs. Until 2019, the OS was based primarily on Java, which has been replaced with Kotlin. However, it still supports Java, and many programmers favor its use of C++ for heavy games. It also supports the Go programming language, although that comes with limited APIs. Additionally, the OS supports Lua, JavaScript, C#, and even Python for cross-platform apps, albeit through third-party conversion tools. For example, to use Python, a programmer can use an existing framework that allows coding in the language and then convert the application into APK.
  • Great IDE: Android's current IDE is the Android Studio, which contains a set of basic and advanced tools companies hire Android developers to make effective use of. These include its Software Development Kit, which contains not only tutorials to show you the ropes but also other tools like template-based wizards for common designs, built-in cloud support, and the Android Virtual Device for running and debugging apps.

Roles and responsibilities of an Android developer

It should be clear that hiring an Android programmer is an important step for any company that wants to remain competitive. But then, the question arises: Why hire dedicated Android developers? What roles do they play in keeping the company on the right digital track?

It's important to know these responsibilities because there are different specialties involved, and which one you should hire depends on what you want done. For instance, companies often hire Android engineers with a versatile command of programming languages and third-party conversions. They're the kind of fellows that can handle cross-platform development. So, what roles require you to hire an Android developer?

  • Designing Android Applications Using Android Studio:The primary role people hire Android developers for is designing application software to run on Android devices. As such, this is what most of their time and resources will be spent doing. They must be very good at using the suite of tools available on Google’s Android Studio platform to handle this, and depending on the nature of your company project, there may be different specified Android dev skill sets at play. For example, there may be integration and version control, AI integration, and cross-platform specialists.
  • Maintenance and Debugging of Application Software: The ideal is to create software that's, among other things, as functional and bug-free as possible. But like real bugs, software bugs are an uncomfortable but pervasive phenomenon. That's where Android developers come in; their job is to take on and eliminate the bugs—not the real-life ones, of course—at every relevant stage of application development. At the most basic level, this means they have to know how to use debuggers, including how to set up the build environment and use the right launch item commands.

    They must also be able to carry out the many types of relevant operations, including debugging binaries, running apps and processes (native or otherwise), app startups, and even debugging with VS code. And after the application is in the market, subsequent maintenance, troubleshooting, and debugging operations also fall on the Android developer's desk.
  • Development Team Coordination and Brainstorming: Often, it takes an entire team of developers to pull off a job, and such teams must be effectively coordinated to maximize work quality and delivery time. Furthermore, the entire product development cycle will require input from various departments of the company. When you hire an Android developer, it will be their job to coordinate, brainstorm ideas, and discuss strategies with other brains on the job. Companies that are able to pull this off effectively tend to dominate their relevant markets with superior user experience and product efficiency.
  • Handle Test Runs and Iterative Development: The Iterative development strategy is favored by many companies that are shooting for a truly marvelous user experience. The process involves repeat sequences of development, testing, and revising, improving design as you go. Companies that use this development technique hire Android engineers to handle it.
  • Use Android Tool Development Kit for App Integration: People also hire Android developers for the role of handling app integrations. Now, Android app integration is a technique for testing the functionality of application software, and it's important, especially for modular software with distinct logic. Furthermore, when those modules deal with external APIs and tools, they may malfunction if modified.

    Thus, the Android developer's job is to identify these points of failure and fix them before the product launch. This means they must be proficient in using any number of performance indicators, both native and third-party—but especially the native ones. For example, the Android ecosystem contains performance profiling tools to use. It also contains the Android Performance Tuner, an especially effective game performance tester that measures and indicates every metric, from frame rate and fidelity parameters to memory and CPU overhead.
  • Updating Software and Optimizing Performance: The Android ecosystem is constantly moving with the cloud, improving its capabilities and integrating all the most cutting-edge technologies. This means that companies with digital software constantly have to keep up with newer times. Android developers to the rescue—or update, as it were. Provided with all the resources needed for the job, the Android developer must update the company applications with all the latest Android features and capabilities necessary to keep them competitive.

What skills should an Android developer have?

With so many vital functions to take on in a firm's digital operations, an Android developer cannot do without his basic and advanced skill sets. As a smart and resourceful CTO, the required development tasks aforethought, it's important to know what skills to watch for when out to hire Android engineers. It can mean the difference between scooping up the prime talents on time and having to scrape the bottom of the well.

So, what are these vital skills for effective Android developers for hire?

  • Proficiency with Programming Languages: This is basically the core of what it means to be a software developer of any kind, especially an Android developer. One must have a good command of at least Java and Kotlin, which are the primary languages of the Android ecosystem. And if they're specialized in game development, they must also be proficient with C++, which makes for better heavy games with its high customization. Additionally, cross-platform Android developers should also know JavaScript, C#, Python, and any number of other relevant programming languages.
  • Excellent Time Management Skills: Companies have general or specific time frames for the development cycles to run from start to completion. Failure to beat these deadlines may tend to disappoint customers, damage ROI, and even cause relevant stock prices to take anything from a quick dip to a sharp and prolonged nose dive.

    As such, a lot really rests on the Android developer's ability not just to deliver an excellent software product but also to do that on time. No pressure, but you surely don't want to get a taped-together store app weeks after your customer base has decided your promised app was probably an April Fool's joke.

    Often, company executives might leave it up to the developer to provide a time frame for the completion of a project. The developer must then be able to correctly estimate how long the project will require.
  • Experience with Android Development tools: Android’s IDE features an array of development tools, including the Android Studio, SDK, APIs, and Material Design. The range of things you can do with these tools is simply stupendous, and it’s always a great move to hire Android developers who are adept at using them effectively and innovatively
  • Good Interpersonal Skills: As we have discussed, the Android developer's job often requires coordination with a team of fellow developers and personnel from other departments. This makes it important for the developer to be excellent at communicating ideas, instructions, and strategies to others. Of course, no one mind can think of everything, so just as important will be the developer's capacity to harness the brain power of others through suggestions and brainstorming sessions.
  • Presentation Skills: As the most important node in a company's digital operations, the Android developer will often have to make summary or detailed status reports on the project to the company executives. And in any case, those executives may not be too versed in programming lingo. This means the developer must be very good at compiling his information and making easily comprehensible reports, detailing current progress, problems faced, proposed solutions and their pros and cons, and implementation strategies
  • Problem Solving and Organizational Skills: Software development projects do not always go as planned, as unforeseen and sometimes novel challenges often crop up. This is why you need to be able to spot smart and innovative developers who will not only come up with creative solutions but also coordinate group efforts to implement them.

For more FAQs on hiring Android developers, visit our FAQs page

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