Android is an operating system based on the Linux kernel, acquired by Google in 2005, and built in 2003. It is a mobile operating system – for smartphones, tablets, wearables, as well as on-board car computers and other similar devices.
It was launched in 2003 as an open source project, and it is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Android is essentially a platform allowing users to communicate with their devices. It relies on the APK – Android application package, which allows apps to be distributed and installed.
New updates to the system are built and released regularly. Android users appreciate the amount of different devices they can choose from, which creates a big challenge for developers, who need to take a wide range of different device specifications into consideration when designing and building their apps.
What skills should Android app developers have?
Android developers are responsible for designing and building applications for devices powered by the Android operating system.
They need to understand the guidelines for Android app development, as well as relevant design patterns.
The primary Android development programming language is Java. Big chunks of the Android system are written in Java, and Android’s APIs are designed to cooperate with Java calls.
But is Java the only language Android app developers should use? Not necessarily – Android applications can be built using C and C++, which requires skills in working with a framework like Xamarin, a cross-platform application development environment.
Native development with Java is the most popular, so the majority of Android developers will be experienced Java programmers who use Android Studio or Eclipse.
Certain technologies required from an Android developer usually depend on what technologies are required in the project.
But some tech skills are a must for every candidate, like understanding the Android SDK, especially basic Android concepts like: layouts and views, activities with a lifecycle, user input, scraping web data, or storing data.
An important skill is debugging – troubleshooting bugs in code is critical, especially if the app has to be compatible across a seemingly endless list of devices, as is usually the case with Android applications.
Android app developers need to know how to work with APIs. It’s a fundamental skill, seeing that majority of apps have network-based components. JSON / REST APIs will probably come into play during development, or XML and SOAP. Knowing how to use Git for version control is essential.