Android Development – Why and How

Needless to say, Android has become the leader of the mobile platform market. Starting with smartphones and tablets and moving onto TV, wearables and vehicles, Android never seems to stop.

My message here is that there is never a better time to hop into Android Development, in case you are programmer or hoping to be one.

I am not here to undermine other mobile OSes. iOS, WP and BB are great too, but I have always been an android fan and the market too points in its favor.

IDC: Smartphone OS Market Share 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 Chart

The OS itself is Open Source and Google provides its developers many tools and services to help the process.

To re-iterate, If you are someone hoping to be an Android Developer but never tried it before, there’s never been a better time.

What do you need?

Simply put, attitude is what matters most. If you are excited about mobile industry and the pace its growing at and want to be a part of it, welcome aboard.

And of course, thirst for knowledge and creativity is also essential. But hey, if you think you are not qualified or don’t have creativity, don’t be put off. Give it your best shot and you will impress yourself. I am pretty much a beginner myself and yeah it is constant struggle. But if you love what you do, then that indeed is good news.

Knowledge and Skills

In terms of skills, you need to have the following:

Java

I think you saw this coming. Java is the world’s most popular language and fortunately for us, it is used in Android Development. If you already know Java, congratulations. If not, then do not fret. Honestly, I wasn’t very confident with my level of Java that I learnt in college despite getting a good grade in my Java projects.

So, I went back and followed John Purcell’s course on Java for beginners. And believe me, it is awesome. John is one of the best teachers you will find and he also has courses on more topics including Android. If you want to boost up your knowledge, then do check out caveofprogramming.com .

XML

Stands for eXtensible Markup Language. Bit like HTML but has custom tags. You don’t need to know a whole bunch. If you are confident with HTML this is not a big deal. If you are interested in learning, then then head over to this popular tutorial. XML is used in designing the layout for your screen (activity) and to describe functionality and requirements.

SQL

Since your app will most probably use a database, you will need to know a bit of SQLite. If you have worked with any databases like MySQL or MS SQL, that will do. Otherwise head over here once again.

Tools and Resources

After you have the above mentioned required skills, you need the following tools to get started:

Android Studio

Android Studio Splash Screen

This will be your IDE (the software used to create software). Eclipse with ADT was used previously but Google’s current recommendation is this awesome tool built on top of IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition (another popular IDE). Head over here to the official download page.

Development Kits

You will need Java Development Kit (JDK) and Android Software Development Kit (SDK). The good news is that the SDK comes built in. If you want to download the JDK, then head over here.

I am currently using the latest JDK 8 but Google recommends JDK 7. Head onto the previously mentioned link and choose the version you want and the platform you want to run it on.

Helpful Material

I have a few recommendations here:

1. Android Documentation – This is tremendously useful if you are capable of reading an implementing the described procedures. Click here for training documentation and here for the API Guides.

2. Video Tutorials – There are a few helpful Android video tutorials that will be very useful for in case you prefer watching videos and learning.

Bucky Roberts is a great teacher and will get you up and running in developing Android apps within a short period. Visit his Android Course on thenewboston.

3. Google – If you are already a programmer, you know how tremendously useful Google can be. If not, you should know it. Whenever you encounter an error/exception just ask Google. You will not be disappointed most of the time.

Get Started!

All the resources/tools that I have mentioned are free of charge and supports most platforms.

If you find this post helpful, then I am happy. Leave your comments below and let me know your suggestions.

One last thing. Android M was announced yesterday. And believe me it’s getting better and better. And the Material Design introduced in Lollipop is pure awesomeness. If you are an Android user, I don’t have to say.

So what are you waiting for?

You will never know if it is difficult if you never tried.