An Android developer is a software developer that specializes in creating applications for Android-based devices. Android, of course, is a mobile operating system (OS) developed by Google. It is based on a modified version of the Linux OS and other open-source software. Android was designed for use on touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is the direct competitor of Apple’s iOS, Windows Phone OS, and BlackBerry OS, among others.

Google says that Android apps can be written in Kotlin, Java, and C++ using the Android software development kit (SDK), but other languages should work as well. Android device users can choose from as many as 2.6 million apps today.

If we’re to compare Android with computer OSs, it would be like Windows, the computer OS with the highest share.

Other interesting terms…

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Android Developer - definition, job description, skills, requirements

6 Essential Skills for an Android Developer

Apart from obtaining a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software development, or related field, Android developers need to know everything about the OS they are creating apps for. We compiled a list of must-haves below:

  • Be a graduate of computer science, software development, or related courses
  • Be proficient in Kotlin, Java, or C++
  • Know how to use Android Studio, including the Android SDK
  • Have prior experience in developing Android apps
  • Possess excellent coding, proofreading, and communication skills
  • Be able to work with minimal supervision

Android Developer Job Description and Responsibilities

Android developers are typically tasked to:

  • Conceptualize and create apps for all Android devices
  • Build measures to protect user data into their creations
  • Ensure that the quality of apps developed meets the company’s standards
  • Proofread code and get rid of mistakes before an app’s release
  • Work with user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers and software testers
  • Explain how the apps work to marketers
  • Monitor app reviews to spot areas for improvement
  • Come up with app updates, including bug fixes and additional features

What Programming Languages Must an Android Developer Know?

Much like any other software developer, an Android developer needs to be an expert in several languages.

  1. Kotlin: This is designed to work fully with Java. It was created by JetBrains, a Czech software development company that manufactures tools for software developers and project managers. Kotlin is a trademarked brand owned by the Kotlin Foundation. Google named Kotlin the preferred language for Android app developers on 7 May 2019.
  2. Java: This is designed to work on any platform as-is. James Gosling created it at Sun Microsystems, which is now part of Oracle. Java remains one of the most desirable languages to learn today.
  3. C++: This is designed to run high-performance applications such as games. Bjarne Stroustrup created it as an extension to C. C++ is widely used due to the amount of control that it gives programmers over a system’s resources and memory.

What do Android Developers Need to Know about Android?

While Android developers can use a variety of languages for their apps, they can’t do without the Android SDK. They need to be familiar with the various iterations of the OS, too, to ensure their apps’ compatibility with as many devices as possible.

Android SDK

The Android SDK, which was initially released in 2008, has an exhaustive set of development tools. It has a debugger, libraries, a handset emulator based on QEMU (an open-source emulator), documentation, sample code, and tutorials.

The Android SDK owes its current state to the Android Developer Challenge, a Google-sponsored competition to find the most innovative application for Android. Google offered prizes amounting to US$10 million. On 30 November 2009, Google announced the contest’s overall winners―SweetDreams, What the Doodle!?, and WaveSecure.

Everything an Android developer needs to start creating his or her app can be found on the Android Developers website.

Android OSs over the Years

The Android OS, which uses the Android SDK, has had several versions with the following code names, which were inspired initially by tasty treats:

  1. Android10
  2. Pie
  3. Oreo
  4. Nougat
  5. Marshmallow
  6. Lollipop
  7. KitKat
  8. Jelly Bean
  9. Ice Cream Sandwich
  10. Honeycomb
  11. Gingerbread
  12. Froyo
  13. Eclair
  14. Donut
  15. Cupcake

Note that the first two didn’t have code names and were just known as Versions 1.0 and 1.1.

Who Can Android Developers Turn to for Inspiration?

If you’re interested in becoming an Android developer and would like to know who you can learn from, we listed the top Android developers you may want to follow.

  1. Chiu-Ki Chan: She worked as a software engineer at Google for at least six years. She then moved on to develop apps for more than a year in two startups before putting up her own mobile development company, Square Island. Follow her on Twitter as @chiuki.
  2. Jake Wharton: He has been coding for the platform before it took off and ousted BlackBerry OS. He has been an Android engineer at Square for more than four years now. Follow him on Twitter as @JakeWharton.
  3. Donn Felker: He is a co-host of the Fragmented Podcast and the founder of Caster IO—a bite-sized video lessons site for Android development. He’s also the author of Android Application Development for Dummies and Android Tablet Application Development for Dummies. He also contributed a chapter to Android Developer Tools. Follow him on Twitter as @donnfelker.

Where Can You Find Work as an Android Developer and How Much Can You Earn?

Apart from Google, Android developers can find work at companies such as OpenXcell, Cubix, Utility, Swenson He, RipenApps, NIX, Day One Technologies, Promatics Technologies, Zco Corporation, and Quytech. There are many others, of course.

An Android developer based in the U.S. can earn US$81,948 on average per year.

What is an Android developer then? He or she is an expert in crafting apps for the Android OS.