How to Hire the Best Android Developers
When hiring Android developers, it is crucial for employers to have a basic understanding of the Android operating system and the technologies related to it to be able to make a good hiring decision. In this post, we’re going through essential information employers and managers must know to distinguish a great Android developer from the rest.
Created in 2003 by Andy Rubin, Android first started as an operating system for digital cameras. After diverting its attention toward smartphones and being bought by Google in July 2005, Android is now the most popular smartphone operating system with more than 3.5 million apps available on Google Play. Apple comes in second followed by Microsoft Windows Store, Amazon Appstore, and Blackberry World.
Android apps can be written and developed using Kotlin, Java, and C++. The code, along with any data and resource files, will be compiled by the Android SDK tools into an APK—an Android package which is an archive file with an .apk filename extension. An APK file contains all the contents of an Android app that is used by Android-powered devices to install the app.
Android apps are made up of a combination of components that can be invoked separately. One type of app component is the activity which provides the user interface. When users tap your app icon, the “main” activity starts. You can also take the users straight to a different activity from elements other than your app icon, such as from a notification or even from another app.
There are other components such as broadcast receivers and services; these components allow your app to run background tasks without a user interface.
To be able to effectively manage your Android developer and your app development process, it helps for you to have at least a basic understanding of the application fundamentals.
Why should you hire an Android developer?
Statista figures show that 52.2% of all worldwide traffic came from mobile phones in 2018, up from 50.3% in 2017.
This increase in mobile phone usage has opened plenty of doors and opportunities for businesses to grow and reach more audiences instantaneously. Most businesses with mobile apps are large companies, but small and medium-sized businesses benefit from having a mobile app as well.
Here are 7 things you get when you hire an Android developer and build your own Android app:
Increased visibility and brand recall
With a mobile app, you increase your visibility and your brand awareness; you allow your customers to reach you through their smartphones, anytime and anywhere. You give them easy access to information about your business and the products or services you offer as well as your contact information, which positively impacts your online presence in the long run.
A well-designed mobile app also incorporates your business’ image and branding into every feature and aspect of the interface. The more your customers find your app visually appealing and easy-to-use, the more they will interact with it—eventually establishing a strong brand recall.
Easy information dissemination
Having a mobile app is a fast and convenient way for you to send updates to your customers in real-time. Moreover, compared to more traditional ways of disseminating messages such as through print and broadcast media, sending updates through your mobile app offers a more personal and intimate connection with the receiver.
Improved customer engagement
Mobile apps are interactive in nature, which makes them very effective in building and improving customer engagement. By hiring the right Android developer, you can create engaging applications for your customers that can give them exclusive content, provide special offers and discounts, and encourage them to leave feedback about their experience with you.
Encourage brand loyalty
Mobile apps can be instrumental in encouraging brand loyalty from your customers. With your app, you can offer incentives through loyalty programs, exclusive content or products for customers who sign up for a certain program, or even offers and special bonuses for those who have installed your app. You can also use the app to send push notifications about promotions and discounts.
When you go mobile, you gain a competitive advantage over your competitors. Having mobile apps is helpful especially if you want to be known as a business that is updated with the latest technology trends. Take advantage of this opportunity to create your own mobile app to widen your audience, and to reach and engage your customers more.
A new marketing channel
Your app’s launch in itself is already a marketing strategy because you use other marketing tools and ideas to draw interest to your app (you publish the news about your app on relevant platforms and you send out press releases). You can also use mobile apps to run polls and conduct surveys for your marketing research.
What kind of projects can an Android developer work on?
There are 6 main types of mobile apps that an Android developer can build:
#1: Lifestyle apps
A lifestyle app is targeted towards aspects of a person’s lifestyle. These apps can be related to fitness, dating, food, music, and travel.
As these apps address the user’s habitual needs, there is an assurance that these apps are to stay for a long time. These are the apps that people turn to on a regular basis to help them find the next new song, a new restaurant to try, or a new destination to visit.
Examples of popular lifestyle apps are:
#2: Social media apps
Social media apps are among the most popular and most used types of mobile apps today. In fact, Facebook alone reports over 1 billion active users every day.
Today, users share more about their everyday lives than before. Because of this, even apps that aren’t directly classified as social media apps include social sharing functionality to answer the users’ needs. For example, running and cycling app Strava not only tracks your activities, but it also incorporates social sharing functions that allow you to compare your stats with other people in your network.
Examples of popular social media apps are:
#3: Utility apps
Utility apps are those which mainly come pre-installed on devices and serve a single function. Users tend to use these apps more often (although for shorter periods of time) without realising they are apps as well.
Some examples of apps that fall under this category are:
#4: Games/Entertainment apps
The gaming and entertainment categories are huge, and, therefore, very competitive. Game apps are not only popular among users, but they’re also very popular among developers because they are able to bring users back to the app multiple times each week, some even multiple times a day.
Examples of popular game apps are:
- Angry Birds
- Clash of Clans
- Plants vs. Zombies
- Subway Surfer
- Pokémon Go
#5: Productivity apps
Productivity apps are those apps that are built to help users complete their tasks quickly and efficiently, with some even aiming to make these tasks easier and more fun to accomplish. As more and more people are trying to do more in this increasingly busy world, productivity apps are becoming popular for users.
Examples of popular productivity apps are:
- Google Drive or Dropbox
#6 News apps
News apps, as the name suggests, provide users with news and regularly updated information that they need in a layout and interface that is easy to understand and navigate.
Examples of popular news apps are:
- Google Feed & Weather
- Smart News
What technical skills should you look for when hiring Android developers?
A great Android developer is comfortable working with the Java programming language. While it is possible to develop Android apps using different technologies, the official language for Android app development is Java with Android Studio or Eclipse as the IDE (integrated development environment).
Android developers should be familiar with variables, lists, loops, control structures, as well as object-oriented concepts such as class vs. static methods and inheritance. Moreover, the Android developer should also be comfortable using documentation to learn how to use the new parts of Java SDK (Java Software Development Kit) to make work easier and more efficient.
The Android SDK includes helpful tools such as sample projects with source code, development tools, an emulator, and the necessary libraries to build Android applications. Here are some of the basic areas of the Android SDK that an Android developer must be familiar with:
- A basic understanding of layouts and views
- Activities and their lifecycle
- User input
- Getting and storing data from the web
- Collection views (like ListViews) and Adapters (default and custom)
- Action Bar
- Accommodating different screen sizes and densities
Working with APIs
Gathering data from the web is a fundamental skill in Android app development, so it is necessary that the Android developer you will hire is able to work with their own API or some other third party API, such as JSON/REST APIs.
What soft skills should you look for in an Android developer?
In mobile app development, mobile app developers, in general, have to properly analyse the users’ needs to be able to create applications that users will want to use. The ability to analyse the way people use their mobile devices and think of unique and creative ways to improve the user experience is very critical to the success of a mobile app.
Android developers need to be able to communicate both orally and in writing. This trait is important because throughout the project, they will have to give or receive instructions from team members or colleagues from other departments. They will also need to explain a feature or tool to non-technical team members. This requires the ability to explain technical concepts in clear, easy-to-understand language.
Great Android developers know how to fuse creativity with efficiency when writing their codes. They are able to create clever and unique applications that help users address their needs and wants without sacrificing the neatness of the code.
Problem solving skills
A big part of a developers’ job is to solve problems and to troubleshoot issues. When you hire Android developers, take a good look at how your candidates recognise various technical problems and how they work to solve them.
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