Android Basics: Tips for getting on track to be an all-star developer

androidbasicsAs the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Android holds immense potential for tech visionaries, developers, and entrepreneurs. Mobile technology, in general, is rapidly changing the way we live and do business; and ambitious tech start-ups are building new possibilities, better integration, and smoother interfaces all the time. Some analysts predict that by 2017, 82% of all mobile phone purchases will be smartphones; and, what’s more, 75% of the smartphone market will belong to Android.

So it’s easy to see why there is so much development interest in the Android platform. A great idea, executed well, has very real potential to change the world. If you see great things in your future with Android, there is no time like the present to get started. You can be off and running, developing your own apps in very little time with some guidance from an online course in Android fundamentals.  

Before you know it, you will be installing the development environment and learning the java essentials on which android programming is based; but if you really want a jump-start, there is even more you can do to immerse in the world of Android.  Here are some ideas:

Join the community

Android has some extremely active, prolific, and committed development communities. If you haven’t already, you will no doubt come into contact with XDA developers before long. XDA’s members include individuals who are remarkable in their abilities to problem solve, develop workarounds, innovate, and help less experienced developers.

In addition to participating in student forums, you will want to take full advantage of the potential for support and inspiration that XDA can offer. Take some time to learn about the forum, sign up, and subscribe to the group’s relevant feeds.  One point that cannot be stressed enough: pay attention to the forum’s posting rules. Forum members are very proactive in sharing their knowledge, and it’s highly likely that any question you have has already been addressed. Remember put in your due diligence and be respectful of others’ time.

Learn all about APIs

An essential skill for development in Android is being able to work with APIs, or application processing interfaces. Mobile users want their apps to integrate so they can store information where they like, easily share information on social networks, etc. You will want to get to know APIs well, and although beginning Android courses will cover API handling, getting a headstart might benefit you. If you are brand new to the concept, you can take an online course dedicated to understanding web APIs.

Know your market

Particularly if you are getting into Android with an eye toward concepting and developing your own apps, you can learn a lot from the people who will potentially be your end users. Fortunately, now that social media is pervasive in our everyday lives, it is not particularly difficult to get perspectives on user preferences in mobile technology. This is especially true for Android thanks to Google Plus.

One huge advantage of Google Plus is that, more than any other social network, it builds social connections and encourages open sharing based on common interests among individuals. If you browse through Android-based communities on Google Plus, you will encounter a handful of spaces where people talk about their favorite apps, share screenshots, and discuss their preferences with their peers. You can browse through these interactions and get involved to build your understanding regarding what does well among Android users and what fails to make an impact.

It should be stated here that, if you are planning to self-publish apps or start a small development firm, social media will be a very important marketing channel.  And although it is becoming second nature to engage with social networks, it takes some skill to leverage them for business. You might consider getting some specialized training in a course on social media for businesses.

Make it fun

In addition to apps for business, productivity, etc. have you thought about programming mobile games? Mobile gaming is taking off as an industry, and you might find game development to be a fun way to supplement your foundational Android education. There are even ways to get a quick start on this lucrative activity. For instance, you can take an online course in beginning mobile game development that will have you creating games that actually work across platforms.

Build out the bigger picture

As is true for any programming education, you cannot go wrong in your Android education by broadening your understanding of approaches to programming, foundational languages and – for those working on independent app-making ventures – the ins and outs of the technology business. Since android development makes heavy use of Java programming, you might get a start on the Java programming language in a course covering Java fundamentals. In addition to making you a stronger Android developer, learning this language well will help you write fantastic, complex web applications.

A recommended course for any programmer beginning their education is one that covers the overall logic of programming and problem solving. Completing a course designed to make you think like a great programmer will help guide you as you progress in your education and start to develop intricate, real-life solutions.

Summary

If you are beginning down the path of Android development, the road looks promising, and if you find a knack for building great programs, your prospects are good. As you start learning about the basics of coding for Android, remember to develop a well rounded skillset that will help you turn your ideas into brilliant apps and get them into the handsets of the mobile masses.