This guide will walk you through what an Android app developer does, how you might develop an app for Android, and how to choose a top Android app development company to help you build the ultimate app.
The Android operating system is one of the two key platforms for mobile apps. It’s used for a range of different applications and is the most popular OS worldwide.
There are a large number of top Android app developers–operating both freelance and full-time–available for you to hire.
You can find the best Android app developers and Android app development companies in our directory. They have complete Android expertise, allowing you to choose the right level.
What is an Android app developer?
An Android developer specializes in designing apps for the Android marketplace, and most of the job involves creating apps.
Android developers generally work in-house for a large organization, or an app development agency may employ them instead.
It’s a skilled and entry-level position; employers normally prefer a bachelor’s degree in software development, although this isn’t always the case.
Primary duties consist of the following:
Main duties of an Android app developer
Some apps are simple to program, but developers will need skills in graphical and UX design.
Other apps will require complex programming and little in the way of design; it depends on the type of app you need to create.
Essential skills that an Android app developer will need to possess, regardless of the type of app, include:
Required skills of an Android app developer
Why Android for app development?
Smartphones using the Android mobile operating system dominated with an 87% share of the global market in 2019, only set to increase in upcoming years.
You might be wondering why that is, and there are several key reasons, as follows:
Low cost, high ROI
Most Android apps are free to download and quickly obtainable on the Play Store. This makes them a smart choice for new businesses that need to launch their first few apps.
For instance, free apps are excellent tools for promoting the company behind them, and building them is relatively cheap.
There’s also no yearly expense if you design Android apps yourself, whereas iOS charges a fixed fee each year. You won’t have to pay to use SDKs either–a welcome bonus.
The highest expense is in the app’s design phase, but the overall investment is still low, with client engagement typically strong, resulting in high ROI.
Target new platforms
Businesses will have the chance to target new platforms with Android app development easily.
Kotlin is the primary programming language of Android development–created by Google–and replaces Java. It is used to develop apps on everything from iOS to Android to desktop, sharing the app logic between them and maintaining a native user experience.
Kotlin’s syntax follows the same core concepts as iOS development, making it easy for iOS developers to learn.
Companies that use Kotlin include Uber, Pinterest, Evernote and Atlassian, as well as Philips, Netflix, Leroy Merlin, and VMWare.
Scalability with Android Studio
Android Studio provides scalability and allows you to integrate your new app with the entire and growing ecosystem of Android, including tablets, smartphones, Android TV and even wearables.
You can make your Android app compatible with exciting new tech, such as AR, IoT (Internet of things), and VR.
Android Studio website screenshot
Source: Android Studio
Android Studio provides a Gradle-based build system, a feature-rich emulator, code templates and GitHub integration, not to mention comprehensive testing tools and frameworks as well as C++ and NDK support–everything you need.
The advanced layout editor also lets you drag and drop widgets into your layout and easily preview them.
Lower barrier of entry
You can create Android apps on Mac, Windows, and Linux; a healthy choice of platforms and more than iOS developers have available to them.
Registering as a designer on Apple’s App Store is $99 a year, while only $25 is required to be a developer on the Google Play Store–a good saving for companies on a tight budget.
What’s more, if you plan on developing an Android app, it can be approved and on Google Play within as little as a day–it can take up to half a month on the App Store.
The apps on Google Play are updated as many times as you desire and at speed, whereas iOS developers will need to go through a sometimes long and complex process to get their app updated.
These factors make Android app development a far more accessible place to begin, especially for small businesses.
Top Android App Development Companies:
How to choose an Android app developer?
Building an Android app is tough, and it can feel overwhelming with everything else that needs doing.
Fret not; we’ve got you covered.
Several top Android app developers, operating both freelance and full-time, are available to hire, allowing you to create a high-quality app that will drive significant installs on Google Play.
But before you choose an Android app developer or app development company, here are some things you need to consider for the best chance of success.
Know what you want
While it may sound obvious, knowing what you want from your app is a vital part of the process and is often neglected and left until later on, which only causes slowdowns.
You’re going to hire an Android app developer, so you need to know the key elements you want to see in the app right from the start. The best way to do this is to create an outline and then add to it over time as ideas form.
Experience over app count
It’s best to look for experience rather than just a company that’s developed Android apps in the past.
It’s common to see Android app developers claim they’ve made X number of apps, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the apps were high-quality or would suit you.
Look for companies that have developed quality apps over time, and see if they match what you require.
Creating an Android app isn’t easy, so you need to find someone with the right creative skills, patience and those that understand their target audiences.
Consult on your app’s profitability
When you develop an Android app, you’re typically not looking to get people to download it alone.
The truth is apps are excellent lead and revenue generation platforms, regardless of the type of Android app you need to develop.
A skilled and knowledgeable Android app development company can quickly give you advice on the most efficient way to generate a revenue stream from your app, so be sure to ask.
Quality over cost
When searching for an Android app developer, don’t just go for the most expensive option available. Neither should you opt for the cheapest either; it’s all about balance.
The most affordable app development companies will most likely lack the quality, skills, and knowledge to get the job done. However, that doesn’t mean the most expensive will automatically be a perfect choice either.
It’s best to create a shortlist of the companies that meet your quality standard first, and from there, consider the cost second and try to stay within budget.
Aim for a long-term relationship
Keep in mind that Android app development is rarely a one-time process; development consists of constant tweaks and adjustments over the app’s entire life.
You need to choose an app development company that nurtures a long-term relationship from the off and is happy to do so. Also, look out for those that provide a full support service.
How to develop an app for Android?
While you may have decided you want to hire an Android app development company and are ready to get going, you might still be curious about the app-making process and how it works.
It doesn’t hurt to give it a go before making your final decision–it’s useful to know what an app developer will be doing and the steps they take.
Each approach will be different, so by no means take the following steps as absolute.
1. Downloading the right tools
Before anything else, you need to make sure you have the right tools for the job as they help facilitate the Android development environment.
Your desktop needs to support your goals for the app; for that, you’ll want to download Android Studio and an Android SDK. The best part is that these tools get packaged together.
Android Studio website screenshot
Source: Android Studio
Other options are available for developing your Android app, such as Unity for cross-platform game development and Visual Studio with Xamarin–another excellent choice for creating cross-platform Android apps.
We think Android Studio is a good starting point, as you have access to some top tools in one place.
2. Creating a new project
With Android Studio on your desktop, you’ll need to create a new project within the software. The good news is that this is straightforward: you navigate to File, and under New, click New Project.
You’ll get asked which Project Template you want to use, which decides the app’s overall code and UI elements.
Where it says “Activity”, essentially, this refers to a single “screen” in the Android app. So a project with “No Activity” would be empty (other than for the essential files and their underlying structure).
A “Basic Activity” will create a simple starting screen for your app, adding a button at the bottom and a menu at the top.
Things can become complicated quite quickly, so it’s best to stick to “Empty Activity” until you thoroughly learn the ins and outs of the software.
We need to choose a name and “package name”–the package name is a reference that Android will use to differentiate it from other apps.
The title should be composed using your top-level domain; if you don’t have a domain, use “com” followed by anything you like.
From there, pick Kotlin as it’s going to be the default language going forward and is helpful to those just getting started. Java is a better choice down the line and when you have more experience.
The last thing you need to do is think about your Minimum SDK–the lowest version number of Android you wish to support. The lower the number, the more people you can reach.
3. Get used to the files and using the software
The software can be confusing, and you may not have the first clue about what to do. Don’t panic; for now, start by going over the basics and familiarising yourself with the layout.
For example, the main folders are critical for app development, as they enable Android Studio and Gradle to build the app correctly, so be aware you need to keep the names the same for it to work.
Gradle website screenshot
You also might notice that there is already some code sitting on the main page–this is what we call “boilerplate code”, which is code that’s needed to make basic functions work. Kotlin doesn’t need as much boilerplate code, so it’s an added benefit.
Note that a layout file is different from a Kotlin file and defines how an “activity” looks, allowing you to add elements such as buttons and text.
Go through each element and play around with them to get the ball rolling. Remember that things are meant to break and can usually get fixed relatively quickly.
4. Test your Android app out
During the setup process, you will have facilitated an Android emulator from the start without realising it. In other words, you’ll be able to launch and test out your Android app simply by using the green play arrow at the top of the software.
Clicking on the green arrow is like viewing your app virtually, and you can change the settings such as screen size and Android version under the AVD Manager.
Try plugging a device into your desktop to see some magic. You’ll need to turn on Developer Options and enable USB Debugging.
The aim is to start playing around and seeing what you learn. Of course, if all else fails, remember there are many professional Android app developers ready to step in and take over.
How much does Android app development cost?
Android app development costs largely depend on what level of expertise you require: junior, middle, or senior.
If you’re looking to hire a single Android app developer, you may find the stats below of use. They summarize the average salary of an Android app developer:
US (all states)
- Junior Android developer: $80,733 per year
- Mid-level Android developer: $96,012 per year
- Senior Android developer: $115,086 per year
- Junior Android developer: $50,000 per year
- Mid-level Android developer: $78,000 per year
- Senior Android developer: $106,000 per year
- Junior Android developer: £21,509 per year
- Mid-level Android developer: £41,000 per year
- Senior Android developer: £59,046 per year
- Junior Android developer: ₹182,837 ($2,443) per year
- Mid-level Android developer: ₹336,000 ($4,468) per year
- Senior Android developer: ₹810,471 ($10,830) per year
When estimating the development costs of your Android app without an external app developer, you need to consider the development team’s location and the complexities of your app. These two factors essentially decide your overall costs.
Android App Developer Guide
The Android OS is a key and competitive platform for mobile apps, so you’ll need the best Android app developers to prosper on it.
You can find our full app developer guide here for all the latest tips and tricks.
App Developer Numbers
Here are some app developer numbers, including the region and the number of developers in the table below.
||Number of Developers
Here we’ve put together for you a list of the best Android app developers so you can supercharge your strategy.
Develop the ultimate app for Android
You must be an expert in all things Android app development by now.
Put these tips and tricks to use and create the ultimate Android app that Google Play users didn’t know they wanted.
Remember, the app-making process can be demanding, and it’s always a good idea to leave it up to the pros to develop the best Android app for the most promising results.
Check out our list of the top Android app development companies and bring that app idea of yours to life.
List of Android App Development Companies