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Post by Rich Moy on Oct 23, 2015, 11:00:00 AM

Anyone who has done so much as pick up an Android smartphone has seen the work of an Android developer. These programmers focus their time and energy on building great apps for devices running Google’s mobile operating system. With Android claiming a 65% market share, competition for the top developers to build apps for devices running this operating system is as fierce as ever. To help you stand out in this crowded market, here are a few tips for you to refer to whenever you need to hire an Android developer.

Know Where Android Developers Spend Their Free Time

Whether they’re looking to learn or share new information, new and experienced developers alike turn to Android-specific forums like AndroidForums.com, Anddev.org and AndroidPIT to help take their apps to the next level. Michael Yin, who previously developed on Android for Samsung, also tells us that when integrating with third party libraries, Android developers often turn to Stack Overflow, especially when certain processes aren’t well documented.

Mobile app development has become a popular access point for anyone interested in learning how to write code. Because of this, training programs hosted online and in person by companies such as General Assembly, Skillshare and Code School have begun popping up around the world to show people from a variety of backgrounds how to build their first apps. These programs are a steady source of candidates, and graduates of these programs can make for good candidates. However, because these courses are so accelerated by nature, it’s even more important to involve your tech team throughout the entire interview process, especially when you need to hire Android developers.

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Know the Challenges They Tackle Everyday

Most people can learn enough HTML and Javascript to write a basic Android app, but experienced developers know there are a lot of challenges in creating one that’s both user-friendly and secure. Here are three things most mobile app developers are responsible for—regardless of the operating system they’re working in.

  • User interface testing. Android apps are often tested on the devices they’ll ultimately be used on, but in addition to this, developers also use a number of emulators to ensure their code is clean before they send it off to app stores.
  • Security. Mobile apps are just as prone—if not more so—to attempted security hacks. Mobile developers are responsible not only for an app’s design and usability, but also for ensuring the security of all the data that’s submitted by users while using the app.
  • Monetization. If you’re hoping to make money on your app, your mobile developer will need to know how to identify and build features that will generate revenue. Even if your app will be available online as a free download, a mobile developer will need to know how to integrate banner ads, in-app purchases and/or subscription features without detracting too much from the overall user experience.

While mobile developers for all platforms generally take on these responsibilities, building an app for the Android OS has a number of unique challenges. Here are three things Android developers are always looking to learn more about to improve their apps.

  1. Why is the Android Emulator so slow? Some developers find that even after following all the instructions in the Android SDK, the Android Emulator is a bit sluggish. However, to remedy this, Android Development Tools 9.0 has a feature that allows you to save the state of your emulator, allowing it to boot up instantly.

  2. What is Context in Android? Mobile developers building apps for Android products have long been unsure of what the Context class is used for. However, as the name suggests, it describes the current state of the application to inform newer objects about what’s going on.

  3. Is there a way to run Python on Android? Some development platforms have Python platforms that programmers enjoy using, but nothing official about Python’s compatibility with Android has been announced by either site. However, many developers solve this problem by using Kivy, which is an open source Python library that allows users to write code for multi-touch applications.

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Know What Gets Them Excited About Coming to Work

It should come as no surprise that Android developers get excited about positions when it’s clear they’ll have opportunities to get their hands dirty with new technologies. Kasra Rahjerdi, a mobile team lead here at Stack Overflow, told us about three things that make mobile developers excited about building Android apps.

  • Building apps for a growing product line. The Android product line is as extensive as ever, and now boasts Android Wear, Android TV and Android Auto. “Being able to run Android apps in completely new products is really cool and has its own technical challenges,” Rahjerdi says.
  • New and emerging markets. Last year, Google announced the Android One line of products, a program geared towards bringing smartphones to people in underserved markets. Rahjerdi adds, “This means I can now work on apps for the next billion users without having to make them work on really old and poor quality phones.”
  • New technologies in the Android stack. Rahjerdi says there’s a lot of new and exciting technology in the Android world right now, but is particularly excited about RxJava. This brings the Reactive Extensions framework over to Java, and allows him to code that is both pretty and complex.

As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve only scratched the surface of what they do on a daily basis. But even these basics about the projects they like to tackle and the challenges they face will help you stand out when it comes time to hire an Android developer.

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