How to hire Android developers
Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system (OS). Whether you’re trying to create an Android app from scratch, or port an existing iOS app to Android, an Android developer can help bring your mobile project to life.
So how do you find an Android developer? What follows are some tips for finding top Android developers on Upwork.
How to shortlist Android developers
As you’re browsing available Android development consultants, it can be helpful to develop a shortlist of the freelancers you may want to interview. You can screen profiles on criteria such as:
- Expertise. If your app requires expertise in GPU programming, game design, or accelerometer control, you’ll want to find a specialist.
- Past work. Good code is well documented, some developers showcase their past projects or provide presentations highlighting their achievements on their profiles.
- Feedback. If you’re wondering what it’s like to work with a particular Android developer, past reviews are a good place to look.
The trick to finding top Android developers is to identify your needs. Is this app intended to be used as a secure user account portal? Will the app need to incorporate any unique features, such as scanning documents and reading text? The cost of your project will depend largely on your scope of work, and the specific skills needed to bring your project to life.
How to write an effective Android developer job post
With a clear picture of your ideal Android developer in mind, it’s time to write that job post. Aim to provide enough detail for a freelancer to know if they’re the right fit for the project.
An effective Android developer job post should include:
- Scope of work: From user chat rooms to user authentication list all the deliverables you’ll need.
- Project length: Your job post should indicate whether this is a shorter or larger project.
- Background: Translate your Android developer needs into a candidate profile. If you prefer experience working with certain industries, software, or marketing channels, mention this here.
- Budget: Set a budget and note your preference for hourly rates vs. fixed-price contracts.
Android Developers FAQ
What is Android development?
Android developers use the Java programming language, the Android SDK, and other tools to develop apps for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices running the Android OS.
Here’s a quick overview of the skills you should look for in Android development freelancers:
- Native app development through the Android SDK
- Solid grasp of UI/UX design fundamentals
- APIs such as REST and SOAP
- Version control systems such as Git
- Project management systems such as Jira
- Cross-platform mobile app development frameworks such as React Native
Android development consultants help businesses create powerful mobile apps that can compete in the Google Play Store.
How much does it cost to hire an Android developer?
Rates can vary due to many factors, including expertise and experience, location, and market conditions. Learn about the cost to hire an android app developer.
Common mistakes that Android developers make
1. Not using asynchronous design
When you work with cloud applications, the assumption is that the user is connected to the internet while they’re accessing your application. You shouldn’t assume users always have instant, high-bandwidth access to the internet with a mobile app. If you attempt to make an API call or use remote services, it can cause your application to hang.
Users may not be aware that short hangs in the app can simple mean something is processing in the background. When your app needs to check for network resources or make a call to a remote API, consider using asynchronous cause and threads that perform the background action while still allowing your users to interact with the app. This will avoid user confusion and prevent the “Application Not Responding” dialog box from displaying.
2. Writing apps that aren’t optimized for low bandwidth
Many developers disregard low-bandwidth users, because high-bandwidth is so common in most areas. Mobile devices still haven’t caught up to the speeds of LAN connections, and many users pay high fees when they go over their dedicated data allocation for the month.
When you use images, always consider that users might have to deal with low bandwidth and data charges. Images should be designed or sized specifically for mobile apps. They can still maintain most of their quality, but they must have a reduced size. You should also limit the number of images on one screen. Too many images will slow down your app’s performance.
3. Using UI elements that work better with a mouse and keyboard
It’s a completely different world in mobile development. Users tap with their fingers and type with their thumbs. Your UI components must make it easy for a user to type a value (e.g., in a text box field) and then tap to go to the next element.
UI elements should be larger and easy for users to tap with their fingers. Having 20 small items for a user to tap isn’t the best idea. Menus should offer options that are easy to find and require minimal scrolling. Input components should be easy to tap and make a selection. Font sizes should be large enough for the user to see.
4. Using too much of the user’s battery power
Most batteries on the market give the user at least a half day of battery power. Some users get a full day from their battery. As more apps are installed on the device, the battery starts to drain faster. This is due to apps running too many processes in the background even when the phone is idle.
While some apps require background processes, most of them don’t. Unless it’s absolutely essential to your app, don’t eat up your user’s battery life with unnecessary background processes. Apps that eat up too much battery power are a nuisance to users and are often removed.
Don’t use network and data resources when it’s not necessary. Close processes when they aren’t necessary, and analyze memory usage (covered above in section
5. Not using standard input elements
Android’s Material Design is a “visual language” all apps must adhere to, and it dictates how nearly every aspect of a UI should look. Not only should you follow Android’s Material Design development standards, but you should also use standard input buttons, dropdown, and textbox components to avoid confusing the user. Your users should be able to easily identify common elements such as a submit button, a menu dropdown icon, input elements, and sections that contain instructions.
6. Forgetting to test Your apps on different screens
One of the top reasons apps fail is poor testing. Developers release code to their clients or deploy it to Google Play and the result is often an app with too many reported bugs. These reports lead to poor reviews and can damage the app’s rating so much that it may never recover.
Always test your apps with different sized screens (tablets and smartphones especially), and each version you support. You might need to hire a QA tester to perform this kind of test, or you can invest in multiple devices to use to create your own testing environment.
Helpful tips & best practices for Android developers
1. Learn XML and Java
Extensible markup language (XML) is a markup language that’s the foundation for the Android user interface (UI) and elements. Java is the back-end coding language of the Android platform, and it’s used with binding functionality with your XML layouts.
This small layout has one data object defined as “Customer.” For developers used to binding elements in even web design, this should be intuitive for you. The data element is defined in Java, and then the object data is bound to the front-end layout element. In this example, we have a first and last name.
Before you get started in Android development, you should be proficient in both of these technologies. Understanding the fundamentals of XML formats is relatively easy, but Java is an object-oriented language and object-oriented programming (OOP) can be challenging if you’re not familiar with the concept. A newer language and framework, Kotlin, has been introduced to help advance Android app development. It can also be used with legacy Java apps as Kotlin co-operates with Java code.
The best way to learn Java is to dive into someone else’s code. GitHub is filled with open-source projects that help you understand Java and OOP concepts. The better your OOP skills are, the easier it will be to create a better coded, less buggy Android app.
2. Understand memory limitations
Mobile devices don’t have the high memory limitations that desktops have. In mobile programming, you must learn to code with smaller memory limitations in mind. If you carelessly use memory on an Android device, you run the risk of your app crashing due to “out of memory” errors.
To work around this, use services on the device sparingly and release memory resources when your app is hidden. You can release memory resources by overriding the onTrimMemory event although you should know that this isn’t a magic solution that allows you to ignore other performance optimization throughout your code.
Google also recommends that you avoid or at least reduce the use of bitmaps to lower the memory use when your app is running on the device. You can also use third-party tools such as Picasso or Fresco.
3. Use the default keyboard based on required input
When the user clicks an input text box in an app, the keyboard that pops up should automatically display the characters required to send the right kind of input. For example, if the user is entering a phone number, a numerical keyboard should be the default keyboard. If the app is requesting an email, a keyboard with characters, @ symbols, and a .com key should display.
4. Always consider user security
When you create your mobile apps, always keep user security in mind. Security should be a priority and often needs research to develop an app that follows best practices to avoid common flaws.
Also, never use broadcast intents to pass sensitive data. This allows a malicious application to sniff the data. Instead, use explicit intents to keep data secure.
5. Don’t use the emulator for real-world testing
The Emulator in Android Studio is great for development and even debugging, but it doesn’t fully simulate a working Android device. You can assume basic environment features with the Emulator, but when it comes to testing, you should always use actual devices.
Of course, this is a huge investment for an Android developer, but it will make the entire development and testing life cycle much more efficient. Testing should never be taken lightly. Fewer bugs mean happier users. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy every device on the market to test your app on, but you should account for some of the more popular ones.