Whether you’re creating a native Android application from scratch, migrating your app to Android Studio, or want to make an Android Instant Apps version of your app, you’ll need a skilled Android developer to make it happen. What needs to go into your project, how long will it take, and how much it will cost to hire the right Android developer for the job? Here’s a look at the process and what to expect.
WHAT DOES AN ANDROID DEVELOPER DO?
An Android developer takes project specs and turns them into a functioning, user-ready application through design, coding, integrations, and plenty of testing. Android developers need to have experience with anything from UI and UX design and coding to database integrations and unit testing. Every app is different, but typically Android app development projects can include the following phases:
- Discovery & wireframing—Establish a blueprint of your app’s content that hinges on excellent UX and user interface (UI) design.
- Design & software planning—Using Android Studio, a developer could create the Android User Interface with the Material Design guidelines. At the same time, they’ll create a cohesive plan for the software architecture of your app.
- Coding & integration—With your app’s front-end architectures coded, next any back-end components (a database, APIs, middleware, etc.) are integrated.
- Testing—Unit testing, integration testing, and debugging save time and can prevent extensive rewrites to fix buggy code.
- Preparation & publishing—Your app gets prepped as a release-ready APK, uploaded to the Developer Console, then published to Google Play.
To learn more about the entire Android development process in detail, read this post.
DEFINING YOUR PROJECT
Now it’s time to establish your project’s goals and requirements to help you estimate how much an Android developer will cost. Go into as much detail and documentation as possible to help developers provide more accurate estimates for your project.
- Will your app require login? Will it be via email or social profiles? And will users need to create profiles?
- Do you need security, like 2-factor authentication?
- Will your app need to enable in-app purchases, reviews, or direct access to your site?
- How important is design? Do you need an app icon created?
If you have preferences about Android IDEs or programming languages, state those up front as well. If you want to create an app with the Kotlin language, for example, highlight that in your description. With your project clearly defined, here are a few aspects that can typically affect cost.
1. Project timeline and deliverables.
Laying out what features you need from your app will help you determine deliverables, phases, and the amount of time it will take to complete. Android development projects can take a week, a month, six months, or more.
Tip: You may need only some of the above phases, and to varying degrees. For example, if you’re creating a simple utility app, you may not even require server-side integration. If you’re creating a messaging app, you will need back-end integration and database support. Similarly, if you’re using a BaaS software bundle, back-end integration may require less effort, but don’t expect it to be turn-key.
2. Developer Experience & Rate
Remember, freelance developers set their own rates. In most cases, more experience translates to a higher rate, which can increase the cost of your project. If you’re unsure of the experience level that you need, be as clear as possible with your project brief. If the developer needs to have experience with the latest technologies (for example, the Kotlin programming language), that could affect their rate as well.
Define what the Android developer will be doing. Are they adding to or updating an existing app? Are they creating an app from scratch? Do you have an existing app that needs some bugs fixed? Do you need your developer to have UI and UX experience, or are they working alongside a designer? How much server-side scripting or database administration experience do they need? The more you require, the more you should be prepared to spend.
Tip: If you’re creating a new app from scratch, you may need an expert-level developer with the experience to take the project from the beginning and see it through to completion. If you have a smaller budget and simple bug fixes or updates, you can specify that you need a developer with narrower expertise.
Typical Rates Charged by Android Developers*
|Type of Android Developer||Description||Average Hourly Rate|
|Basic Android Developer||Mastery of basic Android development fundamentals which include wireframing and storyboarding, Java, Android SDK, and the Android Studio IDE.||$15-40 +|
|Intermediate – Advanced Android Developer||Beyond fundamentals, also skilled with one or more frameworks like Ionic, Corona, and Material Foundation. Familiarity with bug tracking system like Jira, dependency management tools like Gradle, and version control with GitHub—technologies typically learned while working on project teams.||$35-75 +|
|Android Developer and UI/UX Designer in one.||These Android developers can also perform traditional design tasks like high fidelity visual mockups with Photoshop, and are well versed in color schemes, typography, and Android Material Design.||$45-100 +|
*Reflect rates charged by freelancers on Upwork in North America with over 1,000 hours and 90% success rate.
3. Scope and Complexity of the Project
The quickest way for a timeline and budget to balloon beyond scope is by not anticipating complexities and challenges. Does your app require complicated API integration? Will it handle sensitive data and require complex OAuth customization?
Tip: Outline any challenges the developer should anticipate. Establishing these up front will help you build extra time into your budget and expand your testing timeline if unexpected difficulties arise.
|When Determining Scope & Cost|
|Existing app: bug fixes, new features, or patches needed||OS updates||New app|
|Designer onboard||New version with patches for resubmission||Requires API integration|
|Testing||UI design updates||Security?|
Tip: Not experienced enough to scope your project or anticipate challenges? You can engage a very experienced developer with UI/UX experience and expertise in various languages, frameworks, and project management systems to advise on how to scope your project and what kind of developer you need (one with Kotlin experience or will Java will do?). Then find a developer with a narrower expertise (and lower rate) to build the app.
Defining your Android project up front will help you more accurately determine time and cost estimates when finding a developer. Bear in mind: an app is never “really done,” and often requires follow-up work to keep it updated with new versions of operating systems and devices, as well as patches and bug fixes.