Remember when having a Blackberry mobile with a keypad was considered the height of fashion? Well, that is not the case anymore, is it? With more than 2 billion people owning them globally, smartphones have become a staple of everyday life. And over 68% of this market share is held by Android alone.
In this age of smartphones, being an Android app developer is a lucrative and in-demand job. Almost every website is being turned into an app, and consequently, every company needs Android app developers.
Since Android is based on Java, which is the language of choice at many computer science schools, there are lots of people who claim to be able to write Android programs. However, Android is a beast in itself, and simple knowledge of Java is not enough to claim competency and skill as an Android developer. There are many Android-specific features that a developer needs to know about.
What do you need to know before you hire an Android Developer?
Before you begin, you can refer to this amazing glossary of Android terms you should know. It’s not necessary for you to memorize it, but surely, it is a good reference to keep close at hand.
- 68% of the Smartphones contain an Android OS
- 4000+ devices support Android OS
- 70% Tablets are backed by the Android Operating System
Android is one of the most popular operating systems in the world dedicated to mobile devices. Android is based on Linux kernel and is designed for mobile and tablets. What makes Android different is its capability to be embedded on television, wears (like watch, glasses), and android auto. Variants of Android are also used on game consoles, digital cameras, PCs, and other electronics.
Benefits of using Android
- Open source framework
- Supports multiple languages
- Supports Java
- Additional hardware support
- Consistent and stable design
Lifecycle of an Android Developer
An Android developer could be assessed on various theoretical and practical skills. Skills like research, analysis, and technical specification should be assessed quickly through assessment software.
A developer needs to be well versed in creating a wireframe for a particular app development. Creating a draft for user experience and a blueprint of the architecture is the next necessary skill to be evaluated.
If the wireframe seems reasonable and working, ask the developer to create a UI design using tools like an android studio. Ask to share required mock-up or prototype of the requirement.
Once the prototype is complete, a developer can use Android SDK to convert it to a working model. And with the help of backend engineer skills, the app is then integrated with the server.
Finally, post testing, the app has to be submitted to Google Play Store.
- Research Phase
Before an app is developed, the research phase of listing down all the intricacies and objectives of the app has to be detailed to target the right audience.
Once the research has been done, a wireframe representing the look and feel of the app has to be developed. This wireframe is nothing but a blueprint of the app. Refinement of the idea and the requirement are considered here. The wireframe is eventually the skeleton of an app.
Visuals, UI, and UX are programmed for the app in this phase. Better the experience, better the result. Using Android Studio, the UI for the app is generated.
Post architectural planning, the app needs to be synced with frontend and backend software. The app needs to be well integrated with the interface to achieve the desired result and scalability.
So what should you be looking for while hiring an Android developer?
A candidate should initially be judged based on the following information:
- Number of apps developed and live on Android Play Store; check the design, quality, and response
- Role involved in developing a particular app like the size of the team, framework, task, and production practices involved
Required Technical Skills
The developer should be comfortable with the Java programming language. While you can develop Android apps using a number of different technologies, most positions are for native development using Java and Android Studio or Eclipse as your IDE.
Developers should possess a well-rounded knowledge of the basic syntax, programming structures, variables, lists, loops and object oriented concepts. They should also be comfortable to learn new parts of the Java SDK.
The Android SDK is a set of software development tools that allow the creation of applications for the Android platform. It grants the user exceptional control over the design and development process. The Android SDK is quite expansive but having knowledge of the following basic Android concepts is required. The Eclipse IDE, for which there is an available Android Developer Tools (ADT) plugin, is recommended. You can install the specific SDK, create projects, launch emulators, and finally can debug.
The developers must have a basic understanding of layouts and views:
- Activities and their life cycle
- User input
- Getting data from the web
- Storing data
- Collection views (like ListViews) and Adapters (default and custom)
- Action Bar
- Accommodating different screen sizes and densities
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of protocols and tools for building application software. In general terms, it is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components.
Many job roles expect the developer to work with their own API or some other third- party API. These will usually be JSON/REST APIs. Occasionally, XML/SOAP may be used as well. Even if they lack familiarity, developers should be able to familiarize themselves with any API by reading the relevant documentation.
Sometimes, job roles will need Android developers to also contribute to the back-end of their systems. It is a plus for an Android developer to possess a few backend skills. Rails, Django, .NET and NodeJS are all really useful skills in a potential hire’s portfolio.
A developer’s level of expertise can only really be understood by the apps he produces. Having at least one published app on the Play Store allows the hiring manager to accurately judge his skills. It also demonstrates his baseline knowledge of the entire app development life cycle.
Although earning certifications in Android is not required, developers who are “certified” should have a good grasp of Android development and skills. Following are prominent Android certifications a recruiter should look for
- Associate Android Developer (Google)
This is the best Android certification available right now. It is issued by Google itself. This certificate implies a decent level of competency and knowledge related to Android development. This exam consists of a coding project and an interview. It tests the skills of an entry-level Android developer.
- Android Certified Application Developer (Android ATC)
This certification is issued by Android ATC. This exam tests the fundamentals of Android app development.
Hackerearth Recruit — A platform to assess an Android developer’s skills
HackerEarth’s talent assessment platform allows companies to use online coding tests to automate their tech screening process. With a library of more than 20,000 questions, technical leads, and even non-tech recruiters can conduct tests on a large scale to grade developers for virtually any technical role. With 32+ languages supported, Recruit auto-assesses the submissions of each developer instantly, based on defined parameters like logical correctness, time-efficiency, memory-efficiency and code quality. Recruiters can then analyze each applicant’s performance with the detailed reporting and analytics features within Recruit. With our proctoring measures and plagiarism detection techniques, you can be sure about the originality of each submission.
Amazon, Walmart Labs, Apple, General Electric, and Intuit are some of the companies that use Recruit. Recruit’s applications range from assessment for highly specific Lateral Hiring to mass assessment during Campus Hiring. Recruit is also used by companies for internal assessment of the technical team ensuring that employees constantly sharpen their skills to take on any new challenges.
Hackerearth is one of the few platforms that can assess an Android developer’s skills. It has a huge database of Android questions spanning various difficulty levels. It is also possible to create a database of your own questions. Hackerearth Recruit has an inbuilt Android emulator which can be run on any recent web browser. This can be used to simulate and assess an application code directly from the browser.
How HackerEarth can be used to evaluate an Android Developer:
Evaluating Android questions
You can evaluate Android problems in the following ways:
- Using Recruit’s built-in Android emulator
- By downloading the APK file and using the application on your Android mobile
Evaluation of Android questions
- A candidate takes approximately 3 hours to build an application, i.e., solve an Android question.
- In Recruit, the deliverables that you receive from candidates who attempt Android questions are evaluated manually and not automatically.
Why manual evaluation?
The deliverable of an Android problem is an APK file. Candidates are given a problem statement using which they must design and implement an application. Since the approach used by candidates to build an application may vary, a single auto-evaluation system cannot be created.
Post assessment, HackerEarth Recruit publishes a detailed report. The candidate’s information, performance evaluation with a number of questions attempted, time taken, and total score achieved for a set of problems are shared. Based on the report, the best candidate can be invited for further rounds.