Why You Should Learn Android App Development Right Now

Developers are in high demand, Android dominates the mobile device market, Google has improved their once saturated Google Play Store, and Java is still the most popular programming language.

It’s 2018. Nearly everyone has a mobile device with them at all times and the majority of devices are running the Android operating system. There’s a phenomenal opportunity for Android developers to be successful over the next couple of years.

It’s never been a better time to learn Android app development…

The Job Market Is Exploding For Software Applications Developers

Job prospects are high for software applications developers over the next 6–7 years at least.

Let’s take a look at just how good things are looking…

First, a quick Android Developer job search on Indeed.com queries over 8,000 available jobs in the United States alone. Keep in mind that this is only one of many job sites.

Second, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of applications developers is expected to grow 31%, an increase of 255k jobs, from 2016–2026. Also, in the Top 20 Fastest Growing Occupations, Software Applications Developer is ranked #9!

If your goal is to find a job as an app developer, the job market is incredibly promising for you.

But what about the money?

Another figure from Indeed shows that the average salary for Android developers in the United States sits at $123k per year. That’s quite a good payout.

Now, developing and selling an app on Google Play is another story. The payout will depend on the quality of your app, the market for it, your ability to execute on the finished product, and thousands of other factors that go into creating and launching an app.

Android Is Still The Dominant Device

Two important things are happening right now that is good news for Android developers: The number of people using mobile devices is growing, and the majority of devices are powered by the Android operating system.

As smartphones become more powerful, and as tasks that are primarily done with computers become possible on mobile devices, you can be certain of two things for the foreseeable future:

  1. The number of mobile device users will increase.
  2. Opportunities for innovations and new apps will be there for the taking.

It’s already evident that people are using mobile devices more than laptops or desktop computers. Over 50% of global website traffic was generated through mobile phones in 2018! Mobile devices are just far more convenient to carry around than computers and are easily accessible nearly all of the time. This is also why mobile-first design has become so important over the past few years!

The majority of the world’s mobile device users are using Android. StatCounter has a running tracker that shows the global distribution of mobile operating systems. Nearly 75% goes to Android, 22% to iOS, and the remaining goes to other much smaller operating systems.

Android holds the vast majority of the mobile device market, so Android developers have the upper hand in terms of the quantity of consumers.

New Google Play Store Policies Are Rapidly Improving The Mobile App Market

Over the past couple of years, the Google Play Store has become relatively saturated with millions of mobile applications which has made marketing increasingly difficult for developers. Fortunately, Google’s recent new policies have slimmed down the competition.

A report from Statista on the number of available applications in the Google Play Store from December 2009 to September 2018 shows that as of September 2018, the number of Android apps on Google Play sits at 2.6 million. This is actually a decrease of about 1 million apps from March 2018.

You might be thinking…if the number of Android apps on the market is decreasing by nearly 30%, isn’t that a bad thing? This seems like a red flag, but this is actually good for both consumers, and developers.

Let me explain…

First, let’s look at the major policy updates to the Google Play Store In July 2018 that lead to the removal of up to 1 million apps:

  1. Child Endangerment Policy to prohibit adult themes in children’s apps. Specifically apps that ‘sexualize minors are subject to immediate removal from the store’.
  2. Policy on sale of Dangerous Products such as firearms, explosives, ammunition, or certain firearms accessories. Notably bump stocks and other products that increase rate of fire to simulate an automatic weapon. This even ‘includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic, or simulated automatic, firing capabilities’.
  3. Cryptocurrency Mining Policy which prevents apps that mine cryptocurrencies on the actual devices. They do however ‘permit apps that remotely manage the mining of cryptocurrency’.
  4. Spam Policies to eliminate repetitive content and disallow apps that primarily serve ads. ‘Apps should provide value to users through creation of unique content and services’. Also apps that abuse the use of ads by displaying ads too frequently after user actions may be removed from the store.
  5. Policy on Misrepresentation which essentially discourages apps from impersonating people or misleading users by concealing important information like country of origin or anything of that nature.

These updates are all meant to improve the user experience. The decline in the number of applications on the Google Play Store has everything to do with providing better quality apps to consumers.

In fact, a game that I published on Google Play many years ago for a school research project was removed after getting hit with the new developer policy. It was incredibly outdated and untouched for many years. This is good! This tells me that Google is doing a better job at increasing the quality standards for apps.

For developers, the market is less saturated and there is now a much better opportunity to create good quality apps that will have a much better chance of not drowning in the ocean of mediocre ones.

Java Is The Most Popular Programming Language

If you’re going to learn any language, it might as well be the most popular one right?

Java is the official language used to develop Android applications, and it’s also the most popular language by a decent margin.

I found 3 sources of data that I think are the most accurate measures of language popularity. While it’s nearly impossible to get a perfect measure on the most used and most popular languages, the TIOBE Index is likely the best.

Java is the #1 most popular programming language on the TIOBE Index and experienced 3.51% growth in popularity, which is quite high compared to other top languages.

About a week ago, I came across an article posted on the programming community Reddit page that references another good report from The Economist that also shows Java at #1 in popularity.

Additionally, just behind Javascript, Java is the #2 most popular programming language on Github which takes into account the number of contributors in private and public repositories just on Github alone.

The popularity of Java and the high demand for developers is the reason why Computer Science curriculums at universities are geared towards learning Java. I used Java for nearly every programming course at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

If you learn how to develop Android apps, at least you’ll be a Java expert if for some reason everyone decides to switch to iOS or some new operating system…but that’s incredibly unlikely anytime soon.

Conclusion

There are 4 main reasons why you should learn Android app development right now (2018–2019).

1 | Software App Developers Are In High Demand

Software applications developer is one of the top 20 fastest growing occupations, and employment is expected to grow significantly over the next few years. Also, the average salary for Android developers is well into the 6 figures.

2 | Android Continues To Dominate The Global Mobile Device Market

The number of mobile device users is skyrocketing and the vast majority of those devices are powered by Android. The sheer quantity of Android users makes learning Android development a smart move.

3 | Google’s New Policies Have Considerably Improved The Google Play Store For Both Consumers and Developers

In July 2018, Google made a few changes to their policies on child endangerment, sale of firearms, cryptocurrency mining, spam and ad abuse, and misrepresentation. In the span of just a few months, the number of apps on the Google Play Store dropped by 1 million.

4 | Java Is Still The Most Popular Programming Language

Java is the official language for Android. It’s also the most used, and one of the fastest growing programming languages. If you’re learning Android development, then you’re learning Java. Even if something happens to Android (unlikely), you’ll be a Java expert which is incredibly valuable on it’s own.

Becoming an Android developer in 2019 could be a lucrative move. Over the next year, I’m going to be learning Android development and doing some projects that I’ve been wanting to do alongside my website and blogging. I have some experience developing Android apps in the past, and a few years of Java under my belt, but I actually want to get good. Go start learning now!

If you’re a complete beginner to software development and programming, I highly recommend learning Python First | Read More |

Originally published at austinhoward.tech on November 9, 2018.

Software Engineer & Writer.

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