Where and How to Hire Android App Developers
Hiring an Android developer is a challenging task for many companies. Because of the high demand for professional developers, companies end up competing for talent by offering bonuses, perks, and higher salaries. Small and medium-sized non-tech companies struggle the most with hiring Android developers
How to hire top Android developers today
In 2016, there were almost 6 million Android developers in the world, which is twice the number of iOS developers. Android is the leading mobile operating system, with almost 73% market share globally. Unlike iOS, which works only on Apple devices, Android is the operating system for almost 24,000 different devices. During the 2019 Google I/O conference, Google announced that there were 2.5 billion active Android devices.
Android is an enormous mobile market, so it’s no surprise that Android developers are highly demanded by all kinds of companies that want to sell their products to mobile audiences and create new mobile applications and services for Android users.
However, finding Android developers to hire is a challenge, especially if you don’t have any technical experts on your in-house team. In this article, I’ll show you where to hire Android app developers and discuss how to assess candidates.
Types of Android developers
Like any other developers, Android developers can be classified into three categories according to their skill level and experience:
Junior Android developers have up to three years of development experience. They’re comfortable with languages including Java, Kotlin, and Dart and can develop simple applications. Junior developers need supervision from middle and senior developers who review their code, share experience, and help with challenging tasks such as integrations.
Middle Android developers have over two to three years of experience developing apps. At this point, they’re able to work independently and create more complex projects. Middle Android developers require regular code reviews by their senior peers. They’re able to work on complex projects, but only if paired with more experienced developers.
Senior Android developers are experts that are able to lead and supervise large products. They have vast experience developing Android apps, have strong knowledge of architectures, and can think through complex projects and predict how development will go in the long-term perspective. Senior developers are the most highly demanded.
If you need to hire an Android developer for an ongoing project, you need either a middle or a senior developer. Junior developers require supervision and mentorship, and big companies with strong tech departments usually hire them so they can grow inside a team.
Must-have skills for an Android app developer
Any Android developer needs to possess certain skills. Let’s talk about them in detail so you know what to look for.
Experience with Java and Kotlin. It’s good when a developer knows both of these languages, but Java is a must, as it’s still the most popular language for Android apps. Kotlin is younger and is bound to eventually replace Java.
Familiarity with the Android SDK. This is a development kit for Android developers that has everything they need to create apps, including tools for storing data, creating action bars, and adapting apps for different screen sizes.
Experience with APIs is essential for integrations. APIs are a primary means of communication with third-party services, so no modern app can be created without them.
Understanding of the back end. Your Android developer shouldn’t necessarily be able to develop the back end, but they need to have a clear understanding of the back end part of your product.
Knowledge of XML. Android engineers use XML to access web data, so it’s an essential part of Android development.
Familiarity with Material Design. This is Google’s set of guidelines on the colors, transitions, and shades for UI elements. An Android developer should know these guidelines well. Otherwise, an app they develop may not be approved by the Google Play Store.
Experience with different databases is a must, as every app needs to store data and thus must be integrated with a database. An Android developer should know how to choose the right database for a particular project and integrate it.
Hard skills are important, but soft skills are also something you should pay attention to.
Communication skills. Make sure a developer you hire is able to communicate with the rest of your team, understand the requirements, and bring up any issues on time before they significantly affect the project. If you hire an Android app developer offshore, make sure you don’t have a language barrier.
Teamwork. An Android developer should be able to work with a team, as mobile development projects usually involve many people, from stakeholders and business analysts to designers and other developers.
Cultural fit. Each company has its own culture, and you need to make sure your new developer shares the values of your company and team. If they don’t, the collaboration can become painful.
Now that we’ve determined the must-have skills of an Android developer, let’s find out how to check whether a candidate has them.
At Mobindustry, we always encourage our clients to conduct technical and soft skill interviews with our developers. This way, our clients can choose the perfect candidate for the job and make sure our developers are qualified. Here’s how you can handle an interview with your Android developer candidates.
Sample job description for an Android app developer
Now that you’ve determined your requirements for an Android developer, it’s time to create a job description. Here’s an example of what you can mention in a job description for an Android developer. Post your job advertisement on hiring websites and freelance platforms and show it to outsourcing companies. The best place for a job ad depends on your hiring strategy, which we’ll discuss later.
Our company is looking for a [junior/middle/senior] Android developer to join our team and work on our software products.
- Implement apps according to the company’s standards
- Proofread your code before release
- Collaborate with designers, other developers, and QA specialists
- Update our apps: fix bugs, add features, provide updates to support new OS versions, and more
Android developer requirements:
- Proficiency in Java or Kotlin
- At least 3 apps published on the Google Play Store
- Ability to use Android Studio and the Android SDK
- Ability to work in a team and communicate effectively
- Great coding and reviewing skills
You can add or remove requirements according to your goals and needs. Once you’ve shortlisted candidates, you’ll need to qualify them and check if they’re a good fit for your team.
How to qualify an Android app developer
Hard skill interview questions
If you don’t have tech expertise yourself, we highly recommend inviting a technical expert to conduct a hard skills interview. This expert can be one of your team members or a third-party specialist.
Here are some questions you can ask Android candidates during a hard skills interview (along with ideal answers):
1. What’s a BuildType in Gradle? What do you use it for?
BuildType is a set of properties that Gradle uses when building an Android app. The BuildType determines how a module will be built, the product flavor defines the resources included in the build, and Gradle combines all product flavors and BuildTypes to create all possible variants of the build.
2. What are the main steps of the build process in Android?
First, you need to compile the resources folder into a single class file with the help of the aapt tool. This class is called R.java, and it contains constants.
Then you need to compile the Java source code into .class files and convert them to Dalvik bytecode with the help of the dx tool. The output is classes.dex.
The final step is taking all the inputs and building an apk file using apkbuilder.
3. How does the activity respond when the user rotates the screen?
When a user rotates the screen, the activity instance is destroyed and replaced by a new one with a new orientation. It invokes the onRestart() method when the screen is rotated.
4. What are the main Android services and what tasks do they perform?
Services are app components that perform long-running operations in the background and don’t provide a UI. They run in the background even when a user doesn’t interact with an app. Here are the types of services:
A foreground service performs an operation that a user can see, such as playing a video.
A background service isn’t visible to a user, and in the newest versions of Android (Android API level 26 and above) background services are restricted, so you need to use WorkManager for them.
A bound service allows components to interact with services, send requests, and receive results. It’s activated when an app component binds to a service by calling bindService().
Soft skill interview questions
1. What would you do if you felt you had too much work and you wouldn’t be able to deliver by the deadline?
2. Can you tell me about a time when you had to work with someone you weren’t compatible with?
3. Have you ever delayed a delivery? What were the reasons, and how did you resolve this situation?
4. Imagine I know nothing about programming. How would you explain DevOps to me in a couple of sentences?
What makes a good team in your opinion? How much interaction do you feel is necessary for good communication?
I won’t provide answers to these soft skills questions, as you’ll need to determine your own perfect answer to each question depending on your company’s culture and team.
Now we’re moving to the most important part of this article. How can you actually find Android developers? What are your options?
Top 3 options for hiring Android developers
There are several ways to get yourself an Android developer or establish a whole team for faster development. There’s no perfect way, and your choice will depend on your company’s size, goals, circumstances, and budget.
These are all the options for hiring Android developers:
- Establish your own in-house team
- Hire a freelance Android developer
- Hire remote Android developers through outsourcing or outstaffing
Let’s discuss each of these options in detail, highlight their pros and cons, and figure out which option might be best for you.
Establishing your own in-house team
Establishing an in-house team is often an option only for large companies that can maintain an IT department and offer competitive salaries and benefits or to tech-first startups that have enough funding to afford a local developer.
Mid-sized and small businesses often can’t compete with large IT companies for talent, as those companies are able to offer higher salaries and better conditions to sought-after Android developers. Usually, larger companies already have infrastructure including workplaces, equipment, and HR managers that can facilitate the hiring and retention process. They can also organize corporate training.
If you don’t have an IT department, it will be a challenge to attract and retain an Android developer. We advise hiring an in-house Android developer only if you’re sure you can offer competitive salaries, bonuses, and work conditions and you’re ready to find another candidate fast in case your developer leaves.
To sum up, here are the pros and cons of hiring an in-house Android developer.
- You’re in full control of the project, as the developer is always nearby if they work in the office.
- Communication between team members is easy.
- You need to handle the burden of hiring an employee, from HR tasks and taxes to setting up a workplace, providing equipment, and paying a salary, benefits, sick leave, vacations, and so on.
- Your in-house developer can leave, in which case you’ll need to find a replacement fast.
- You’ll have a narrow talent pool due to location restrictions.
Hiring a freelancer
Hiring a freelancer is a great option for small companies to get access to talents from all over the world. Freelance websites offer lots of candidates and make collaboration safer with the help of reviews and ratings.
There are dozens of platforms where you can find a freelance Android developer of any skill level and with any experience. They include:
You can find a freelancer for practically any budget. However, to develop a successful app, you’ll need more than an Android developer. You’ll also need a UI and UX designer, a quality assurance specialist, and maybe a project manager who will control the process.
Managing a team of freelancers can turn your project into a living hell. Freelancers are used to working independently and they often have their own schedules, so it can be a challenge to organize daily meetings.
Moreover, a freelancer can leave your project at any time, so you need to be ready to find another one.
Let’s sum up the pros and cons of hiring a freelance Android developer.
- A great choice of talents from any country
- Cheaper than hiring in-house developers
- You don’t need to pay for equipment, vacation, sick leave, and workspaces
- Freelancers are hard to manage as a team
- A specialist with vast experience can cost as much as an in-house candidate
- You risk exposing your company’s or customers’ confidential information
- You need to spend time and resources finding new freelancers if your current specialist abandons your project
Outsourcing and outstaffing
Outsourcing and outstaffing means partnering with a software development company that has already done everything for you in terms of hiring and retaining specialists including Android app developers.
Outsourcing companies have offices and handle HR tasks, taxes, salaries, bonuses, equipment, management, and everything else. As a client, you pay only for the number of hours put into your deliverables.
If you need just one or a couple of Android developers and you plan to handle the management, testing, design, and business analysis on your side, outstaffing is a perfect option for you. Outstaffing allows you to “rent” an Android developer for a certain number of hours and hire a dedicated Android app developer that will bring their unique expertise to your team.
Outsourcing allows you to get qualified Android app developers and other specialists without having to worry about their salaries, bonuses and workspaces
Mobile development projects are complex and need more than one specialist, so if you don’t have designers, managers, testers, or business analysts, you can consider outsourcing. Outsourcing will get you not only a whole development team to work on your project and communicate with you each step of the way.
This is a great option for startups, mid-sized companies, and large corporations that don’t have an in-house development team or struggle with finding candidates fast.
What are the pros and cons of outsourcing and outstaffing?
- Pay only for the code delivered. Everything else such as workspaces, equipment, bonuses, salaries, HR overhead, taxes, etc. is handled by the outsourcing company.
- An outsourcing company has tools to pick the best Android developers on the market.
- You’ll widen your pool of candidates and get an opportunity to hire a dedicated Android developer from any country and for practically any price.
- Hiring from a country with a lower cost of living allows you to save up to 70% of your budget.
- An outsourcing company is bound by a contract and an NDA, so you don’t have to worry about them leaking your private information or leaving in the middle of the project.
- You can expand your team fast if you need more developers.
- Outsourcing companies have all kinds of supporting specialists such as business analysts, testers, and managers.
- Because it’s a remote team, you might have problems with communication due to time zone and cultural differences.
To avoid communication problems, I advise you to communicate with your potential outsourcing partners via both email and phone or video conferencing before signing a contract. This will give you an idea of their communication skills and level of English.
How much does it cost to hire an Android developer?
The cost of mobile app development services depends on several factors:
- Your hiring strategy (in-house, freelance, or outsourcing/outstaffing)
- The developer’s hourly rate
- The developer’s location
- The developer’s skill level (junior, middle, senior)
- Your project scope, which includes the project’s size, functionality, and complexity
The factor that influences the final cost of your project development most is the hourly rate of your Android developer. For example, if your developer charges $80 per hour, which is an average hourly rate in the US, a 500-hour project will cost you $40,000.
A developer in Ukraine with the exact same experience and skill level can charge $35 per hour, which will amount to only $17,500. That’s why hiring a freelance or outsourced developer is often more beneficial than hiring an in-house specialist.
Here’s how much it costs to hire developers around the globe:
When looking for an Android developer, try to stay within average rates: Hiring a cheap developer can be more costly in the long run, as you risk getting low-quality code that’s hard to run and maintain or spending more hours on development. For example, an experienced developer who charges $40 per hour might complete a task in two hours, while a cheaper developer with a $20 hourly rate may spend six hours on the same task.
How Mobindustry can help you hire an Android developer
Mobindustry is a team of mobile and web development specialists that includes business analysts, designers, Android and iOS developers, web developers, and QA engineers. When working with Mobindustry, you can hire Android developers that are constantly improving their skills through training and peer reviews.
At Mobindustry we hire only developers with higher STEM education, but we encourage our clients to confirm their qualifications through an interview
We hire Android developers who have degrees in STEM fields, so you can be sure of their skills.
You can work with Mobindustry according to an outsourcing or outstaffing model or with a time and materials or fixed price model. If you’re looking for an Android developer to expand your team, or if you need a whole team of development specialists for your project, don’t hesitate to contact us.
How to hire an Android developer from Mobindustry? Just leave us your contact details below. We’ll help you choose the perfect specialists for you.