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What to Look for in an Android App Developer

Laura MacPherson July 19, 2018

Last year, Google announced there were over 2 billion monthly active Android devices. That’s a lot of users you’ll want to consider reaching. Building an app for Android isn’t quite as simple as building for the Apple iOS, however. Your developer still needs to understand business to build in features that will streamline your processes. They should also know behavioral psychology to ensure users keep coming back. And they should have a clear roadmap for development to ensure the project stays on track, just like any app developer should. But there are a few additional qualities that are essential. If you want to build an Android version of your app, here’s what to look for in an Android app developer.

1. A Portfolio of Android Apps that Feature a Strong UX and Behavioral Design

Developers can say anything about their work, but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. One of the best ways to tell if a developer has the chops to create your app is to look at their portfolio. Explore the apps they’ve developed, looking for user interfaces that are well-designed and simple to navigate. How easy is it to use the apps? Also look for how the developer has integrated behavioral design into the apps. Are there built-in elements that will keep users engaged with the app on an ongoing basis, such as gamification and variable rewards?

2. Java Expertise

The Android OS is based on Java, so your developer should have strong expertise in this language. Java isn’t the same as JavaScript or Ruby, other popular programming languages. While it is object-oriented, it’s stricter about how handles data types. Developers must precisely define the types of data their applications will work with and carefully allocate memory resources. Because Java is unique, it’s important to ensure you’re not paying for a developer’s learning curve.

3. Clear Understanding of XML

Without getting technical, it’s sufficient to know that XML allows information to be passed between devices effectively and consistently. Android developers use XML to create UI layouts, so XML experience is an important skill for Android developers to have.

4. API Experience

You likely need your app to interact with other software, databases, and systems. APIs allow the developer to integrate your app with these services. There are a variety of APIs available. In fact, Google has their own APIs that enable you to easily connect with their services (such as maps, for example). An Android developer should have experience working with a variety of APIs to ensure your app will be able to connect with the services it needs to.

5. Database Experience

Any app that deals with a large amount of data will store the majority of that data in a database rather than within the app itself. Your developer should know how cloud-based databases work and which APIs to use to sync, query, and cache data. There are many different ways to use databases (and a variety of database types). A good Android developer will have experience using databases for various purposes and should be able to walk you through past projects that utilize databases.

6. Smart Monetization Strategies

This quality is important no matter what OS you’re building for, but it’s worth emphasizing. A good developer with business sense will help their clients brainstorm and/or hone monetization strategies. While you may have an idea for monetization already, it’s valuable to have input from a developer with extensive experience building apps with smart monetization strategies. Find out if the developer you’re considering has this experience and whether they offer consulting on business models.

Choosing the right developer can make or break your app project. We’ve heard countless stories of companies (both startups and experienced enterprises) that wasted money and time on development that had to be scrapped. It’s worth doing your research ahead of time to be sure you’re partnering with a developer that can help you bring the best version of your app idea to life.

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