How to Hire an Android Developer

Nailing a Successful Job Interview at Lemon.io_2

The battle between Apple and Android is a common plot of the mobile app world. It’s everlasting, and it’s got no winners. As for now, neither of the companies seems to be losing steam: both strive to keep up with time and roll out updates with stellar speed. 

Why do you want to hire Android developers, and how do you hire them?

Scroll down to know more!

3 hours 40 minutes — that’s the average daily time smartphone owners spend with their phones in 2022. Most of this time is devoted to app downloading, discovering, and testing: most of us spend just 20 minutes of the “smartphone time” outside them. Out of 8 billion people inhabiting our planet, 3,2 billion use smartphones. You’re gasping too early: by 2026, this number will reach 7,5 billion. Smartphone sales and revenues have been leaping exponentially — from $461 billion in 2019 to $631 billion in 2021.  

Therefore, you won’t move further without qualified, experienced, and multitalented Android engineers if you want to be on the verge of modern tech trends.

Android has become the most popular OS in the world — its 2,5 billion users span nearly 200 countries. Its growth stimulated the growth of the Google Play market — and this harmonic synergy led to even greater OS popularity. Almost everywhere, Android is the dominant OS: in Brasil, Turkey, and India, it has subjugated 85% of the app market. 

Native or cross-platform: the choice is yours

Will your app be native or cross-platform? 

That’s one more tricky question you might want to dig deeper into before considering finding an app startup. 

By native app development, we understand creating applications that work on one OS only (e.g., iOS or Android). There are platform-specific programming languages, and native app developers use them — Android apps are created in Java or Kotlin, whereas iOS apps are coded in Objective-C and Swift. 

Native Android app development is similar to perfect matchmaking: for native applications, you can create top-quality UX because precisely this nativeness allows developers to add specific functionality, employing core tools and options of the smartphone your app will run on (GPS, proximity sensors, microphones, and cameras). 

Take the guesswork out of your choice and analyze the native app advantages below.

  • Extra high speed. Native apps are usually much faster compared to cross-platform or hybrid ones.
  • Offline functionality. Even if your phone is unable to catch a signal, native apps will go on working.
  • Intuitiveness and interactiveness. Native applications are tailored for the OS in question, allowing them to be more intuitive and straightforward than apps that need to be adjusted to an alien OS. Pre-installed libraries and components will make rolling out new features easier.
  • Narrow bug scope. The absence of cross-platform tools and a single codebase lets native apps be as bug-free as possible.
  • Better performance. Native applications are the wisest choice when it comes to productivity and experience. Native Android app development allows managing memory and eventually enhances the overall performance of the app in question.
  • Sharpened security. Thanks to built-in security functions and chips, native applications are much safer than cross-platform ones.

Some Android developers nail down a niche of creating native and cross-platform applications — nevertheless, Android remains their core field of action unless they are multi-profile professionals familiar with Apple. 

User-friendly and scalable services, rich user experience, and lightweight native frameworks allow Android developers to create extra fast apps, simply becoming aims of bigger marketing strategies and conquering new market segments. 

What is the role of the Android developer? 

To understand clients’ needs, Android developers should be proficient in different IDEs and various UX issues and know the functionality of many Android frameworks and how they can speed up app creation. All the mentioned abilities should help them roll out updates and perform troubleshooting much easier.

As the name suggests, Android developers are poised to create Android apps. However, there’s no such thing as “creating apps in general”: each process consists of multiple steps. With the helicopter view, it’s useful to practice microanalysis — and handle them one by one for the general picture to emerge.

Here’s a core list of responsibilities for Android app developers:

  • Development of high-level Android apps;
  • Collaboration both inside the team and outside it to secure high-quality results and smooth horizontal integration;
  • Precise estimations of realistic deadlines and task feasibility;
  • Testing separate units and troubleshooting;
  • Bug fixing;
  • Ensuring high quality of app performance;
  • Maintaining regular updates;
  • Collaborating with Google Play and app distribution;
  • Neverending self-improvement and playing in tune with the times.

Why build Android apps?

Besides the general reasons we’ve already explained, many smaller arguments can convince startup owners that Android app development makes sense. Here’s a short but comprehensive list of such arguments — they will surely help you decide whether you need to crank up the business heat and bet on Android. 

Wide global audience

Android dominates the global market — so after building your app on Android, you’ll also get access to it. 

Open-source

All the Android tools are free and open-source, so if you develop an Android app, you get access to everything the community can offer. The open-source Software Development Kit or SDK allows Android engineers to gain steam, consider the latest enhancements in the field, and fix apps more easily.

Scalability and flexibility

Thanks to Android Studio, Android OS has become scalable and flexible. Smartphones, tablets, Android TV, and Wearables — all these components of the general Android ecosystem will be available for integration as soon as you create your native Android app. Modern popular technologies like AR, VR, and IoT are by no means blocked for Android either.

Lower development costs

As Android SDK remains free, it’s easy to reduce development and maintenance costs. To build apps for Apple, one should purchase Apple-based tools, whereas a code for an Android app can be written on different devices with any OS on board: macOS, Linux, or Windows.

Returns on investment

High ROI for Android apps is a result of several factors. First of all, as was already mentioned, all the Android OS is free to use. Next, the audience of potential users and buyers is growing by hours — with no direct expenses on expansion. The third factor is the abundance of reference resources and the wide international developers’ community, eagerly sharing advice on improvements, QA, UX, and everything that pertains to the wide realm in question. 

Security

The protection of data has always been of utmost importance. As an Android guarantee, Google uses Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) as a protection tool against viruses and hackers — not only for Android apps but also for Google itself, and that’s one more sign of quality.

Fast release

Everyone can upload their Android app to the app store — and it will instantly be available for download. Contrariwise, all Apple applications should pass a few lengthy procedures before getting to the online availability stage.

Easy customization

The quickness of updates and customizations is another killer pillar feature of Android applications. Every new element of your app will start functioning with lightning speed. What else could boost your users’ loyalty so fast?

How much does it cost to hire an Android developer? 

“How much does it cost to hire an app developer?” is one of the questions that can have as many answers as possible. We’d go out on a limb and dare to claim that there’s no universal answer that could quench the intellectual thirst of all the inquirers. 

On the one hand, you can easily find some junior devs who will agree to work for peanuts or some pocket money. On the other hand, you can pay $500 per hour for developing a multi-platform app — and break all your piggy banks before your app has been completed.

To give you a general idea of the price range, we’ll say that an average remote mid-level Android developer from the USA will cost you more than $60 per hour. For a senior, the number will be even higher — up to $100.  

However, that’s not the only available option. Read on. We’ll devote some space to the details. 

Now, let’s define what factors come into play when discussing price forming. 

Type of the app

If your app type is common and popular (a weather app or an online language learning app, for example), it will be fairly easy to find available developers with proper knowledge and skill base, and these will be cheaper, thanks to the big competition.

If, on the contrary, you’re eager to present the world with some obscure, almost unheard-of application, there can be fewer professionals with the desired price range available. Those who agree understand that your option scope is limited, and you’ll pay them their price. The bright side is that you’ll have no competitors on the market.

Project requirements

The rates of your developers will also directly depend on the project’s complexity. A single feature enrichment will take some weeks, whereas a complete project built from scratch can protract up to several months.

Initial ideas, further integrations, end functionality, and new features’ introduction all play a part in the final budget. For you as a startup owner, it’s extremely beneficial to develop a deep understanding of your needs — and convey them to the dev team. Only then will it estimate the duration of certain development phases, the number and type of technologies involved, and the time needed to complete the project. 

App developer’s location

Despite the ubiquity of freelance developers, location still plays a very important role in price formation. Indian coders, for example, will surely demand less money than American ones — even if you hire them via the internet. The reasons for that are plenty — starting with tax policies for each country, going through the cost of living, and the general level of IT industry development.

Experience and expertise

For the IT branch, the general principle is also valid: the more skillful developer is, the higher their rate. If you want to cut your costs and get a decent level of app development simultaneously, make your bet on mid-level devs, i.e., professionals with 5-6 years of experience. They are not as experienced as seniors, but their rates are also 15-25% lower. 

The tech skills and software proficiency of the developers in question also plays an important role in price calculations. Java, Android SDK, and Android Studio IDE are the pillars of Android development. Those engineers who don’t know anything on top of that will do their Android development job OK — they won’t provide anything extra, but their rates will also be moderate.

Skills required for Android app developer 

Developing Android applications that will enjoy enduring popularity and put you on track to stellar revenues isn’t simple. To make it all work and shine, your Android engineer should get useful insights into the business needs and own superior technical skills and know-how. Only then will apps programmed by them conquer the app realm.

Here’s a list of tech essentials your cherished Android dev should have.

Knowledge of programming languages

Android app developers should be proficient in Java and Kotlin — the two main languages for this branch of app engineering. Syntax, frameworks, multithreading and concurrency, functional programming, and generics — all these fields are important for turning a mess of moving code pieces into the winning combination of functions.

Android SDK or Software Development Kit

Android SDK is a pre-packed code ensemble quickening the working process — thus, it’s one of the must-haves for all Android engineers. 

Knowledge of Android Studio

This IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is obligatory since it supports many Android SDKs.

APIs

They are used to integrate your apps with any third parties — for instance, adding Google Maps functionality for locating your customers or integrating YouTube tutorials into your house maintenance app. 

Use of databases

Practically all the apps handle and process huge amounts of data. All this information doesn’t live in your smartphone (its memory wouldn’t handle such a burden) — it’s stored in third-party databases, mostly designed as virtual clouds. Android app developers should be well up in the subject and know how to work with SQLite databases if your app users need to use the app offline.

How to find a reliable Android developer? 

Step 1. Prepare a technical description of your project

To hire experienced devs for your app poised to become a trendsetter in the Android realm, you should compose a thorough tech description of the app in question. All the gigantic and mind-blasting projects should start rationally and thoroughly — unless you want them to fizzle out right from the start.

Explain your goals and objectives, describe your means for reaching them, and let the reader understand how many resources you have and the planned project duration. Include everything that potentially influences app developers’ work. Don’t forget to mention if you’re looking for remote or in-house developers.

Step 2. Choose the most suitable hiring model

There are several approaches to tech hiring. All of them have their own benefits and downsides. Hiring alone requires tech proficiency and at least some consultations from HRs and tech savants (if you’re not one yourself). Using marketplaces frees the startup owner from this burden, but the extent of this freedom depends on the marketplace type. Further on, we’ll clarify the nifty details. 

Step 3. Carry out technical interviews

Some developers are deep thinkers, some are hard-working performers, and quite a few can combine these features into one personality. Most IT companies conduct several rounds of interviews — starting with a CV/portfolio discussion, continuing with soft skills/language proficiency checks, and ending with tech talks with live coding. That’s how to ensure your candidate is appropriate for professional communication, international teams, and remote multitasking.

Step 4. Discuss the final contract and sign it

A contract with Android developers formalizes your collaboration’s starting and finishing points. Every kind of dispute arising on the way shall be regulated with its help since, very often, it’s the only document you sign with your developers. 

Below are the critical components of an Android app development contract:

  • Provided services;
  • Time and costs required;
  • QA testing procedures;
  • Intellectual property rights;
  • Confidentiality issues.

What does a job description for Android developers look like?

A good and thorough job description is a firm cornerstone of a well-done search for Android developers who will boost your project. What can it look like? 

Here’s one of the actual job descriptions we handled at Lemon.io. For this article, we’ve changed it just a bit and taken away all the sensitive information.  To make it even more illustrious, we’ve divided it into clear rubrics. 

General project description

The project to be worked on is a chat and communication application. The core features include messaging, audio calling, and video calling. The work will also deliver innovative secondary features that distinguish the communication experience.

Scope of work

• Writing clean and efficient code for Android applications;

• Creating customized modules and libraries for implementing a specific functionality;

• Monitoring the performance of live apps and working on optimizing them at various levels;

• Unit-testing code for robustness, including edge cases, usability, and general reliability;

• Identifying and resolving bottlenecks, rectifying bugs, and enhancing application performance;

• Continuous discovering, evaluating, and implementing newer technologies;

• Collaborating with cross-functional teams to define and design new features;

• Staying up to date with new trends, features, and protocols in the Android landscape.

Experience and qualifications

• Hands-on 5+ years experience in developing Android applications;

• Kotlin, MVVM Architecture, Room, Firebase, Rest APIs, Android SDK;

• Hands-on over WebSockets, WebRTC is a plus;

• App architectural experience to support various devices and versions;

• Engineering skills to develop and maintain lightweight apps that would seamlessly run in low-end Android devices under poor bandwidth and prepaid data connections;

• Excellent data structures, algorithms, and problem-solving skills;

• Experience in web service integration (REST, JSON, XML);

• Working knowledge of the general mobile landscape, architectures, trends, and emerging technologies;

• Understanding of the full mobile development life cycle;

• Experience with Git, Maven / Gradle, JIRA, and Slack.

Preferable skills

• Familiarity with Agile development, Scrum, Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD), and Test-Driven Development (TDD) processes;

• Strong communication & team management skills and experience in design patterns, Android UI design principles, and object-oriented programming;

• Experience with AB testing, Analytics, offline syncing, GCMs, deep-linking, notifications, etc.;

• Experience in building apps with high-volume transactions/payments.

Time zone

GMT-4

Workload

part-time, 20h+/week, possible full-time

Selection

1 interview

Rates

$40-60/hour

(This client took three developers from our database and started cooperating with them immediately.)

What extra experience can be valuable for Android developers

We’ve made a survey among our Talent Acquisition and Matching teams and made a brief list of extra skills and experiences that can be valuable for Android app engineers you’ll be potentially hiring for your startup.

Here are experiences that matter: 

  • experience with iOS development (or experience in iOS—Android app transformation);
  • proficiency with C and C++ languages;
  • experience building cross-platform libraries/SDKs;
  • knowledge of both Kotlin and Java.

Where can you find Android application developers?

That is a good question. Generally, three strategies can be used to hire developers for the IT project. 

  • Hiring them yourself;
  • Bidding platforms search;
  • Vetting platforms search.

Each option has its pros and cons. 

Hiring PHP developers yourself will certainly save money that would otherwise be spent on marketplace commissions. However, autonomous hiring isn’t for the faint of heart — it’s tough, risky, and it can take a long time before you meet the one whom you would gladly entrust the code reigns of your project. Moreover, the entrepreneurs who hire developers themselves should also test them. Not all of them have an IT background — not all of them, consequently, know what to pay attention to and which testing angles to choose to get the best results. Should you check out time management, empathy, or other essential soft skills? How should you conduct code reviews and hard skills checks? Questions are abundant, and no one will answer them except you. 

Bidding platforms provide copious options for hiring freelance developers who create Android apps for your business. Their main working principle is that of a reverse auction: the lesser rate you have, the more chances of temporary employment you’ve got. It’s tremendously good for entrepreneurs: they have many possibilities and can spare themselves a pretty penny. Freelancer, Upwork, 99Designs — at least some of these names seem familiar, right? 

The main downside of bidding platforms is the absence of any qualification triage. Anyone can register there — and green juniors use this opportunity to gain experience before starting bigger projects. If you’re OK with juniors, it’s your star venue. If not — brace yourself for the lengthy search for proven Android app development professionals.

Vetting platforms are one more useful variant for startup owners who are ripened for developers who build Android apps. What’s their main distinction from the bidding ones? Whereas for the latter, the registration is unstrained by any tests (you come, you register, and you start earning money), the former demand passing a few preliminary testing procedures.

One more distinction between vetting and bidding platforms is their approach to hiring. 

Bidding platforms don’t have too many staff members responsible for all the stages of client-developer cooperation. The said cooperation is autonomous. Bidding platforms don’t care about their registered users and don’t handle conflicts except directly connected with the platform functionality. 

For vetting platforms, the situation is different. They often consist of a few departments, each responsible for some definite stage of the client-customer journey. The Sales department handles new clients and passes their requests to the Matching and Recruiting teams. The Recruiting folk earns their daily bread by searching for new web developers interested in registering and job searching on the platform in question. The Matching department does its best to combine customers’ requests with the platform’s assortment and capacity. Most often, vetting platforms also arrange several stages of testing for new candidates before accepting them into the talent pool. Most often, everything starts with a reference and professional networks check, then goes language proficiency and soft (communication, time management, remote work experience) check. The last stage is a hard (coding) skills check with live coding.

What does a brief description for an Android developer look like?

Those entrepreneurs who address vetting marketplaces in their search for qualified Android app developers will get some initial offers very soon. What do these offers look like?

Before the online/offline meeting, the Matching/Recruiting departments propose concise snippets with all the necessary details about the candidates’ stack. Entrepreneurs can filter them out and arrange a job interview with the devs who interest them most. 

Here’s one of the snippets for the developer registered in Lemon.io’s talent pool. 

Daniel  $50/hour, 20h/week 

Daniel is a strong senior Android developer. Our tech interviewer recommends Daniel for projects of any size and complexity. He has more than 5 years of experience with Android development. Kotlin since 2017, MVVM, RoomDB, Firebase, Socket.io, REST, JSON, XML. 

He is not an expert in WebRtc, but he understands the main principles well. Also, he never used TDD in his practice, but for a developer of his level, getting to learn it for your project would be a piece of cake. Top quality, high ambitions, and reasonable price — what’s not to like?

Conclusion

Now that you have read our comprehensive article, you know much more about Android apps, Android development, and hiring options. The choice is yours — and may your app skyrocket!

Any more questions? Read our marvelous FAQ!

  • Why is it so hard to find Android app developers?

    The biggest challenge is to find the right developer for your concrete project, not a random one and not a complete noob. Android is very popular and constantly growing — so small wonder many Android devs are already working on some startup projects or for some tech mogul. 

  • Why is Android widespread?

    There are a lot of reasons for that. The main two reasons are that Android is free to use and that most smartphones also run on Android. The more smartphones we use, the more Android devices appear in the market.

  • What are the tools used by Android developers?

    Here are some of the tools Android developers can use for their daily work:
    1. Android Studio — official Android IDE;
    2. Android NDK — native development kit, native code, and Android libraries;
    3. Android Debug Bridge or ADB (debugging Android devices);
    4. Genymotion (virtual Android environment helping to test the app’s work on different devices);
    5. Instabug (check for bugs and crashes).

  • What are some interview questions I can ask a dedicated Android developer? 

    Here are just some topical rubrics and suggestions. For the in-depth interview preparation, use some of the Android comprehensive web pages.
    A. Basic concepts Here, you can ask about general concepts across different languages (and check out if your candidate is proficient in another language than Android) or purely Android stuff.
    B. Advanced concepts. They should know if you hire a strong Middle or senior.
    C. DS/Algorithm questions: Test a candidate’s logic.

  • How long does it take to develop an Android app?

    That’s a tough question with many possible answers. Speaking about pure coding, there’s a possibility that 3-4 months will suffice. However, app building consists of much more than pure coding — think, for example, about searching for programmers, testing them, maintaining remote cooperation, creating and testing app details and MVP, and many other things.