Common mistakes aspiring Android developers

Common mistakes aspiring Android developers

The demand for Android developers has outstripped supply for a long time. And this situation will remain for at least several more years. If you are thinking about a job that is relevant both in a crisis and in a normal economic environment, now is the time to master it. 

Five years ago, I knew nothing about Android development or programming in general. And during this time I managed to fill a lot of cones and make enough mistakes – and I will try to save you from them in this article. I’ll tell you what beginners are mistaken and how to avoid it.

“We’ll figure it out on our own”

If you think that you are able to sort out educational material yourself and delve into any code, that’s great. You are probably ready to spend a day trying to find a bug or a working solution, surf the Internet and try everything that comes to mind until the code works. This is commendable perseverance, but it is better to apply it in such a way as to gain new knowledge, and not endlessly seek solutions that have already been found a million times before you.

In most cases, beginners simply do not have enough experience to understand which of the solutions found on the Internet is optimal and why. Ask questions about this in chats and forums, consult with fellow programmers and your mentor. Trust me, you will save a lot of time, which you can use for further training. With an experienced mentor, you grow ten times faster than on your own.

“It’s scary not to know something”

In English culture, there is a concept that is popular in the programming environment: Fear Of Missing Out (FoMo), or “fear of missing something important.” Android is a huge system. You will not be able to study it thoroughly even in five years. First, the platform is constantly evolving and changing. Second, the more you learn, the more you see overlapping areas that you don’t understand yet.

It is completely normal for a beginner developer not to fully understand even some basic things. I have colleagues who have been programming all their lives, and even they do not know everything – they can also be surprised. Your task is not to study the area completely, but to find out what will help you in your work right now. And consistently expand your knowledge during practice.

“No design needed”

“I’m a developer, I need to code well, and how the interface and navigation will look is not for me, but for the designers.” Familiar train of thought? The more you understand Material Design ( Android App Design Guide ), the better you know the platform’s capabilities as a developer – and the clearer you are on how to make a good app. You don’t need to be able to draw icons beautifully (there are many resources for that ), but understanding the principles is important.

Google’s Material Design site has a lot to read

“I use a mouse – and it’s very convenient”

Take my word for it: without a mouse, you write code much faster. That is, you are more productive. Using a mouse while programming, you constantly move your hand from it to the keyboard and back, and also take the time to adapt to these two devices each time. In any development environment has keyboard shortcuts for everything you could possibly need, and the most comfortable combination reserved for the most frequent operations. When you stop using your mouse while programming, you will be truly productive. This plugin for Android Studio can help with this.

“To embrace the immensity is easy!”

So, you want to write your first application, you’ve been thinking about it for a long time. And the time has come! Your application should have a chat (where without it), watching a video, an audio player (it’s so convenient), maps with navigation (they will always come in handy), and notes (this is generally obvious).

Stop! Such an application will not only require efforts from you throughout the year (or even more) but over time it will turn into a “Frankenstein’s monster.” Because you will not only write the application but also learn from it, constantly rewrite, optimize, and improve. And after six months, from the height of the experience gained, you generally want to redo everything from scratch. 

Start small. Write a simple Pomodoro timer that’s perfect for you, and make it work properly when you rotate the screen. Believe me, many discoveries await you at this stage. Put it on Google Play, add payment and advertising (even more new!), Go through all the stages from the beginning of development to its completion and application support.

Then write a simple chat app, just for text. Layout. Add photo sharing and then something else. Next, make a simple application for listening to music … Got the idea? This will give you finished projects, and in a year and a half, you’ll be ready to start your ideal application.

“The idea of ​​a new function has come – write soon!” 

Before implementing a new feature, look for information about it. Most likely, something similar has already been written – and all possible errors have been taken into account there. So don’t reinvent the wheel. You can write functions yourself, but it’s always best to know that there is already working code at hand. Sometimes it saves a lot of time and hassle. 

For example, Android Arsenal or GitHub contains almost every Android library ever built. And their code is freely available. Check it out.

Bonus tip: choose your libraries wisely. Check the library’s rating. See if its creator still has popular works. And check the discussions, reviews. Not all libraries are well written.

“I don’t have time to parse someone else’s code”

Programmers (and Android developers as well) spend more time reading someone else’s code than writing their own. Even your own code, written three months ago, will seem foreign to you. Pour a coffee, sit down, and open up some good code examples, sort through for an hour. If you do this regularly, you will not only learn to fluently read someone else’s code (which is very important), but you will also absorb the best practices. After all, one of the great things about Android is the complete openness of the platform. Here is a list of very good libraries, and here is a list of open-source Android applications, categorized.

“I’ll make a lot of money – I’ll buy a powerful PC”

Buy it now and save money and pay off quickly. Most of the day, you work on the computer. This is your main, main, and only tool. On a weak PC, the project takes many times longer, the environment works slower, an open browser slows down the entire system … All this affects not only your productivity when minutes of waiting add up to weeks during the year. It also affects the overall return on work, the emotional state – you just get less pleasure from programming than you could. And this is more important than anything else put together.

Yes, not everyone has the opportunity to buy a cool PC right away. But keep this thought in mind and understand all the advantages of a powerful computer over a weak one.


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