Mobile development is an ever-changing landscape. New approaches and technologies pop up like mushrooms after the rain. It can be challenging to stay up to date and ensure that your skills remain relevant.
With that in mind, I decided to seek the opinion of experts, and today, I will gladly share it with you. So, buckle up and let’s dive in!
Get back to basics 📖
All cool mobile dev tools created in previous years, such as Compose, KMM, or even Flutter are getting bigger and bigger adoption across the industry.
Most Android Developers already know how to create a screen with Compose or played with some KMM, however, we (as a whole dev community) still need to figure out how to use those tools efficiently in our projects.
That’s why I believe the best strategy for mobile devs in the upcoming year is mastering the software engineering fundamentals: design patterns, architecture, and testing.
So if you plan to boost your Android Developer skills this year – study clean code, read Uncle Bob thoroughly, and then apply those concepts to modern frameworks.
Kotlin and Coroutines ⚙️
Regardless of your experience level, if you’re not using Kotlin, I’d strongly recommend using it. It’s not too late to start using it, but it’s becoming the standard in the industry, so it’s better to get in sooner than later.
If you’re an experienced developer with a good understanding of programming fundamentals as well as the Android ecosystem, I’d definitely say focus on “new” and interesting technologies which seem to be taking over Android. Specifically, if you’ve not done Kotlin Coroutines yet, you should! More and more libraries exist with Coroutines support or are powered by the API, making it easier to develop Android apps. In the same vein, Jetpack Compose came out a couple of years ago now, and it’s been taking over more and more Android apps.
On top of that, we’ve seen a push towards Android Wear or Foldables recently, and it’s an exciting time to build applications that don’t just cater to regular form factors.
If you’re a junior developer that doesn’t have a lot of experience with programming or with Android specifically, there are many things out there that seem complex and crazy, but at the same time interesting. It can also be quite overwhelming to explore something new. In that case, I’d recommend just brushing up on your fundamental skills in programming and Android. Learn about the basic components, the lifecycle, and all the latest changes to permissions and BG processing introduced in the latest versions of Android.
Learning the basics might’ve never been easier with all the Jetpack tools, libraries, and guidelines, and there are plenty of Codelabs that help you implement those libraries in an optimal way.
Now that more and more devices are using Wear OS, it should be a strong focus for 2023. Wearables are becoming increasingly popular and with new and innovative sensors and interaction methods there are even more exciting possibilities.
Building reliable, offline first applications that help users with everyday tasks is a key skill and with Jetpack Compose now the preferred approach to Wear OS the skills from phone app development are easy to transfer.
Compose, Compose! 🤖
Compose is the new UI toolkit for Android. It’s incredible that since the alpha versions, it rapidly gained hundreds of developers ready to jump in. Now that has reached stable, we’ve been seeing large adoption from developers pushing it both on their personal projects and in their companies. The feedback has been incredible so far – faster to develop, intuitive, code reuse, and powerful, are some of the keywords that you’re going to find when searching for Compose.
Moreover, it’s important to mention that it’s not only for smartphones – we now have it on the wear, TVs, auto, and even outside the Android ecosystem. You can use Compose Multiplatform and have your screens shared across Desktop, Web, and even iOS! Incredible.
Machine Learning 🦾
In mobile app development, the significance of machine learning is growing rapidly. By incorporating machine learning, Android app developers can design smart applications that can learn from user actions and deliver customized experiences. If you familiarize yourself with machine learning libraries like TensorFlow Lite or MediaPipe, it can give you a competitive advantage in the market.
This may come as a surprise, but I think that as an Android Developer, this year you should look into learning… Flutter.
Flutter is an open-source framework for creating cross-platform apps and I believe that all Android Developers may benefit from using it. It is fast, allows you to create a beautiful UI (and even uses Material Design components!), and what’s most important – it is cross-platform, meaning that you can run your code on different platforms: mobile, web, and desktop.
If you’re an Android Developer, and you’re already familiar with Java or Kotlin, switching to Dart (the programming language of Flutter) is relatively easy. And if you know Jetpack Compose – it’s even easier, as Flutter uses a similar declarative approach to writing UI.
If you’re thinking about trying something new this year – I think Flutter is a great option!