Learning how to create your first Android app isn’t easy. If you want to build one from scratch you have to develop an understanding of code, which can be time consuming.
The good news is there are plenty of resources available online that can help. These materials make it possible to learn how to build an Android app on your own. If you’re dedicated, you can gain the essential skills in just a few months.
In this article, we guide you through the app creation process. We’ve included links to the most helpful resources available for learning to code and learning Android development.
Table of Contents
- 1 Do You Need to Learn to Code?
- 2 Getting Started
- 3 What Is Java?
- 4 What about Kotlin?
- 5 Learning Android Development
- 6 Want to Build an App Without Learning to Code? AppInstitute Can Help
Do You Need to Learn to Code?
You need to learn to code if you want to build an app from scratch. If you don’t want to learn to code, you can use an app builder to create one based on a template.
In the first section of this article, we’ll focus on how you can learn the basics required to code an Android app.
At the end, we’ll show you how you can create an Android app using AppInstitute. With our app builder, you can build an app in just a few hours. It’s the perfect choice for people who don’t have the time to learn a programming language.
There are two steps to learning how to create an Android app from scratch.
- You need to learn the programming language used to code apps.
- Then you need to learn how to use this information to build an app.
Android apps are build using Java or Kotlin. While Kotlin is the official Android language, we’re going to focus on learning Java as it is more widely used. We go into further detail about why we made this choice later in the article.
What Is Java?
Java is a general-purpose programming language used to create software on a variety of platforms. It’s one of the most popular programming languages, so by learning it you’ll gain a valuable skill.
You can use Java to build:
- Android apps
- Web applications
- Windows desktop apps
- Linux desktop apps
- Mac desktop apps
- And more
There are plenty of online courses that teach you the basics of Java.
We like those provided by Coursera and Treehouse as they both start with a basic Java course before teaching you more about Android development. This adds structure to the learning process and keeps pushing you towards your goal of building an Android app.
- Treehouse’s Beginning Android program starts with a Java Basics course that teaches you how to code in Java. It then goes on to teach the basics of Android development. By the end of the course you’ll know how to create a simple app.
- Coursera has a highly rated Android App Development Specialization course provided by Vanderbilt University. It’s designed for people with no prior knowledge and goes through the various stages of learning how to build an Android app—starting with learning Java.
The downside is that you have to pay for both these courses. However, there are some free resources you can use to learn Java. Here are a few of them:
- Udemy has a free Java tutorial course with over 16 hours of video. It has a 4.3 star rating, and over 1 million people have signed up to the course.
- CodeAcademy has a beginner’s introduction to Java which you can try for free.
- Stanford University’s Programming Methodology Course teaches Java, although it looks a little dated.
What about Kotlin?
In 2017, Google changed the official language for Android development to Kotlin. This is a new programming language that is described as a more streamlined version of Java.
This raises the question of whether someone who wants to create an Android app should forget about learning Java and study Kotlin instead.
Most current advice suggests that if you are a complete beginner you should stick to Java because it is a more established language. This means there are a lot more resources and help available. For example, the Android learning courses we have linked to above start with a section on learning Java, not Kotlin.
If you want more information about why learning Java is the best choice for most new Android developers, check out this Medium post by Javin Paul. In the article, he also explains why learning Kotlin can be advantageous if you are already a proficient programmer.
Learning Android Development
Once you know the basics of Java you can move on to learning how to use this knowledge to develop Android apps.
The Treehouse and Coursera courses listed above both teach the basics of Android app development following their sections on Java.
However, they aren’t the only available resources.
- Google has produced a guide that shows you how to build a simple app that displays “Hello World” using Android Studio. It also teaches you how to test your app and build a user interface. It’s pretty basic stuff but crucial to know if you are new to app development.
- Udacity has a free course that is recommended by Google called Developing Android Apps. It combines theory and practical tips to help you build apps.
The Essential Android Development Tool: Android Studio
When building an Android app, you’ll need to download Android Studio. This is the official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Android, and it was developed specifically for creating apps on the mobile OS.
The software has a ton of features that simplify creating apps. It has a code editor, a preview section that reflects your changes as you make them, and plenty of templates and sample apps. It also integrates with GitHub.
You can download Android Studio for free from the Android developer’s website.
Google has also created a vast resource for learning how to use Android Studio; you can check it out here. This contains best practices and a list of core topics that cover everything you need to build an Android app.
While Android Studio is the primary IDE for Android, in the past there have been alternatives. Eclipse was the primary IDE for a while and many tutorials that haven’t been updated mention this program. However, it is no longer supported and Android developers should use Android Studio instead.
Where to Find Help and Support on Your Android App Building Journey
Android is the most widely used operating system worldwide, and there are plenty of places to get help and support. Here are some of the best places to look while on your app development journey.
Stack Overflow: This is a forum for developers where you can get answers to your app development questions. There is also a comprehensive database of problems that have already been solved. Check out the Android-related questions here.
Official Android Documentation: Google provides a ton of material about how to create apps using Android Studio. Once you know the basics of creating an app, this is a great tool to help you learn new features and troubleshoot issues. Check it out here.
Reddit Learn Java: This is an active community of people learning Java. It’s an excellent place to browse and ask questions about the programming language. Join in the conversation here.
Reddit Android Dev: This is a large community of Android Developers. It has plenty of advice about how to get started with building apps. Join the community here.
GitHub Android: GitHub has plenty of Android code samples that show best practices in different aspects of Android.
Your Local Area Developer Group: If you’re looking for in-person help, many cities around the world have active developer groups. Consider joining one to meet up with other developers and share your project. You can find developer groups on meetup.com or by searching on Google or Facebook.
Resilience Is Key
As you may have realized from the information in this article, creating an Android app is not easy if you don’t already know how to do so. Understanding Java will be a big help, but even then you’ll still have a lot to get to grips with. If you have never coded before, your journey will be even longer.
Depending on how long you can dedicate to study, you can learn the basics of Android app development in a few weeks and create your own app within a few months. Even if you have a full-time job or other commitments, by sticking at it you can learn all you need to know to get started in a relatively short period of time.
The key is that you need to keep going. Coursera estimates that you can complete its Android App Development Specialization course in around five months by putting in just four hours per week. This is a manageable amount of time for many people.
Want to Build an App Without Learning to Code? AppInstitute Can Help
AppInstitute can help you build a personalized app without the need to learn how to code. Our app builder lets you add prebuilt features to your app and then customize them to your liking. Once you are finished you’ll have a bespoke Android app.
Rather than spending months learning how to code, you can start building your app straight away and it can be ready to publish within days. This makes it an excellent choice for business owners who want to quickly release an app.
This is how our app builder works:
- First, choose a template. We have plenty of options for different types of businesses, and each template contains all the features you’ll need.
- Next it’s time to personalize the app. You can adjust the color scheme and add information and images. If you already have a Facebook page or website, our API will grab all the essential information and add it to your app automatically.
- The next stage is to add details to your app. If you want to add any features that aren’t included in the template, now is your opportunity.
- Now you’re ready to publish your app. Our software will show you how to do this on Google Play. You can also publish on the App Store for customers who use Apple devices.
If you want to try out the app builder, you can do so for free by clicking the link below. You only need to pay when you’re ready to publish.