What are employers looking for in Android developers? 5 things you need to know

For current or soon-to-be Android developers, welcome to the cool kids' table! There is high demand for those who possess the skills and know-how to create Android apps, which is reflected in recent data.

Consider the results of a survey conducted by technology and IT recruitment agency CyberCoders. The survey of 3,700 mobile development job placements from 2012 to 2014 revealed:

  • There was a 110 percent increase in Android job postings. iOS job postings rose 54 percent.
  • Job availability increased 71 percent for Android developers versus 41 percent for iOS developers.
  • Android positions were filled 50 percent faster than the average job.

Don't expect the demand for Android developers to slow down any time soon, either.

A recent Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) survey showed Android users were more loyal to their operating system than their iOS counterparts. In fact, CIRP noted 82 percent of previous Android owners stuck with the operating system when they purchased a new mobile device.

So we've established Android is popular, but how can app developers capitalize on the growing interest in this operating system?

Many employers want Android developers and are willing to do whatever they can to attract and retain these professionals. And as an app developer, you'll want to do everything possible to stand out from the crowd -- otherwise, you could miss out on your dream job.

You'll also want to understand a hiring manager's perspective. This enables you to tailor your resume and portfolio to highlight the skills an employer is looking for in its perfect candidate.

But what are these skills? Here's a closer look at five things employers are looking for in Android developers:

1. Java experience

How well do you understand Java? Strong knowledge and background of Java remains essential for Android developers.

Stephanie Rossignol, product manager at software development and consulting firm Surge, noted Java provides the foundation for Android apps. As such, gaining extensive Java experience can serve as an excellent initial step toward developing your first Android app.

"Once you have that (Java) foundation, there are numerous online tutorials that can provide complete examples of how to build your first Android application. Udacity also has some great courses," she told FierceDeveloper. "Learning by doing is easily the quickest way to learn Android."

2. Versatility

Learn both Android and iOS -- you'll be happy you did! Many of today's employers want developers who possess the versatility to develop apps across both operating systems.

"Be able to build apps that run consistently across both major platforms," said Darryl Hall, founding partner of marketing consultant BigInnovations. "Don't screen out so much potential upside because you're focused on only one platform."

In addition, Hall recommended developers learn how to code websites. By doing so, developers can "replicate app innovations within websites, and vice-versa," Hall said.

3. Problem-solving abilities

In a perfect world, apps would require minimal effort to develop and deliver exceptional results regularly. However, we live in the real world, which means complex issues frequently arise from out of nowhere, and users expect immediate solutions.

A creative problem-solver serves as an ideal candidate in the eyes of many employers. Because this applicant can identify challenges and maintain a broad perspective, he or she typically can work with others to find the best solutions.

"At Surge, we are looking for people who have had some practical experience that requires problem solving, creativity and the ability to provide quality code," Rossignol said. "It is also important that they be good communicators and team players.  Today's developers find themselves working on a variety of teams with a variety of personalities and need to be flexible, fluid and talented."

4. A positive attitude

As Elle Woods might say, "Keep it positive!" Be ready and willing to learn about new technologies, and employers likely will take notice.

"We are looking for developers with a passion for problem solving and drive to learn not only the technology of today, but also looking ahead to the future and being excited for what is coming up next," Shaira Shelton, talent acquisition specialist at software consultant Amadeus Consulting, told FierceDeveloper. "You can learn a new language, and we are willing to help guide that, but passion and drive are two things that cannot be taught."

A positive attitude can go a long way for ambitious Android developers. Thus, those who are driven to succeed can stand out from the competition and improve their chances of landing their dream job.

5. A strong work ethic

Getting your foot in the door at a globally recognized company might seem challenging, but those who are persistent can boost their chances of achieving their career goals.

Hall pointed out a strong work ethic often delivers long-lasting results. He also pointed out those who "work like crazy" at the start of their careers can reap the rewards of their efforts down the line.

"Sacrifice some fun distractions from work to crank out more results now," he recommended. "This is the time to crank it out, deliver 'above and beyond' work and thus build your reputation as a great [developer]."

Ready to showcase your Android development skills to employers? Use these tips, and you'll be able to differentiate yourself in a highly competitive job market.

What tips would you offer to Android developers who want to land their dream job? Share them in the comments section below, via Twitter @dkobialka or email me at kobialka.daniel@gmail.com.

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