Google, Udacity partner for Android Basics Nanodegree program

Want to learn what it takes to build an Android app? Thanks to the Android Basics Nanodegree by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), students of all skill levels can learn Java and start building Android apps in just minutes. 

What is the Android Basics Nanodegree program?

The Android Basics Nanodegree program offers courses and services designed to teach students how to build simple Android apps.

The program, which is offered by online courses provider Udacity, requires no programming experience, making it a valuable option for beginners who are interested in learning the basics of Android app development. 

"We want to provide an end-to-end developer education path that can take anyone who is interested in becoming an Android developer – no matter where they are – from a complete novice to creating their own apps as quickly as possible," a Udacity spokesperson told FierceDeveloper.

How does the program work?

The Android Basics Nanodegree program ensures students "can learn skills that are applicable to building apps that solve real world problems," according to Google. 

As part of the program, students will learn how to:

  • Create app user interfaces

  • Store information in a database

  • Transfer data from the internet and use it in an app

  • Identify and resolve app issues

  • Ensure an app supports multiple languages

Udacity pointed out the program requires an average of 165 hours to complete and provides students with the know-how needed to build apps for billions of Android devices.

"Once students enroll in the Android Basics Nanodegree program, they will have access to the student forum, mentorship and coaching, code-level project review and career services in addition to the curriculum including course videos and text references that are also available for free from Udacity," a Udacity spokesperson said. "Often, students begin by watching the first series of instructor videos with instructors from Google, and within minutes they will be able to experience writing code – some for the first time!"

What makes the program unique?

By enrolling in the program, students can complete multiple projects, build an app portfolio and receive personalized feedback from experts.

Plus, students can perform program tasks at their own pace and receive expert guidance and tips at any time. 

"Only at Udacity can you get a beginning Android developer curriculum designed, built and taught by Google," a Udacity spokesperson said. "Online education with code-level project review and mentorship from Udacity helps to make Android developer education more accessible to anyone, anywhere."

The program enables students to enroll for $199 per month, and students can receive a 50 percent tuition refund if they finish the program within 12 months. 

Meanwhile, all of the individual courses that make up the nanodegree are available online for no charge.

What does the nanodegree offer developers?

The demand for Android developers continues to increase, and those who pursue careers as Android developers may find many job opportunities at their disposal. 

For example, a recent survey of app studios conducted by mobile app development advisor ContractIQ indicated U.S.-based firms charge the highest rates for high-end Android development. The survey also showed the per-hour rate for U.S. app studios is $168 for Android, compared with $150 for iOS. 

Furthermore, market salary research firm Paysa pointed out the average annual salary for Android developers currently ranges between $52,400 and $136,000, and this total may increase as new Android devices become available. 

The true value of the nanodegree program lies in its ability to assist beginners, and ultimately, the program may provide inexperienced developers with an introduction to Java and Android development. 

This program also may help new or inexperienced developers learn the ins and outs of Java and Android development quickly. 

"By completing the Android Basics and Android Developer Nanodegrees, with about 10 hours a week in study and project work on your schedule from anywhere with an internet connection, you can become a full-fledged Android developer in under a year – without quitting your day job until you're ready," a Udacity spokesperson stated. 

However, the nanodegree likely will offer limited value to experienced Android developers. 

"This program brings nothing to a veteran Android developer," Ryan Matzner, director of business development at mobile app development company Fueled, told FierceDeveloper. "That being said, I think the nanodegree could have a very positive impact on the ecosystem as it provides the foundation in mobile development to a large number of users."

Ryan Matzner

Matzner noted today's Android developers must be able to build apps for a wide range of operating systems and hardware devices – something the nanodegree program fails to address.

"This nanodegree needs to be part of an ensemble of solution in order to have a long-lasting impact on Android," he added. 

Al Hilwa, program director for software development research at International Data Corp (IDC), told FierceDeveloper the nanodegree ties training to a developer tool, which may lead new developers to create Android apps in the future. 

Conversely, the ongoing push for cross-platform skills may limit the long-term value of the nanodegree for developers. 

"Most developers are interested in cross-platform solution and the industry will be better served in terms of skills leverage if it got behind cross-platform technologies. Both Google and Apple would be more effective in stimulating overall mobile development if they found ways to evolve their tools to support cross-platform development," he said. 

Banner, Android and developer pay images courtesy of Udacity.