If you’ve been thinking of becoming an Android developer, now is the time to jump in.
Android is by far the most popular smartphone operating system and it gives developers a huge amount of flexibility in terms of what they can do.
Learning to build apps is fun, highly rewarding, and it can be very profitable. It’s also easier than you might think, as long as you find the right teacher and the right Android app development course.
So, stop putting it off and read on to find the best Android courses and resources on the web, both free and paid.
The best paid Android app development courses
DGiT Academy: Introduction to Android app development
We may be a little biased on this one.
Okay a lot biased.
We also genuinely believe our Android app development course over at DGiT Academy is the most in-depth and high-value option out there. The course is run by the venerable Gary Sims, and as ever he brings his huge knowledge and simple way of explaining to the table.
The curriculum is broken up into bite sized lessons (video and written) which you can follow at your own pace. Each introduces a new concept, starting from the most basic of beginnings, all the way to advanced concepts. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or a pro, there is something here for you (no prior knowledge required!). By the end, you’ll have all the skills necessary to build your own fully-functional app.
the course also comes with access to a Slack channel where you will be able to talk with Gary one-to-one
The course also comes with a host of extra materials and features, including access to a Slack channel where you will be able to talk with Gary and the other teachers one-to-one. If you want a comprehensive, all-in-one solution for learning Android development: this is it.
Android Kotlin Development Masterclass Using Android Oreo
Since we last updated this list, a fair bit has changed in the world of Android development. One of the biggest changes was the introduction of Kotlin as an official language for Android. Kotlin is arguably an easier language to learn than Java for complete novices, while seasoned pros might also find there are benefits to making the switch.
Tim Buchalka runs a number of great Android development courses over at Udemy and has been listed in the service’s “Top 10 List of Outstanding Instructors.” Android Kotlin Development Masterclass Using Android Oreo ticks a lot of boxes. It explains Android development in a suitable way for beginners and targets the latest version of Android. The Android app development course contains 35 hours of on-demand video, three articles, and a certificate for completion.
Android Java Masterclass – Become an App Developer
While Kotlin is arguably the future of Android, the present still belongs to Java. For employability, an Android app development course focusing on Java is probably the best choice, simply because it has been around longer.
Android Java Masterclass – Become an App Developer is just such a course and once again comes from the reliable Tim Buchalka. This course comes with 60.5 hours of on-demand video, two articles, supplemental resources, and a certificate of completion. Once again, the course also focuses specifically on Android Oreo.
The Complete Android Oreo Developer Course – Build 23 Apps!
This is another Android app development course hosted at Udemy, this time from another popular teacher, Rob Percival. The Complete Android Oreo Developer Course is a practical guide to making “pretty much any Android app you like” that covers both Java and Kotlin. You’ll gain this knowledge via 37.5 hours of video and 117 articles. Zero prior programming experience is required.
AIDE is the Android Integrated Development Environment, an Android app you can download from the Play Store and use to build and develop your own apps for the Android platform. In other words, this is a pared-down “Android Studio Lite.” It boasts greater portability, but lacks a lot of the advanced features you would get from a desktop IDE. This probably isn’t the best thing for building your next big project, but you can use it to follow along with some interactive programming lessons, which is pretty neat. It also lets you actually compile and run your code, and test the sample projects as you go.
The advantage is that you can actually compile and run your code and test the sample projects as you go.
The app has over 2 million downloads, but you don’t tend to hear about its use as a learning tool all that much. The monthly fees are reasonable and the first few lessons are free. While it is great for learning the basics, it’s not as good as some of the courses on this list for the more advanced topics. It focuses purely on Java. But give it a try and see what you think.
Learn Unity for Android Game Development
When it comes to creating mobile games, Unity is the most widely used tool among professional development teams and solo indie devs. This is a game engine and IDE you use independently to Android Studio. It’s a completely different skill set, but very much worth learning.
Learn Unity for Android Game Development is another option. Full disclosure: I wrote this one. It was the first book I published! If you have enjoyed any of my posts on this site and you’re interested in learning game development specifically, then I’m confident you’ll take something useful away from this.
(Books in general are a great resource by the way, just make sure to check the reviews and the publication date.)
If you prefer your lessons with a spoonful of sugar, Treehouse has a selection of interactive learning tracks featuring puppets, quizzes and additional reading materials make learning fun. This is a monthly membership site that manages to set itself apart by offering something a little different. The tagline “Achieve Your Dreams and Change the World” is particularly uplifting, too. There is a free trial if you like to try before you buy.
Envato tus+ is a paid resource with a broad selection of courses, including a large selection of Android app development courses. Many of these are short, sharp video lessons that include subjects such as building material design apps and app development using cordova. You can buy them individually, sign up for a monthly subscription, or binge a whole bunch on a free 10-day trial.
The best free resources
Head on over to developer.android.com to access the official documentation from Google. This is an incredibly in-depth and up-to-date guide to Android development. It includes pretty much everything you could need to know and it’s all free.
The site is more of a resource than a true Android app development course, and as such it can tend to be a little too detailed in places. You may struggle with where to start, or find the more complex ideas get a little lost in translation. That said, if you’re looking for a handy place to answer any burning questions, why not go straight to the source? (There’s a pun there somewhere)
Developing Apps by Google
Developing Android Apps by Google is a free online course also from Google. While developer.android.com is a resource you can dip in and out of, this is a more structured introduction for you to work through at your own pace.
This Android app development course is actually a result of a partnership between Google and Udacity. If you have the Udacity app, you can keep the course with you and learn on the move. This is a pretty sweet deal for anyone who wants to brush up on their Android development knowledge without spending a dime.
The entire course is expected to take you around 60 hours and has a skill level rated as “Intermediate,” suggesting users should have “at least one year of programming experience in Java,” which may be the only potential drawback.
The entire course is expected to take you around 60 hours
If you like this taster, you can “graduate” to take the rest of the “Nanodegree Program” which involves a series of paid courses. If you can get past the first course, these are likely to be among the very best free and paid Android development courses online.
Of course, there are many more courses on Udacity, so it’s worth taking a look around.
Codecademy is not for learning Android specifically. It provides hands-on tutorials to let you acclimate yourself to some of the more popular programming languages, including Java. While there is a paid “Pro” membership, you can access the four-hour Java tutorial for free.
Kotlin for Android Developers
For those familiar with Android and Java but new to Kotlin, Kotlin for Android Developers over at Udacity should do the trick. The course takes around one week to complete and is run by Aaron Sarazan, who earned his stripes as Lead Software Engineer at Capital One. By the end of the Android app development course, you’ll know how to port an existing application over to Kotlin.
Over at Unity3d.com/learn, you’ll find the official resource for learning all flavours of Unity development, including Android. There is a lot to read and watch here for free, which can be a good way to get yourself started. For those that want a little more in-depth tutelage, there are also some paid options here too.
Coursera offers free courses taught by real college professors around the world. It was founded by educators from Stanford University and it includes a good variety of in-depth Android app development courses. Certainly worth looking into.
If you liked the sound of a Gary Sims-led coding course, but didn’t have the necessary disposable income, there’s always our free Introduction to Java. As mentioned, Java is still the most widely-used programming language in Android development (for now). Having a solid foundation in how this language works will help with everything that follows. In fact, learning Java first — rather than trying to learn it at the same time as Android development — may even be the smarter strategy.
If you like the sounds of a Gary Sims-led course try out our free Introduction to Java
This course from Gary is once again broken up into simple, short video lessons that are easy to follow. It will provide all the basics of Java and coding in general, so you’ll be ready to tackle any Android app development course of your choosing.
Oracle Java Tutorials
If you’re looking to learn Java, the other option is once again to go to the official source. You can find a range of Java tutorials from Oracle (which owns Java) and these are actually fairly comprehensive and completely free.
Learning from these kinds of resources is never quite as smooth a process as following a specific “course,” however. You will of course also need to learn Android development on top of your new Java knowledge.
As with Java and Unity, Kotlin also has its own official resource. Head over to Kotlinlang.org/docs/reference for a large selection of lessons you can work through at your own pace. There’s also the option to download the entire thing as a single PDF file.
Vogella is packed with in-depth tutorials ranging from the basics of setting up, all the way to some more specific and advanced concepts. The site is still free to use and it makes most of its revenue from advertising and user donations. If you get some benefit from these materials, why not show thm some love?
There’s a wide selection of free and paid Android app development courses — from official resources, to paid courses you can keep in your pocket, to interactive apps. Check out the free trials, read the promotional materials, and hopefully you’ll find one that works for you!
Don’t forget, you’re currently looking at a huge resource for Android development, too! We regularly post a wide selection of lessons and tips, all of which you can find at the developer section here. To stay abreast of any and all Android development news, sign up for Developer Monthly here.
If you’re wondering where to start, try this post on writing your first Android app, or these top tips for making learning Android development easier.
Good luck and happy coding!