How to Get Started Building Android Apps

Get started building your first Android app with our free book and video content! Plus you’ll learn how to create apps in Kotlin, the new, modern language for Android. By Chris Belanger.

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It’s hard to deny the impact that Android has on the global mobile app industry; with over 70% mobile OS market share worldwide as of November 2020, there are a lot of opportunities for new Android developers out there.

But getting into Android development can be a challenge; with the myriad of different versions of the Android operating system out there, and new frameworks and technologies like Jetpack Compose, Coroutines, Kotlin Flow and more, it’s confusing to know where to start.

To solve that problem and get you started quickly with Android development, we’ve rounded up our best courses and materials below to jump-start your Android development career — even if you’ve barely written any code before.

Getting Started with Android Development

There’s very little you need to get started building your first Android app:

  • A computer capable of running Android Studio (Windows, Mac, Linux). See for more specific requirements.
  • If you want to test on actual devices, you’ll need optionally one or more Android devices. However, all the examples in the book will run using the Emulator included with Android Studio.

That’s it! Much of the popularity of Android is due to the low barrier to entry; you don’t need massive amounts of hardware, physical devices, or even high-end computers to build your first Android app. However, some operations, like launching the Android Simulator, might give you a better experience on a more powerful computer, so try to find the best workstation you can that will run Android Studio.

Android Learning Paths

If you’ve Googled “how to get started with Android development” you’ll literally receive over a quarter-billion results. That’s a lot of noise to try to sort through, and because the Android platform has been under development for over a decade, you can’t be sure that the resources you’re looking at will work with more modern versions of Android.

That’s why we’ve created our Android Learning Paths; they’re curated collections of our Android video courses that start out gently, and build on early concepts toward more advanced skills so that you’ll be able to feel confident bringing that knowledge into your future Android apps.

If you’re new to Android development, we highly recommend starting with the Android and Kotlin for Beginners learning path. It contains the following courses to get you up and running with building your first Android app:

Android and Kotlin for Beginners

Your introduction to Android app development starts here! In this learning path, you’ll build your very first Android apps. Along the way, you’ll learn all about the Kotlin programming language.

Android User Interfaces

Building apps requires a good command of the various user interface elements that bring life and utility to an app. Get started with Layouts, RecyclerView, and Animations in this Android learning path!

Android Data and Networking

Behind most every Android app is the data that drives it – but where does this data come from, and how do you save that data? This learning path covers methods to save data on Android, along with mobile networking basics and how to do background processing in your Android apps.

Android IDEs and Tools

When you spend your life designing and debugging apps inside Android Studio, you want your time to be well spent! Learn how to use the many tools in Android Studio to debug and build your apps with a minimum of fuss. You’ll also cover how to build a release-ready APK and upload it to the Google Play Store.

Software Engineering for Android

There’s a lot more to app building than just knowing your way around Android Studio. In this path, you’ll cover some of the tools that developers use every day to get their jobs done. Work with Git, learn your way around the command line, and finally build graphic elements for your app in Sketch.

Android Beginner Books

The video courses are great for people who like and learn best from videos. But for those people who enjoy going deeper into the details and want to tackle Android app development in book form, then our Android app development books are your best starting point.

Android Apprentice

If you’re completely new to Android or developing in Kotlin, this is the book for you.

Android Apprentice takes you all the way from building your first app, to submitting your app for sale. By the end of this book, you’ll be experienced enough to turn your vague ideas into real apps that you can release on the Google Play Store.

You’ll build 4 complete apps from scratch — and these aren’t simple apps, either; you’ll build everything from a simple game, to a checklist app, a map-based app, and a podcast manager and player!

We’ve also included some bonus sections on handling the Android fragmentation problem, how to keep your app up-to-date, preparing your app for release, testing your app, and publishing it for the world to enjoy!

The Android Apprentice is your best companion for learning Android development. With all project source code included with the book, and support forums right on our site, it’s simply the best way to start your Android development career.

Kotlin Apprentice

This is a book for complete beginners to the new, modern Kotlin language.

Everything in the book takes place in a clean, modern development environment, which means you can focus on the core features of programming in the Kotlin language, without getting bogged down in the many details of building apps.

This is a sister book to the Android Apprentice; the Android Apprentice focuses on making apps for Android, while the Kotlin Apprentice focuses on the Kotlin language fundamentals.

Get Started Building Android Apps for Free

To give you a head-start building your first Android apps, we’ve made portions of our books and videos free to get started! These are our recommended starting points:

  • Your First Kotlin Android App [Free]: We’ve made this entire first Android and Kotlin video course absolutely free for you, to help you get started building your first app in Kotin, the modern language for building Android apps. You’ll build an entire app from scratch, and even learn how to submit your app to the Play Store!
  • Android Apprentice: Your First Android App [Free]: The entire first section of the Android Apprentice is also free for you to use. This section follows along with the same project as you’ll find in the accompanying video series, and also comes with all included project code, as do all of our books and videos!
Chris Belanger


Chris Belanger


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