Do you keep telling yourself you’re going to learn to code and then build yourself that amazing app idea you’ve had for ages? Do you keep putting it off? Or perhaps you’ve tried a few times and found that the learning curve is just too steep?
Don’t worry, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, it seems that everyone I speak to has an amazing idea for an app but lacks the coding skills to back it up. Android app development isn’t necessarily hard for those with a programming background, but getting started can be a bit daunting.
The solution is to find the right teacher and the right project. I will often try and fail to learn new concepts multiple times before eventually making a breakthrough and fully grasping it, and often it just comes down to having it explained in the right way. We all respond to different styles of teaching though, and so what’s right for me, won’t necessarily be right for you. Fortunately, there is an absolute wealth of learning material when it comes to developing for Android, the only challenge is choosing which one to invest your time – and possibly cash – into.
With that in mind, you will find below a selection of some of the best learning materials, courses and other resources that can help you to dive in and start getting to grips with Android app development. Some of these are free and others are paid. Some look at specific skills and knowledge, while others take a much more general approach. Have a look at a few and see which ones resonates with you the most.
These are the best free and paid Android development courses. Perhaps this will be the time you crack it!
The best free and paid Android app development courses and resources
Free resources for Android app development
One of the big challenges when it comes to finding learning resources for Android app development is making sure that the materials are up-to-date. The problem here of course is that Android app development is moving quickly and constantly evolving. What was true a year ago might not be true today and likewise, many materials will miss out on the most recent developments.
The best chance you have of getting up-to-date information, is to go directly to the source. Developer.android.com is the official learning resource from Google that will walk you through setting up your first app and offer up a wealth of sample code and learning projects.
Developing Android Apps by Google
Developing Android Apps by Google is a free online course that once again comes from Google itself. While developer.android.com is a resource that you can dip in and out of, this is a more structured introduction that you can work through at your own pace.
The course is actually a result of a partnership between Google and Udacity. That means that if you have the Udacity app, you can keep it with you and learn on the move. This is a pretty sweet deal for anyone that 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 that users should have ‘at least one year of programming experience in Java’; this may be the only drawback for some.
If you do get on with this taster, then 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 but rather 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 get stuck in with the four-hour Java tutorial for free.
Coursera is a site that 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.
Oracle Java Tutorials
If you’re looking to learn Java though, then 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 and you will of course need to learn Android development on top of your new Java knowledge.
Vogella is a site that’s packed with in-depth tutorials that range from the basics of setting up, all the way to some more specific and advanced concepts. The site is still free to use and makes most of its revenue from advertising and user donations. If you get some benefit from these materials, why not show some love?
Okay, so we’re don’t offer courses but you can certainly find plenty of tutorials and lots of advice for Android app developers on our own humble site. Check out the three-part Java tutorial for beginners, the Android Studio tutorial for beginners, the let’s build a simple Android app two-parter, or the three-part how to make a simple 2D platformer for Android in Unity. We’ve got tons more, so be sure to check out the Android app Development section for some inspiration.
Paid resources for Android app development
Android Nougat App Masterclass – with Free Android O Update
We featured a previous iteration of this course from Tim Buchalka a while back (when it was Learn Android App Development With Java Step by Step) and it was met with a lot of positive feedback from users. This latest version brings users right up to speed with the latest features of Android introduced with Nougat and includes instructions for building seven different apps and promises to take users from beginner to expert level throughout the 50.5 hour duration. It also focuses heavily on ensuring backwards-compatibility for your apps so that they support older versions of Android.
The course is available through Udemy, which once again means you’ll be able to work through it conveniently on your phone. Udemy is home to some of the best free and paid Android development course, so it’s worth having a look around. Do be on the look-out for heavy discounts, as most courses don’t stay full-price very long and you can potentially make some big savings. The app also often has the same courses listed at a lower price compared to the website.
If you’d like to learn more about Tim, then you can read his interview with Gary here.
The Complete Android N Developer Course
Like the idea of a paid course through Udemy but not sure Tim’s course is right for you? Another great offering comes from Rob Percival and can be found here.
The Complete Android N Developer Course is once again focussed on the latest version of Android and aims to train complete noobs all the way up to professional standards. No prior programming knowledge is needed and the entire course is expected to take 32 hours to work through.
Once more, you can read an interview with the course creator, here.
AIDE is Android-IDE, an Android an app that you can download from the Play Store and use to build and develop your own apps on the Android platform. In other words, this is a pared-down ‘Android Studio Lite’ that boasts greater portability but lacks a lot of the advanced features that you would get from a desktop IDE (Integrated Development Environment). In reality, I’m not sure many people would really use this to build their next big project. But what is interesting is the fact that you’ll be able to use it to follow along with some interactive programming lessons. 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, so give it a try and see what you think.
Envatotus+ is a paid resource that offers a broad selection of courses, including a large selection focused on Android development. 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-watch a whole bunch on a free 10-day trial.
If you prefer your lessons with a spoonful of sugar, then Treehouse has a selection of interactive learning tracks featuring puppets, quizzes and additional reading materials that aim to 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. Again, there is a free trial if you like to try before you buy.
So there you have it, a wide selection of free and paid Android app development courses. There’s a good spread here, 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!
Now all you have to do is to see your chosen course through to the end…