Android Developer Job Interview: Questions and Skills You Need to Know

For roughly 15 years, mobile development has attracted millions of technologists. Android and iOS developers remain in high demand within companies of all sizes. While many technologists gravitate toward Apple’s platform, Android remains the largest in the world—with handsome compensation to match, if you have the right skills and background. 

According to Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, the median salary for Android development skills is $104,000 per year, rising to $128,000 for those with roughly a decade of Android-related experience. 

Fortunately for anyone looking to become an Android developer, the most recent Stack Overflow developer survey shows Android-related languages and skills are among the most popular. The Android development community is particularly buoyed by Google’s recent shift to Kotlin as a first-class language for Android development; in addition, popular frameworks such as Flutter can make it easier to build apps. 

If you’re looking to land a job as an Android developer, now is the perfect time to brush up on existing skills and reframe your application materials to showcase new skills you’re picking up. We spoke to experts to find out how you can ace the interview process—and earn yourself a new job doing what you love.

Questions to Expect in the Android Developer Interview Process

You’ll be asked myriad questions in any tech interview process. These are a few you should expect for an Android developer interview:

  • What languages does Android use?
  • What databases are you most familiar with?
  • Do you participate in open-source development?
  • Describe what an Android framework is and why it’s important.
  • What’s the difference between implicit and explicit intent?
  • Define the four essential activity states for Android.
  • Describe the data flow in an Android application.

Master the answers to these questions and you’ll make a great impression on someone who has a say in whether you’re hired. Daniel Cooper, Managing Director at Lolly Co, tells Dice: “The Android app lifecycle is complex, but the more you know [about it] the better prepared you’ll be. Be able to discuss what third party libraries you use, and why. Tests are usually algorithmic if they happen at all. Also, make sure your portfolio projects are still live.”

David Galownia, CEO at Slingshot, suggests that having a tidy portfolio is a good way to stand out in a crowded marketplace: “As expected, a developer needs to write clean, organized, and quality code. Almost any development firm you interview with will have some kind of development test to assess how you would tackle certain situations/tasks. Be prepared to tackle this when you go in for your interview.”

The Best Android Developer Skills

Wendy Liu, partner at Vaco, says that, when it comes to candidates for Android developer jobs, “an understanding of the latest versions of the languages and automation tools” stands out. 

Robert Hourie and Cathal McAliskey of tech recruiting firm GemPool gave us their list of must-haves for any Android developer candidate:

  • Development experience with Java and Kotlin.
  • Experience working in Agile/lean methodologies.
  • Understanding of RESTful API’s.
  • Experience with MV or MVVM design patterns.
  • Expertise in building and releasing applications to Google Play.

Hourie and McAliskey tell Dice: “Java OR Kotlin skills are usually tested through a timed tech test or technical assignment.” Candidates should be prepared to be timed during technical aptitude evaluations. It’s important to note finishing the test isn’t always the most important factor—progress and being able to explain your thought process are critical. If you just write code like crazy and can’t fully explain what you did, interviewers may lose faith in your abilities.

Derek St. Onge, Head of Talent at Stytch, notes “strong algorithm knowledge” is important because “a lot of companies test for this.” Indeed, the Android developer interview is a gauntlet of technological know-how, but it’s not everything.

Master Soft Skills

Experts agree that mastering soft skills is key for any developer job. Hourie and McAliskey emphasize: “Communication skills are vital. All companies will assess how effective a communicator you are.”

Galownia adds: “An Android developer will need to communicate with stakeholders and their team members to execute on projects of various sizes and complexity. When interacting directly with a client or your team, you’ll need to be able to understand and explain both business and technical situations and jargon.”

Humility is another soft skill technologists should employ. If you’re asked a question you don’t know the answer to, simply explain you’re not experienced in that technology—and spin it into a tale of how you learned a similarly complex language or skill quickly. This will convince an interviewer that you can upskill to fit a company’s needs. 

If you want to land the job and potentially boost your starting salary, learn the following skills to add value to your candidacy:

  • Mutithreading
  • UX
  • Kotlin
  • RESTful
  • SVN
  • Appium
  • Augmented Reality
  • Cocoa
  • Benchmarking
  • Design patterns

Kotlin is quickly becoming a must-have skillset as Android migrates away from Java to a more modern language. If you’re serious about Android development, get serious about Kotlin.

Questions to Ask in an Android Developer Interview 

St. Onge advises Android developer candidates to ask about the relationship between the company’s Android and iOS teams. This is smart advice; often, companies want their mobile apps to look and behave the same way, and it may be critical that the two disparate teams sync and utilize similar technologies when applicable.

To that end, St. Onge says you should ask whether app development is native, or if a platform like React is in use. Native or not, ask how much of the stack you’ll be involved with, too.

Hourie and McAliskey say inquiring about existing projects can tell you a lot about how the team works internally, and what technologies they may be employing. Cooper notes it’s smart to ask what challenges they’re facing in developing ongoing projects—just be careful not to pry.

At the earliest stages of the interview process, ask about the company culture, and more specifically team culture and dynamics. Even non-answers to seemingly basic questions can send up red flags, so be mindful of the responses you receive.