How to Learn Kotlin for Android Development
If you have spent any significant amount of time around computers, then no doubt you have at least heard of the programming language Java. Java is an object-oriented programming language that has been around since the mid-1990s. But recently, it has given way to more streamlined coding languages, such as Kotlin. Now you can learn Kotlin along with Java.
Kotlin was developed out of necessity, as Java was falling short when it came to developing mobile apps for Android. Apps programmed with Java resulted in lag, missing features, and other developmental headaches.
Kotlin has managed to solve the contentious relationship between Java and Android apps. Let’s see what it takes to learn this programming language.
What Is Kotlin?
Kotlin is an open-source, object-oriented programming language. Developed by JetBrains in 2011, Kotlin is perfect for Android development.
It has strong ties to Java and is compatible with projects that shift between the languages. It includes all of the most useful aspects of Java, and includes them in a new, smoother Android developmental cycle. Android apps written in Kotlin display a lot of the same Java frameworks, but have none of the downsides.
Kotlin functions using Java’s standard library, which allows Android app developers to continue to use the reliable Java virtual machine (JVM). Using a JVM, Kotlin coders can harness the effectiveness of Java along with Kotlin’s ability to easily optimize apps that have been created for Android.
You can think of Kotlin as a more updated version of Java. While Java is one of the top coding languages, Kotlin streamlines its processes for Android development.
What Jobs Use Kotlin Skills?
Learning Kotlin doesn’t have to just be a hobby. Mastering Java and Kotlin can easily lead to job offers. Below are a few of the occupations you might find yourself in if you learn Kotlin.
- Software engineering. If you become a software engineer, it is quite possible that you will need Kotlin skills. Software engineering is a diverse field with many areas of specialization, including app and software development, and user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) development.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers earned an average of $107,510 per year. Besides the impressive salary, the career itself is expected to grow by up to 22 percent over the next decade.
- Web development. Web development, like software engineering, is a multifaceted career choice. Becoming a web developer can be broken down into three categories, front-end, backend, and full-stack development. You can choose whether you want to learn Kotlin to create a more appealing user experience, or to work behind the scenes.
- Computer programming. Learning Kotlin can definitely help you become a better programmer. Learning Java, Kotlin, and other languages will lead to more career opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that computer programmers earn an average of $86,550 per year even if their highest education achieved is a bachelor’s degree.
Steps to Learn Kotlin
1. Get Familiar With Programming
This is the logical first step, as Java and Kotlin are both programming languages. Whether coding is hard to learn depends on your experience with technology. What we can say is that it’s well worth the time and effort to learn a coding language, especially Kotlin and Java. You can even find resources that will help you learn to code for free if you’re reluctant to make a financial commitment.
2. Practice With Java and Kotlin
Although Kotlin is the ideal language for Android development, that doesn’t mean learning Java is a waste of time. It’s important to learn both. Java is a great foundation, as it can be used to develop games, websites, and apps. Although Kotlin is the leader in terms of Android development, Java is still worth mastering.
3. Take Online Kotlin Courses
Online courses are a great way to learn any subject, including coding. Even free courses that don’t tackle advanced Kotlin concepts are still a good way for beginners to get an idea of what they can expect from the language.
Some online Kotlin courses also give students the option to earn certificates. A certificate in any programming language can make your resume stand out when you’re job hunting.
4. Enroll in a Coding Bootcamp
Coding bootcamps are unique, in-depth coding courses. Depending on the school, curriculum, and subject, these bootcamps can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This form of learning is usually much cheaper than a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree in computer science. Bootcamps also offer more specialized knowledge than a bachelor’s program, including expert advice from industry experts.
5. Create Android Apps with Kotlin
After you have sufficiently built up your coding skills, it’s time to start creating. Making your own Android apps, games, or other software is an important step toward making sure you are very comfortable with Kotlin. It is also a good way to bolster your portfolio to impress hiring managers.
The Best Courses to Learn Kotlin
Online Kotlin courses are among the best methods for learning. Whether you choose to take a free course or a paid online course that is part of a more extensive curriculum, there are plenty of options to get you started.
Let’s check out some courses that cover Kotlin essentials.
Brought to you by Android Developers, this is a good first stop on your journey to learning Kotlin. By the end of the course, you will have all the information you need to develop Android apps.
There are a few prerequisites to getting started. You should understand basic file structures and be comfortable with downloading and updating software.
If you are already familiar with rudimentary computer programming, this course won’t be difficult. You can then move on to more advanced Android Developers courses after completing this one.
This Udemy course taught by expert Android developers is perfect for Kotlin beginners and intermediates. With 62 hours of HD video lectures, students will cover the fundamentals of Kotlin and will start developing their own Android apps.
If you are already well-versed in Java, this is a good option to start transitioning into Kotlin. The course will help you gain valuable skills that you can apply to future jobs, and will allow you to diversify your coding knowledge. You will learn the key differences between Java and Kotlin, and develop Android apps and programs using Kotlin.
Codecademy course creators Alex DiStasi and Galina Podstrechnaya have cobbled together this perfect beginners’ course for anyone who aspires to learn Kotlin, or switch from Java to Kotlin.
Students will learn the background and basics of Kotlin, and why it’s ideal for Android development. The instructors expect the students to take away many skills, such as writing clean code and creating Android apps. As part of the coursework, students will complete online quizzes, assignments, and projects.
As we mentioned earlier, coding bootcamps can be an invaluable resource if you want to learn to code quickly. Udacity has created this coding bootcamp specifically for Kotlin.
The course, taught by industry experts, includes self-paced learning, quizzes, and other materials to make sure you learn every aspect of Kotlin. This class works well for beginners or for developers looking to switch from Java to Kotlin.
Developed by Kotlin creator JetBrains, this free course is intended for those who are already familiar with Java. Under the guidance of experts Andrey Breslav and Svetlana Isakova, Java developers will master Kotlin by the end of the course.
The coursework is self-paced, and focuses on why Kotlin is useful and how it works alongside Java.
Best Kotlin Resources
If you have already completed a few courses or just want to learn a little more about Kotlin, there are some great supplemental resources you can check out. These books, forums, and documents are all available online.
Kotlin in Action by Dmitry Jemerov and Svetlana Isakova
This definitive Kotlin tome, clocking in at a little over 350 pages, is suitable for first-time Android app developers. Jemerov and Isakova, who developed Kotlin at JetBrains, let readers in on the basics of Kotlin and its compatibility with Java.
Readers will first study the primary lines of code, nullable types, ‘Hello World,’ and null safety. By the end of the book, users will have a clear understanding of how to use this coding language for Android development.
This website is an excellent overview of Kotlin. The documents take Android app developers through the steps of accessing and typing out rudimentary lines of code and harnessing the language for Android development. The documents include information on compilation times and other development tools.
Developed by JetBrains, IntelliJ IDEA is a software that optimizes Java to Kotlin. It can be used for smart coding and boosting productivity.
IntelliJ IDEA can be used by any individual or team that specializes in Android development. The software is not limited to Kotlin. It can also be used with C++ for game development.
Why Learn Kotlin?
If you’re a developer who works primarily with Android, then Kotlin could save you time and effort. You could use Java in Android Studio, but you’ll be missing out on useful features that can only be harnessed using Kotlin.
There are more than enough resources, online courses, and websites offering expert advice to assist you in the switch from Java to Kotlin. Pick some of the courses and resources above to learn how to efficiently create the best possible Android apps.