Introducing The Android Kotlin Developer Nanodegree
Written by Nikos Vaggalis   
Monday, 26 October 2020

The old Android Java Developer Nanodegree is shelved, making way for the new kid on the block - Kotlin

By now everybody has been aligned to the fact that Android development is dominated by Kotlin.What's surprising is the rapid adoption rate.In just a couple of years it has totally wiped out the ways of Java development on the platform, and that without any formal education offerings. Udacity to address that need for formality and certification now releases the Android Kotlin Developer Nanodegree.

Until recently the course about Android on Udacity's platform was the one with Java.I know it well since I graduated from it and even documented every step on my way in my mega 7-part Insider's Guide to Udacity Android Developer Nanodegree series which climaxed with the building of a mobile phone comparison engine app that runs on Android-powered devices and communicates with a Perl/Dancer server as the backend.

My app was released to the Playstore as part of the course Capstone project requirements, but recently was taken down due to Google was updating its policies and ruled that it was "Missing or inaccurate target audience information". However, as it was just a proof of concept application rather than it having any real commercial value; I wasn't worried that it was taken down..

Since I graduated, the development landscape of the Android platform has changed a lot, breaking backwards compatibility every step of the way. It's not just the introduction of Kotlin that has changed the face of development, but the whole revamping of the platform, the libraries and the way of building apps.

Admittedly, developing for the platform has never been an easy task to undertake. Memory leaks, notorious fragment handling and asynchronous programming, transactional exceptions, orientation changes, Listeners everywhere, fragmentation of version releases, confusion regarding the correct versions of libraries etc have rendered the effective building of apps a difficult proposition.The answer to these problems was the Architecture Components.

The Java-based Nanodegree, had a minor update to cover the Android Architecture Components, something we've detailed in Udacity's Android Developer Nanodegree Updated To Android Architecture Components; but the Kotlin train had already departed, waving Java goodbye.

Of course, at that time Kotlin was a new language and hadn't been widely adopted by the industry and you had to know the language in order to jump on the Android platform and do something useful with it. More educational material was necessary.So Udacity, once again at the forefront, launched the free Udacity Kotlin BootCamp for Programmers to bring Kotlin to the masses. Despite Kotlin mostly being known because of Android, the course treated Kotlin as a general programming language applicable to all sort of sectors and not just to Android.

A year later the Developing Android Apps with Kotlin course followed, free again, for a quick 2-month introduction to Kotlin, but now focusing on Android. Now with the new Android Kotlin Developer Nanodegree, Udacity goes all out with the full deal, a whole Nanodegree dedicated to the subject.

So what's in store?
With a duration of 4 months, and again in collaboration with Google, it aims to teach:

  • Android development platform best-practices, Android Studio, Android Jetpack and Kotlin.

  • Designing engaging interfaces that implement modern Android components to effectively build compelling features for the end user.

  • Incorporating remote data into an app by utilizing RESTful interfaces and web APIs.

  • Organizing, storing, retrieving, and displaying content on an Android device to provide users with a more consistent, performant, and accessible experience, even while offline.

  • Integrating hardware capabilities such as location to provide users with mobile enriched features within an Android app.

  • Architecting an Android app using the established MVVM pattern for scalability and performance.

All that is broken down into four courses:

Course 1: Developing Android Apps with Kotlin
Teaches the common Android UI components to build a basic user interface, handle user input and Android
lifecycle events, and create dynamic and navigable interfaces using constraint-based layouts.

Project 1: Building a Shoe Store app

Course 2: Developing Android Apps with Kotlin
How to implement data persistence, display collections of
data to users using RecyclerView, and use APIs to connect to, store, and retrieve data.

Project 2: Create an app to view the asteroids detected by NASA that pass near Earth

Course 3: Advanced Android Apps with Kotlin
How to enhance the application’s functionality and drive user engagement using Android’s robust notification system, build custom views, and use canvas drawing to allow for the update of a display based on data or user interactions.

Project 3: Creating an Application Loading status bar

Course 4: Advanced Android Apps with Kotlin
How to build an app with location awareness and Google Maps.
Project 4: Location reminder

Capstone Project: Design and build either a custom Android application inspired by your own idea, or a Political Preparedness application that will deliver civic data to end users via the app.

This Nanodegree requires prior familiarity with Kotlin language syntax, so IProgrammer has a few suggestions on where with the basics before tackling the Nanodegree. If you are Java based, then to help out in your transition check the Java to Kotlin Rosetta Stone which does a side-by-side comparison of Java and Kotlin, covering features, variables, functions, classes, collections. Continue with "Refactoring to Kotlin Codelab" which shows how to convert Java to Kotlin using Kotlin's idioms working on top of the automated conversion done by tools and IDE's. And of course check the free Kotlin Bootcamp which I mention in this news piece. And if you want to go deeper there's Programmer's Guide to Kotlin by Mike James and his Android Programming in Kotlin: Starting With An App.

Based on my past experience of the Android Java Nanodegree, I'm expecting this one too to be challenging but rewarding and that people graduating from it will have *really* learned what's needed to be a successful Android developer.


More Information

Android Kotlin Developer Nanodegree

Related Articles

Insider's Guide to Udacity Android Developer Nanodegree series

Android Studio 4.1 - No Relief In Sight

Android Studio 4 - Not One Giant Leap For Android Programming

Kotlin BootCamp for Programmers

Developing Android Apps with Kotlin

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Last Updated ( Monday, 26 October 2020 )