Android Struggle: The baby steps

On December 2017 I added the blog page to my professional website in order to be able to share with you my thoughts about programming. Since then, I have planned several articles to post, but always something comes up as an obstacle every time I try to write my thoughts on a white paper. Finally I am writing my first post and its context is about my first steps on developing applications in the Android platform.

1. Introduction

The summer of 2017, two of the most valuable persons in my life, Dimitris and Georgios, an iOS and an Android developer at that point of time, came for vacations in my home island, in Crete. We had the chance to spend a few hours together. Of course, we ended up talking about coding under the sun at the beach and the technologies that they were using in order to develop their projects.

They managed to unveil a whole new world and to convey their passion to me.

Their passion was the spark I needed in order to move forward.

2. Start point

A few months later, I started studying on my own for the android platform. I felt passionate about that new technology and I was excited for all the new knowledge that I would acquire in the future.

I planned every single step in detail and I started keeping notes. I also started to reading tutorials, articles, documentation, to attending online courses and to experimenting.

3. Commitment

I decided that I would work hard.

Actually, I haven’t stop working hard yet.

Every single small step forward made me feel more excited, passionate, strong and confident.

One year later, on October 2018, I pushed the “pause” button for a few days. I was thinking a lot about programming and my life’s new goals. I decided that programming is my passion and that I want to work as a programmer for the rest of my life. I realized also that mobile development is the scientific field I wanted to put my efforts on.

4. Online courses

The very first stepping stone in the whole procedure was Udacity. At Udacity I found an important source of knowledge, courage and the necessary inspiration for my first baby steps.

The “Android basics nanodegree” program gave me the chance to understand the basic notions of the Android platform and explore a new world of software development.

I decided to take the path of the free version because I couldn’t afford the cost of the paid version at that time.

Practically that means that you can learn on your own self pace but at the same time you are alone, no project reviews and no mentorship.

5. Learning path

I was following the learning path of the nanodegree and in parallel I was reading a lot. Everything from documentation to online tutorials and every single article that seemed to be helpful and should manage to get me in to the point of the subject.

The program was separated in five courses; “User Interface”, “User Input”, “Multiscreen Apps”, “Networking” and “Data Storage”.

First, we had to understand the basics of the android platform so at the “User Interface” course we just created a simple app that was showing an image on the UI. After the first baby steps, we learnt how to respond to the user’s input. The “User Input” course led to the development of a small coffee ordering app, the “Only Java” app.

Next we dag more, “Multiscreen Apps” course was a chance to explore the Android SDK in a more wide field, the purpose of the course was to create a small app in order to preserve an almost dead native American language, Miwok, the so-called “Miwok” app.

The fourth step was a huge challenge to me. During the “Networking” course we explored the USGS API and we developed an app, the “Quake Report” app, that was filling the user’s screen with the ten most recent earthquake events in the whole world, ordered by either their magnitude or the time that had been occurred.

At the last step, we learnt how to preserve data locally in the user’s device. The purpose of the “Data Storage” course was to help us understand how to combine the SQLite database technology with the Android platform. The context of the app made me to enjoy the most the final route of this amazing journey. The “Pets” app provided the staff of an imaginary “pets’ shelter” the chance to store the pets’ data on a database. In an ideal scenario the data would be used for analysis and for helping people in the adoption procedure.

6. Inspiration

My very first application called “A just because card”, which was the final project of the “User Interface” course, is dedicated to Dimitris and Georgios as a huge “Thank you” for all that valuable help and inspiration.

Nothing of all this would have ever been happened without the contribution of Dimitris-Sotiris Tsolis and Georgios Tsaousidis. They are the source of the inspiration and pathos that makes me to continue moving forward and pushing myself beyond my limits.

“Thank you” guys, keep up with the hard work. I am so proud of you!

7. Future plans

At the present, almost two years later, I am still working hard with pathos and commitment in order to acquire more knowledge and expand my skill set.

I will never stop to work hard and to develop myself as a developer and as an individual.

My future plans involve more studying and practice. The target for the next few months is to master Java and enhance my knowledge in the fields of RxJava, React and of course Kotlin.

The “Miwok” app gave me the inspiration for the “¿Hablas Español?”, my first personal pet project, which I hope to get be published on the Google Play soon.

8. Conclusion

The change of my career’s learning path from “web development” to “mobile development” helped me to boost my learning efforts and provided me with a total new perspective of the software development field.

I feel grateful for all those amazing things I have learnt the past two years and I am looking forward for the next challenges. I expect them to be tough!

Mastering a new technology is always a difficult matter, but the most difficult part is the very first step. Fortunately, Android has detailed documentation and a huge developer community.

Thank you for reading this article.

If I have managed to get you inspired, I shall be well satisfied.

Until next time, remember to always work hard, always work with pathos and dream big.