Main image of article Android Basics in Kotlin: Google's New Beginner Course

If you’ve always desired to write Android apps, but don’t have much experience with programming, Google wants to make things a little easier for you. The company’s new online course, Android Basics in Kotlin, could give you the crucial knowledge necessary to put your very own apps together.  

This isn’t Google’s first attempt to bring deeper knowledge of Kotlin (and Android app building) to the masses. Four years ago, it launched the Android Basics curriculum, which walked students through Android Studio and other tools, as well as the fundamentals of building user interfaces, working with databases, and squishing some simple bugs. This latest coursework is an attempt to have new developers embrace Kotlin, which Google named a first-class language for Android development. 

“To build your confidence, the Android Basics in Kotlin course offers step-by-step instructions on how to use Android Studio to build apps, as well as how to run them on an Android device (or virtual device),” reads Google’s official blog posting on the matter. “The goal is to expose you to the tools and resources that professional Android developers use. With hands-on practice, you learn the fundamentals of programming. By the end of the course, you will have completed a collection of Android apps to start building a portfolio.”

For those interested in expanding their Kotlin knowledge even further, Google offers additional courses in the language, including Kotlin Bootcamp for ProgrammersAndroid Kotlin Fundamentals, and, for those with a bit more experience, Advanced Android in Kotlin.

It’s clear that Google is trying to shift more of its internal coding work over to Kotlin, as well. For example, a new postingon Google’s Android Developer portal describes how the Google Home team has been weaving Kotlin into the digital assistant’s codebase, resulting in a significant reduction in the amount of required code compared to Java, the original language for Android:

“One example is the use of data classes and the Parcelize plugin: a class which was 126 hand-written lines in Java can now be represented in just 23 lines in Kotlin—an 80% reduction. Additionally, equality and parcelizing methods can be automatically generated and kept up to date. Many nested loops and filtering checks were also simplified using the functional methods available in Kotlin.”

According to HackerRank’s 2020 Developer Skills Report, which collects and analyzes survey responses from 116,000 developers worldwide, Kotlin was third among programming languages that developers were planning on learning next. Although Kotlin isn’t nearly as ubiquitous as languages such as Python or JavaScript, Google’s seal of approval has given it a heady dose of momentum among software developers and engineers. Many suspect that Google’s support for Kotlin is not unrelated to the little spat with Oracle over Java API copyright and Android; whatever the broader reasons for trying to leave Java behind, though, it’s clear that Google wants those new to Android to treat Kotlin as the primary language for the platform.