Google is reportedly hard at work on an Android-powered smartwatch that will debut sometime this year. Should the device become a hit, it could spark more of a market for Android smartwatch apps.
Engadget states the watch could drop in May, just in time for Google’s annual I/O show. The search engine giant often uses that show to flash its latest and greatest technologies, including (in past years) virtual-reality headsets and new updates to cloud-based services such as Google Maps. Rumors suggest the Google watch might have a circular face, which would differentiate the hardware from Apple’s squarish designs.
This isn’t Google’s first attempt at a dominating smartwatch ecosystem. Android Wear made its debut in ye olden days of 2014, then rebranded the software as “Wear OS” four years later. Wear OS has been updated through last year, and some manufacturers (most notably Samsung) have done well by making it the software foundation for their own smartwatches. However, Google issuing its own smartwatch has a chance to revitalize the market and present more of a competitor to the Apple Watch.
Whether or not you’re interested in building smartwatch apps, it’s always a good time to examine the job market for those with Android-related skills. According to Emsi Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country, demand for Android-related skills is expected to increase 10 percent over the next two years. The median salary for jobs asking for Android skills is $103,000 per year, which is pretty fantastic by the standards of tech salaries.
As you can see from the chart, the tech jobs with the most need for Android skills are Android developer (obviously) and mobile developer (also obviously). Android is much less of a factor when applying for jobs such as software developer or even Java developer (which is surprising, because Java is the programming language behind the platform, along with Kotlin); but if those positions’ workflows involve mobile, chances are good that Android will become a significant factor.
If you’re interested in a career as an Android developer (or even just spinning up a side hustle), start by familiarizing yourself with Android Studio, the operating system's integrated development environment (IDE). You may also want to consider obtaining certain certifications, including Google’s Associate Android Developer certification. Deep knowledge of Java and Kotlin is a must, along with Android design principles; once you’ve mastered those, get ready for the application and interview process.