How I learned Android

Published Nov 05, 2017
How I learned Android

About me

I was an ambitious middle-schooler when I decided I wanted to learn android. My friends who already knew most stuff in android and react native (I thought they were genius for knowing any code back then) would taunt me about not knowing too.

Why I wanted to learn Android

I knew at that point that enough was enough. Not because I was tired of the taunting, but instead that it inspired me not to be taunt-able. So it was time to learn, but where did I start? Everyone seemed to be finding some secret potion or knowledge source that made them immediately enlightened to the most niche parts of code, yet I couldn't seem even to find the basics.

How I approached learning Android

Well I knew one thing. w3 schools, codeacademy, and other sites targeted toward me weren't going to cut it by a long shot. Youtube was my next best option. Promising, except for the fact that I was clueless as to what I should even search for. Then came codementor. I allocated that following summer to building a chat app for my school's staff, and with the help of codementor, I finished two weeks earlier than expected and could replicate the whole thing on my own.

Challenges I faced

Still, I faced a massive hurdle. I was now able to start a simple app and use a fixed set of syntax, but what if I wanted to expand my knowledge? What if I wanted to use another API, or make a completely different project? What I needed most was not to make a chat app, it was to learn how to learn.

Key takeaways

In the end, I figured it out. The best thing to do is to have a goal. Maybe it's making a simple android app, or maybe it's automating a space-probe to successfully leverage orbital gravity to reach the edge of the solar system. The point is that once you have a goal, you can start breaking it down into smaller and smaller tasks to complete, and once you can't go further for all practical purposes, you can google and youtube the fragments you have left.

Tips and advice

Never let any sized project overwhelm you. If ever you find yourself frustrated and confused staring at your screen for over 20 minutes, you should probably grab a cup of tea or coffee or jazz and start thinking, 'cause staring isn't thinking. Once you do, it should become clearer. If not, paper and pencil, as old-fashioned as it seems, is often a developer's greatest asset and hero in this sort of situation. Draw it out how you understand it. Then try to understand what you wrote. Break it down as previously stated but on paper to have visual representation. If that doesn't help you see what you need to do, I don't know what will.

Final thoughts and next steps

I think my final thought on this is that although android is great, you should not confine yourself to it. In fact, every great developer sees languages not as something to get cosy and settle down with, but instead as a tool which has only certain applications. It's just a bunch of other code made so you don't need to write all the other stuff, not your spouse. The misconception that one language may do everything you need is what leads many developers into deep frustration as they soon realize some things are better done in others just due to the sheer compatibility and availability of resources and the variability of such.

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