Select Page

Android Basics by Google, Ask the Experts, Udacity

The questions were posed and the experts have answered! Thanks so much to everyone who sent in questions about Android Development, and the new Android Basics Nanodegree by Google program. Because of your contributions, we now have a really wonderful and informative resource to share with all aspiring Android Developers.

The Experts

Today’s “Ask The Experts” session was moderated by Shanea King-Roberson, Lead Program Manager at Google, and questions were fielded by Katherine Kuan, Developer Advocate at Google, and Chris Lei, Curriculum Manager at Udacity. Katherine and Chris have together led the curriculum development for the new Android Basics program, and together they represent nearly two decades of development experience.

Shanea established the organizing principle for the session early on, noting that questions would be organized into four main categories: Prerequisites, Curriculum, After Graduation, and General Q&A.


It was no surprise that there were so many questions about prerequisites, given that our intended audience was aspiring developers with limited programming experience, and while answers varied depending on nuances within any given question, the gist of the message was consistent throughout: no experience required!

One of the really interesting questions early on had to do with identifying the core personality traits of a successful Android Developer. In framing his answer, Chris specifically mentioned “grit,” which was something Katherine stressed as well, noting that even seasoned developers get stuck, and that ultimately, one has to be fearless in difficult situations, and keep pushing forward.

End-to-End Android Training

End-to-End Android Training for Android Development

As the session moved into curriculum territory, all three of our speakers spent time discussing the “End-to-End Android Training” now available through Udacity (by virtue of Android Basics having been launched), and how this model can support developers at different stages of their education.

These discussions were then followed by a series of philosophical questions around striking the right balance between teaching broad, foundational theory, and essentially getting students to just dive in and start building right away. As Katherine made clear, we’ve opted for a “dive in and build” approach, in order to provide students with quick wins and shareable apps, and especially, to get students excited about Android Development—because there is truly nothing quite like the excitement of seeing your first app come to life!

Not everything was philosophical, of course—both Chris and Katherine got into some technical territory as well, as for example when Chris took on a question about API interactions:

“A lot of application experiences are inherently reliant on things that are not local to the device. So in the 3rd course of the Android Basics program, we’re going to be focusing on how to interact with a web API, so you’ll learn how to read the documentation from a bunch of different services, but more than anything, understand the process of how to request information across the internet, and then extract it into your apps. So, really useful skillset, and you’ll probably find  yourself doing it in a lot of app scenarios.”

After Graduation

During the “After Graduation” portion of the talk, Shanea took some time to highlight the real-world applicability of the program’s approach:

“We’ve set the student up for for real job scenarios after graduation, like how to work with a team, and how to read a code base that’s not necessarily your own (because you’re not always going to be creating an app from scratch), and how to think about bigger problems when you’re just adding a single feature, and how that fits in with the entire app.”

Android Basics Nanodegree by Google

We highly recommend watching the full session, as there really is just a wealth of information on offer for any aspiring developer with an interest in Android. Plus, not only will you find out what Chris Lei thinks is the true “special sauce” of the Android Basics Nanodegree by Google program, you’ll get to hear Katherine tackle the big question, the one that gets asked all the time:

“Does this program prepare you for an engineer job at Google?”

Enjoy the video, and stay tuned for future “Ask The Experts” sessions. Until then, keep on developing!

Android Basics Nanodegree by Google


Christopher Watkins
Christopher Watkins
Christopher Watkins is Senior Writer and Chief Words Officer at Udacity. He types on a MacBook or iPad by day, and either an Underwood, Remington, or Royal by night. He carries a Moleskine everywhere.