Google: Take our free Kotlin programming language courses to build Android apps

Google offers free lessons to help up-and-coming developers build Android apps using Kotlin.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Android-maker Google is injecting cash to further its mission to attract more developers who can build apps for the world's most popular operating system

The advertising and tech giant has announced new free video courses to help up-and-coming programmers learn Kotlin, the fastest-growing programming language on Microsoft-owned GitHub

It's part of Google's effort to shift Android app makers from Oracle-owned Java to Kotlin, the official Android programming language from JetBrains, a Czech-based integrated development environment (IDE) maker.

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Since last year, Google has been working with online developer education company Udacity to provide free lessons and has now packaged them as 'codelab courses that are formatted like tutorials'. 

The courses are aimed at developers who have some experience in programming object-oriented, statically typed languages like Java or C# and who've used IDEs such as JetBrains' IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio, Eclipse, or Microsoft's Visual Studio. Students will need to install the Java Development Kit (JDK) and IntelliJ.

Google promotes Kotlin as a "concise" and "modern object-oriented language [that] offers a strong type system, type inference, null safety, properties, lambdas, extensions, coroutines, higher-order functions". 

It started offering free courses last year via the Kotlin Bootcamp course and is now offering them in the Google Developers Codelabs format.

"Google and Udacity currently offer video-based courses for Kotlin Bootcamp and How to build Android apps in Kotlin," said Jocelyn Becker, senior program manager of Google Developer Training.

"To help people that learn in different ways, we have recently reworked these courses to publish them as tutorial-based codelab courses. More than 2.5 million users have worked through Google codelabs like this just this year."

Google announced "first-class" support for Kotlin in 2017, and since then it's become one of the most popular languages to understand. Kotlin interoperates with Java and its libraries, and is included with JetBrains' IntelliJ IDEA integrated development environment and Android Studio.

The company promises mobile app developers who take the courses will "learn everything you need to program in Kotlin", including how to write Kotlin statements and writing builtin functions

Developers will get to build an interactive user interface on one screen and end with a multi-screen Google Developer Group (GDG) Finder app that gets data from a live server on the internet. 

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Also on the menu are Android Jetpack components and community libraries, including Glide for image loading, Retrofit for networking, and Moshi for JSON parsing. 

At the end of the course, Google promises developers will have created 10 apps that become a portfolio to show off to potential employers or customers.

While Google is priming developers to boost Android, Microsoft last week launched a new video training series to help developers learn the popular Python open-source programming language. The pay-off for Microsoft is that aspiring developers could start using Azure Machine Learning services. 

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