Mary Yasensky Delivery Manager

    How to Hire Remote Kotlin Developers to Scale Your Android or Cross-Platform Project

    If you’re considering developing an Android app for your business, you’ll probably need to hire Kotlin developers. At Surf, we have 13+ years of experience in assembling dedicated teams for projects of various sizes and complexities.

    In the blog post, you’ll find our insights about

    • The roles and responsibilities of Kotlin developers in a mobile app project.
    • Must-have hard-skills for these specialists.
    • Strategies for hiring Kotlin developers.

    What is Kotlin?

    Kotlin is a modern, statically typed programming language that runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). It is suitable for native as well as cross-platform application development using tools like Kotlin Multiplatform Mobile (KMM). The language is designed to be fully interoperable with Java code, which means it can be used alongside Java in the same projects. Kotlin was developed by JetBrains in the early 2010s. Since then, it has become widely adopted.

    Roles and responsibilities of Kotlin developer

    The main role of a Kotlin developer is to create a functional Android app according to the project’s requirements. To be more specific, the responsibilities of a Kotlin developer include

    • Developing an Android app from scratch with clear efficient code.
    • Understanding project requirements and design wireframes, converting them into functional code.
    • Maintaining high code quality and ensuring reusability.
    • Optimizing existing code.
    • Integrating APIs and third-party services as required.
    • Working with other team members, including designers and QA engineers.
    • Conducting unit testing and bug fixing to ensure error-free code.
    • Incorporating necessary security measures and technologies.
    • Kotlin app development cycle can be roughly split into four main stages: 

    1. Discovery: a project manager, UX researcher, designer, and analyst collaborate with the client to analyze the market, identify the target audience, and define the app’s functionality and design.

    2. UI design and planning: designers create an interactive prototype of the app. At the same time, analysts and developers put together business and system requirements and describe interaction patterns.

    3. Development: this is a complex process that covers not only coding but technical designing, team code review with following adjustments, adding coded functionality to master Git branch for building. 

    4. Testing: QA specialists identify bugs and developers resolve them, improving the app’s user experience.

    Kotlin developers are the essential participants of planning, development and testing prods: they dive into business logic, making sure that the resulting app solves the client’s challenges, choose the optimal architecture, write code, fix discovered bugs and continuously polish the app until the final product is released in stores for the general public.

    App for the grocery store developed by Surf
    App for the grocery store developed by Surf

    Kotlin developer requirements

    To hire proficient Kotlin developers, look for candidates with these key Android development skills

    Java knowledge. Kotlin code is interoperable with Java — meaning that Kotlin code can call and execute Java code. That’s why, developers planning to write apps in Kotlin should understand Java and its core concepts.

    Experience in Android SDK and Android Studio. Android Software Development Kit (SDK) and Android Studio are industry-standard developer tools for coding Android apps. Developers must understand how to use them for writing, testing, and debugging code.

    Understanding Agile development. Agile development involves building the app in short cycles, known as sprints. For example, at Surf we use 2-week sprints. Each sprint ends with a functional update or change to the app. Since the Agile approach is the most widely used development methodology, it’s important for Kotlin developers to be well-versed in it.

    Understanding of app lifecycle, architecture and design principles.  Even for a junior developer, knowing the fundamentals of how apps are built and work is important. This knowledge makes even basic tasks easier, improves the quality of the code, and helps the developer grow in their career.

    Knowledge of RESTful APIs and XML. Kotlin developers need to know how to integrate third-party services and connect apps with backend systems. To do this, they need a solid understanding of MVC frameworks like Spring/Play, REST/RESTful web services, HTTP protocols, data formats such as JSON, XML, and protocol buffers.

    Debugging and quality check skills. Bugs are an inevitable part of writing code. Generally, code errors can be divided into logical and syntactical and can be identified through crashes, exceptions, or minor issues when running an app. For any developer, the ability to identify problems in code and fix them is a huge part of their daily job.

    Analytical mindset and problem-solving abilities. Analytical skills help developers detect patterns, interpret data, and choose the best solution based on many factors. All of these make developers’ work more effective and productive

    Communication and time management skills. Because app development is always a team effort and often has tight deadlines, soft skills are of no less importance than hard technical skills.

    And, this goes without saying, but to write clean and maintainable Kotlin code, a developer must be familiar with this programming language.

    Twim trading app developed by Surf
    Twim trading app developed by Surf

    Kotlin developer salary

    Kolin developer salary fluctuates based on experience of a particular candidate, their skillset, and assigned tasks. For example, in the the US:

    Junior Kotlin developers typically earn $7,708 monthly and focus on app modules.
    Mid-level Kotlin developers make about $10,833 — their job involves coding more complex features, integrating APIs, and optimizing code.
    Senior level programmers usually make over $11,000, overseeing the entire development process, app version releases, and builds.

    How to hire Kotlin developers

    There are 3 main ways to hire Kotlin programmers — and the right one largely depends on project specifics:

    1. Hire in-house

    There are several benefits to an entirely in-house team:

    • You’ll have more control in terms of business practices like salary and working culture.
    • Developers will integrate seamlessly into your existing processes, like QA and DevOps.
    • They’ll work only on your tasks, which is a must for complex, large-scale projects.

    On the other hand, hiring developers will require you to set up a complete HR process within the company: from screening and interviewing candidates to handling red tape associated with in-house employees. This will inevitably come at additional operational costs.

    Also, if app development isn’t your core business, consider the implications of hiring for a short-term project. — mobile developers are some of the most expensive specialists on the market. How will you utilize them after the app is finished?

    Learn more about the best locations to hire developers in our dedicated article


    2. Hire freelancers

    Hiring Kotlin programmers through platforms like Fiverr or Upwork is another popular option.

    • This approach can reduce expenses: freelancers typically work on an hourly basis, don’t require the dedicated office space, perks and benefits of in-house employees.
    • If your team lacks specific expertise to complete a single task, it might make sense to temporarily bring in a freelancer with the right skillset.

    On the downside, it can be hard to assess how skilled a freelancer is, which increases the risk of receiving badly structured and optimized code. Also, since freelancers typically juggle multiple projects, there’s always the possibility they might not fully commit to your project, or worse, leave it midway.

    To ensure that you’re hiring highly-motivated professionals, carefully review portfolios of potential candidates before making a decision.

    3. Hire a development company

    Another option is to handle all development related to a company providing Android development services

    • These companies are experts in app development and manage all organizational aspects.
    • They will handle the whole development process, from architecture design to release to stores and post-launch support. 

    For example, we at Surf have been providing Kotlin development services for 13+ years. We’ve worked on Kotlin apps for banks, e-commerce, foodtech, healthcare, and entertainment projects. We always adhere to the best current industry practices and bring our cross-industry experience into every project.

    Along with developers, our team includes specialists to handle all other prods of project development, such as designers, analytics and QA engineers. We also supply every project with comprehensive documentation, so that it can be easily handed to an in-house team for further maintenance.

    Questions for Kotlin developer interview

    A well-structured interview will help you better assess competence of new hires — both in-house and freelancers. 

    A good approach is to start with general questions — this will help you understand the candidate’s skills and their motivation for pursuing a career as a Kotlin developer. Then, follow up with theoretical questions.

    Here are a few examples of technical questions you can ask, along with correct answers:

    Q: In Kotlin, what is the difference between val and var?

    A: Both keywords declare a variable. Var is a general non-final variable that can be changed throughout the code, while val is a final immutable variable that can be initialized only once and becomes read-only.

    Q: What structural expressions exist in Kotlin? 

    A: There are three structural jump expressions:

    #1. Break is used to terminate the nearest enclosing loop.
    #2. Return is used to return from the nearest enclosing or anonymous function.
    #3. Continue is used to proceed to the next step of the nearest enclosing loop.

    Q: What modifiers does Kotlin have?

    A: There are four visibility modifiers in Kotlin:

    #1. Public — a default modifier that makes a declaration visible to everyone.
    #2. Private makes a declaration visible only inside the file containing the declaration.
    #3. Internal modifier makes a declaration visible everywhere within the same module.
    #4. Protected acts as a private modifier but is only available for top-level declarations, making them visible in subclasses too.

    Finish the interview with a couple of quick practical tasks to test the candidates coding skills. Also, check our article for more insights on how to hire the right developer for your app.

    To sum things up

    Kotlin has become the go-to language for Android programming, leading to a large pool of developers searching for new projects. While this abundance makes it easy to find initial candidates, it also presents a challenge in identifying top-notch developers for your Kotlin job.

    Additionally, you’ll need to establish an internal HR process for integrating developers into your team permanently, which can make the hiring process seem quite daunting. 

    Outsource Kotlin development to a specialized company

    This approach allows you to focus on your core business while a development partner handles the setup and delivery of a high-quality app that meets your objectives.

    At Surf, we have a strong track-record in mobile app development for emerging startups, e-commerce players, and major banks. If you’re looking for a team to build a Kotlin app, fill out our short form and we’ll contact you to discuss details.