Is it possible to get a job (Android developer) without having a Google Play portfolio?

Sorry, if the question sounds stupid. But I am serious.

Background. I want to get a job in the Android industry and I’ve been learning Java/Android programming for some months already. At the moment I use a lot of Google services and I even have a Google Play Developer account with 2 released apps. At the same time I’ve been reading A LOT about privacy and security - and those Google’s (not to mention others) wicked practices. Also I am not happy with the latest Google I/O event and their A.I.-first focus. I don’t want to be tracked and analyzed and so on. You know what I mean. So the question arises:

I would love to be a professional Android developer, but I don’t want to have any Google accounts. With no apps published on Google Play - but published on BitBucket, here on F-Droid and on my own personal website - will the potential employer look at me “badly”? It’s not a problem for me to work with Google services in the context of professional environment, but before that I need to show my skills and this really bothers me that I don’t want to show them via Google Play.

I would love to hear your opinions, especially if your are a pro.

EDIT: typos.

If I were an employer, I’d be more interested in learning about your projects, why you do them and where the source code is. Whether or not they’re on Google Play should not be important.

And if anyone asks, you can always just say the truth - that you prefer distributing on places like F-Droid or on your own.

Professional Android dev here. I think your success will depend largely on the employer. f they know about open source and F-Droid, this might not be a problem. But if they only know Android as a casual user, you might have a harder time to convince them.

One particular problem I can see is showing how many people use your app. On Google Play, there’s a clear number of downloads, but F-Droid doesnt have any statistics at all. But if you can show eg activity on Github, that might not be such a big problem.

Thanks for the answers!

After thinking about them I came to the conclusion that maybe the best way is to have a Google account just for the Android dev portfolio in a widely recognized place (that is, Google Play), but at the same time working hard with other channels (like F-Droid) - so just to have the best things of both worlds.

Later on, when someone will finally hire me, I will abandon Google account and Google Play if they will not be as important anymore. But for now, since I don’t have any professional experience in the field, having clear statistics on Google Play seems to be too important to not have them in the first place. Anyway, I can’t leave Google account right now due to some other responsibilities, so yeah, my shift will be slow but steady. The most important thing is, I will leave other Google services and focus on Android stuff only. Thanks again!

So you have to pick between known spying, adding to it, and the amount of jobs supposedly only available to people with a google account.

For the case of argument, you could be viewed negatively the other way around too, seeing as those hiring with the interest of not spying or leaking data may want you not to.

In any event, think about it, you might be asked about it.

Your supposed dilemma is a false dichotomy in that it isn’t as if that is the only thing you are asking.
Your control group is you with or without an account.
Working on free software, commercially or not, you are already not a generic sample group.
So most people will get hired on account of, or asked about their playstore efforts, because that is what there is to look at.

Do people whom contribute to Android free software have trouble finding Android jobs? Is it more of a problem without a google account and apps on the playstore? Doesn’t sound very plausible to me, and minute if so.


kingu, what would you do in my place? Tell me straightfoward, please!

Also, if your post was more of a philosophical nature rather than of pragmatic, I’d like to know your and others opinion on this:

Do you think that acting like this means I am a pharisee?

…Because I am against Google and its tracking services and so on, but at the same time I want to be an Android developer who will use Google services to track or at least analyze peoples behavior (how they use the apps and so on by those analytical instruments provided by Google) to gain money profit. In the end, I want to have money for a living, of course, and doing everything with free and open-source stuff is not going to give me food, realistically.

Anyway, personally, I feel I’m not honest: since I want to entirely quit Google, at the same time I want to make money thanks to them in some way. That means fighting against corpo-trackers and being in their team at the same time (at least in some way, like I said)…

Any advice or suggestion will be very helpful since I’m not searching for the job yet, but learning. I still have some time. I will create free and open-source apps, but will I be the part of the industry?(Meaning: the industry = Google and using Google services through my potential apps).

I would keep learning, and rather focus on the stuff you like. I have been down the road of doing things the wrong way for money, and it is at odds with why I like technology.

Statistics are just that, if you want to get things done right, you try, and then ask for opinions. There are other ways of doing statistics, that you can opt into, but it does not replace peer review. Sitting down with someone directly, asking them the right questions, is invaluable.

My reasoning was that a google account, seems important, because it is, for other people. Of the ones that don’t, and have other stuff to show forth, things aren’t bad. It also makes sense overall, rather than going with a 50-50 thing. You can always get there later if the one approach doesn’t work out for you.

I think you nailed it with this.

Well, I somehow forgot that the world is as it is. Most people knows nothing about what Google does behind the curtains and I was one of them just 6 months ago. (“Personalized ads? Bring it on!”).

Yeah, we know about spying, analyzing and so on, but still there are people who don’t. One of the apps I’m currently working on is a set of privacy and security tools and actions for ordinary persons. For people who just use Facebook and Gmail and buy something here and there. This app released not in Google Play wouldn’t hit its target. Obviously. Still, I will do my apps for free and fully open-source them, but now I see that leaving Google completely totally is not good at all and not wise at all. I must have at least Google Play account since this is where the biggest number of users is. And even if they don’t know they are tracked, I can do something to inform them.

My conclusions from this topic are as follows:

  1. It is of course possible to get the job without having any apps in Google Play,
  2. BUT since I personally don’t want to produce any wicked code and just do some good work for other people, and for free, I definitely should stay in Google Play.

Thank you all!

I’m a crappy Android dev but I’ve done other open source programming for years. Whatever you’ll choose to do, remember that programmers are in demand and if you’re any good, you’re the one who can pick jobs, not the other way.

My experience with employers/clients who appreciated or at least acknowledged my open source work was much better than with these who only looked at professional experence. The latter kind usually wasn’t so nice to work with and also insisted on using tools like Skype or Paypal.

1 Like

I think it’s really difficult to be visible on Google play (top ranked).
The “competition” is rude and people are never happy, even when an application is totally free. I think that to be in the top, you should have to be in the store since several years, be the first in the domain, have a lot of friends, be a good vendor. LOL: about myself, I’m not in the top, I’m not there since several years, not the first, don’t have a lot of friends and really not a good vendor :smiley: :smiley:

Thanks, that was very inspiring! At the moment I read these famous books and hopefully they will teach me what being a good programmer means:

Yes, indeed. I always smile when I see comments like this: “I’ll give you 5 stars if you add this function” or “Excellent app!” but the rating is 1/5…

Is such a fair way? Are you sure that it is possible to be free of dept and bounds if doing so even consciously? Just pointing out that you might not invest in a certain strategy to find you self trapped like before. Certain “Robin Hood” philosophies might sound justifying certain compromises but at least do not give release.

It reminded on a story, maybe you like moral stories: I had a pupil once.

Maybe some words, from merely outside, that are of use for you and others.

Regarding the number of users your apps are using, it might be possible to provide a rough estimate after some research.

If there are some apps available in Google Play which are also available on Github and/or F-Droid, one could derive a relation between the number of Google Play users and Github stars/visits or F-Droid downloads (if available) or F-Droid page visits (if available). This could be helpful for everyone not wanting to commit to submitting to Google Play, but still have an estimate of the number of users.

The analytics and data that Google Play provides are priceless in terms of getting work as an engineer. Unfortunately F-droid doesn’t have any metrics and you will never have any idea how many users installed your app via the F-droid repository. It would be great if that could somehow change.

1 Like

@andDevW, I agree, as long as the metrics are anonymized. For example, the number of downloads could be collected from the F-Droid server logs. Of course, it would be possible to juice these numbers if someone so desired.

I think that any collection of data from the F-Droid client should be strictly opt-in. Debian provides a good example of how to do this right with Popcon.

Not a programmer here but the topic caught my attention:

Is it really an issue whether people use the apps one makes when it comes to getting a professional career with Android?

I mean, if he’s going solo and plans to freelance for a living, maybe a popular app of his will be more than enough to convince people that he’s really good at programming apps. But when it comes to an employer, wouldn’t a general knowledge of development be enough to get himself hired? After all, it will be more than one guy effort to create apps, and if he ever needs to learn more or step up his game to fill a better position, most probably the company will provide the training themselves.

Maybe I’m imagining a perfect world that doesn’t exist, but I think that, although reasonable concern, OP is thinking into it too much.