New Programming Language Alert: Kotlin and Why Android Developers Love it!

New Programming Language Alert: Kotlin and Why Android Developers Love it! | Information Technology | Emeritus

With 5.8 million developers globally and with its inclusion into TIOBE’s prestigious top 20 index, Kotlin is becoming an increasingly important and popular programming language. In fact, just 13 years after its emergence in 2011, Kotlin has become the most popular programming language for Android app development. There is no denying that Android developers prefer Kotlin over other languages. So much so that many developers who used Java earlier are shifting to Kotlin. To what does Kotlin owe its meteoric rise? What is it that enables it to compete with a language as popular and prevalent as Java? Let’s find out. 

What is Kotlin? 

Kotlin is an open-source, statically typed, cross-platform, object-oriented programming language developed by JetBrains in 2011. The primary advantages of Kotlin, which have helped it gain traction in the programming community, are: 

  • Ease of operation, simplicity, and safety
  • Extreme interoperability, which makes it compatible with a diverse range of ecosystems, like Java, Native, Android, etc. Also, the frameworks and libraries that Java uses are fully compatible with Kotlin. Hence, Kotlin can work seamlessly within the Java framework. 
  • Kotlin is a flexible programming language
  • Allows complex and high-order functions and constructs. Additionally, it also has features like lambdas and extension functions, providing developers with a versatile and expressive language

Why Kotlin, though? Why develop a new language, that too in 2011 when so many programming languages were already available? True, the Kotlin programming language would later become the primary development framework for Android platforms. Back in 2010–2011, when JetBrains conceived the idea of developing Kotlin, the future popularity of Android was still far from being predictable. So, what led to the development of a new language like Kotlin? Let’s have a look.

Why Use Kotlin?

According to Andrey Breslav, the lead designer of Kotlin at JetBrains, the impetus to develop Kotlin was manifold. First, despite Java being one of the primary and best programming languages available at the time, it presented a number of limitations for developers. For instance, Java’s slow evolution and perceived legacy status frustrated developers, especially with its delayed adaptation to modern programming demands. Moreover, Java’s stagnation led to operational challenges, particularly in the Android ecosystem, which was tethered to older versions of Java and could not leverage new features effectively. However, despite these problems, Java was one of the primary programming languages used by developers globally. 

Of course, other systems, such as Groovy or Scala, could have given Java a run for its money. However, they, too, had their own set of problems. For instance, Scala was way too academic for developers and binary incompatible. Groovy, being a dynamic language, made it difficult to write big projects economically.

JetBrains decided to address these problems by developing a new language. It aimed to develop something that would be both easy to operate and compatible with Java frameworks. As Breslav puts it, the idea was to “compete with Java on their own turf”. This is how the Kotlin programming language came into being. In 2019, Google declared Kotlin the preferred language for Android app development. 

ALSO READ: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Full-Stack Developer in India

Advantages of Using Kotlin Over Java

When considering Kotlin for Android development, several key benefits make it stand out compared to Java. The language’s features not only enhance the development process but also introduce efficiencies that Java lacks, making it one of the best programming languages. Here is how:

1. Conciseness and Readability

Kotlin drastically reduces the amount of boilerplate code required, making it not only easier to write but also easier to read and maintain. This conciseness leads to fewer bugs and a smoother development process, a key reason why Android developers prefer Kotlin. Furthermore, as one of the best coding languages, Kotlin’s syntax is designed to be clear and intuitive, which significantly enhances the development experience. Additionally, the reduction of excess code directly impacts the efficiency of error checking and debugging, streamlining the development lifecycle.

2. Null Safety

Kotlin addresses one of Java’s most notorious pitfalls: null pointer exceptions, often referred to as the “billion-dollar mistake”. This term was coined by Sir Tony Hoare, the inventor of the null reference, who later regretted this feature due to the numerous errors it caused. By integrating null safety at the language level, Kotlin ensures that dealing with null references is safer and more predictable. Furthermore, this feature significantly reduces the likelihood of runtime crashes, making apps more robust. Thus, the built-in null safety in Kotlin provides a pivotal advantage, as it preempts a common source of bugs in Java applications. This, in turn, enhances app reliability and developer productivity.

3. Interoperability With Java

Kotlin’s interoperability with Java is seamless. It allows developers to use all existing Java libraries and frameworks within Kotlin projects. This capability ensures that transitioning to Kotlin does not require abandoning existing codebases, which is a significant advantage. Moreover, developers can gradually adopt Kotlin without disrupting ongoing projects. The ability to mix Java and Kotlin in the same project without compatibility issues makes Kotlin one of the best coding languages for existing Java developers and new projects alike. 

Case Studies of Successful Android Apps Built With Kotlin

Android developers prefer Kotlin for its robust functionality, simplicity, and efficiency in handling complex user interactions​. Here are some of the top Android apps that use Kotlin: 

1. Pinterest

Pinterest adopted Kotlin to enhance its application, optimizing features like image sharing and management. Consequently, this shift to Kotlin has significantly improved the app’s performance and user interface, which is crucial for its vast user base. 

2. Uber

Uber leverages Kotlin for its scalability and robustness, which are essential for its global ride-sharing operations. Kotlin helps Uber manage millions of daily transactions smoothly, which showcases another reason why Android developers prefer Kotlin for high-demand applications.

3. Evernote

Evernote has upgraded its Android app using Kotlin to enhance features like note-taking and organization. Kotlin’s integration has introduced additional functionalities, such as scanning handwritten notes and managing to-do lists more effectively​ 

4. Coursera

Coursera has integrated Kotlin to improve its online learning platform, offering a more user-friendly interface. Thus, Kotlin aids in delivering a broad range of educational content, enhancing accessibility and engagement​​.

5. Trello

Trello uses Kotlin to improve its project management tools, enhancing the user interface and functionality for better team collaboration and project tracking. The efficiency and ease of coding with Kotlin have significantly benefited Trello, showcasing why Android developers prefer Kotlin in workflow management tools​ 

ALSO READ: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Successful System Analyst

Kotlin Resources and Community Support for Developers

Android developers prefer Kotlin for app development and programming. So, whether you are an Android developer looking to sharpen your existing Kotlin Android skills or a programming enthusiast looking to learn more about Kotlin,  there are numerous videos, online communities, and books to provide you with the necessary resources. And here are some of them: 

1. Websites

2. Social Channels

3. Videos and Podcasts

Android developers prefer Kotlin and given the popularity of Android apps, there is no dearth of videos and podcasts on Kotlin. Some of them include: 

1. Accelerated Adoption

As mentioned before, Google’s support for the Kotlin programming language has helped solidify Kotlin’s role not only in mobile app development but also in broader programming sectors like web and server-side applications. Today, 60% of professional Android developers use Kotlin, and 95% of the top 1,000 Android apps include Kotlin codes. Thus, these statistics bear testimony to Kotlin’s accelerated adoption among Android developers, which clearly shows that Android developers prefer Kotlin. 

2. Kotlin Replacing Java

A major trend in the software development industry is the shift from Java to Kotlin, especially among Android developers. For example, according to a 2023 JetBrains survey, 76% of former Java developers have switched to Kotlin. Hence, this shows the growing popularity of Kotlin among developers across the globe. 

3. Expansion Beyond Mobile Applications

As of 2024, Kotlin’s versatility extends beyond traditional mobile applications. The language is increasingly used in building scalable web and server-side applications, leveraging frameworks like Ktor and Spring Boot. 

4. Kotlin in Data Science and Machine Learning

Kotlin is making significant inroads into data science and machine learning. With the support of libraries such as KotlinDL and Kotlin Statistics, Kotlin is facilitating the development of sophisticated machine learning models and complex data analysis procedures. This adaptability is increasing Kotlin’s appeal in academic and research-driven environments, providing developers with effective tools for data-intensive applications.

ALSO READ: What is the Arduino Programming Language? Learn How to Use it in 5 Steps

Kotlin comes equipped with a number of features that have contributed to its growing traction in the developer community. For instance, its simplicity, robustness, efficiency in handling complex functions, conciseness, readability, and null safety are the reasons why Android developers prefer Kotlin. Being a Kotlin developer also comes with lucrative job opportunities. According to job listings on Glassdoor, Kotlin developers, on average, can attract a salary between ₹3 to 36 lakh per annum. So, if you are interested in learning this new-age programming language, consider joining Emeritus’ tailor-made online IT courses and align your programming skills with the requirements and trends of our current era. 

Write to us at

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Sanmit is unraveling the mysteries of Literature and Gender Studies by day and creating digital content for startups by night. With accolades and publications that span continents, he's the reliable literary guide you want on your team. When he's not weaving words, you'll find him lost in the realms of music, cinema, and the boundless world of books.
Read More About the Author

Learn more about building skills for the future. Sign up for our latest newsletter

Get insights from expert blogs, bite-sized videos, course updates & more with the Emeritus Newsletter.

Courses on Information Technology Category

IND +918277998590
IND +918277998590