Python developers are in high demand - not only because the language is so popular and widely used but mostly due to the fact that Python became a solution in many different areas. From web applications to data science and machine learning. However, it is not enough to just master the language itself. Surprisingly, that might be the easiest step in becoming a Python developer. What else should you know to become a really good one?
About Python programming - why it is a good choice?
Python is not the mostly used language in the web, however, it is constantly growing - especially in a startup environment where time and budget are usually limited. As a language, it is aspect-oriented which means there are modules with different functionality. So first the developer has to create the modules and afterwards, based on the “if then” action, depending on the user’s action, the algorithm triggers a particular block and brings the result. The Python developer is usually dealing with back-end components, apps connection with third-party web services and giving support to frontend developers in web applications. Of course, you might create applications with use of different languages but pretty often Python is the language chosen for it - and there are reasons for that! You can read more about it in this article about Python versus PHP.
Let’s talk about skills now! What are the necessary technical abilities and soft skills for a Python developer?
Quite obvious, Python is the main language which you are going to use at work to finish the project. Fortunately, if you are a developer but focused on other languages, the language switch might come with ease. Python is the general-purpose programming language with constantly increasing demand for. Due to relatively easy learning path, it is beginner-friendly and definitely experienced-developer-friendly as well! There is no need to know each module but at least, regardless of basic syntax and semantics, the differences between Python 2 and 3. A good Python dev can smoothly adjust to those, however, it is not a big deal because the distinction is rarely required. It is also advisable to know python’s data structures. While you do not have to learn by heart how to implement a b-tree, knowing what lies under the hood of a set, dict or list will come in handy both in small and big projects.
Knowing Python frameworks is a must, however, it doesn’t mean that a Python developer has to know them all. Depending on the project you may be asked to know one or another, but mostly used are Django, Flask, and CherryPy. Undoubtedly, if you already know Python, you had a chance to work with at least one of the most popular frameworks! The basic and well-defined structure offered by the frameworks is usually appreciated by devs while figuring out the core logic of the application.
Familiarity with ORM libraries
Using and connecting application through an ORM (Object Relational Mapper) like SQLAlchemy, Django ORM and so on is easier, faster and more efficient than writing SQL - which means, more likely it is preferred by the team. Good to have it in your skillset!
Very often a Python developer has to cooperate with frontend team to make match the server-side with the client-side. Thus, it is important that you understand how the frontend works, what is possible and what is not, how the application is going to appear. Of course, in proper agile software houses, there is also a UX team, project/product manager and SCRUM master to coordinate the workflow. It doesn’t mean that a frontend is a must-know for a Python dev but definitely, in some projects, this kind of knowledge and experience is more than welcome.
Libraries make a developer’s life easier, the team’s workflow more efficient and task’s execution way faster. Depending on the projects nature, it is better to know the libraries which are going to help you in everyday work. Python, as a community-based programming language, has an answer to almost any possible request - check the list of just 20th commonly used Python libraries and you will know exactly what are we talking about!
Keeping track of every change made to the file to later on source the code is a must-know for each developer! In most of the job offers you can see this as a requirement - thankfully it is not difficult to get familiar with and if you have been coding since a while, you have properly set your GitHub and terms like “push, fork, pull, commit” are not random words for you.
AI and Machine Learning
This will be a huge plus for you if you know what is it about! AI and Machine Learning (as well as deep learning) are constantly growing as a field - Python is a perfect programming language for that. If you are into data science, then definitely digging in the Machine Learning topic would be a great idea.
Let’s not forget that a developer’s work is not only typing the lines of code! In best software development firms the teams are made out of amazing programmers which work together to achieve the final goal - no matter if it means to finish the project, to create a new app or maybe to help a startup skyrocket. However, working in a team means that a developer has to communicate well - not only to get the stuff done but also to keep the documentation clear so others can easily read and follow the thinking path to fully understand the idea.
How to become Python developer, a really good one
First of all, your skill set is your weapon - you might land a better project, better position, and obviously better salary. Moreover, in programming, you can always learn more thus gaining additional skills is not only beneficial but also makes a developer’s career path challenging and interesting. Regardless of learning new libraries or taking part in must-attend Python conferences, there are many ways in which you can improve. Basically coding in your free time is a way to go - for that you need a lot of persistence. Secondly, taking part in additional courses and webinars, teaching others, being active in the programming community to finally find your thing, particular niche in which you want to become a master.