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Python Developer Career Path

In this article, we are going to define what a Python developer is nowadays, what kind of skills they should have, and what a company should expect from them.

Maybe you’ve always loved experimenting with computers and you’d like to learn to write your own computer programs. Or maybe you’ve tried one or two other careers and you’re looking for something that’s interesting, challenging, and in demand. Or perhaps you’re working in another area of IT and you want to add Python to your toolkit. This article will explain how to make the transition to professional Python developer.

A Brief Overview of Python

Python is a general-purpose programming language: almost all domains and applications can use Python. You can build a website with it, use it to train machine learning models, execute complex financial calculations, or write quick automation scripts with it; there is no limit.

Recently, the whole Internet has been turned upside down by various AI programs like ChatGPT, MidJourney, and Dall-E. Python is one of the main languages used for Artificial Intelligence and data science. You can build and train accurate models using its huge choice of libraries and frameworks like Scikit or TensorFlow.

In the more classical domain of web development, Python provides frameworks and libraries that make developers’ work easier. One of them, Django, is used by big companies like Instagram.

Python is also used to build financial predictive models and in automated fraud detection; even the entertainment industry uses it for game development.

If you are young and you have just discovered Python, you may not believe that this language has existed since the beginning of the 90s! Before becoming popular for the applications we cited above, Python was well-known as a scripting language and is still used for that.

A script allows automatizing complex tasks in a fast way on a server. Scripts can be executed directly, without the need to compile or restart anything. Imagine the following case: you want to reduce the churn of your website, so you decide to send an email every day to remind users who are close to their renewal date to renew the service. You can easily do it using a Python script associated with a cron job.

You probably already know that every application or platform you build needs to be tested to ensure a successful launch. Python provides multiple testing frameworks and libraries. With libraries such as Unittest, Pytest, or django.test, you can easily create every type of test case your application needs. You can also associate your tests with the powerful Coverage tool: it will figure out which part of your code has not been covered by the tests and detect possible flaws in your system.

If you are worried about the complexity of the language, please don’t! Python is a perfect fit for a first programming language: it is extremely easy to understand and write and has a very clear syntax.

Let’s look at the following exercise: Euler found in 1735 that the exact sum of inverse squares is pi^2/6. Based on this information, we’ll write a little Python program that calculates the approximate value of Pi with a given number of iterations as a parameter:

def calculate_pi(n):
    sum_inverse = 0

    for i in range(1, n):
        sum_inverse += 1 / i ** 2

    return (sum_inverse * 6) ** 0.5

pi = calculate_pi(10000)
print(f"The approximate value of Pi is: {pi}")

# Shows: The approximate value of Pi is: 3.1414971543976273

Pretty simple, isn’t it? The syntax is clear; there are no useless parentheses and there are some awesome built-in functions (like range). Note that correct indentation is mandatory: you cannot write messy code in Python.

Learning Python should be one of your 2023 resolutions! If you want to know why, I recommend you read 5 Reasons to Learn Python in 2023.

What Does a Python Developer Do?

As a Python developer, you will write, test, and debug code to create software applications. Sometimes you will need to write code from scratch, and sometimes you will be asked to modify or enhance existing code.

To achieve these goals, you will use the necessary Python libraries and frameworks to build software that meets the needs of the stakeholder (they can be your lead, the Product/ Project Owner, a manager, etc.).

Python Developer Career Path

Then you could be asked to deploy the application you have built. That means that you need to be familiar with Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) tools like GitLab or Jenkins. You should also be able to handle common problems that happen when a product goes into production: cache management, DNS Time-to-live, etc.

As a Python developer, you will also have to collaborate with cross-functional teams: you will work closely with other developers, designers, and project/product managers to ensure that the application meets the requirements of the client or customer.

If your Python developer job deals with data, you will develop algorithms and data structures that enable applications to perform complex tasks, such as data analysis and machine learning.

And finally, it’s important to know that as a Python developer, you will also be responsible for maintaining and updating existing applications to ensure they continue to meet the needs of users and clients.

What Skills Does a Python Developer Need?

To be a successful Python developer, several skills are essential. First, you should be proficient in Python programming: as a Python developer, you must have a strong understanding of the language’s syntax, data structures, built-in functions, and algorithms. You should be able to write optimal and well-structured code. You should also understand software development principles, such as object-oriented programming, design patterns, and testing frameworks.

Speaking of Python frameworks, you should know about popular web development frameworks like Flask, Django, Pyramid, or FastAPI. Those frameworks are widely used by companies, and you will require those skills to be an efficient Python developer.

You may be surprised, but as a Python developer, you should be familiar with database technologies (such as SQL or NoSQL) and be able to use them to store and retrieve data. Why?

Most Python frameworks have an embedded ORM to perform queries to databases; this makes the work easier for developers. However, an ORM follows the basic structure of database queries, so it is important to understand how a SQL query is composed (SELECT, WHERE, LIMIT, JOIN, etc. ) if you want to understand how to use the related ORM functions (get, filter, exclude, etc. ). Furthermore, there are some very complex queries that the ORM cannot handle; you will have to write those yourself as raw SQL queries inside the ORM.

You should be familiar with version control tools such as TortoiseSVN (the oldie) or Git (currently used). You will almost always work within a team of developers, and a version control tool is mandatory for collaboration and managing codebase changes. Git is widely used on different platforms: GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket are the most famous ones.

Python Developer Career Path

As a Python developer, you should have good problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. You should be able to analyze complex problems and develop solutions that are scalable and efficient. This sometimes includes a kind of creativity: an uncommon suggestion can turn into the best possible workaround to solve a problem. So don’t be afraid of communicating your ideas!

Forget the stereotype of the asocial nerdy guy programming in a basement: a developer should have strong communication and collaboration skills. They should be able to communicate effectively with team members, clients, and other stakeholders to ensure the successful delivery of projects. You should constantly work on your soft skills like communication, empathy, crisis management, and creativity (among others). All of these are necessary in today’s professional development world.

How to Start Working as a Python Developer

Let’s suppose you’ve learned all you need to start working as a Python developer. What’s the next step? The job interview! What should you expect?

Serious companies are very strict in their hiring process. The interview process usually looks something like this.

First, you will be interviewed by someone from Human Resources. This first interview is basically to get to know you; you will be asked about your studies, your professional career, your previous experience, and sometimes about your salary expectations. You’ll also be told about the position and the company’s expectations about the role. This interview is generally easy to pass if you have a common interest with the company (you are OK with the role; they are OK with your experience and expectations).

Then you will have a second interview, a technical one. This one is much harder than the first one. You can be asked about very technical matters, and sometimes you will have to solve a real problem or exercise so that the interviewer can assess your technical knowledge and your capacity to work in a stressful situation. If you want to know the types of questions you can be asked, I highly recommend the article Common Interview Questions for Junior Python Developer Jobs.

Where would you even find out about a Python job opening? The old days of job ads in newspapers are over; everything is online now! If you follow companies’ accounts on social media, they sometimes announce open roles there. You also can find a Python developer job on platforms like Monster or the Jobs section of LinkedIn. There are thousands of results! If you want to read more about this subject, check out Where to Find a Python Job.

If you are not sure about getting a regular Python job or choosing the exciting path of freelancing, How to Survive as a Python Freelancer will give you some insight. Furthermore, there are a lot of platforms offering freelance Python developer jobs. One of the most famous ones is Upwork, where companies hire freelance developers from all over the world.

You may choose another Python job over a development, like data analyst, machine learning specialist, or even a tech writer like me. In this case, you should read this excellent article on Python Jobs to Choose in 2023.

Start Your Python Developer Career Path Today!

I truly hope that this article has encouraged you to start your Python developer career path. It’s an exciting moment; your Python developer journey is about to start! You will find all the resources and help you need on

Your Python developer career path should begin with (what else?) building your programming skills. I strongly recommend our Learn Programming with Python track: it introduces you to the fundamentals of programming with Python.

Thanks for reading my article; I hope you liked it!