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How to Become a Python Developer: Essential Skills, Steps, and Salaries

Python is arguably one of the most popular programming languages, and Python developers are among the most sought-after tech professionals today. In this article, we offer an exhaustive guide on how you can become a Python developer.

From the importance of the field to the courses and steps you’ll need to take to break into Python development, we explore all this and more.

Why Learn Python?

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Why is learning Python beneficial to your career even if you aren’t thinking about becoming a Python developer?

There are several reasons to learn Python. One of the leading reasons is its popularity.

Python has always been at the top of the list when it comes to programming language popularity. As of May 2021, Python has earned the highest PYPL (Popularity of Programming Language Index) score. This means that among Google users who searched for programming language tutorials, a majority searched for Python. 

Python’s popularity goes beyond coding beginners. In 2020, software company Helios Solutions identified Python as the best language for building both artificial intelligence and machine learning models.

By association, Python is also the preferred language for data science. For both programming beginners and experts, Python has become the default language.

Why Is Python So Popular?

Several reasons stand behind Python’s popularity.

  1. Python has simple and easy-to-use syntax. Python owes its popularity to its simplicity. Because it has a simplified syntax, amateur users can learn how to write in Python at a faster rate than if they were trying to learn other programming languages.
  2. Python is flexible. For experts, the popularity of Python also lies in its flexibility. Since it’s a general-purpose programming language, it can be used across development domains.
  3. Python is platform-independent. With Python, you can move between different operating systems without compromising your code.

It’s because of these reasons that tech giants choose Python for software development. Among its avid users are Google, Netflix, Dropbox, Reddit, and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Even the government agency NASA uses Python in creating innovative solutions. 

Overall, Python is an excellent general-purpose programming language that, if mastered, is guaranteed to benefit you as you start a tech career.

What Does a Python Developer Do?

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A day in the life of a Python developer might look like this.

A day in the life of a Python developer includes a variety of tasks. These range from writing scalable and reliable Python codes to developing end-to-end applications and solutions.

Python developers work on writing backend or server-side web applications, which they then connect with other third-party services. Python developers also assist front-end developers with integration.

Python Developer Essential Skills

To become a Python developer, you’ll need to develop an arsenal of competencies from technical skills to soft skills. Below are a few of the essential Python developer skills.

1. Programming Skills

This is a given. Without programming skills, you can’t become a Python developer. As a Python developer, you’ll spend a lion’s share of your day writing effective and reusable Python codes. To do so, you’ll need to learn Python in its entirety.

These include knowing how to navigate the top Python libraries like TensorFlow, Numpy, Pandas, and Scikit-Learn. You also need to familiarize yourself with several Python frameworks such as Tornado, Flask, and Django.

2. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

As most developers say, learning to code is the same as learning how to derive a solution for any given problem. As a Python developer, it’s your responsibility to develop applications that meet the needs of your clients. This also includes troubleshooting applications and ridding them of any bugs or errors.

Having the ability to think critically and on your feet is, therefore, crucial to becoming an effective Python developer. 

3. Strong Communication Skills

This is perhaps the most important yet least developed skill among developers in general. Since Python developers work on the end-to-end creation of solutions, collaborating with multiple teams is inevitable. 

To facilitate understanding of project requirements, goals, and workflows among teams, you must be a competent communicator. You’ll also need strong communication skills when you report project outputs and features to relevant stakeholders.

4. Knowledge of Backend and Front End Technologies

A Python developer will typically be seen working on backend development. Nonetheless, you must be knowledgeable in both front-end and backend development to truly be a fully-fledged Python developer.

How Much Does a Python Developer Make?

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Time to add up the benefits of becoming a Python developer.

As with other jobs, Python developer salaries vary by experience, company, and geography. According to PayScale, Python developers earn $79,395 per year on average. This can go to as low as $51,000 or as high as $107,000, depending on your industry and company.

What if we consider the number of years you’ve been in the Python development field? The following data shows a breakdown of Python developer salaries by experience. The rates were taken from ZipRecruiter.

  1. An entry-level Python developer earns $80,499 per year or $39 per hour on average. 
  2. mid-level Python developer rakes in an average salary of $111,899 per year or $54 per hour.
  3. senior Python developer makes $130,268 per year or $63 per hour on average. 

How To Become a Python Developer Roadmap

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Ready to join the team? Learn these steps to become a Python developer.

1. Learn the fundamentals of Python development 

Most developers start their careers by building a strong programming foundation. You can explore multiple ways to hone your programming skills. For instance, you can follow online coding tutorials on YouTube or read books on Python. 

Familiarize yourself with Python by learning basic commands. You should also learn how to use essential Python tools like the Jupyter Notebook and Python Debugger. After developing some basic skills, further your knowledge by moving to the second step.  

2. Enroll in an online Python course

The great thing about taking this career path is that you don’t need to get a formal education to be good at it. A simple search on the Internet gives you a lot of online courses that can transform you from a complete beginner to an advanced Python programmer.

Learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and edX offer online Python courses that come in different formats, schedules, and curricula. If you need more guidance, you can choose an instructor-led program. Otherwise, you can take a self-paced course.

Because online coding courses vary in quality and content, be thorough when choosing which program to take. Read their respective curricula. Choose the one that will walk you through the essential programming concepts and theories while allowing you to work on exciting projects.

3. Build your personal Python projects

Practice makes progress. Reinforce your acquired skills and knowledge by working on personal projects. Start small and move to more complicated projects as you go. Below are some ideas for projects for Python beginners.

  • Mad Libs Game
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors Game
  • Binary Search Algorithm
  • Python Tic-Tac-Toe 
  • Python Currency Converter
  • Plagiarism Checker

Building your personal projects will benefit you in two ways. First, doing so will boost your confidence as you become more familiar with Python development. Second, having a portfolio of projects will help increase your job prospects.

4. Create your Github repository

In the world of developers, it pays to have your projects on display. This is where your Github repository comes in. Add your projects to this platform along with a README file that lays out the purpose of your project, what it does, your methodology, and the Python libraries you used. 

Consider your Github repository as your technical LinkedIn profile where employers can gain a deeper understanding of your programming skills and experience.

5. Build a network

Networking is an important element when it comes to landing a job. On top of expanding your network, you also get to meet industry professionals who can potentially become your mentor. Join meetup groups for software programmers. You can also check out online forums like Stack Overflow to gain feedback on your projects or find opportunities for collaborative projects.

6. Work on freelance Python projects

Working as a freelance Python developer is a great way to start your professional career. It gives you the experience you need while allowing you to choose your clients and be more in control of your workload.

Although some freelance projects pay low, they are a good addition to your Github repository and a great way to get noticed by potential clients or employers.  

7. Attend a Python bootcamp

Attending a Python bootcamp is not a requirement to becoming a Python developer, but it is useful. Python coding bootcamps are a way to cover all the steps above and more in a short amount of time. In a coding bootcamp, you’ll gain access to immersive training designed to equip you with advanced-level technical knowledge and skills. 

Bootcamp programs are generally taught by industry experts. They also include real-world projects that are either done in teams or independently. Both features allow you to get firsthand insight and experience on what it takes to become a Python developer. 

By the end of the program, you’ll have a portfolio of projects that help demonstrate your software development skills. Most bootcamps also offer career services that help you polish your resume, LinkedIn profile, and job interview skills.

8. Start applying for full-time Python developer roles 

Once you’ve crossed the items off this list, it’s time to start job hunting. Check out online listings for job openings on sites such as LinkedIn, Stack Overflow, or AngelList.

Why Should You Become a Python Developer?

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You’ve got what it takes to become a Python developer, but why should you embark on this path?

If you’re looking to enter the tech industry, you should consider a career in Python development. Python beats many programming languages in simplicity, versatility, and popularity. It’s also the preferred language by several tech companies, such as Google and Facebook.

Specializing in Python development, therefore, makes you a relevant addition to almost any company in the industry. On top of that, Python is widely used by professionals like software engineers, data scientists, and even machine learning engineers. This makes it easier for you to switch careers if you have a change of heart down the line.

If you are worried about mastering the language, know that Python is one of the easiest programming languages to learn. There’s also a wealth of resources available online to help you further your technical knowledge. Consider enrolling in a coding bootcamp for a quick, cost-effective education.

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