What is a Python developer and what do they do?

Python is a high in-demand programming language with massive job opportunities from engineering to data to marketing.

In 2019, Python was recognized as the fastest-growing major programming language according to Stack Overflow’s developer survey results. The language was first introduced nearly 30 years ago, but now we are seeing it rise to the top of the programming world. With this recent surge of Python, demand for Python developers reaches higher and higher as the days go by. And it is not likely to die down soon. Given all that, let me convince you of why becoming a Python developer is one of the best career choices you can make right now.

Table of Contents

What is the Python Programming Language?

There are a few keywords that define what Python is; let me introduce them to you.

Python is a high-level programming language. It means Python code is closer to how and what humans think than how computers think. This makes Python an easier language to learn and write programs compared to low-level languages like C, C++.

Python is a general-purpose language. It means Python can be utilized for just about any programming tasks be it web development, data science, automation, or web scraping.

Python is also an interpreted language. This means Python code is converted to machine-friendly code during runtime and not in advance. This fact, in combination with several others, makes Python one of the slowest languages available. If Python is that slow, why is there a rising demand for it in a world where speed is almost everything?

Why is Python Rising in Popularity?

There are a few keywords that define what Python is; let me introduce them to you.

Python is a high-level programming language. It means Python code is closer to how and what humans think than how computers think. This makes Python an easier language to learn and write programs compared to low-level languages like C, C++.

Python is a general-purpose language. It means Python can be utilized for just about any programming tasks be it web development, data science, automation, or web scraping.

Python is also an interpreted language. This means Python code is converted to machine-friendly code during runtime and not in advance. This fact, in combination with several others, makes Python one of the slowest languages available. If Python is that slow, why is there a rising demand for it in a world where speed is almost everything? 

It is because, of course, speed is almost everything. In this case, though, it is not the speed of the program that matters. How fast the learning curve of Python is and how fast program development in Python is compared to other languages is what drives Python’s popularity.

Python programs are 3-5 times shorter than similar Java programs, and this shortened development time is critical for businesses to lower their development costs and speed up innovation. Because of its closer-to-human-language syntax, Python is rather easy to learn compared to other programming languages.

Who is Using Python?

Most of the tech giants in the world use Python in one way or another. Google uses Python as one of its main server-side languages. Netflix and Spotify use Python mainly for data analysis tasks. Instagram also uses Python in its backend. According to Instagram, it has the largest deployment of Django, a web framework written in Python. Dropbox uses Python to build its client-side desktop applications. NASA has been using Python since the earlier days to build “fast, cheap, and right” software.

What do Python Developers Do?

Like I mentioned before, Python is a general-purpose language that is used for just about any coding work and so are the Python developers.

Web Development – Python web developers write server-side logic and develop backend components for web applications. Backend is the part of the website that receives and responds to requests sent through the web interface on your browser and essentially where all the heavy-lifting of a web application happens.

Data Science & Machine Learning – Python is the most popular language in data science. In data science, Python is used to analyze large amounts of data to help make business decisions or to improve user experience. The high number of data science libraries available in Python makes data science tasks a lot easier. Considering the rise in popularity of data science which is unlikely to end anytime soon, Python developers who become data scientists are also rising in numbers.

Web Scraping – Again, the available Python libraries for web scraping makes it the first choice language for web scraping. In web scraping, data from the web on a particular theme is extracted in a fast and efficient manner by using automation.

Automation – Python scripts are widely used to automate mundane and repetitive tasks that eat up employees’ time and reduce productivity. The simplicity of writing Python scripts is the main reason behind this popularity.

The above examples are where the Python developers are heavily being involved in Python programming but, remember, they are not the only. When you consider how versatile Python as a programming language is, it is no wonder to see that Python ranks at the 3rd place of TIOBE index for May 2020, which is an indicator of language popularity among developers, just behind C and Java.

What You Should Learn to Become a Python Developer?

What you should learn to become a Python developer varies mainly on what you want to do as a developer. Wherever you want to go, though, the place to start is always learning the syntax and principles of the language. There onwards, you are free to decide what you learn based on which path you want to follow.

Python web developers should know,

  • How to build back-end components for web applications
  • How to connect to third-party web services via backend
  • How to use at least one of the many Python web frameworks that simplify backend development (Ex: Django, Flask)
  • At least the basics of frontend web development including HTML, CSS, and Javascript

Python automation test engineers should know,

  • How to work with Python testing frameworks like PyTest and PyUnit
  • How to design and write complex system tests
  • How to automate the testing process
  • The basics of backend development

Data scientists using Python should know,

  • Algorithms and theories involved with machine learning
  • How to work with Python libraries like Matplotlib, Numpy, and Pandas
  • How to collect and analyze data

How to communicate findings to stakeholders

How Much do Python Developers Earn?

According to Glassdoor, the average base pay of a Python developer is $76,526 a year in the USA. But this varies largely with the job title. For example, you could be a software engineer or a data scientist using Python, and your salary would be much higher than the salary offered for the Python developer job title. The average base salaries of data scientists, software engineers, automation test engineers are $113,309, $92,046, and $79,609 respectively.

Final thoughts

Learning Python is relatively easier feat compared to any other language you may have tried in the past. Combined with the popularity Python has gained in recent years within the programming community, targeting for a career as a Python developer is one of the best career paths you can choose at the moment. And this route is, not surprisingly, faster than most career paths. In fact, you can become proficient in the language in only a few months. Throw in some more time to build your portfolio and/or academic qualifications, and in the worst-case scenario, you are looking at a two-year timeline to get a job as a Python developer. What better career choice can you make after reading this?

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