Python Jobs Are Gaining Ground

No, it’s not a snake. Python is a powerful, open source programming language that enables developers to build high-performing, elegant web applications quickly.

Python plays well with others and is easy to learn, whether you’re a first-time programmer or experienced with other languages. “Python is growing in popularity because it’s simple and straightforward,” says John Asdell, branch manager, Robert Half Technology, San Diego, Calif.

Responsibilities vary in Python jobs

Python developers typically work to create programs and applications that use the Python programming language. In general, these professionals are expected to:

  • Write code using the syntax and scripting available in Python
  • Run testing on that code to find errors, document them and then fix them
  • Write firmware rather than software applications

Other duties are based on the nature of the specific position. Here are just two possible scenarios where a Python developer’s skills could be applied:

  1. A video game is using Python for scripted events that dictate how the game world responds to players’ actions. The Python developer might be called on to help create the user interface (UI).
  2. A social networking site might have a Python developer write code that will handle how clients connect to and communicate with servers on a network, or alter the way a website’s UI is displayed.

What skills do you need for Python jobs?

Python developers almost always need to have a background in computer science and programming, says Asdell. He also recommends that aspiring Python developers look beyond the classroom to make themselves more marketable. “Find ways to learn more,” Asdell says. “There are many opportunities to get involved in open source projects, create your own website, or even help a business, nonprofit or school club execute on one of their development projects.”

Why work as a Python developer?

Python reports that companies such as Google, Yahoo!, Disney, Nokia and IBM are all using its programming language. Asdell says that Python jobs are likely to be even more in demand in the years to come. Why? It seems more budding developers are leaning toward Python instead of focusing on more traditional programming languages such as Java. For example, more Netflix programmers are choosing Python over Java to power certain aspects of Netflix’s video-streaming service. Python can be the ideal stepping stone into the world of programming says Asdell. “It’s the primary language being taught in computer science departments at every major university,” Asdell says. “So, access to learning is easy.” He adds that a working knowledge of Python is a solid programmer job skill to have because its methodologies can be used in a broad range of applications. Python skills can increase base compensation by up to 8 percent for some IT jobs.

For more information, check out the Robert Half Technology 2014 Salary Guide.