Python Programmer Career Guide
A Python programmer writes computer code in Python, a powerful yet versatile programming language. Most computer programmers have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field.
As more and more jobs become automated and digitized, it’s hard to think of any career that won’t see big changes in the coming decades. One thing is for sure: computers are going to continue to play a bigger and bigger role in the economy of the future. That’s why a career as a Python programmer is a smart choice for forward-thinking, innovative individuals.
A Python programmer writes computer code in Python, a powerful yet versatile programming language. Its relative simplicity compared to other computer programming languages means that it’s easier to learn how to program in Python, and its versatility means that it can be used for a variety of tasks, such as web development, games, data analysis, and even app development.
Like most programmers, Python programmers write code, test it for bugs, and use that code for a variety of computer-related tasks, such as web development, game programming, app development, etc. The exact nature of the work will depend on the project, but here are a few things that almost every Python programmer can expect to do as part of their job:
- Writing code. A huge part of any programmer’s job is writing code. One of the appeals of writing in Python is that the code is quite simple compared to other computer programming languages, meaning it’s easier to learn and easier to read. But it’s just as powerful a programming language. And don’t be misled into thinking that writing code consists of mindless typing, either: writing code is an exciting, challenging job that requires creativity and analytical thinking skills.
- Testing and debugging. Computer programmers can’t just write code and then forget about it; they’ve got to make sure the code is free of bugs and errors. One of the great things about Python is that it's easier to debug than other programming languages. This helps ease the burden of one of the most frustrating parts of a programmer’s job, which is why many computer programmers love using Python.
- Develop programs or apps. Depending on the job or the task, a Python programmer might be asked to do more than simply writing code and debugging.
They might be tasked with the overall planning, design, and development of a program or app. This requires more creativity, coordination with other team members, and communication skills.
Although a degree is not necessary to get a job as a programmer, most computer programmers have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. No surprise there: a solid degree program provides students with the kind of background knowledge and programming skills that they’ll need to become effective workers and well-rounded programmers.
The job market for computer programmers is crowded these days, with many jobs being outsourced abroad. Prospective Python programmers need to stand out, and a great way to do this is invest in education. Many future programmers undertake a master’s degree to improve their CV. No two aspiring programmers will take the same route, but here are some common steps that lead to one becoming a Python programmer.
Step One: Earn a bachelor’s degree
A solid bachelor’s degree program in a field like data management and data analytics is an important step toward landing a job as a Python programmer. Good bachelor’s degree programs don’t only teach programming skills; they familiarize students with a variety of topics, such as data analysis, data management, IT systems administration, and web development.
Step Two: Earn a master’s degree
Of course, a bachelor’s degree is a great first step. But plenty of computer programmers have bachelor’s degrees in data management or computer science, so it’s hard to stand out in a big field of potential job applicants. To get a leg up on the competition, it's smart to consider getting a master’s degree in a field related to computer programming, such as data analytics. A solid master’s program will provide students with both the theoretical background and practical application skills to succeed in the computer programming world.
Step Three: Develop a variety of programming skills
Knowing how to write programming code in Python is useful for a variety of computer applications, but it’s also a good idea to branch out and become familiar with other programming languages and computer-related skills. Of course, a good educational background should provide students with most of those programming skills, but in the rapidly-changing world of computer science, there are always new things to learn and new skills to acquire.
Step Four: Get programming experience
It takes lots of practice to master any craft, and Python programming is no exception: good programmers are the ones who have put in the time to hone their skills. A solid educational background in computer science is a great way to start honing those skills, but it’s also a good idea to pursue personal programming projects to get more experience with Python programming.
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The most obvious skill that a Python programmer needs is proficiency in writing Python code. But that’s not all a Python programmer needs; to be an effective programmer who can complete projects quickly and effectively, some more general skills will be highly useful, such as the ability to think creatively and solve problems.
To summarize the kinds of skills that a Python programmer needs:
- Python programming skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Mathematical and analytical skills
- Communication skills
How Much Does a Python Programmer Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a computer programmer in 2020 was estimated to be $89,190, and the median hourly wage was estimated to be $42.88. Those numbers go up significantly, however, for computer programmers in the top 10% of all earners; the annual salary for a computer programmer in the top 10% of all programmers was estimated to be $146,050. This suggests that skilled computer programmers have the potential to make quite a competitive salary.
What is the Projected Job Growth?
Python programmers can expect to have many job opportunities available to them, as software developers are expected to see a 22% growth by the year 2029, and web developers are expected to see a 8% growth by the year 2029. There is extensive need for skilled programmers and code experts who are able to meet the demands of organizations across the globe.
Where Does a Python Programmer Work?
Since Python is such a versatile programming language, Python programmers work in a variety of fields related to web development, game development, app development, data analysis, statistics, and so on. These fields include computer systems design and related services, software publishing, finance, insurance, and manufacturing. One of the most exciting developments in programming is the rising popularity of remote computer programming jobs, since most of a programmer’s work can be done from anywhere. This gives Python programmers more and more flexibility with their working hours and locations.