How to get a job programming Python

How to get a job programming Python

One of the many often asked questions on forums and websites in the Python community is how one can get a job programming Python. So here are three steps you can take to find yourself a job programming Python.

Step #1: Start using Python!

This is the first step and the most important one. Unless you are very lucky your future employer will want some experience or at the very least a big show of interest. So start using Python for just about everything.

Do you like to read slashdot reddit in the morning? Write a scraper that e-mails you the top links for your favourite subreddits. Does your obsessive compulsive boss require a certain report to be formatted in such and such a manner, delivered in triplets on thursday at 3pm? Let your pet snake handle that!

It doesn't matter if you copy-paste line after line from some online tutorial, you build it and use it. The next day you try to improve it, inevitabbly break it and then you fix it.

Like the saying goes, scratch your own itch.

Step #2: Display your projects

Get a Github account or (and this even better) start a Linode to showcase your own projects. Upload your reddit feed emailer for your script from step #1.

Yes, this is like standing out in public and displaying your privates. You will feel embarrassed and think everyone will laugh at you. But it doesn't matter, everyone writes shitty code (some more than others). But you will get feedback from others, others will learn from you (or your mistakes) and sometimes people will jump on your project and help you in some way or another.

And yes, even people who have been programming Python for 20 years (ahum...) get embarrassed about their code sometimes.

While you're on Github, check out some of the interesting Python projects out there and try to contribute. You would be surprised how many maintainers will welcome a pull request, even from a beginner.

Step #3: Don't be picky

When getting out there and hunting for that first job, it's important to not be too picky. At this point in your career, you're a glorified type writer that will churn out blocks of stackoverflow copy-pasta. Ouch, am I being too hard? No. Your degree is a costly piece of paper and what matters is your experience.

Yep, if you get a job that isn't strictly a Python programmer job but it gives you a certain amount of freedom to use it anyway: You're one step closer to becoming a professional Python programmer!

What I'm thinking about in particular is a System Engineering, Web Developer or any other job where you build your Python experience. I've seen plenty of people in IT Engineering that would like to move into programming. Keep in mind that to evolve as a programmer and build your experience, you don't need the title of programmer. I'd much rather hire a Systems Engineer with 5 years experience using Python for automation than hire a junior Python developer that's worked at Fancy Startup Bubble inc.

The idea behind this is similar to our first step. What you need is experience, and crappy jobs writing web scrapers or automating file import / export are your ticket to that experience and ultimately a better job. Don't get taken (too much) advantage off and make sure that you find yourself evolving as a programmer.


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