Being a Python Developer: What They Can Do, Earn, and More

Written by Coursera • Updated on

As a Python developer, you can do everything from web or game development to quantitative analysis, to creating new programming languages.

[Featured image] A Python developer in a maroon shirt stands in front of computer servers and smiles at the camera.

Python is a programming language used for a variety of programming tasks, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data analytics, and data visualization. Other uses include programming applications, web development, game development, quantitative and qualitative analysis, creating new programming languages, and developing graphic design applications. 

The increasing complexity of web applications and websites, combined with the growing reliance on machine learning and AI, are two factors contributing to the steady demand for Python developers. 

What is a Python developer? 

Python developers design, code, and deploy development projects in the Python language. They also work on debugging those same projects to ensure they function as intended.

As a python developer, you'll work closely with other teams, including data collection and analytics, to help answer questions and provide insight. Some of the projects you could work on span everything from application development to machine learning and AI.

Becoming proficient in Python and its uses opens the door to job possibilities in various industries. Ultimately, your role and responsibilities will likely vary depending upon the industry and organization that you find yourself working within.

Read more: What Is Python Used For? A Beginner’s Guide

Advantages of Python 

Python is the most versatile language for coding and the second-best programming language for everything else [4]. As a Python developer, you’ll be able to use your skills to tackle multiple challenges. Additional advantages of Python include the following:   

Python’s one of the easiest languages to learn.

Python is among the easiest programming languages to learn because it prioritizes readability and relies on a syntax that's much like the commands of the English language. You also need fewer lines of code to perform tasks compared to other languages like Java and C or C++.

Read more: Python vs. C++: Which to Learn First and Where to Start

Python is very popular

The PYPL (PopularitY of Programming Language) Index shows that Python is the most-searched programming language among people searching for tutorials on Google [1].

Additionally, Stack Overflow's 2021 Developer Survey revealed that Python is the third most popular programming language, with respondents saying that they use Python almost 50 percent of the time in their development work [2]. Survey results also showed that Python is the most-wanted programming language, with 19 percent of developers who aren't using it already saying that they are interested in learning Python [3].

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It's an open-source language.

You don’t have to pay to use Python. It is an open-source programming language, so you can download the source code for free, make any changes you want, and distribute your version.

This is helpful if you need to modify a specific portion of the language and use it for development. Additionally, the Python development community is very supportive, with many developers, scientists, and designers connecting and providing assistance when needed.

Python has extensive support libraries.

The Standard Library offers solutions to many of the challenges you may face as a Python developer.

For example, if you need to perform numerical calculations, you can use NumPy—a collection of resources. Or, if you’re working on data analytics, there’s the Pandas library. However, if you can't find what you need there, there are extensive other Python libraries that can help you. 

Python is portable and interactive.

Some programming languages, such as C and C++, require you to change your code if you’re running it on a different platform, but this isn’t the case with Python.

You don't have to change anything about your code to run this interactive language on multiple systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux. Being interactive is particularly helpful when you're engaged in the debugging process, as you can see line-by-line results and quickly pinpoint errors. 

Python can boost your productivity.

Python is an object-oriented programming language. This feature has made it a favorite among many users because it means they can create applications using pre-existing objects, allowing for improved productivity and faster prototyping.

Python's design gives you improved process control, stellar integration capabilities, and a unit testing framework that makes it a highly efficient language. 

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Disadvantages of Python

There are many benefits to using Python, but even the most in-demand programming language isn’t without its drawbacks.

Despite its high efficiency, for example, one of the biggest disadvantages of Python is that it can have considerably slower runtimes than compiled programming languages like C and C++, which can become an issue for large project with many lines of code. 

Python is an interpreted programming language that is dynamically typed, meaning it is checked during execution. The interpreter slows things down a bit as it executes the code being written line-by-line. However, many coders find that the speed at which they can write code balances out the slowdown during execution.

Three additional disadvantages include the following:

  • High memory use: Python uses a lot of memory because of the flexibility of the data types and automatic garbage collection that occurs when objects go out of scope. 

  • Unorthodox choice for developing mobile apps: Because of the memory inefficiency and slower processing power, Python is rarely the first choice language for mobile computing and mobile app development. You can still do it, but you’ll have an easier time if you use a framework like Kivy.

  • Database limitations: While Python is in high demand for large-scale web development, it isn't as popular in enterprise development, mainly because database access is limited and underdeveloped compared to other technologies like ODBC. 

Python use cases

Python's versatility, ease of use, and availability make it an attractive programming solution for many of today's most used programs across the internet. In fact, you don't have to go far to see Python in action, as you can see by the websites below that are among Python users.

Google

Developers use Python for everything from system building to system administration, and Google has always considered it among its most vital languages. Python's creator Guido Van Rossum worked at Google between 2005 and 2012. The company's motto, "Python where we can, C++ where we must," describes just how much the teams rely on this versatile programming language. Core search algorithms, APIs,  and Google App Engine are just a few ways Google uses Python. 

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YouTube

There are more than two billion active YouTube users every month. Users watch one billion hours of video every day, on average, and generate revenue of more than $19.7 billion per year, according to OmniCore [5]. Coders and developers use Python for various reasons, including video viewing, controlling website templates, accessing canonical data, and more. Python's speed enables developers to create features quickly. Every time you watch a video on YouTube, you’re witnessing Python code in action.

Facebook

According to the Lead, while Python isn’t Facebook’s main language, it makes up approximately 21 percent of the infrastructure’s codebase of its platform [6]. Given the size and scope of Facebook, that translates to thousands of libraries and millions of lines of code. Python handles the lifecycle of Facebook's hardware, including everything from scheduling and automating maintenance to server imaging and network switch setup.

Netflix

Although Netflix lets its developers pick the languages they code in, many engineers use Python to code and handle important applications. Python's clean, simple syntax and large developer community enable Netflix developers to quickly innovate quickly. They've used Python for the majority of many projects, including Chronos, Chaos Gorilla, and its Regional failover system, which decreases outage response time from 45 minutes to seven minutes without increasing cost.

Python developer salary

According to Indeed, the national average for Python developers working in the United State is $55.24 per hour—or $116,443 per year [7]. Common benefits include commuter assistance, stock options, gym memberships or on-site gyms, health savings accounts, 401K matching, paid sick time, and health insurance.

Where you live and who you work for has a significant impact on how much you can expect to earn. Indeed also notes that in states like Maine, New Hampshire, Alabama, Mississippi, and New Mexico, Python developers earn approximately 25 percent or more above average. Some of the highest paying cities include Jacksonville, Florida; New York, New York; Los Angeles, California; and Columbus, Ohio [7].

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If you're new to Python, you might consider building a foundation with Python for Everybody from the University of Michigan. Interested in a career working with Python? Build job-ready skills and earn a credential for your resume with the Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate

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Article sources

1

PYPL. “PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index, https://pypl.github.io/PYPL.html." Accessed November 22, 2022.

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