What You Can Do as a Python Developer

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. 

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 48.24 percent of the time in their development work [2]. Survey results also showed that Python is the most-wanted programming language, with 19.04 percent of developers who aren't using it already saying that they are interested in learning Python [3].

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What is a Python developer? 

As a Python developer, you'll design, code, and deploy development projects in the Python language. You might also work on debugging those projects. 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. Your role will likely vary depending upon the industry and organization that you ultimately find yourself working.

Advantages of Python 

ComputerWeekly.com calls Python the most versatile language for coding and the second-best programming language for everything. There are other solutions to problems, but “Python will always get the job done.[4}.” As a Python developer, you’ll be able to use your skill 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++.

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. And if you can't find what you need there, there are extensive other libraries that can help you. 

Python is portable and interactive.

Some programming languages, including 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 also helpful, particularly 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, which means you can create applications using pre-existing objects, making it a favorite among many users for improved productivity and faster prototyping. Its design gives you improved process control, stellar integration capabilities, and Python’s unit testing framework, making it a highly efficient language. 

Disadvantages of Python

There are many benefits to using Python, but even the most in-demand programming language isn’t without its drawbacks. One of the biggest is that, even though it’s highly efficient, Python is also considerably slower at runtime than compiled programming languages like C and C++, which can be an issue if you’re working on a 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 you’re writing 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. 

Experience Python in action

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, joined the Google team in 2005, working there until 2012. The company's motto, "Python where we can, C++ where we must," describes just how much it relies 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 executing Python code. 

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 $52.08 per hour—or $109,230 per year, with an average cash bonus of $5,000 [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 Richmond, Virginia [7].

Get started: Ways to begin learning Python

Python is among the easier programming languages to learn, and you have several options to get started. On average, it takes between two and six months to learn Python's fundamentals. But that could be faster if you have some previous coding experience. The amount of time you can devote to learning and practicing also impacts how much time you can expect it to take. If you want to learn a little faster, some form of formal Python training may be beneficial. 

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Article sources

1. PYPL. “PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index, https://pypl.github.io/PYPL.html." Accessed January 24, 2022.

2. Stack Overflow. “Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2021,  https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2021#technology-most-popular-technologies." Accessed January 24, 2022.

3. BrainStation. “What Does a Python Developer Do? (2022 Guide), https://brainstation.io/career-guides/what-does-a-python-developer-do." Accessed January 24, 2022.

4. ComputerWeekly.com. “Python @ 30: Praising the Versatility of Python, https://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Python-30-Praising-the-versatility-of-Python." Accessed January 24, 2022.

5. Omnicore. “YouTube by the Numbers: Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts,  https://www.omnicoreagency.com/youtube-statistics/." Accessed January 25, 2022.

6. LEAD. “NASA, Google, FB, Netflix - What Do They Have in Common?, https://thelead.io/data-science/companies-that-uses-python." Accessed January 25, 2022.

7. Indeed. “Python Developer Salaries, https://www.indeed.com/career/python-developer/salaries." Accessed January 25, 2022.

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