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Thursday, December 8, 2022

How to Become a Python Developer – Dice Insights

Becoming a Python developer means learning much more than the Python language itself. It means learning how to use an entire set of tools as well as frameworks, which are sets of code written by other developers that you add into your program.
There are generally two career paths for Python developers:
If you’re new to programming altogether, your best bet will be to take a course in Python development or buy a book and work through it. You’ll want to make sure you learn the basics of programming, which apply to any language: variables, types (including Python’s built-in types), loops, if statements, functions, and classes.
If you already know another language, you’ll want to learn Python’s syntax, which is quite different from other languages. Languages such as C++, C#, and Java use “curly bracket” syntax. Python, on the other hand, relies on indentation to specify inner blocks of code.
Learning the language is just part of it, because knowing the language itself won’t land you a job. Let’s see what else you need to learn, focusing in particular on Python in the context of full-stack web development.
A full-stack web developer creates web applications. There are multiple parts to these applications, including the “front end” (which consists of the pages displaying in a browser as well as code that runs inside the browser) and the “back end,” which is the code running on the web server connected to the browser (additionally, the back end typically connects to a database).
Different parts of an application make up what developers consider a stack. When dealing with web applications, the front end, back end, and database make up the entirety of the application and are therefore known as a “full stack.”
You can use Python to write the code in the back end of your application. To speed up the creation of a web application, you’ll need to learn what’s called a web framework to power the back end. These frameworks are essentially Python code that simplify your work, and there are two primary options:
Using either Django or Flask, you will then write additional Python code for tasks such as reading and writing to a database, performing calculations, and registering and logging in users. Which one should you use? We’re leaning towards Flask as you’ll see soon.
The Python code you write will likely need to store and retrieve data. You will need to learn at least one of the most common databases. There are two common types of databases:
Which database should you learn? If you’re focusing on getting a job in big business doing financial apps and internal business apps, you’ll definitely want to go with a SQL database. If you’re looking at modern apps used by people across the planet from their browsers and phones, you might want to go with NoSQL. (However, you see both in either setting, so there are no definite rules.)
Browsers don’t just display pages; they run code. This is the front-end part of your application. For front ends, we’re stuck with one language: JavaScript. This is the standard language the browsers know. However, JavaScript isn’t easy to code in. It can be messy, and it’s easy to create buggy code. As such, there’s another language called TypeScript that helps you create much cleaner code. TypeScript then gets converted to JavaScript so that the browsers can run the code.
Right now, the majority of front-end developers are using TypeScript, which makes it worth learning. But a note of caution: TypeScript is huge. It has far more features than most people use. Plan on only learning the basics by going through the tutorials on the site, and only picking up advanced features as you need them.
Front-end development with just TypeScript or JavaScript alone can be cumbersome. Instead, we rely on JavaScript frameworks that run in the browser to make our development time easier and faster. Currently the most popular are:
Of these, Angular and React are more popular, but Vue is steadily gaining ground. Angular and React are about equal in usage; however, Angular is a bit easier to learn. And once you know one, it’s not hard to learn the others. Each has well-written tutorials on their sites.
Learning the languages and frameworks isn’t enough. You need to learn concepts. Here are two of the most important ones:
To learn either of these, you’ll want to go to the Flask or Django documentation as well as the front-end documentation (Angular, React, or Vue). However, we need to bring up an important point: Django was not originally built for REST API architecture. It’s older. However, developers have built extensions that allow you to do REST in Django. Nevertheless, that’s why we encourage you to learn Flask first, as it’s built for REST APIs.
Finally, we have the tools you’ll be using. A good developer knows his or her tools, and you’ll likely get asked about tools in your job interview. No matter how good you are with Python or TypeScript, if you can’t answer questions correctly about tools, you’re not going to get the job.
First, you need to use a tool for typing in your Python code. There are many different options here:
Which one should you go with? Ask 100 developers and they’ll probably mention all three equally. Ask a few of your closest friends who are Python developers, and you’ll probably get some strong opinions that you might want to listen to, especially if they have leads into companies that are hiring. (But take note: Of the three above, Eclipse is probably the hardest to install, and the hardest to use.)
Finally there are a few other tools you must master:
One more tip regarding GitHub: As you learn to code, from time to time you’ll want to make some of your apps publicly available on GitHub. When you apply to jobs, make sure to send links to those apps and projects to recruiters and hiring managers; prospective employers love to see examples of your work.
This might seem like a lot, but it’s not. You can do it in under a year, or even within a few months.
If you’re serious about becoming a Python developer, start right now. Learn it in small steps, essentially the order we listed above:
You’ll also want to learn tools in parallel with the language. As you’re learning, you’ll want to practice, practice, practice. Start by building a small Python application that’s not full stack, just a simple python app. If you’re ever stuck as you escalate from simple apps to full stack, remember that Google is your friend, as is the ever-popular Stack Overflow site.
Teamwork is key for all developers. If you want to learn how to work on a team, contribute to open-source projects. GitHub has literally millions of open-source projects, many of which are looking for help.
Curious to find out more about the state of the tech job industry? You’ve got the questions and we’ve got the answers. Tune in here.

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