Ready to start coding? What you need to know about Python

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We detail some of the key considerations to bear in mind when considering coding with Python such as salary estimates, potential applications, courses to consider, and more.

Image: iStock/AndreySuslov

Python is an increasingly popular programming language that is used in a vast suite of fields ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) to machine learning. Needless to say, the ability to design these applications is in high demand in the age of accelerated digital transformation. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the key information related to a career with Python such as salary expectations, programming applications, courses to consider, developer sentiments, and more.

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Python: Perennially popular

TIOBE releases its top programming languages rankings each month. These regularly updated rankings display long-term trends across the ever-evolving programming language landscape. In TIOBE’s January rankings, Python was deemed the top programming language of the year; this was the fourth time Python had received these honors.

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In 2020, Python gained 2.01% just ahead of other popular programming languages C++ and C, which jumped 1.99% and 1.66%, respectively, according to TIOBE. In TIOBE’s February rankings, Python maintained a rating of 10.86% placing third in the overall rankings behind runner-up Java and top-rated C.

Loved, desired, and “dreaded” programming languages

Python garnered similarly high marks in Stack Overflow’s 2020 Annual Developer Survey. Based on the responses of more than 60,000 developers around the globe, Python was listed as the third “most loved” programming language. This was determined based on the percentage of developers “who are developing with the language or technology and have expressed interest in continuing to develop with it,” according to Stack Overflow.

“[Python is] a language with brains and brawn. It has a beautifully simple syntax and is super powerful to boot. Unlike Java or C, there’s not a lot of extra syntax. Which means you can spend more time writing logic rather than looking for missing semicolons,” said Angela Yu, a developer and Udemy instructor.

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Interestingly, Python was also listed as Stack Overflow’s most “wanted” programming language, and this metric is determined by the percentage of developers who are not currently using a particular language but “have expressed interest in developing with it.” In this regard, 30% of developers “wanted” Python; leading runner-up JavaScript and third-place Go by 11.5% and 12.1%, respectively.

“The language is super readable, with keywords that make your code read more like English rather than some foreign computer language. But hidden behind the simplicity there are a lot of the features you would expect from a modern programming language: Object-oriented programming, dynamic typing and a powerful interpreter,” Yu continued.

In Stack Overflow’s roundup of most dreaded programming languages, Python sat near the bottom of the list ahead of TypeScript and Rust. There’s also plenty of employer demand for Python programmers and the programming language made Indeed’s list of the “Best Programming Languages to Learn.”

Digital transformation and Python 

Digital transformation efforts have accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic as companies incorporate automation, machine learning, AI, and more to streamline workflows and enhance operations. Python is central to many of these efforts further boosting the language’s appeal.

“The language gained a lot of popularity thanks to piggybacking on the rise of AI, Machine learning and data science. The vast number of libraries that are written in or support Python means that if you are creating anything related to Data Science or Machine Learning, you can code it in Python,” Yu said.

Programming pay: Python salary expectations

Salary estimates are central to career decisions and Python is critical in a wide range of industries. The average annual base salary for a Python developer in the US is more than $111,000 with cash bonuses totaling $5,000 each year, according to Indeed tools and data.

It’s important to note that salaries are not uniform across the country and US Python developers earn the most money in Washington, D.C., with an annual salary of $136,506, followed by New York City ($130,921), San Ramon, CA ($123,914), and Austin, Texas ($122,275), according to Indeed data.

“Python dominates Machine Learning, AI and Data Science. If you look on Indeed, almost every machine learning/data science job requires proficiency in Python,” Yu said. “But it’s also popular among web developers using Flask and Django. Python web frameworks are used by everybody from Reddit to Netflix. Other areas include autonomous vehicles, robotics and meteorology.”

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Python courses to consider

To start coding with Python, individuals will first need to master the basics before accomplishing more complex undertakings. TechRepublic Academy touts a number of courses, boot camps, and more to help seasoned Python pros and newcomers alike. These offerings include introductory Python courses and exercises for beginners as well as more advanced courses such as creating machine learning projects with Python and masterclass bundles.

Yu teaches app development on Udemy and founded The App Brewery code academy in London. She also provided some insights for individuals considering a career in Python.

“Consistency is key. People often overestimate what they can achieve in a day but underestimate what they can do in a year. Learning programming requires consistent application and practice,” Yu said.

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