Whether you’re testing microchips or powering the latest equivalent of Instagram, there’s a good chance that Python will be high on your list of preferred programming languages. One of the most powerful and dynamic programming languages available today, Python is suitable for the development of everything from web and desktop applications, to data-driven, scientific, and artificial intelligence applications.
GitHub recently named Python as its second most popular programming language and it is little wonder why. Designed to promote concise, readable, and maintainable code, Python’s main advantage is its ability to offer quick solutions.
Web development frameworks such as Django allow Python developers to efficiently build powerful, high traffic web applications. While for less complicated projects like small web applications, frameworks such as Flask and Pyramid give developers the power to build and deploy apps in a short amount of time.
It is this power and versatility of use that puts the skills of talented Python developers in high demand. So how do you find and hire a good developer? Here, we take a look at the most effective ways to hire a Python developer, plus the key skills and qualities you should be looking for in your new recruit.
How to find the best developers
With so many developers to choose from, narrowing down your ideal candidate can be challenging. For the best chance of finding exactly what you need, work through the following process:
Define your requirements
Python’s suitability for such a wide range of applications means that when hiring a Python developer, you should have a very clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and be able to communicate that vision. This allows you to focus specifically on developers who have the skills and experience in the areas you need.
Design a technical interview, bespoke to the intricacies of Python. Ask problem solving questions that are relevant to your project, or based on problems encountered by your team in the past. If you are not a developer, you should strongly consider bringing in a technical interviewer or using the services of a software company instead.
A pair programming task at interview, is a particularly effective method for observing how candidates will perform in an environment similar to that of your company. You can also see how well they collaborate and communicate with other team members, as well as checking where they stand technically.
One of the most effective ways of narrowing down your candidates, is to assign a test project to test their skills and claims of expertise. This will also give you an opportunity to experience the way they work, and how long it takes them to complete a given task.
Where to find good Python developers
The most common ways to hire a Python developer are on a freelance basis, as an in-house employee, or working with a software company.
The route you take will ultimately be guided by:
How quickly you need to hire someone.
Whether you have the technical expertise necessary to interview and test candidates.
Your ability or desire to lead and manage the project.
What your budget is.
How important the issue of quality is to your project.
In addition to this, each method has its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages which should be taken into consideration when making your decision:
In-house and freelance employees
Hiring a freelance or in-house employee is advantageous if you have the necessary expertise in the nuances of recruiting a Python developer, plus the ability and desire to lead and manage the project to completion.
Both of these methods also have their limitations, however. Bear in mind that you will also need a team of other experts, such as a project manager and quality assurance specialist to run a successful project. This may not be economical if software development is not part of your core business.
You may also find that ongoing maintenance is difficult to arrange once the project has been completed due to freelancers having other commitments. This means that if bugs appear, you will need to hire someone else to fix them.
Software development company
There is little doubt that hiring a freelancer is the cheaper option in terms of cost. However, lowest cost doesn’t always represent best value overall, particularly when it comes to development work. A software development company’s services may cost more initially, but you have the reassurance of receiving a high quality product that won’t cost you more in the long-run to bring it up to the required standard.
A freelance or in-house employee will likely be skilled and experienced in a specific area, whereas a software company provides you access to a whole team of experts, with experience and skills across a variety of functions including developers, designers, project managers, and quality assurance specialists. They will also be up-to-date with the latest technological developments and can provide the most up-to-date and effective solutions.
In addition, a software company will have a finely tuned workflow derived from experience, requiring little input from you to build a product, completed to strict deadlines. You should also be able to expect enhanced quality control, reliability, and superior standards of reporting and communication.
What to look for in a great Python developer
Programming language is a constantly changing landscape and Python in particular can be used for a wide range of applications. This means that a great Python developer will require an ever-evolving mix of hard and soft skills to be successful. When selecting who you want to work with, look for the following key skills and qualities:
Technical expertise. Proficiency in both Python 2.x and 3.x is essential because both are widely used, but not compatible with each other. Knowledge of libraries, modules, and frameworks is also critical in order to enhance the functionality of Python. A good developer should also have a basic knowledge of Object Relational Mapper, an understanding of Python syntax and semantics, as well as unit testing and debugging skills.
Communication skills. Even if the role is purely programming based, a developer will need to be able to communicate effectively in order to collaborate with other members of the team, and to understand the project requirements.
Critical thinking. There are a number of Python libraries and frameworks that allow a developer to speed up the development process, without increasing cost. Each framework however, has a unique set of pros and cons and a developer will need strong critical thinking skills to select the right framework for the project.
Problem solving ability. A good developer will be able to troubleshoot problems as they arise within the development process, saving both time and money.
The power and versatility of Python is a strong factor behind its rise to popularity as a programming language, and it is little wonder that companies from all industries are competing to hire the best Python developers for their projects.
In order to hire a good developer, you must first define and be able to communicate a crystal clear vision of your project and its requirements. This will allow you to conduct a technical interview and test candidates against your specific needs.
You should carefully consider whether the needs of your project will be best met by an in-house employee, freelancer, or a software company, carefully weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Finally, the success of your project rests heavily on the skills of your developer. Look for someone who possesses the necessary technical expertise, communication skills, plus critical thinking and problem solving ability.