There’s no doubt that Python has become a sort of go-to language for companies of all sizes to tackle their custom software development needs. It’s easy to see why. This programming language is as powerful and flexible as a programming language can possibly be, meaning that you can use Python to develop virtually any project you have in mind, whether it’s a web app, a machine learning algorithm, a desktop program, or a cloud-based platform.
That’s the main reason why organizations like Google, Facebook, Spotify, Reddit, PayPal, and even NASA (among many others) have relied on Python at some point in their developments. That’s also the reason why there’s so much interest in hiring Python developers from companies across all industries to the point where it’s almost always among the most demanded programming languages in the market.
That means that anyone interested in hiring a Python engineer will face steep competition, as every business under the sun is trying to secure these engineers’ services. Naturally, this means that anyone looking to hire a Python programmer will have a hard job not only when picking the right candidate but also when finding it in the first place. Are you struggling with that? Read this complete guide on how you can hire a Python developer.
How Hard is it to Find a Good Python Coder?
According to the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index, Python is consistently ranked as the most popular programming language in the world. This means that people from all backgrounds and positions are so interested in it to keep it ranking at the very top. Such interest comes from companies themselves that are on the hunt for the best Python developers but also about developers themselves, both beginner and senior, that want to add Python to their skillset.
Such popularity means that there’s a lot of people learning Python to cover the increasing demand. You’d assume that this would increase the availability of developers, making it easier for you to find a good Python coder. But reality shows something different – it can be pretty hard to find a good Python engineer.
This is due to two main reasons. The first is that the best talent in any activity is always scarce. A good Python programmer needs a series of skills that need a lot of time to be honed in, namely:
- Technical expertise, including deep knowledge of frameworks, tools, modules, classes, and libraries as well as of the Object Relational Mapper, Python’s overall syntax and semantics. The best Python engineers also show strong abilities in unit testing and debugging.
- Problem-solving abilities, that provide them with quick wit and autonomy to solve problems on the spot as they arise in the development lifecycle.
- Critical thinking, which gives the Python developer the ability to discern between the vast resources available to them and pick the perfect ones for their projects. Also, critical thinking allows these developers to identify weaknesses and defects in the development processes themselves.
- Communication skills, since Python developers (even the most experienced and skilled ones), don’t work alone but with a team that elevates the code they write.
The second reason why it’s hard to find good Python developers is that more and more companies are fishing for candidates from the same talent pool. Given the scarcity of top talent (something especially true in the US), the competition for those profiles can be fierce.
How to Spot a Python Expert?
As if the landscape wasn’t challenging enough, identifying skilled Python developers can be a tricky thing to pull off during the recruitment process. That’s because you need to know what you’re actually looking for in a candidate, something that goes beyond the mere name-listing of technologies in a resumé.
Screening candidates to find the true Python rockstars needs you to combine a series of strategies, tools, and approaches, including:
- Resumé screening. Here you’ll have to look for specific technologies and tools that any seasoned Python should have already mastered. Some of the most notable include web frameworks (such as Django and Flask), ORMs (Django ORM and SQLAlchemy), build tools (pip, tox), test frameworks (py.test, UnitTest), and data analysis tools (NumPy, SciPy). You need a candidate with strong experience in these if you truly want the best.
- Interviews. As it happens with any recruitment process, you’ll need to interview candidates through phone or video calls. In these interviews, you’ll have the opportunity to know the candidate more intimately, ask in-depth questions about the abilities on their resumé, and, simultaneously, assess their communication skills. The key is to have a strong questionnaire vetted by your IT team with questions of an advanced level that tests not just the candidate’s knowledge but it’s problem-solving skills as well.
- Technical screenings through tests. Since you can’t just take any candidate’s experience at face value, you need to validate the abilities in their resumé with proper tests. There are a lot of coding tests available online and you could also come up with one of your own but the best way to test Python skills is by presenting the candidate with real-life coding problems you can pull off from your latest Python projects. They naturally should cover more than just basics but also specific frameworks and libraries as well as testing scenarios.
Some candidates might include certifications in their resumés and even boast about them in interviews. While certifications can be indicative of courses and seminars, there’s no official Python certification program, so you can take those certifications as an indication of basic competence but that doesn’t have relevant value until they are confronted with technical tests.
Python Interview Questions You Should Ask
It’s worth taking a deeper look at the interviewing process and, more specifically, the questions you might ask during it. While there are obvious questions that will be a part of your questionnaire (mainly about overall qualifications, formal education, and past experience), there are other questions that hold the key to unlock a true glimpse into any candidate’s Python skills.
A. Questions concerning the developer’s experience with Python
- Which are the Python-related technologies you’ve worked with most recently in a non-personal project?
- What were your responsibilities in the development team?
- What were some of the obstacles you’ve encountered along the way? How did you solve them?
- Discuss the final product and your contributions to it.
B. Questions about the developer’s knowledge and opinions on Python
- Name 3 essential Python libraries relevant to my industry and explain their objectives to me in no more than 5 minutes.
- Why do you think of them as valuable for my company?
- Our team uses frameworks like X and Y. Which one do you prefer? Do you think there are better alternatives? Why?
C. Questions to assess the developer’s decision making on Python technology
- Have you ever led a Python development project? Walk me through the key decisions you had to make about technologies and project setup.
- Have you ever recommended a particular Python technology to your engineering manager? Which one and why?
- Tell me about the hardest decision you had to make during the development process.
D. Additional questions
- Name one failed project that you were involved in. Why didn’t it work?
- Looking back to it, which things would you have done differently to make the project succeed?
- What general things about Python and development did you learn from that experience?
How to Create a Job Offer Template for a Python Position?
One of the things that gets overlooked more often when hiring Python programmers is the job offer itself. Chances are that, whenever you start a search for a Python developer, you write an offer to post on your company’s LinkedIn page, on job sites, and on other platforms where you might find Python developers. However, if the offer is poorly written, you might end up shooting yourself in the foot, as your company will look amateurish, which will repel the senior talent.
To prevent that from happening, be sure to include the following in your job offer description:
- Precise job title. Don’t just say “Python developer” but something more detailed like “Semi-senior Python developer for web project in a fintech startup.”
- Company introduction. Briefly describe who you are, what you do, and list a couple of things to convince candidates you’re the ideal company for them. Don’t oversell yourself, though, as you’ll come across as over promotional and dishonest.
- Required technical skills. Be as specific as possible but don’t flood the job offer with a massive amount of details. Prioritize the skills and put them in order, leading with your desired experience. Don’t forget to include the relevant industry for which you’re looking for.
- Desired skills. You can include other technical skills here that you’d love to see in a candidate but that, for one reason or the other, you don’t want to put as required (for instance, you could want a Python developer with experience in performance tuning within the fintech industry but, given the high specificity of the role, using it as required might drive potentially good fits away).
- Personal skills. Soft skills are as important as technical ones, so you need a dedicated section for them. Be clear about them but, if possible, avoid clichés like “proactive team player with a passion for innovation.” Use your own words, which will reflect the kind of company you are and the kind of person you’re looking for.
What are the Best Practices when Hiring a Python Programmer?
While following all of the above should take you closer to hiring the Python engineer you want for your development team, it’s not enough. There are some additional things you can do to ensure you end up face to face with the best Python developers the market has to offer. Those things have to do with the recruitment process itself, including:
- Use smart tools to help you with your recruitment. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have evolved a lot over the past few years and can now help you with your recruitment efforts by sorting through candidates, highlighting the best resumés, and even suggesting positions based on their skills. We know what we’re talking about, as BairesDev uses Staffing Hero, an AI-driven proprietary platform to source the Top 1% of It Talent in the Americas from an applicant pool of 1.2 million candidates per year.
- Be aggressive and persistent. By that, we mean that you have to be very active when searching for Python developers within your network. You shouldn’t sit and wait for resumés to come your way – you have to go headhunting through online platforms and forums, use your contacts for referrals, and even analyze other companies that might have the right candidates for you sitting in the wrong position.
- Be very rigorous about references. When interviewing candidates, be sure to ask for references of past clients and colleagues and, once you’re done with the interviews, seek those references out and ask them for feedback. This can provide you a lot of insight into how your candidates work, their ethics, personalities, and even untapped potential that might come in handy later on.
- Show some flexibility. Keep your mind open about the candidates you get. Don’t aim for the perfect candidate that covers all the required skills in your job offer. If there are a couple of good candidates that lack one or two required skills, take them into consideration, as those abilities can be developed under the mentorship of senior talent in your team. Besides, being flexible also means considering alternatives if in-house hiring doesn’t pan out, which mainly means working with a third party company, a freelancer, or a remote team for your Python development needs.
Outsourcing as a Gateway to the Best Python Talent
That flexibility we just mentioned is essential in a market with a shortage of Python professionals that’s impacting US companies especially hard. If you obsess yourself with hiring in-house talent and don’t consider other options, you might end up searching for Python engineers for months on end to no avail. Keeping your options open allows you to resort to other hiring channels that can provide you with the talent you’re looking for when you’re looking for it.
This isn’t something to scoff at, since getting the right professionals at the proper time can mean a significant competitive advantage that can boost your productivity and improve your business efficiency. Besides, letting someone else take care of your recruitment of Python developers can relieve you from a very lengthy process and allow you to focus on your core business.
There are a couple of good options when considering outsourcing Python development, from hiring an HR company to find the professionals for you to hiring a Python development company such as BairesDev to provide you with the right engineers via staff augmentation services or even to take care of your entire Python needs through end-to-end software development.
Outsourcing to a reputable Python company has a host of benefits that can dramatically boost your Python projects, including:
- Access to a wider talent pool. Outsourcing companies have access to talent that isn’t in your city, state, or even country. They gather the best of the best across regions to provide you with on-demand staffing services. For example, BairesDev sources its clients with the Top 1% of IT talent in the Americas to form distributed teams that can tackle any Python project you might have.
- Marked experience and expertise. The combined experience and abilities of the senior professionals in some outsourcing companies can’t be rivaled. These companies hire the most talented Python professionals, who are well versed in the latest technologies and development methodologies.
- On-demand sourcing services, even for highly specific roles. A company like BairesDev can find the right Python candidate to augment your team in a matter of days. That’s because we have a comprehensive roster that includes a myriad of highly qualified professionals that can jumpstart any project you might have on demand.
Hiring Python Developers doesn’t Need to be Hard
As you’ve probably already noticed, hiring the best Python programmers isn’t precisely an easy thing to do. It requires you to precisely define the role you’re looking for, intensively look for the proper candidate among candidates, and rigorously interview and test the ones that feel like the right fit, a process that can take months and cost some serious money.
While the results are well worth the hassle (mainly because a senior Python developer can elevate your IT team and provide value immediately), sometimes your Python needs are more pressing. So, if you can’t afford to go through all those steps to find the best developers for your Python development project, then outsourcing it’s the best way to go – especially if you do so with BairesDev.
We have a proven track record of Python development for some of the biggest companies in the world across industries like healthcare, fintech, and retail. We have a robust recruitment process aided by AI that allows us to sift through millions of candidates per year to find the very best, which will end up working for you. What’s more, we are an agile-driven company that’s constantly evolving, so you can be sure that our Python teams have deep knowledge about the latest technologies and methodologies for development.
The best of it all – we have a series of custom development services that can adapt to the requirements of your next Python project. So, if you need serious Python talent to add value to your team right away, don’t look further: BairesDev is the company you’re looking for.