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Can Learning Python Alone Lead To A Viable Data Science Career Path?

Can Learning Python Alone Lead To A Viable Data Science Career Path?

Richa Bhatia

The market demand for Python in India is high, and according to our Analytics and Data Science Jobs study, 2018, Python saw the biggest jump this year. It replaced R as the most in-demand analytics tool. In our earlier interview with Edge Networks’s Raja Sekhar Pappala, the most sought-after skill in the data science field began with a good understanding of data-for-data pipeline creations. That’s why SQL and ETL methods with Python and other querying expertise are sought after in the industry.

In the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2017, it showed that Python’s popularity has soared exponentially with Python overtaking PHP for the first time. In fact, Python has a solid claim to being the fastest-growing major programming language. A Stack Overflow report said that the growth of Python is even larger than it might appear from tools like Stack Overflow Trends. Much of the growth has been attributed to web development and data science.

Given the recent developments, learning Python has been said to be essential for a good career track. But the question is: Can one get an entry-level job by just learning Python? Will having the knowledge of Python, without knowing the computer science fundamentals, be enough for cracking an interview? Although we have heard ad nauseam that learning Python is an “absolute must” for beginners and online courses do give the know-how of basic programming, this knowledge isn’t enough to land an entry-level job.



The Vox Pop About Python

We mined the forums to see what practitioners are saying about it. And here’s the verdict — at a time when technology is evolving rapidly, knowing just one programming language or tech tool at the preliminary level is not very effective. It is simply because companies don’t have the time to invest in employees to take them to the advanced stage. Also, recruiters want employees who can start working on projects and implement ideas on their own.

Here are some gems we picked up from the discussions:

  • If you want to qualify as a back-end developer, you should understand what the full back-end technology stack means
  • Self-taught programmers should get more training in databases, design patterns, architecture, writing testable code, algorithms, databases, documentation, proper error handling, logging, basic code factoring and all the other things that software engineers need to know
  • Every company would expect their programmers to work on actual solutions in Python and start developing these skills. At the same time, they would expect to see the new joinees network so that they can get leads into the industry
  • Employers don’t have the time to invest in advanced training and usually expect employees to work on solutions on their own
  • One is expected to build on Python learning with a GitHub portfolio

Python Roles And Career Opportunities

Popular job boards are abuzz with Python developer opportunities. So, what are the kind of roles can one fill with Python on their resume? The job responsibilities of Python Developer are primarily developing software, writing and implementing software solutions, integrating data solutions and supporting new projects. They can also fill in the role of Research Analysts and use techniques to do market research, understand consumer behaviour and provide insights on marketing initiatives. One of the most popular roles is that of a Data Analyst which requires statistical knowledge as well. Some of the top organisations using Python are Amazon, Reddit, Google and Facebook, among others.

How Does One Learn Enough Python To Land A Job?

Python has been dubbed as an easy language to learn at a basic level, one must also build on industry-specific knowledge. For example, one must also understand how to integrate Python into the software development cycle. According to tech expert Jeff Cogswell, one must also know how to perform unit testing, a fundamental element for software development in Python.

If you are on a self-learning curve, check out this great resource to learn about Python applications in web and internet development, scientific and numeric computing and business applications. Cogswell gives a key piece of advice — if one is truly interested in learning software development with Python, then one must learn how to use Python in the building process. For this, you need a deeper understanding of different databases and other technologies as well.

Purely self-taught programmers will have to go beyond knowing and understanding the syntax of Python to demonstrate their knowledge by developing software. Given how Python is finding a huge play in big data and machine learning, it is a must-have skill. Online courses are a great resource but they don’t cover everything so try interacting with the developer community and network more to ramp-up your skill set.

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