There are a lot of developers out there with varying skill-sets, but with Python, there are skills you want to ensure that person has before bringing them on board. Just because Python is one of the most widely-used programming languages, it also means there’s a lot to look out for in a skilled Python developer. With an expanding Python Center of Excellence in Aptude’s Mexico City location, we wanted to share some lessons learned and must-have skill-sets for your growing Python development team.

1) Know How to Integrate multiple databases.

The chances of your organization having one central database where everything just talks to each other organically is…very slim. It’s critical for a Python developer to have the ability to integrate multiple databases and data sources together. Depending on how large the organization is, you’re likely going to need the developer to connect a lot of dots (data sources) together in order to get the most out of your data and to visualize it in something like a BI tool. Integrating multiple databases and sources into one system help things run more smoothly and there will be fewer inconsistencies in doing so. While it’s useful for your development team to double as a data scientist, everyone outside of the tech team most likely won’t be able to turn that data into actionable data unless it’s translated into a data source that can make that information easier to digest.

Questions to ask:

  • Are you familiar with the Python Database API Specification 2.0?
  • Have you ever had to integrate an existing database with a new project or application?
  • Can you explain how Python can integrate with third-party providers?

Signs this is a problem to work on:

  • They are not familiar with the set of libraries available to speed up the process of integrating existing relational or non-relational databases.
  • It’s difficult for them to give examples of solutions to integrate existing data with a new app.
  • They are not familiar with the Python libraries to help the data be more consistent across a number of data sources/databases.

2) Be a core python expert.

What does this mean? Well, there are a number of core concepts a developer should understand very well like iterators, generators, exception handling, data types and variables, data structures, object-oriented programming (OOPs) concepts, etc. to ensure they know what they’re doing. If you don’t know the building blocks to Python, how are they supposed to build the next greatest project/app for your organization? Python’s syntax is very easy to read, similar to English so it’s definitely more intuitive for even beginner Python Developers. More advanced Python developers will know the built-in functions overview and standard library index to use as a reference for various use cases. They’re also not driving themselves crazy over using an OOP approach when it’s not necessary.

Questions to ask:

  • Does all Python code need to be object-oriented?
  • If there are multiple modules available for a particular use case, which one do you choose?
  • What are the best use cases to use the Python programming language?

Signs this is a problem to work on:

  • They don’t have the ability to give examples of use cases.
  • They cannot describe Python’s basics that make it a great general purpose, high-level language.
  • They don’t know the different native data types and how they can be implemented.

3) Knowledge of web frameworks.

There are common Python frameworks and Flask and Django are two of the most popular ones to understand. Understanding JavaScript, CSS and HTML will of course make you a sound Python developer as well. As a developer, it’s also vital to know the best use case for each one. Skilled developers will know frameworks to use in order to speed up time-to-market or website performance –key drivers for any organization.

Questions to ask:

  • When would you use one framework over another?
  • Can you give examples of frameworks you’ve worked with and how you’ve used them?
  • Are you familiar working with Full Stack Frameworks and Non-Full Stack Frameworks?

Signs this is a problem to work on:

  • The developer doesn’t exemplify a lot of web development experience.
  • They can’t give a lot of examples as to a Python framework’s advantages.
  • Inability to explain how they’ve successfully executed a framework based on a project’s requirements.

4) Mastery of Version Control.

There are some basic concepts to understand about version control and you want your development team to understand all of them in order to track changes and revisions. Developers play around with so many different scripts, they better be organized and track every change that’s being made to the source code. The worst thing to have happen is for something to break and they have no idea how to fix it. Without tracking code properly, there’s no way of knowing when a bug was introduced and a place to keep track of the various versions of software releases. Version control systems also allow developers to modify code without doing permanent damage.

Questions to ask:

  • What code versioning tool do you use?
  • How do you write, run and maintain unit tests for a Python app/project you’ve worked on?
  • Do you use Python’s own unit-testing framework or another to test for bugs?

Signs this is a problem to work on:

  • They cannot give examples of how they’ve discovered conflicts using version control tools
  • Not familiar with centralized and decentralized (distributed) version control systems.
  • They have a history of overwriting files that cannot be retrieved or making updates directly to the production server.

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Nearshore IT Services

From ongoing staffing needs to a rich, 24/7 onsite/nearshore model, our Data Science premium support teams are tailored specifically to meet your needs. Hire an IT resource that’s relatively within the same time zone, cost-effective and easier to access than most offshore services.

Since we’re highly proficient Data Mining and Big Data specialists, our Nearshore team can extract the critical knowledge and insights you need from your structured and unstructured data.

LEARN MORE

5) Front-end Development knowledge.

Being a Python developer, it’s extremely useful to understand front-end technologies and not just the back-end so they understand how the two talk to each other and how the front-end appears. This will allow the developer to communicate effectively with the UX team and other critical groups to a particular project. Understanding front-end technologies will also be helpful to design the application to its fullest potential and knowing what can’t be done right away rather than coding something that just won’t look right to begin with.

Questions to ask:

  • How have you communicated with other teams on a development project to ensure its success?
  • Do you have experience designing scalable products?
  • What limitations have you come across working on a project and how have you solved them?

Signs this is a problem to work on:

  • History of past projects where errors were introduced on the client side.
  • Cannot solve an issue with how a front-end language is not interacting properly with the back-end.
  • Does not exemplify knowledge of common front-end technologies such as JavaScript, CSS or HTML.

6) Understanding AI and Machine Learning.

These are growing technologies that are constantly being incorporated into organizations to improve operations and to build business intelligence. Having these skills will allow the developer to create machine learning algorithms for BI tools and to visualize data. A developer with data science skills are in high demand. Python is one of the best languages for AI development due to its prebuilt libraries naturally reducing the amount of development time. It’s easy to argue that Python’s library ecosystem alone makes it the supreme language to use. Machine learning requires continuous data processing and Python’s libraries gives you access to it and allows you to transform that data.

Questions to ask:

  • Have you worked with sentiment analysis?
  • What do you know about natural language processing?
  • Have you worked with any of Python’s AI libraries?

Signs this is a problem to work on:

  • Doesn’t have experience with applications where Python is the preferred language.
  • Isn’t familiar with Python’s prebuilt libraries for AI or machine learning applications.
  • Cannot explain why Python would be the preferred language for machine learning or AI.

7) Communication Skills.

Without this critical soft skill, your development team can fall apart if one member decides to go rogue. It’s very important that your team communicates effectively amongst each other and among stakeholders for projects they’re working on to ensure goals are being met and projects are going to be successful. One of Python’s advantages can also be a disadvantage if the line of communication breaks and due to Python’s easy-to-read code, they can change it, copy it or share it to match their own agenda. Good communication is key for a successful development team.

Questions to ask:

  • How have you worked as a team to solve a problem?
  • How have you worked in a team environment to successfully deploy a project?
  • If a fellow developer on the team is coding something differently than how you would, how would you handle the situation?

Signs this is a problem to work on:

  • The person seems to have a habit of not working effectively as a team.
  • Exemplifies poor listening skills and is easily distracted.
  • Is not receptive to constructive criticism or feedback.

One of the best aspects of Python is that there are very strong support communities, especially because Python is an open-source language. Even for the most advanced developer –this makes it even easier to level up your current development team. There’s a lot of Python documentation and forums where developers can discuss errors and solve problems amongst each other to gain even more knowledge from other developers. Python developers have a lot of tools available to them to be very proficient in each of these skills outlined above and more, they just need to put the work in to make it happen.

Aptude has a robust Python Center of Excellence in Mexico City, which we believe will be the new Silicon Valley in the years to come. To learn more about our nearshore Python team and how we work, contact us for a free presentation or click here to explore for yourself.

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