It’s not hard to find Python developers to hire, but finding the right one can be difficult if you don’t know what you should be looking for in terms of skills and experience.
Before interviewing and hiring anyone, it’s important to have an idea of what you need and the language you want your developer to be working in, so you can make sure they’re right for the job before bringing them onboard.
In this article, we’ll share 10 skills that are useful when hiring Python developers, with tips on how to tell whether or not someone has those skills.
1. Python Language Skills
If you’re looking to hire Python developers, the first thing to consider is whether or not they have experience in the language of your choice.
While translational skills are encouraged and can also be useful, having a developer who has experience using and coding for the chosen language will make them much more qualified for the job.
For most jobs that use Python, you’ll want to ensure that your potential employee can write code in this specific language.
How to tell if they have good Python skills: A simple way to test this is by asking them to write some code and provide a sample.
If they do so, they either have experience or were able to quickly familiarize themselves with the language through online resources or other means.
An even better option is if you are able to pair program with them during an interview and see how well they write code while working together as a team on a small project that can be completed in an hour or two.
If they aren’t able or willing to complete something at least semi-complicated during an interview, this might not be someone who will work out well for your company down the road.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re hiring Python developers to ensure you find the right person for your team.
2. Understanding of Web Development Technologies
The vast majority of web development jobs will require a developer who can create highly functional websites that are usable, responsive, and aesthetically pleasing.
In order to do this, they’ll need a comprehensive understanding of web technologies and how they interact with one another.
Knowing how these work together is important for any developer who wants to create interactive websites and apps that look good and perform well in different browsers and devices.
Because Python isn’t always used as the main language when building a website or app (it’s more commonly used for back-end functionality), you should take into consideration your potential employee’s knowledge of web development technologies before making a hiring decision.
How to tell if they have a good understanding of web development: This can be done through an interview process in which you ask specific questions about their experience with various types of rendering languages.
In some cases, they might even need to provide an example of how they would solve the said problem before learning all the specifics of your project.
This will give you an idea of their level of experience and knowledge with other languages that aren’t just Python.
3. Understanding of Server Architectures and Databases
Server infrastructure is one of the most important parts of building a high-performing website or web app.
There are a lot of factors that enter into this, including server architecture (whether it’s IIS or Apache), operating system (Windows, Linux, or Unix), server configuration options (Apache Modules or .htaccess files), directory structure organization, and so on.
Because Python is typically used for back-end development work, it is important for potential employees to understand how server technology works as well – after all, if their code can’t go anywhere without being hosted somewhere by your company first,
there will be a significant disconnect between what developers expect when writing their code and what happens when it makes it real users’ hands.
How to tell if they have a good understanding of server infrastructure: This can be done through an interview process in which you ask them questions about the various components that go into building a server stack, such as Apache and IIS.
You might also want to ask them what they think makes a good server architecture versus a poor one, and how they would go about troubleshooting issues with your front-end code.
Knowing how to troubleshoot problems with the back end is just as necessary as knowing how to troubleshoot problems on the front end – after all, if your website or app doesn’t load at all, then it doesn’t matter how good the code is that you wrote on the back end.
4. Ability To Understand Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) Principles
If you are working with Python, this should come naturally – after all, Python was created by Guido Van Rossum who based it on concepts he learned while studying object orientation while working at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI).
OOP itself is another concept that needs some explanation for those who aren’t familiar with it – this article does a great job breaking down what OOP means and why it is important.
How to tell if they have a good understanding of OOP: Python is an object-oriented programming language, so this should come as a given – but also make sure that they have actually used these OOP concepts in real-world situations.
You might also want to ask them what design patterns they are familiar with, and which ones have been their favorites over the years.
5. Ability To Write Test Cases For Their Code
Testing is a big part of software development – after all if you don’t test your code, how do you know that it works at all? Python has several different types of testing frameworks that can be used; we’ve listed some of the most popular ones here and this article breaks down what each testing framework does best and how it stacks up against others.
The Python documentation also provides more information on writing unit tests with unittest, nose, doctest, and more.
How to tell if they have good testing experience: As part of the interview process, you should ask them about any testing frameworks that they have used before and what their favorite one was. You could also ask them if they know of any best practices for writing unit tests.
6. Ability To Use Version Control Systems (VCS)
You probably already have your own version control system (VCS) for your code, but many programmers still don’t use it or use it incorrectly – in fact, this is a statistic that many users are surprised to learn!
And these are just the ones who reported using VCS at all – knowing how to manage your projects with tools like Git or Mercurial is an important skill set that all coders should know.
At a minimum, you will want to make sure that they are familiar with at least one of these tools – we’ve talked more about VCS here and here.
How to tell if they have good VCS experience: If you are using Git, then you can ask the programmer what their clone/fetch/commit/push histories look like – but be forewarned, this question could go either way depending on how they use it.
You could also ask them about how they would manage a project that was already hosted on GitHub; this question should provide you with some insight into their familiarity with the tool.
7. Ability To Work With Databases
Some of your projects will need to work with databases, whether on a backend or frontend level – it’s important to know if the person you’re interviewing will be able to work with this part of the stack.
SQL is generally considered one of the most important database languages, so if they know enough to get by (or create) database schemas and queries, then they’re probably a good fit for your job! Python also has some very popular database connectors – we have written about these connectors here and here.
MySQL would be considered one of the most popular databases for Python programmers, but there are far more out there that can be used with Python as well.
How to tell if they have good database experience: As part of your interview process, you could ask them about any databases (SQL-based or otherwise) that they are familiar with and what their favorite one is.
If you have any specific questions about writing queries (as in MySQL), then you could ask how they would optimize one of your queries to make it more efficient.
8. Ability To Be A Team Player (People Skills)
Coding is a social activity – there are always faster or better ways to solve a problem, and good programmers know when to ask for advice.
This is a key part of the social aspect of programming – it’s important not only to have great technical skills but also the ability to communicate with both your teammates and your clients in an effective way.
In general, good programmers should be able to tell you why they chose one design solution over another without getting defensive – this is a great sign that they will be willing to collaborate with others!
Some people get so caught up in their own code that they forget that there are other people involved; having good communication skills really helps in these situations.
How to tell if they have good people skills: A simple way of checking if someone has good people skills is by simply asking them about their experience working on teams.
You can ask them about how often things went well as well as what could have gone better, as well as how team dynamics played out with different projects and different teammates – this will give you some insight into how they handle the social aspects of programming.
9. Ability To Learn New Languages and Tools Quickly (Flexibility)
Software development has always been changing and evolving, with newer technologies constantly coming out. Therefore, it is very important for any good programmer to be able to quickly adapt to new technologies and frameworks.
Depending on what language/frameworks you have decided to use for your company’s projects, some people may be more comfortable picking up another one than others! Therefore,
it’s important that your candidates are able to learn new technologies quickly in order to best support your team and clients (as well as the rest of the programming community).
How to tell if they have flexibility: Your best bet here is simply asking them about their experience learning new languages and frameworks – this will give you a good idea of how comfortable they are with technology in general.
This is really a more general life skill – so if you’re looking for someone who is a jack of all trades, that would also be good!
A good way of testing this skill would be asking them how they would approach recreating an app or website that uses a few specific technologies – this will give you a better idea of how they think and how they would approach a task that’s not directly related to your project.
10. Ability To Work Independently (Self-Starter)
I spend A LOT of time on my own working on projects, as well as doing side work for other companies – and sometimes, it can really bring me down. However, for some reason, I can always push myself to do even more stuff when it is for my own benefit – I have no idea why!
What I do know is that my lack of motivation definitely affects my productivity in the long run.
Some people are just naturally more motivated than others, but if you’re managing someone who is a self-starter – then you won’t have to worry about keeping them motivated at all.
How to tell if they are a self-starter: This one isn’t very hard – again, just ask them! You can ask them what their typical day at work looks like, or if they prefer working in teams or alone – this should give you some good insight into how they approach their jobs; if they seem like a self-starter, you might want to dive deeper into why they prefer working independently.
It’s important to remember that some of these questions may not be applicable to every single job position at your company – but they should be applicable to most of them. And that’s the key!
If you can get a good feel for a potential employee’s answers early on, you will be able to determine if they are a good fit for your company and team.
So, protect your company and yourself by finding out who you want to work with before bringing them on board!