Main image of article Python Developer Skills: What You Need to Know

Those who learn the Python programming language have their choice of opportunities. It’s one of the fastest-growing languages on GitHub, and there’s intense demand among employers for tech professionals with Python skills. For those who want to learn the language’s nuances and capabilities, there’s also a plethora of online documentation, including tutorials and videos.

But what skills do Python developers actually need to succeed? For an answer, we can turn to Lightcast, which collects and analyzes millions of job postings from across the country. According to the platform, the median salary for Python developers is $101,694, a bit above the average tech professional salary—and with the right mix of skills, that compensation can climb even higher.

Necessary Skills

Lightcast lists the following as “necessary skills” for a Python developer position—i.e., numerous employers want candidates skilled in at least some of the following:

  • Unit Testing
  • Debugging
  • Oracle
  • Scrum
  • Extraction Transformation and Loading (ETL)
  • C++
  • Object-Oriented Analysis and Design (OOAD)
  • Agile Development
  • UNIX
  • Relational Databases

A lot of these make sense: anyone working in software development should know the Agile and Scrum methodologies that govern many development teams’ workflows, as well as basic software-development principles such as debugging. Database knowledge is also key, as many pieces of software hook into a database of some sort.

Defining Skills

Next come the “defining skills,” which Lightcast defines as the day-to-day skills that Python developers need to fulfill their tasks to the best of their ability. As you might expect, this list includes… Python:

  • Python
  • SQL
  • Software Engineering
  • Software Development
  • Java
  • Django
  • Linux
  • JavaScript
  • Git
  • Flask

If you’re a Python developer (or an aspiring one), it’s key to learn at least a little bit about other, popular programming languages such as Java and JavaScript. Many organizations that develop software rely on more than one language as part of their overall tech stack; knowing multiple languages gives you a better chance at meeting a prospective employers’ needs.

For those totally new to Python who want to master the language as quickly as possible, take heart: in addition to lots of formal learning opportunities, there are lots of materials online that can quickly help you scale up your language knowledge. Start with a visit to, which offers a handy beginner’s guide to programming and Python. 

As you expand your Python knowledge, consider taking some tutorials and lessons from online learning portals, including Datacamp (whose Introduction to Python course includes 11 videos and 57 exercises), Udemy (which offers a variety of free introduction courses, including one for “absolute beginners”), and Codecademy. While some of these courses cost money, there’s also a lot of material available for the low, low price of free.

While the sheer number of learning options might seem intimidating, Python experts are quick to assure novices that the language is actually quite user-friendly. “Python is the perfect first programming language for beginners,” Sebastian Lutter, CTO at Pixolution, told Dice. “It provides a clear and readable syntax that makes it easy to learn the fundamentals of programming and allows you to focus on creating solutions for your problems quickly.”

Distinguishing Skills

Next come Lightcast’s “distinguishing skills,” which are defined as the advanced skills that Python developers can use to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace: 

How else can Python developers distinguish themselves in the marketplace? Some recruiters and hiring managers pay attention to job candidates’ certifications. If you participate in open-source projects, include links to any relevant websites, GitHub repos, and apps in your application materials; that will show you have the skills and passion to succeed in the role. As you fill out your resume, emphasize how you’ve used your Python skills to help your previous employers and clients achieve their strategic goals.

And don’t forget your “soft skills” like empathy and communication. Whether you’re a new Python developer just starting out on a career track, or a senior engineer managing a substantial team, the ability to explain your ideas and gain buy-in from other stakeholders is absolutely vital to ensuring projects are completed on time and on-budget. Once you’ve mastered your skills and racked up a lot of experience, you can consider becoming a distinguished engineer or subject-matter specialist.