How to get a job as a python (or any other language) developer


forgottenowl said:
dumb 18 year old here, any opinions on what's the best language to learn to start doing contract work ASAP?

Main goal is to travel so I don't want to be a full time programmer working 50 weeks a year with 2 weeks off. I think working contracts and travelling in between is preferable to travelling while freelancing or working remotely.

Any recommendations?

Google is your friend here. I see contract work all the time available on internet jobs sites (indeed, monster, craigslist is pretty good). They'll say something like "10-15k for 10 weeks of work, potential offer to direct hire" or something similar. So you'll need to find a way to get this. You can always sign up for email notifications on all these sites.

Just look at their 'preferred candidate' and try to make a resume that's what they ask for and no more. If they say five years of experience and you have eight, you might as well just list five, since hiring managers aren't too bright.

Add a link to a portfolio of code work. For software developers, a portfolio of code work is (as far as I can see) a website that has good projects you've done that are updated on a somewhat regular basis, along with clients who have testimonials if possible. Again, google.

I haven't gone for contract work personally and am working on a code portfolio (slowly), but from reading various reddit posts this is what most people who approach a career unconventionally end up doing.


I've had a lot of fun reading this entire thread and now I have a pretty decent idea about what resources a complete newbie can visit to gain some programming skills.

I still feel a strong mental block though as in wondering if I am smart enough or cut out enough to do programming bearing in mind I have never done any computer science related work before and have just turned 30.

I don't know how many of you work a job you are trying to replace or escape from and if your idea is to get into programming as a means to be location independent as well as stay in the employment prospects game for the long haul. I am guessing a lot.

I'm thinking about learning and getting shit hot at a couple of high bang for buck programming languages so I will eventually be able to make 25k post tax/year, being location independent and working <30 hours a week. Do you think this is doable if one invests 6-12 months learning for example python and javascript?

My understanding from reading this thread is you learn your chosen languages, how ever long that takes, do a few projects for your programming C.V. and then work freelance for a 'day rate' once you are competent enough with a track record of solving various problems for a variety of projects.

I don't intend to make this my primary job - rather in combination with one or a couple of other completely unrelated jobs (working offshore at sea being one of them which I do foresee becoming far less of a prospect in upcoming years) in order to maximise long term security. So its not like I am aiming to make a fortune from programming alone. Yet it looks like you still need to be very competent at at least a couple of mainstream, heavily utilised programming languages to have any kind of success.
I've been contemplating getting into tech for years now.

I'm an electrical engineer (power focus) that works in the oil/gas industry. Have 7 years of oil/gas experience. I manage a consulting division (basically I handle all the proposals, reports, communication with my many clients, QA/QC, technical work, invoicing/budgets/schedule, etc).

I'm wanting to spend 6-8 months heavily programming and learning core CS concepts and building up a github and then applying to software engineering roles. Is that possible without experience? Or is junior developer my only option?

I work in a major city and make $96k all in, working 20-30 hrs/week.. hoping to at least hit $85k with a new gig.
Some thoughts on the above ^: Commit or don't. No I work 2 jobs stuff. This won't work in tech. For the newbies it's not how do I get proficient on a language, it's how do I problem solve?

Reality is, most do 3-5 years locally, then convince their team/company to let them work remote. Those right out of the gate working remotely via Elance, Upwork etc have to compete for scraps and work their way up. You are a small business owner at that point and I guarantee you working >40 hrs at that point related to your "gig".

Most career switches will start at the bottom, your past experience will be considered for soft skills, but unless you killed it contributing to heavily publicized open source projects(and so Google is calling), you will start at the bottom.


Some notes on getting a job for people who live relatively near where 'software dev' jobs are posted.

This is probably common sense for most of you but you're going to get a lot further by calling the company and asking to speak with the supervisor or maybe hiring manager (though I would try to sidestep HR as much as possible) - rather than jumping through all the online hoops that can go fuck themselves.

The retards in HR outsource their own "difficult" work by posting these usually lowball job offers on indeed, linkedin, monster, etc; sometimes without the authority to do so (withdrawing offers frequently) and get 14580928342 applications from around the country, maybe 1% of which can be considered serious - so while I can sympathize with the 'data overload', these idiots brought it upon themselves. They were sweet talked by satan himself who said that their jobs were hard and their software algorithms were useful. I've wasted a lot of time getting no response job hunting 'conventionally', probably because I've never spent a dime on somebody or software that can optimize keywords for me.

It's much easier to get a job if you can convince a supervisor or manager that you have huge incentive to stick around considering it's only a ten minute drive from your house.

I don't even bother with the 'apply now' shit on indeed, linkedin, etc; and you shouldn't either - just write down the name of the company in a notebook and call them. You might have to call four or five times or drive over and drop of resumes at hiring managers or whatever but if you're seen as somebody who could easily be a regular, getting hired is much less of a pain in the ass and they might actually consider you a future employee.

^^^^Building on what EEnomad has to say, from what I've heard talking to other freelancers (most of them not software guys), you have to charge more than the rate that you'd usually expect from a wage slave job - oftentimes double. Not because you're necessarily a 200k/yr employee, but because 50% of your time is going to be spent finding and following up on leads.
Even if you think you have more work than you know what to do with, there's always the issue of flaky payments, filing liens, and getting dicked around that you'd never have to put up with if you were just an employee and your employer absorbed all that risk.
Charging more also scares off the guys who just want to waste your time (i.e; they see you as a rent-an-employee to hurl abuse at rather than an independent contractor). It can eventually be extremely lucrative but like all things you have to put in the ground work and not many people I know who have 'made it' as independent contractors would ever willingly go back.


Guys that work remote, what is your set up for clients that need to white list your IP to access the server/dashboards. Do you just remote screen into a home computer?

The Grey

I'm currently busy building my first startup, where another guy is coding it up. I have worked in tech for many years, but only by doing enterprise sales and managing larger projects. Never through coding myself.

Two months into the startup my naivety in how long stuff takes to code was killed. Initially we estimated it would take about a month to build a prototype, but that has now turned into 3. We are bootstrapping this so validating the product as early as possible is integral. As I currently have a lot of free time on my hand and I need this startup to succeed, I thought why not take up programming. I've always felt a bit dumbfound working in tech, but not truly understanding it to the core. I wanted to remove that fog and develop a better understanding with programming logic.

I started learning Python because it seemed like a good syntax to begin with and it seems to be very reliable in solving many problems in the domains I work in.

Boy, how fun this is! One week in I can't understand why I haven't started learning this before. Programming seems to be just the kind of problem solving I like doing.

Two weeks in I have multiple scrapers running on AWS Lambda and a few other scripts which cleans and analyse everything I scrape, in addition to feeding this to a mysql server which my developer will get and use for our startup. The feeling of building something that is actually useful to our business feels so fantastic. And its a testament to how simple Python is to learn.

I'll dedicate a lot of time to programming the next few years. As I have a few ideas that I want to build prototypes for and I love data science, bitcoin & automation I'm probably gonna focus on:

- Python and all of the data science packages like pandas, SciPy etc
- Flask
- Javascript

Right now I'm just spending the next few weeks on learning Python, pandas and databases. Gone through codecademy, 'automate the boring stuff with python' and now doing 'learning python the hard way'.

I'm also keen on trying to find some work down the line to learn faster. I have read this whole thread and its a great place for information. I'll be following it from now on and probably shoot some questions from time to time.


If programming interests you and you are interested in building a web application you should check out django or flask. They are both web frameworks powered by python.


I've been learning to code now for about 10 months or so. I started of with python, basically following the OP's advice. After getting some projects on to my github and a portfolio website set up I decided to just send out some applications to recruiters just to test the waters really.

Currently I've had one call back from a recruiter and I've got an interview coming up in a couple of weeks for a junior developer position.

Alot of the junior developer jobs here in the UK are wanting Javascript, so i've started to learn this as well. In fact if I had to choose a starting language I'd probably choose Javascript.


On breaking into the field: when I was starting out 8+ years ago, I built up a solid reputation on ODesk (it's now called Upwork) by charging super low rates initially and working my way up. Then I had a couple of multi-month full-time projects, so I had something to put on my resume, which helped me get a "real" job. I've worked at a few small and large companies including FANG since then.


B-Minus said:
What projects did you do TylerDurden1993?

Most of my projects have been using Django. I have a couple of website clone projects. A couple of blogs and a personal portfolio site.

I've got two projects hosted on the internet;

one of them is a clone website that I put on (you can host one project on there for free).

The other one is my personal portfolio site that's hosted on a VPS using Digital Ocean. I include the URL on my CV and cover letter. This contains a description of projects I've been working on and a blog site where I post what I've been learning.

My other project is a blackjack game that you play in the command line.


Gold Member
For those of you who are web developers, is Angular overtaking AngularJS or is the latter still preferred? I know Angular made some huge changes such as getting ride of scope and moving the language used from Javascript to Typescript.


Can anyone comment on the viability of going to one of these coder camp schools that offers to get you into a $120,000+/yr job after graduating from their 8-12 week program? (I would post a link, but it's been a while since I saw one of these FB ads in my newsfeed)


Man, getting into python syntax after Java makes me feel like a kid in growns ups world. After getting so many recommendations to learn Python, I now am embracing on the journey. See you on the other side.

Gopnik said:
Slightly off topic, but thought I'd share an old video and article from Maverick Traveler about his experiences in programming.

He basically argues that programming fucks your social skills, forces you to compete against cheap labour from india and after only a few years most programmers move to a managerial role (it's meant to be a promotion I think, but he seems to mean this in a negative way which seems a bit contradictive).

If programming fucks up your social skills you are a pussy who had no social skills at the first place. Any man who has studied game isn't gonna suddenly lose his social skills.
However like Godzilla said, warm up is most likely necessary if you plan going on a date, but that isn't programming inclusive. You wouldn't go on a date straight after doing hours of anything problem solving related anyway.


Thought i'd update this thread.

I've currently had 3 interviews so far with 1 coming up on Tuesday.

One of them was just a standard interview asking about what i've been doing project wise and explaining what the company did. Not so positive about this one to be honest just a gut feeling.

One of them was explaining what the company did, then some questions on postgresql, this was painful as i've only really used it through Django. Also some questions on the theory of web development which I struggled with as well. Did some python coding challenges the first two were easy then I had one with a recursive function eventually got it and then explained what would happen eventually if allowed to run without logic to stop it. This is probably a no as i think they want someone who's really good with postgres.

Final One was an online interview with some python coding challenges which I got through then a few days later I had to do a coding challenge with Django, a few things threw me off but I did some of the questions but not enough to get to the next stage of the process.

Overall these are my first round of interviews, moving forward I need to brush up more on the theory of what's happening behind the scenes with web development. I also need to try and do more coding challenges so I can think more on the spot.


Gold Member
Maybe not. I always ask juniors hard questions. The point is not that they'll answer them, they usually don't. I want to see the limits of their knowledge and how they attack the problem. Just because they can't answer doesn't mean they won't be good hires.

Sometimes, of course, they do answer the hard questions and you snap those stars up.

The point I am trying to make: Don't think you have to know everything.


Just thought i'd let you guys know I've got a job as a python developer. To start with I just basically followed the OP's advice so here in the UK his advice is still good almost 6 years later. I start on Monday.

Overall it took me 12 months from starting to getting a job. However for 8 of them months I had another job and was only putting in around an hour a day on it. After it finished I upped it to 3-4 hours a day. I think if you started out at 3-4 hours a day with your main professional aim of getting a job in the industry you could do it in a lot shorter time.

I had two more job interviews. I actually got both of them but one offered me a job the next day and one took 3 weeks so by the time the second company had offered me the job I'd already accepted the other one and got a place to stay sorted etc.

The interview that I got the job went like this, first part of the interview was asking me why I got into software etc., what i'd been doing, how i'd learnt it. They then said they had a developer check my github page out and said it was good enough so i wouldn't be asked any technical questions. Then they gave me a brain teaser question, like something you'd expect on an IQ test. After i'd solved it they were asking me to look at properties in the area, when could I start etc. They then offered me the job the next day.

The second interview went as followed the first half of the interview was general interview questions (I won't bore you with the details). The second half was a practical challenge basically using the datetime module in python. I could only use the official docs to help me solve it no stackoverflow etc. After some hints I eventfully managed to solve 2/4 of the challenges however I wasted alot of the time at the start just reading the docs with no clue of how to do it. As id never really used it before

If anyone's got any questions mention them here or PM me.


Awesome advice. I'm applying to python jobs as well but don't have an official CS degreee. I tried some of the online tutorial stuff but it was difficult getting self-started. I finally ended up taking an online class at the community college which was more expensive but better at the personal level. I also find reading a textbook to be easier to absorb than online stuff. I don't have any real working experience and I don't think my city has many python jobs. I'll have to apply to jobs at the bigger cities. I do like python and think its easier than C++ and Java to learn and use. I have been trying to learn IOS programming but it seems overly complicated with all the attaching arrows to buttons and different pages of coding.