[Baypiggies] Wanted: a few good C/C++/Python developers

Alex Martelli aleax at google.com
Thu Oct 11 19:52:54 CEST 2007


On 10/11/07, bjorn at ambientchill.com <bjorn at ambientchill.com> wrote:
> Just as a disclaimer, I'm not interested in the job, I just have a
> question for Baypiggies related to this email. It seems like most jobs
> for Python require some kind of extensive C or C++ background. Is this
> true? I am a JavaScript developer and I'm happy with what I do, but
> someday, maybe in a few years, I wouldn't mind finding a Python
> development position.

In my experience over the last few years, most jobs for *software
development* using Python do require (or at least strongly prefer)
people who also have good C, C++, or both; that's different from "jobs
for Python" since many such jobs are not strictly for software
development but rather other specialties that ALSO involve some Python
development but not exclusively that (website authoring, office
automation, testing, system administration, network stuff, scientific
computing, computational linguistics, etc, etc).  In the end the two
cases boil down to a single rule -- most good jobs requiring Python
actually require "Python plus X" where X, depending on the job in
question, may include "C background" and/or "system administration
skills/experience" and/or "HTML, CSS and web UI design", etc, etc.
(But then, most good jobs in ANY field do not require just ONE skill
-- very few good jobs are so obsessively specialistic as not to need,
or at least strongly prefer, two or more skills...!-).

The main reason why "Python and C" is historically prevalent over,
say, "Python and Java" or "Python and C#", is no doubt that the most
widespread implementation of Python is based on C and most easily
extendable in C or C++ -- so C or C++ is what you'll need to  write
extensions, debug internals of extensions (or the interpreter itself)
at need, study the sources of interpreter and extensions to understand
something that's not clearly or completely documented, and so forth.
If Jython takes over the world, "Python and Java" will rise in demand,
and similarly "Python and C#" will rise if there's a big surge in
acceptance of IronPython.  Recently, I've also started to see some
"Python and AJAX" combos (no doubt connected to web-app development,
and also requiring good understanding of HTML/CSS, I imagine).


Alex


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