does anybody earn a living programming in python?

Alex Martelli aleax at
Sun Oct 1 06:40:01 CEST 2006

Magnus Lycka <lycka at> wrote:
> stuff in the world, so my standard extrapolation technique would yield
> 30000 python programmers globally.

I think this estimate is low, based on three piece of data I know (but,
sorry, are all confidential;-) and thus one I can infer:
-- I know how many copies of "Python in a Nutshell" Google buys;
-- I know how many Python programmers work at Google;
-- I know how many copies the Nutshell sells worldwide;

Assuming the willingness to buy "Python in a Nutshell" is constant
across the population of Python programmers (and I don't believe my
working there influences anything -- Google had the Nutshell in the
standard set of books engineers use, well before I got hired there), I
can project a worldwide number of Python programmers that's several
times higher than that.

Or perhaps not, depending on the definition of "Python programmer".
Most of Google's software developers who know Python also know one or
more (generally several) of C, C++, Java, SQL, HTML, Javascript, &c,
though they may or may not use any one or more of them often on the job;
many Googlers who program only in Python do not _just_ program -- they
are also working on other jobs besides software development (hardware
design, testing, management, administrative assistance, system
administration, network operations, whatever...).  Hey, by a
sufficiently strict definition _I_ don't count as a "Python programmer",
since I also do substantial amounts of management, not to mention a
little bit of C++, some C, SQL, HTML, and so forth...;-)


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