a different question: can you earn a living with *just* python?

Magnus Lycka lycka at carmen.se
Fri Sep 29 10:23:27 CEST 2006

John Salerno wrote:
> It's a nice thought that a person can earn a living programming with 
> Python, which is fun enough to use just for its own sake. But for 
> someone like me (i.e. no programming experience) it's always a little 
> disheartening to see that most (if not all) job descriptions that ask 
> for Python still require some C/C++ or other language knowledge. I 
> suppose this isn't an issue if you studied CS in college, because you 
> would have been exposed to many languages.
> But what if you are an expert Python program and have zero clue about 
> other languages? Can you still earn a living that way, or do most/all 
> companies require multiple language proficiency?

Being a programmer isn't just a matter of knowing one or several
programming languages, just as being an author isn't merely a matter
of knowing writing and a language.

I've been involved in one development project where COBOL programmers
were handed detailed design descriptions written in pseudo code. The
SQL code used to access the database was complete in the spec. These
programmer just needed to know how to translate pseudo code to COBOL
one module at a time, and of course, they needed to know how to operate
the IDE and run tests etc.

In all other projects I've worked in, programmers were also involved in
design etc, often in the whole loop from requirements gathering to
deployment and maintenance of the product.

Knowing a programming language is a tiny part of that. Knowing two or
three languages is still a tiny part of the set of skill and abilities
required. I'm talking about communication skills, ability to extract
relevant information from people who know a problem domain, but lack
system design skills etc, strong analytical abilities, design skills,
problem solving skills, the general ability to get things done in a
reliable and timely manner etc etc.

I'd be reluctant to employ someone without at least a B.Sc. in some
relevant subject unless they had a proven track record.

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