STX Next: What Makes a Great Python Developer?


Where is Python headed? It has always been popular in academic and scientific circles, because it’s the researcher’s preferred language (and also because many STEM college courses have Python in the curriculum).

This is a natural consequence of how Python was built. Guido Van Rossum, Python’s creator, outlined four goals for Python in 1999:

  • Easy and intuitive, but as powerful as competing languages.
  • Open-source, so anyone can add to it.
  • Python code should be as understandable as plain English.
  • It should be useful in everyday tasks, allowing developers and non-developers to automate work.

Today, Python is all that and much more. However, there are some concerns about how universal it really is. 

Some Python experts are worried that Python is headed towards being a specialized language for AI / machine learning. After all, web and mobile are dominated by JavaScript, and a lot of developers prefer other languages for custom software development, but in AI and machine learning Python has no competition.

These worries are a bit exaggerated. There were 9 million active Python software developers in the 3rd quarter of 2020. That’s only 3 million less than the most popular language, JavaScript.

Python is popular in AI / machine learning because it’s perfect for manipulating large amounts of data and performing complex calculations. And it seems that Python is at it’s best when it’s at the intersection of science and computing.

And yet, many leading, non-scientific companies use Python to drive their business in different ways. Like Zapier, Udemy, and Spotify, just to name a few. Clearly, Python is just as capable of driving ROI as it is of generating new scientific discoveries.

So, our prognosis: Python will only keep growing in popularity, and will continue to generate immense value for companies and research organizations.

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