How to screen Python developers’ skills

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photo by Creative Art

One of the most popular programming languages, Python is simple to learn but a very powerful language. It needs very little technical experience to start learning it, provides powerful tools, and comes with good documentation and great community support. 

But when you are looking to hire a Python developer, it might be difficult to know exactly how to evaluate their skills since the language has so many different uses. 

Here is what to look for when hiring and how to evaluate Python developers’ skills. 

CV screening 

Python does not have a lot of libraries and technologies to screen for, like Java for example. 

While screening the candidate’s CV, keep in mind that there is a difference between Python 2 and 3. The last and latest version of Python 2 is 2.7, and the latest version of Python 3 currently is 3.6. Django, Bottle, Flask, Tornado, web2py are popular Python frameworks. 

There is no certification program for Python so most likely you will not see any certificates for Python listed on the CV. 

During a phone/video interview 

This interview will give you the opportunity to ask the developer questions about their Python skills and will let you decide whether to invite them for an on-site interview with the IT team. The questions will vary depending on the specific requirements of the position you are recruiting for. 

Ask about: 

  • Their experience – what were their responsibilities and bigger achievements, based on the technologies listed in their CV. 
  • What open source libraries they use and consider valuable, what is their opinion on the frameworks they have listed on their CV – this will allow you to evaluate their knowledge and opinions.  
  • What was their role in the recent projects they have worked on, did they choose the setup or the technology – to understand more about the way they make decisions. 
  • Any failures, mistakes, or drawbacks they have been through – this will let you find out more about how they perceive their decisions and what they learn from their experience. 

With an online coding test 

This is a great way to evaluate Python skills so definitely consider using an online coding test. You can use it after you have screened the candidate’s CV and conducted the phone/video interview, or as a first step in the recruiting process. If you choose the second option, you will be able to spend more time on the developers that have proven to have the necessary Python skills. 

How to choose the best coding test? Look for one with these features: 

  • If the test is verifying not only Python skills but also libraries and frameworks;
  • The test should consist of different tasks, and they should match the requirements of the job you are hiring for;
  • It is preferable that the tasks are using the code base that the company uses so that it imitates the challenges the developer will have to work with if they get the job;
  • Try to create an environment that is similar to the one the developer will be using in their daily work process – they should be able to use the IDE they prefer. 
  • The coding test should also include a code review challenges task to evaluate the experience and the ability of the candidate to write quality code, find issues and fix bugs.