How good do you have to be?



I am currently doing an MSc in a non-computer science degree. However, one of our modules involves programming in Python. I really enjoy it, and would like to pursue a career in it (somehow). However, I am not sure how good I actually have to be to land a job.

At what point would you consider yourself proficient in Python. I thought I was getting quite good, but looking through StackOverflow, it’s apparent that there is so much that I don’t understand.

Do you need to know multiple languages before getting a Software Developer job? Do you need to be an expert in one particular language? Do you need to know advance computer science, or would reading a simple book on it suffice?

Job adverts are often quite vague about how good you actually have to be.

Also, if it turns out I am not good enough to land myself a job - are there any alternative career routes I could go down until I am good enough?

Thanks for any replies!



Try some interview questions, they are a good indicator to show how ready you are for a programming job.



I had a go.

It is safe to say I won't be getting a job in programming any time soon. In fact, I don't really see myself ever getting a job in programming if that's the kind of questions that'll be getting asked - at least not for several years probably.


Too much doubt in that reply. It is more than possible. Also there a quite a few job that hire people at a junior level just gotta have a good portfolio.


You do not need to be an expert. Enthusiasm, confidence and self belief are more important than that.

Most of your learning will be done on the job, you just need your foot in the door.

I would expect to get a Web Dev position, you need a good well structured CV with no silly mistakes. A small portfolio of work. An ability to understand Web dev concepts and a good grounding in the skills.

No magic, just logic and a bit of luck.


You HAVE to be an expert.

One of the things that I quickly learned about the IT field, SPECIALLY the software development one, is that there is no “in-between”. Either you’re a genius or you’ll be left out.

Being “good enough” won’t cut it. You won’t get hired. You won’t make a living through freelancing.

It’s sad to say this but the IT field is an extremely competitive market in which only the 1% succeed.

Most will face either of these fates: 1) Never get a job in the area that they want. 2) Get an underwhelming job in a completely different area that pays like crap and has horrible working conditions(e.g. wanting to be a programmer and end up as a field computer technician) or 3) Never get an IT job at all no matter which area.

I have a COMPTIA A+ and NETWORK+ certification. I’m experienced as a Computer Technician and as a Support Analyst. I know programming languages and I how to build websites and I have a portfolio to prove it. Yet, in my long 30 life years, I was never hired or even given any chance to work as an IT professional.

Sorry for the long rant, but people should know what they’re getting themselves into when they choose to come here to learn programming language. Most of them think “I’ll learn HTML, CSS, Javascript, make a webpage as portfolio and then naturally some company will hire me as a Junior/Trainee and from then I’ll get things going”. That’s an illusion in 99% of the cases.

If you want to succeed in this field, it is required that you are nothing less than exceptional.


Are you sure?

I have heard very different things from other people. My lecturer (who is an excellent programmer) said there is a lot of demand for people that can code.


He’s right. There’s a lot of demand for other EXCELLENT programmers.

Also, I hear that ■■■■■■■■ since I started working with technology(10 years ago). Those are empty words with no shred of proof to back it up.

The entry barriers to get in any programming-related job is extremely high and is increasing each minute. I’ve seen countless job posting for Trainee and Junior positions in which they asked the experience and knowledge of a Senior.


I highly disagree with this, you don’t HAVE to be an expert to land a job in the IT field. Most people that get hired in the IT field don’t have the experience and aren’t experts. You just need to know enough to land a job, and with web development you can teach yourself coding in a few months and that can be good enough to get a job.