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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Well, I was describing reality from my perspective and personal experiences.

I assume you live in the US or another first-world country. I don’t. Where I live it’s extremely hard to find any job in IT, specially in Development. A university degree is a must otherwise the HR won’t even glance at your résumé. Unless you’re an exceptional expert developer, chances of being hired is practically zero.

My friend actually just got a developer job. He knows Python and a bit of C. I’m in the UK though, perhaps it’s different in the US.

I remembers visiting two American websites that offered basic online training in computer languages and as you advanced they’d pair you with a company and you’d get hired. My mind was blown. Though, I can’t attest to their validity and legitimacy.

I started coding since I was 9 and I enjoyed every bit of it. My first time programming( my parents forced me to attend an IT camp where I learned C#) was difficult at first but with time I designed some techniques which I applied on a day to day basis. Now I am 11 and I am confident enough to say I know C#, HTML(a markup language) and BASIC . I wanted to learn more so I decided to attend more camps off state. Unfortunately no one took me seriously because I am a girl but I did not stop there, I took to the online platform in order to learn more C#. Thankfully using codecademy I am currently learning java script. My message today is to remain determined no matter what. Do not listen to anyone who say’s : “A woman’s place is the kitchen”!!!


Dont worry you’ll get a job as long as you have work to prove what you can do and if you want it bad enough to study everything and also put what you learn into practice. I’m from the UK too, programming is in high demand. Its the same in USA and Canada

There are a lot of people failing to get jobs but that largely due to them studying computer science and thinking thats enough to get a job. The employer wants to see what you have done and what you can do… So you’ll need a portfolio regardless of a degree or not. Impress them with your desire to create, make your portfolio diverse

I was in your shoes couple of years ago, it has been almost 4 years that I am a full time backend dev, mostly writing Ruby code… no one expects you to be exceptional when you start out. I’m self taught, no degree in computer science, no coding bootcamp… Started out as an intern, then junior dev and so on… There’s a lot of demand for our skills, I get LinkedIn emails every couple of days. Just don’t give up!

ps I’m in Canada

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I am sorry but that is not true.

Maybe if you only want to work at Google or FB , they have a ton applicants and have the luxury of choosing only the best of the best.

Almost every other company is looking for developers, many are willing to hire Jr devs that they can mold, but the pay is crap to start. If you are not a genius it is ok most people arent, just dont expect to start at the top.

They dont going around looking to hand out “IT” jobs to non"IT" people, you have to make it happen. put yourself out there, learn what they are looking for and make yourself more attractive to them.


What websites were those?

Everyone who ever accomplished anything has 50 million stories about how they were told they couldn’t. In my mind the more often you hear no the closer you are to yes. More often than not the one who has the self confidence to step forward and say I will learn will impress more than the one who says I have, just my two cents.

I, too, disagree. I have no formal training or experience in IT or programming, and here I am, working for multi-nation company as an IT QA Analyst. As some others have pointed out, all you have to do is have confidence and be willing to put yourself out there, and the jobs will become available. It might take a few interviews (trust me, I know), but they will come along.


i mean can you get a job if you know some stuff but you cant rember all of it but you at least know what your doing like you know what code looks like and know how to use i but you have a hard time reading it is it okay to maybe have to have a doc opent hat tells you what some functions do when you cant rember