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3 crucial levels of competency in Python and the best ways to assess them


Competency in Python is directly related to the level of expertise you are searching for when filling a Python engineer vacancy.

If you’re hiring for a role requiring Python skills, you must know its different competency levels so you can create an accurate Python job description and choose relevant tests for candidates.

In a nutshell, there are three levels of competency in Python.

Knowing how they relate to your vacancy is essential, but it is even more critical to assess your candidates’ competency levels.

The ideal way to evaluate such competency is with a Python skills assessment. But you need to learn how to administer a Python skills test and the many competency levels that apply to your candidates. This article will give you the low-down.

What is Python?

Python is a high-level programming language used for a wide range of tasks. First released in 1991, Python engineers use it for software and web development and building websites.

Engineers, data engineers, and software developers use this versatile and general-purpose programming language for data analytics, design, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Python offers dynamic semantics and data structures that are inbuilt. It is also known as an object-oriented programming language, a paradigm in programming that features “objects” containing both code and data. 

It’s an incredibly popular programming language, and Python developers who can demonstrate a high competency level make great assets for software development teams.

What are the different levels of Python proficiency?

The three levels of Python proficiency are beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Each level features specific skill sets, so when you assess your candidates’ competency with a Python skills test, you should be looking for particular attributes that indicate their proficiency.

Beginner Python skills

Engineers with beginner or entry-level Python skills usually have basic programming and coding skills.

Competency in Python at this level means that a candidate should be able to program small algorithms in the Python programming language. These candidates typically possess the most vital skills required to program at a basic level in Python. 

Junior-level programmers should have beginner Python skills. For example, besides knowing how to write algorithms, a junior-level programmer must understand how to debug their code. 

However, there are other critical skills that junior-level programmers should demonstrate if they have beginner-level Python skills. They must have soft skills such as problem-solving in the Python programming language, be able to visualize solutions to problems that arise, and display the know-how to communicate and get support if they’ve already tried to solve the issue themselves and failed.

Beginner Python skills also involve understanding why the code works and why it doesn’t work. Without this skill, it can be difficult for junior-level programmers to reach the intermediate level in Python.

Making random alterations to code to gain success in Python is a typical mistake that junior programmers make, distinguishing beginners from intermediate-level Python programmers.

Intermediate Python skills

Even though the code might run, it’s often the case that a single line of code (instead of cluttered code) can make coding in Python much easier — that’s what an intermediate-level Python engineer should be capable of doing.

Engineers with intermediate-level Python skills will be confident with list comprehensions and a filter to streamline and declutter code.

Competency in Python at this level means they should also use loops and enumerate to make printing with an index easier and access all the details required. They must also be capable of using functions. 

A candidate who has passed an intermediate-level Python skills test will fully understand procedures, functions, parameters, and arguments. The results of the Python skills test will show that the engineer recognizes the need for a function or procedure, as opposed to just code, which can help them avoid repetitive actions in code.

If your candidate passes an intermediate-level Python skills test, they will also understand the PEP guidelines for code. One of the most important guidelines is the snake_case rule when coding in Python, and intermediate-level engineers should notice that the words that comprise variables in Python should be separated with underscores.

Advanced Python skills

If your Python candidate passes an advanced Python skills test, you can expect them to recognize some of the lesser-known functionalities built into Python. Aside from the Lambda functions, advanced Python skills include understanding iterators and generators and the zip function. 

Some of the other advanced Python skills that candidates of this level should demonstrate include sorting and map and filter functions. Candidates with advanced-level competency in Python should also know what sets are, what virtual environments and deterministic builds are, and what dependency management and dependency resolutions are.

Intimate knowledge of the best practices should be second nature and instinctive to advanced-level Python programming candidates.

When you get the results of your candidates’ Python skills tests, you might also notice that they understand how to manage or handle the many Python versions and environments using their best practices knowledge.

Finally, unit testing and recognizing the internal workings of Python are additional advanced-level skills with which Python experts should be familiar.

How to test proficiency in Python when hiring developer candidates

There are a few stages involved in testing competency in Python when hiring developer candidates.

how to test proficiency in Python when hiring developer candidates

1. Use a Python skills assessment

First, test a candidate’s competency in Python when hiring by using a Python skills assessment. It’s a fast, bias-free, objective way to determine whether your candidates have the skills required to program in Python.

A Python skills assessment will typically consist of several individual tests created by experts in the Python programming language. For instance, in addition to a Python coding test, you can select other skills tests related to soft skills for programmers.

2. Compare the results of the Python skills assessment with candidate portfolios

The best way to integrate a Python skills assessment into your hiring process is to use them at the very beginning of the hiring process (after candidate sourcing). Once you have the results of the Python skills assessment, you can then see how they match up to the candidate’s portfolio and side projects.

3. Filter out unsuitable candidates with the Python skills assessment results

You are now ready to filter out candidates whose skills don’t measure up or align with the competency required for your vacancy. This is simple with the Python skills assessment results, as you can just compare all of the candidates’ results and see which best match your vacancy’s requirements.

When you filter out unsuitable candidates, you can even provide constructive feedback on their applications based on the Python skills assessment results to ensure the candidate experience remains positive. This is important for maintaining your organization’s positive reputation.

4. Develop interview questions based on the results of the Python skills assessment

When it comes to testing competency in Python during the interview stage, a Python skills assessment can be incredibly useful. You can refer back to the hard skills test results and the soft skills test results and prepare your interview questions based on these.

In which areas can you test candidates with the TestGorilla Python skills test?

You can test candidates with the TestGorilla Python skills test in several areas. These include the Level Algorithms skills test, Data Structures & Objects skills test, Debugging skills test, and skills in Working with Arrays test.

areas can you test candidates with the TestGorilla Python skills test

Entry-Level Algorithms skills test

Use the Entry-Level Algorithms skills test, specific to Python, to evaluate a candidate’s algorithm knowledge and programming ability at a basic level. This skills test features a short coding task ideal for hiring entry-level software developers.

Data Structures & Objects skills test

Choose the Python Data Structures & Objects skills test to assess a candidate’s object-oriented programming abilities.

This skills test makes it simpler to evaluate whether candidates can easily implement data structures and use Python objects. It’s ideal for mid-level or intermediate-level Python developers.

Debugging skills test

Select the Python Debugging skills test to evaluate whether a candidate can follow a set of requirements to interpret and then debug code written in Python.

The test requires candidates to make fixes to a script that only works partially and is ideal for intermediate-level Python developers.

Working with Arrays skills test

Use the Python Working with Arrays skills test to assess your candidates’ competencies when working with arrays in the Python programming language. Can your candidates produce a small algorithm that uses arrays and meets the given requirements?

This test will help you answer that question and assess intermediate-level Python developers.

Use TestGorilla to assess Python developer candidates

Python skills tests are a critical part of assessing Python developer candidates, as is choosing a reliable platform that provides objective, bias-free tests. With tests constantly being updated and enhanced, the best platform for this is TestGorilla.

Skills testing is also ideal for enhancing the candidate experience, even when you choose not to hire a candidate. Simply provide them with feedback on their application based on their Python coding skills test.

When you assess your Python candidates, choose TestGorilla for a reliable, objective set of results so you can hire a developer with ease. Try TestGorilla for free today.


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