Certificates and certifications can play an essential role in demonstrating proficiency in the Python development field. Many entry-level Python pros get their positions after graduating from a certificate program, while most people only seek certification after they have already started working in the field. But what's the difference?

A certification is a benchmarked credential, typically earned through a standardized exam administered by a third party. A certificate is a completion-based program offered by a course provider and functions as a type of minor diploma.

Read on to learn more about Python development certifications and certificate programs.

What is a Python Developer?

Python Developers are tech professionals who can work on websites, software, games, or digital applications. Unlike some career tracks, those who fit the requirements of Python Developer often hold alternate titles; these can include Web Developer, Back End Developer, and Database Engineer, to name a few. Therefore, while most of these tech pros know tools like Django, SQL, and Git, not all Python development positions require the same skill set.

Responsibilities for Python Developers vary by industry as well as position. Some have to implement and maintain cybersecurity or integrate data storage solutions, while others mainly design and integrate front end elements with back end applications. Additional responsibilities can include web scraping, automation testing, and data visualization. Check online job postings for detailed lists of industry-specific Python development skills and responsibilities.

Read more about what a Python Developer does.

Do I Need a Degree to Become a Python Developer?

Python Developers enter their careers from varying points: some go through a four-year degree program, others take on entry-level work and level up, and others work remotely as independent contractors. Depending on your current skill set and the role you seek, you may be able to find the Python development job of your dreams without a related degree. Building a career as a Python Developer requires learning this object-oriented language and typically involves tools like SQL, Django, and Github. To get started, consider an in-person or online bootcamp or certificate like Noble Desktop’s Python Developer Certificate, Python Web Development with Django, or Python Programming Bootcamp.

Of course, some companies offer particular positions only to applicants with college or university degrees. Again, this can depend on the industry or organization. Thanks to the urgent demand for tech workers with Python expertise, an employer may pay for part or all of your tuition; the current high demand causes many employers to value practical experience over formal education.

If you decide on a college or university to learn Python fundamentals, you may choose a major tailored to a specific career path. Python Developers come from diverse backgrounds, but popular degrees in the field include computer science, information management systems, and software engineering.

Read more about whether you need a degree to become a Python Developer.

Do Certifications Matter for Python Developers?

Like many other aspects of development careers, whether or not certifications matter depends on the sector, company, or particular role. The short answer: sometimes.

Examples abound. A Master Python Engineer might be the primary Python Developer in a company but also work with a data science team. In this case, the company might give extra consideration to a candidate with PCAD (Certified Associate in Data Analytics with Python) certification, even though that certification is typically for Business or Data Analysts.

Python novices starting out do not need certifications in most cases; however, a certificate program graduate can have an advantage over similar applicants, if only because their portfolio may be more professional than other candidates.

Certifications vs. Certificates: What’s the Difference?

Python Developers starting out often wonder what's the difference between certificates and certifications. First, with certifications, you usually have to sit for an exam administered by a third party to demonstrate your mastery of a subject. Certificates, on the other hand, are generally completion-based programs.

The time commitment required for either a certificate program or certification also varies. While a certificate program offers a fixed schedule, you may need to study for many hours to prepare for a certification exam. Most development pros who acquire a certification will spend much preparation for an exam and may purchase different testing options, like:

Of course, these options exist because not every student passes certification upon the first attempt. Students who do not pass an exam must wait seven days before a scheduled retake.

Certificate programs are altogether different. While some have prerequisites, many are open to beginners. For example, those attending Noble Desktop's Python Developer Certificate program should be comfortable coding HTML and CSS. Programs like these run from a few weeks to months and may include 1-on-1 mentoring, portfolio review, and the option of retaking the course for up to a year at no additional charge. 

How to Get Certified as a Python Developer

Those looking for certification should check out The Python Institute to review all the options. This independent non-profit develops and administers certifications in the following categories:

Top Certifications & Certificates for Python Developer

Python development beginners can start with a course like the Python Programming Bootcamp from Noble Desktop. Those with HTML and CSS experience can save by taking the Python Programming Bootcamp as part of Noble’s Python Developer Certificate program. Alternatively, start with Web Development with HTML & CSS, then move on to the Python Developer Certificate. These programs can help graduates find entry-level Python development roles and pave the way for certifications like Certified Associate in Testing with Python (PCAT).

The most popular certification among Python pros is the Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer (PCEP) certification. It serves as a first certification for many Python Developers. After some time in the field, some professionals will choose to level up with Associate-level or Professional-level certifications.

Some development professionals may benefit from sitting for the PCAT (Certified Associate in Testing with Python) certification. Most holders of the other top option, the PCAD (Certified Associate in Data Analytics with Python), work in data analytics or science rather than development.

Key Takeaways