Top Python Professional Certifications
Anyone who has ever heard of programming languages has most likely heard of Python. This is because the high-level programming language is one of the most versatile options used by programmers across different levels and kinds of development.
Deciding to learn Python is a great career move, and you can further boost your chances in the job market by getting a professional Python certification. The best Python certifications are designed for people who already know how to use Python and need more professional recognition.
Demand for Python Skills in 2021
According to Indeed, the demand for Python programmers and developers has been on a steady rise. Web developers tend to use Python as a general-purpose programming language. Job growth for web developers is estimated to be 8 percent between 2019 and 2029, much higher than average.
Data scientists use Python more than any other programming language, as do data analysts, deep learning engineers, and artificial intelligence developers. There is also a growing demand for Python skills among product managers. They use the programming language to manipulate data and automate tasks that typically take time and effort to process.
How Much Do Python Jobs Pay?
Python developers earn an average annual salary of $111,899, according to ZipRecruiter. This puts them among the top earners in the tech field. When broken down this comes to around a $9,325 monthly salary.
Salaries start from around $53,500 and can go as high as $163,500, depending on the state, job title, and experience. Richmond, CA, reportedly pays Python developers more than any other place in the United States.
Python architects are the highest earners, followed by Python Quants and Python Django software engineers. Full-stack Python developers and Python data engineers are also among the top earners in the US.
Why Get a Python Certification
Getting certified in Python gives you a professional edge. Even if you’re already confident in your skills, a professional Python programming certification validates your skills to prospective employers.
If you’re still unsure about whether to get a professional Python certification, here are a few of the key benefits to consider.
Professional certifications increase your value in the job market, and a Python certification is no exception. You may be able to negotiate a higher salary for yourself after getting certified compared to someone who isn’t certified.
Increased Job Opportunities
After earning a Python certification, you will enjoy more opportunities in the job market. Employers will be more inclined to give you a shot. The more reputable the certification, the more options will open up for you.
Proof of Competence
A professional Python certification is an independent validation of your competence as a Python programmer or developer. By earning certification, you prove to employees that you have what it takes to get the job done. It also shows them your competence and drive for continued professional development.
Choose Your Level
Python certifications are typically awarded for three different levels: entry, associate, and professional. If you’re just starting out, you can get an entry-level certification to show you have the basic required skills for junior roles. You can then upgrade accordingly as you gain more experience.
Getting certified shows you are willing to expand your knowledge and skills. Organizations believe that certified individuals are more likely to be up-to-date with current practices and adhere to the best standards in the field.
Top Python Certifications
Each Python certification is unique, so choosing the best certification for you depends on your goals and preferences. The list below contains in-depth summaries of the top Python certifications in the industry. You will find information about the cost, validity, and what to expect.
PCAP (Certified Associate in Python Programming)
The Python Institute offers this certification. The Python Institute is an internationally recognized non-profit organization backed by the Open Education and Development Group (OpenEDG).
This certification is for Python developers who have passed the entry-level but aren’t classed as senior developers yet. You will be tested on your programming skills, including object-oriented programming.
It is a popular certification among web developers, but product managers, data scientists, and anyone else who knows how to use Python and wants to validate their skills can enroll. Most people who get this certificate eventually proceed to the PCPP1 and PCPP2 listed above.
The passing score is 70 percent out of 40 questions, and it runs for 65 minutes. You don’t need any previous certification to apply for the PCAP associate.
PCEP (Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer)
Another excellent option for entry-level Python programmers is the PCEP (Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer). This is also from the Python Institute. It is straightforward and basically tests your ability to use Python for coding tasks. The certification shows employers that you understand the fundamentals of Python.
It is important to note that you will be tested on computer programming in general, not just Python. After getting this certification, you can proceed to higher options offered by the Python Institute.
Like others, the exam runs for about 45 minutes, and you will be expected to get at least 70 percent of the 30 questions right to qualify for the certification. Most people who opt for this certification do it fresh out of a Python Bootcamp or right after completing an online course on Python.
PCPP1 (Certified Professional in Python Programming)
The Python Institute’s PCPP1 is designed to showcase your efficiency as a professional Python developer. You will be assessed on object-oriented programming, graphic design, user interface, Python coding, computer networking, GUI programming, and other related technologies.
The PCPP1 exam lasts for 65 minutes. You need to get a passing score of 70 percent to qualify for the certification. You are free to try again if you do not pass the first time.
PCPP2 (Certified Professional in Python Programming 2)
This certification is similar to the PCPP1. However, it is designed for more advanced Python developers who want to prove themselves as experts in the industry. The assessment covers your skills in building applications with the programming language.
You will be assessed on your ability to use Python for automated processes, network programming, and database access. You will also be tested on your ability to use Python-based techniques and principles.
The exam is 65 minutes long, just like the PCPP1. You need to answer 70 percent of the 40 questions correctly to get your certification. Only those who have already taken the PCPP1 can register for PCPP2.
Microsoft Python Certification Exam (98-381)
Microsoft has been making a lot of waves in the tech certification field. Their 98-381 Python certification is for entry-level programmers who can read and write Python codes, know when a Python solution is the ideal option to solve a problem, and have a critical understanding of Python and related technologies.
The certification is meant for Python programmers who have accumulated at least 100 hours of experience with Python for various purposes. It doesn’t matter if you got the skill from data science, web development, or another field.
The assessment is divided into several parts. There are four tests on different areas of Python and one grand exam. You’ll need a Microsoft account to get access to the certification dashboard.
Choosing the Right Certification
Like with every other professional decision, you need to choose the right Python certification to get the biggest benefit.
Below are a few tips to help you choose the right Python certification program for your professional development.
Define Your Goals
Before you rush into a program, you need to define your goals. Ask yourself what you intend to achieve with your certification. Are you trying to gain professional recognition? Are you after a salary increase? Do you want to improve your portfolio and bulk up your resume?
Answering these questions before signing up will help you determine the right program to suit your needs.
Vet the Certification
Reputation matters a lot when it comes to professional Python certifications. You need to find out if the organization handing out the certification has a solid reputation in the industry. It pays to do some research to find out if employers recognize the certification.
If you intend to keep advancing in your career, look for a program that offers certification tracks. These programs make it easier for people to climb the professional ladder from one certification to a more advanced one. For example, the Python Institute designs its certifications in tracks.
Check the Requirements
How much does the certification cost? Do you need to have a bachelor’s degree before you can take the exam? Do you need work experience in Python programming or related fields?
Most certifications have expiry dates attached, so find out how long it lasts and what the requirements are for getting recertified. In the tech world, certifications typically remain valid for two to three years. However, some Python certifications last forever.
Professional Certification vs Certificate Program and Courses
When searching for a professional Python certification program, make sure you don’t mistake it for a certificate program. There is a significant difference between a certification and a certificate program.
Professional certification is a recognition awarded by an organization that validates your skill and efficiency as a professional in a specific field. It isn’t granted by a university or other institute for higher education.
Before you can get professionally certified, you will need to demonstrate that you know all there is to know in your field or for a particular level in your field. This could be through oral and written exams or tests. You usually need some professional experience before being certified.
A certificate program, on the other hand, is an educational offering given out by an institution of learning. It is meant to demonstrate you have taken a particular educational course or program. The primary goal of a certificate program is to inform and educate. Some certificate programs don’t even have an exam afterward.
When you pass a certification exam, you will earn the credentials that prove that you’ve been assessed in the field. If you need to gain more knowledge about Python before the exam, you should consider taking online courses or enrolling in a certificate program first.
Best Courses to Prepare for Certification Exams
Some of the certification programs listed above come with online or instructor-led preparation classes. However, you will need to pay an additional fee. If you don’t want to take the recommended classes, you can find online courses that serve the same purpose.
Python MTA 98-381 Exam | Complete Preparation Course + Tips by Udemy
This course is specifically designed to help people pass the Microsoft Python Certification Exam (98-381). It is self paced, and you will get a certificate of completion when you finish. There are 16 articles on Python, object-oriented programming, and other related technologies.
Students who pay the fee get lifetime access to all the resources, including a 7.5-hour on-demand video and 13 coding exercises. The course is updated frequently, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Certified Associate in Python Programming PCAP Exams by Udemy
This one prepares you for the PCAP (Certified Associate in Python Programming) exam. It includes four practice tests that mimic the real deal, making it easier for students to pass the main certification exam in a single try. It consists of 240 questions, and it is meant for people who already have experience with Python.
There are currently about 190 subscribers who enjoy lifetime access to the practice course. If you don’t like what you see, you can request a refund after 30 days.
PCEP Certified Entry-Level Python Programmer by Udemy
You can buy this practice test before taking the entry-level PCEP certification. It is self-paced and you access it online. You can take the practice tests multiple times.
There are 220 questions divided into several categories, including semantics, syntax, and computer programming.
Should You Pursue a Python Certification?
Yes, you should pursue a Python certification if you already know how to use Python and you are looking for a credential that reflects your competence. The possibility of salary increase and increased job opportunities with professional certification is very real if you get the right one.
If you are just starting and don’t fully understand how to use Python, you should go for a certificate program instead. These programs are designed to teach rather than validate. Once you’ve gained the knowledge you need, and you’ve gathered some experience, you can aim for a professional Python certification.