Becoming a Python trainer
I’ve been ‘lucky’ enough to get a steady stream of Python training assignments. ‘Lucky’ in the sense of ‘where opportunity meets preparation’.
Recently I had a long message from a fellow Python developer on LinkedIn, asking how he too can get work as a Python trainer.
Here is my reply to his questions (which I’ve paraphrased)
- (Q) What do you think of my website? (A) I use my website for credibility, not visibility. People view my website when they are already thinking about using my services, and want assurance that I am the right person. Your website needs to show that you are passionate about Python and about teaching others how to use it. I’ve got dozens of technical articles – some highly detailed, others quick demos of some of the amazing Python libraries which make it so powerful. Having a couple of articles just isn’t enough. My website screams Python – nearly every article is about Python. Put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for Python training for their development team. Look at your website and mine through their eyes. Look at some other high profile Python websites. From this perspective, which website speaks the most to you? If not yours, what’s missing, what do you need to do?
- (Q) I’ve applied to many different freelancing websites but getting nowhere. (A) Freelancing websites seem like an easy solution. After all, that’s where the work is. Unfortunately, because it seems easy, they also attract a lot of people looking for work. Having a listing on many websites is fine, but I suggest you concentrate on one or two. Getting work through these still takes time, just through the massive competition you’re facing. Pick one, scan the listings once per day. When something comes up for which you’re uniquely qualified, take some time to write a professional, friendly, considered reply. Show (don’t tell) that you can do the job, e.g. by walking through the steps you’ll take to make it a success, or by asking a couple of poignant questions. When you get the work, make sure to make it a success; go the extra mile. All going well you’ll start getting 5 star reviews and excellent feedback, which makes it easier to get the next job.
- (Q) How can I get more visitors to my website. (A) Start researching SEO, write 100 articles and optimise each of them. Repeat. I’ve tried getting direct hits to past websites, but have come to realise that it takes a lot of hard work, constant attention over many weeks. You’re competing with people who enjoy writing and answering questions, and have done so for years. To create a website which search engines feel beats those websites is one serious mountain to climb.
- (Q) What do you think of my GitHub repository? (A) You’ll need quantity or quality, preferably both. 20+ interesting and diverse projects shows enthusiasm. 5 professional projects show you can deliver – this should include doc strings and comments, README. Ideally you should write a blog post which shows the code in action, especially if it is not very tangible like an API. Include some screenshots in the blog post. In the repo, point to the blog post and vice versa. Make the most of the work you’ve already done by making it visible and easy to understand.
And some general advice: It takes years to become an overnight success. A few people are lucky, for most of us it is a lot of work. Keep sane. You’ll need a steady income or a cash reserve to keep you going in the meantime. Find something you love doing which takes you in the right direction – and keep doing it.
Good luck with your journey.