[Melbourne-pm] Meeting tomorrow night: Wednesday 9th May

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Wed May 9 05:00:59 PDT 2007

On Wednesday 09 May 2007, Andrew Stuart wrote:
> It's easy to find "programmers" of  any kind - Java, Perl, PHP, C#,
> whatever.
> It's hard to find programmers who know what they are doing, are
> experienced, communicate well, have coding skills, solid theoretical
> computer science knowledge, passion, a desire to learn, a desire to know
> how to do things better, a curiosity about the technologies that they work
> with, and get along well with others.

Are all of these required? ;-) Obviously, an intelligent programmer with a 
good attitude can eventually grow and learn all these. While the head of the 
project should be experienced enough ( 
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/LordPalmerston.html ), its underlings 
can simply be bright programmers who are expected to learn more in time. A 
good programmer with no experience in Perl will be a good one to hire in this 

For the record, I am a very good Perl programmer, yet I was rejected from many 
jobs because of various reasons. Either I had a successful interview, and was 
rejected (once because the company was acquired and ran into a little red 
tape, and once because I smelled wrong because I didn't work for so long, or 
so I figured.) I eventually found a job as a Linux kernel developer, where I 
used some Perl, but our product was mostly in C. I really liked this job, but 
ended up being fired because the CTO was clueless about software management. 
But I was still impressed that they could recognise I was an employee who 
could get things done, and didn't lose me in confusion.

> The problem with recruiting Perl programmers is that Perl programmers tend
> to have become a Perl programmer because of their passion and enthusiasm
> and interest in the technology - there's only a finite (and small) pool of
> those people.  There isn't a flow of graduates expanding the pool because
> the formal training tends not to be in Perl but in C# or Java.  There's an
> ever growing army of Java programmers (the challenge there is just as great
> to find people who are really good at what they do and who feel the
> passion).

I agree that is a problem. I personally find Perl a much better introductory 
language than Java or C#:


However, since colleges and universities tend to teach what is hyped in the 
industry including COBOL, Fortran, PL/I, Pascal, ANSI C and C++, I tend not 
to trust their choice of introductory programming language.

A bright graduate can be taught Perl easily. And workplaces should know better 
than to say "3/5/10/20 years of experience in Perl 5" in their job ads. If 
they're looking for hackers and enthusiastic developers, they should 
structure their job ads, working environment, and expected requirements 
accordingly. If they see a bright Java or C programmer, then he can probably 
learn Perl with relative ease.



> Another problem is that Perl is a mature technology and no longer at the
> cutting edge of sexy, so the passionate first mover techies who move like a
> wave onto the latest technologies are prodding and poking Ruby On Rails and
> Adobe Flex.  Perl isn't a legacy technology but it doesn't have the mind
> share of other, more "exciting/new" technologies.

You're right about that. But if someone knows Ruby well, it is a useful 
stepping stone for Perl. Likewise for Python. 


	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish      shlomif at iglu.org.il
Homepage:        http://www.shlomifish.org/

If it's not in my E-mail it doesn't happen. And if my E-mail is saying
one thing, and everything else says something else - E-mail will conquer.
    -- An Israeli Linuxer

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