[Melbourne-pm] Floating an idea for 'summer switch camp'

Alec Clews alecclews at gmail.com
Fri Oct 19 18:59:37 PDT 2007

This is not something I would be interested in, however I hope I can make
some useful comments:

* Great 'out of the box thinking'. I think it's a really cool idea.
* I would hope that an experienced programmer could pick up basic Perl in
less than 10 days of full on training (but see my comments below)
* I suspect that the sponsors would be happier putting money down if they
were candidates they could employ (except for the lack of Perl skills). I.e.
There was contractual commitment on both sides for work at end of the course
(I've called this a working sponsorship below)
* OR there should be some element of self sponsorship to show the candidates
have some 'skin in the game'
* I suspect there is also a market for contractors who would like to self
sponsor and switch to Perl.

I would suggest that the format is changed to be

A) A shorter introductory course (5 days?) that gets them up and running. At
this point they would should be able to handle basic maintenance tasks and
know enough to self study to the next level. At this point they take on a
trainee programming type role and tasks for a few weeks
B) A follow up mentoring  and part time study curriculum in the students own
time -- skin in the game again. This could have some generic material (e.g.
Advanced OO Programming) and some employer specific tracks (e.g. Template
programming with Mason). As this will be self study with some support via
email, IM etc then it can also accommodate interstate candidates.

The reason for suggesting this is format is three fold:

1) Reduces sponsors costs
2) It self selects candidates (if they are not committed to the self study
course they are less likely to commit in the 1st place)
3) It offers the most flexible curriculum.

And additional question?

* Would there be any interest (or money available) in offering bursaries to
recent graduates or unemployed programmers (e.g. home makers wanting to
return to the workforce)? These folks are less likely to be able to self
sponsor or attract a working sponsorship.
* Is this something that we get an external organisation to deliver or does
PM roll their own material and delivery? Apart from Perl Training Australia
are there any other organisations we could approach?

Possible Next Steps?

1) Agree a proposed training format/content and costs
2) Identify as large a list of Aus Perl shops
3) See if there is any management buy in from the management if Aus Perl
4) Review the process and decide on next steps

> From: Rick Measham <rick at measham.id.au>
> Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2007 08:06:44 +1000
> To: Melbourne Perlmongers <melbourne-pm at pm.org>
> Subject: [Melbourne-pm] Floating an idea for 'summer switch camp'
> We got to talking yesterday about the number of perl jobs that seem to
> pop up over and over. I know there are a few perl shops around town that
> seem to struggle to find coders to fill their books and I know how hard
> it can be even if you just need one.
> So, how's this sound?
> Melbourne's perl shops get together (it's too late for this year) and
> sponsor a fortnight-long 'summer switch camp' for programmers to learn
> perl. The event is totally free to participants (though if they're from
> out of town they'd need to organize their own accommodation and food)
> To get one of the (coveted) positions, you'd have to submit your
> application along with your resume. We want programmers here who can
> switch to perl, not people who'd like to get into programming. Then the
> sponsors would go over the application and see who looked like the most
> likely to benefit. Pick the top (15? 20? 40?) and invite them along.
> The first day or two would be general perl overview. Then I figure a day
> where the participants choose their most comfortable 'other' language
> and split into workshops where we talk specifically to switchers from
> those languages.
> Now we have everyone with at least the perl fundamentals. The next 3-4
> days are covering off perl to the point where you could read most (non
> obfu) scripts and write a fair bit. "Learning Perl" level maybe.
> Then you hit them with perl's secret weapon, CPAN. An overview of OO in
> perl. Then a day of coding some 'quiz' tasks and reviewing them. The
> final day is then a 'trade day' where they get to sit down with any of
> the sponsors and chat about how the sponsors use perl and the sorts of
> opportunities that may be available.
> So, what do you think? Sound feasible? Sound like something the local
> perl shops would be into? Something that would find an audience with
> other language programmers? Would an intensive fortnight be enough to
> switch people?
> Cheers!
> Rick Measham
> NOTE: This has nothing to do with my current place-of-trade. Just
> something a couple of us were talking about privately. My place-of-trade
> may or may not be interested, I haven't taken it to them
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