[Melbourne-pm] Opportunities for work?

Alexis Hazell bonobo at bigpond.net.au
Sat Oct 20 05:30:12 PDT 2007

Hi all,

Rick's recent message about a proposed 'summer switch camp' has provoked some 
wonderings on my part . . . .

Some background: I'm an Arts grad, not a Comp.Sci. grad, but have a 
long-standing interest in programming. I graduated from ANU in '95, and have 
worked in a variety of positions since then, some of which included the 
development / redevelopment of Web sites and Access-based DBs. I've also 
continued to develop my knowledge of programming, programming languages and 
programming issues - for example, during the last year or so i've been 
playing with Scheme, trying to wrap my head around Haskell, and have recently 
begun working my way through Girard's "Proofs and Types"

My interest in Perl dates back to around '97/'98, when I first encountered 
Perl and began playing with it on my home Linux system (RedHat 5.2). I 
actually moved to Melbourne in 2000 in the (obviously naïve) hope that maybe 
I could find work as a Perl developer, not knowing that I was trying to do so 
in the middle of the so-called "tech wreck" of that year. Then, too, I found 
it difficult to convey the extent of my Perl knowledge, given that my 
commercial experience with it was limited to some scripts I wrote to automate 
the standardisation of a government Web site I redeveloped.

I subsequently ended up doing admin work rather than IT work - my lack of 
formal qualifications proved to be a serious stumbling block, as evidenced by 
the time I applied for an IT position at a major financial organisation and 
was told that the successful candidate was only ranked above me due to that 
person's formal quals. In any event, I eventually had to leave the work force 
altogether due to serious health problems. 

So my situation now is this: I'm unable to engage in full-time work due to my 
health issues (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). In fact, practically speaking, I'm 
unable to regularly attend even part-time work, as my health is unpredictable 
on a day-to-day basis. I have a partner who financially supports me; but I 
would really like to have at least some income of my own, and I 
optimistically feel that there must be /some/ work which I can do. And more 
specifically - I feel that there's a good chance that I may be suited to 
doing project-based work (e.g. "Have this milestone completed by two weeks 
from now") that allows me to work when it suits me (e.g. late evening) rather 
than on a schedule (e.g. 9-5), and which allows me to work from home.

So I'm wondering if the demand for Perl developers might extend to someone in 
my position? My guess is that my level of Perl knowledge is at least on the 
same order of magnitude as that of a person who has attended a putative 
five-day crash course; but then, I'm not a Comp.Sci. grad, and I don't have a 
working knowledge of Java, C++ or C (although i've read K&R, most of which 
made sense to me :-) ). Nor do I have experience working as part of a 
development team, whether in commercial or FOSS projects, although I do 
realise that it would probably help me (to a greater or lesser extent) to 
have work on a FOSS project under my belt.

Any thoughts / comments / suggestions would be much appreciated. :-)


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