the "no good Perl jobs"/"no good Perl programmers" myth

Nicholas Clark nick at
Sun Aug 6 23:23:45 BST 2006

On Sun, Aug 06, 2006 at 12:00:25AM +0100, Tara Andrews wrote:
> On 8/5/06, Nicholas Clark <nick at> wrote:
> >We keep hearing that it's really hard to find decent Perl people, yet from
> >the other side it seems that it's really hard to find decent Perl jobs.
> >[...]
> My language of choice, and the one with which I have by far the most
> experience, is Perl.  But when I have job-hunted, I have almost never
> looked for a "Perl job".  I look for a job that fits my general skill
> set (hybrid sysadmin / programmer; my current job is basically
> "release engineer and build/distribution infrastructure programmer".)
> Jobs that call themselves "Perl jobs" are almost never ones that
> interest me, but I have always managed to find an interesting one that
> went under a different name.
> Perhaps this is part of the problem?

I've never been looking for anything with "Perl" in the title. I've been
looking at the job description, and what skills were desired, looking for
an interesting developer job that looks like it would be happy to let me
utilise my language of choice. (No, that's not profanity and blasphemy,
even if sometimes it seems that way. Nor is it C)

Most of the "developer" jobs that mention Perl as one of the key skills seem
also to want HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Most appear to be for small companies
- either "act as lead on developing/maintaining our company website" or
"work for our business that makes websites for other people". Making websites
doesn't really interest me, but that's because I don't like writing user
interfaces, possibly because they consist of lots of independent simple
problems. I like complex problems that resist decomposition. Small companies
aren't useful, because I'm interested in the computer technology, rather
than their line of business, but they make their money from their line of
business (rather than writing their website in (say) Smalltalk
( )) Hence to do their job well one needs to be
excited (or at least sated) by their core business, and one can't expect to
have an career progression without moving on.

Gah. We're back to me again. That wasn't my plan.

Nicholas Clark

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